#Review: Alan Walker – Different World ūüĆć


   

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Alan Walker¬†is a young, Norwegian DJ and record producer who burst onto the scene with his¬†2015 single,¬†‘Faded’ (featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) –¬†now platinum certified in over 10 countries and as of December 2018, the music video has received well over 2 billion views! Since then, he has had many successful singles which have received tons of attention online, through countless YouTube views and Spotify streams. Alan has also collaborated with and remixed music for likes of Noah Cyrus, Sia, Bruno Mars, Avicii, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Kygo, Charli XCX, Julia Michaels and more. Now, December 2018 sees the release of his debut album,¬†Different World. Here’s what we have to say about it…

Alan Walker - Different World

Alan Walker‘s debut album makes an atmospheric opening with the haunting use of synths and wordless vocal melodies, building continuously, however, just as you think it’s reaching a crescendo that will surely lead into the first track…it goes quiet! Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for atmospheric album tracks that build into the next but the 3 tracks on the album (out of 15), that are intended to prelude something bigger, just drop off like this, leaving a lot to be desired in this respect – they should flow right into the next track, seamlessly!

Some of the best tracks on the record include: ‘I Don‚Äôt Wanna Go’ (featuring Julie Bergan) with its really interesting, low vocals throughout the verses before breaking out into a wonderfully powerful chorus yet it’s obviously very Alan Walker in style, with the almost bubbly synths. Then you’ve got ‘Lily’ (featuring K-391 & Emelie Hollow), an almost story-like track, with a rather dark undertone to it. The high-pitched vocals contrast incredibly with somewhat sinister-sounding electronic elements to the instruments.

‘Do It All For You’ (featuring Trevor Guthrie) begins with a haunting, nursery rhyme vibe to the instrumental; its warbling chime sounds and hip-hop-style beat bring something fresh to the ears. It isn’t an instantly or obviously catchy track yet it’s very well written and you quite easily find yourself singing it several hours later. ‘Sing Me to Sleep’ (also featuring uncredited vocals by Iselin Solheim) is a very powerful song containing shakingly beautiful vocals (somewhat like Ellie Goulding), accompanied by the haunting sounds of children playing throughout the start and verse. Meanwhile, the synths a like a blend of some well-know Chicane and Owl City instrumentals.

However, possibly the best, most commercial-sounding song on the album, is single, ‘All Falls Down’ (featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals & Juliander). It’s just catchy, fun and despite the slightly down-hearted subject matter, is strangely uplifting.

It’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant!

Both ‘Lost Control’ (featuring Sorana) and ‘Lonely’ (featuring Steve Aoki, IS√ĀK & Omar Noir) have an urban/Indian edge to them, mashed up with a gritty, broken quality to the synth sounds. Whilst, ‘Darkside’ (featuring Au/Ra & Tomine Harket) sounds a lot like ‘I’d Do Anything’ from the musical, Oliver! in the chorus – it has sensational production with a lot of subtle flourishes underlying the main melodies and ‘Diamond Heart’ (featuring Sophia Somajo) makes good use of rain sounds to add to the atmosphere, topped off with a strong vocal like Dua Lipa meets Sia.

Unfortunately, ‘Alone’ is nothing more than a solid album track, that I am certain fans will love, but it’s not the most memorable track, by far, despite the typical Alan Walker-style synth breaks.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to mention ‘Faded’; the track that really launched the producer and songwriter into the limelight – as with a couple of my favourite debut albums released by fellow EDM producers this year, it’s a really touching way to end a debut album; bringing it all back round full-circle to where their career began. A great little touch!

It’s clear that Walker likes to use real sounds to enhance the soundscapes he creates, which really add to the ambience throughout the record – it might just be one of the saving graces of the record, making him stand out from so many other EDM producers.

All in all, it’s actually an album that depicts a rarely heard, somewhat dark and edgy side of EDM and it’s brilliant! As I’ve previously stated, if Sigala‘s album was the soundtrack to the party and Jonas Blue‘s was the soundtrack to the after party, then Alan Walker‘s debut album is the soundtrack to the gritty underground club after that!

Whilst I think there are several things lacking in this record, he has certainly spent a long time crafting a production-perfect debut with some interesting sounds or synth choices here and there that add just enough variety to delight your ears and make it stand out.

After the success of ‘Faded’ and the loyal online following he’s built up, I’m sure Alan Walker will have an illustrious career ahead within the genre…it’ll be interesting to see how he develops and grows from here.

Rating


‘Different World’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/different-world/1445140820


Different World on Spotify

Faded (Official Video)

All Falls Down featuring Noah Cyrus, Digital Farm Animals and Juliander (Official Video)

Darkside featuring Au/Ra and Tomine Harket (Official Video)

Diamond Heart featuring Sophia Somajo (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of Alan Walker’s debut album, Different World! What do you make of it? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or hit us up via our social media.


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#Two4Tunesday: A R I Z O N A – ‘Freaking Out’ & Andreas Wijk – ‘MADONNA’


   

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A R I Z O N A – ‘Freaking Out’

I love this band so much and they just seem to go from strength to strength with their infectious brand of epic, house-inspired pop music.

The track just builds and builds perfectly – I can see people dancing like mad in a stadium.

The song was released as part of a double A-side single, COLD NIGHTS // SUMMER DAYS. It’s been a couple of years since the band’s debut album but hopefully this signals an upcoming, second album.

This song is also featured on my ‘Save A Life’ playlist. In the few days since it’s release, I’ve had it on repeat and it’s really helped me let loose.


‘Freaking Out’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freaking-out/1406503425?i=1406503440



Andreas Wijk – ‘MADONNA’

Known on YouTube for doing some covers and notable for being a fashion model, this appears to be one of the first couple of original singles from Andreas Wijk.

The single’s cover caught my eye first with the artist recreating some classic Madonna album covers, but when I checked out the track, was instantly gripped.

The singer’s falsetto vocals stand out stunningly over the fairly relaxed beat but the chorus is damn catchy and even got some sexy vibes going on.

No music video exists yet but we’ll keep you updated when one emerges.


‘MADONNA’¬†can also be downloaded from iTunes now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/madonna/1400557925?i=1400558686


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*EXCLUSIVE* #Review: Chicane – The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget ūüí≠


   

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Chicane (aka Nick Bracegirdle) is a British musician, composer, songwriter and producer who has had a string of hits that have been massive on the Ibiza club scene, including ‘Saltwater’ (featuring vocals by M√°ire Brennan from Clannad), ‘Offshore’, ‘Don’t Give Up’ (featuring Bryan Adams) and ‘Stoned In Love’ (with vocals by the legendary Tom Jones). Now, 2018 sees the release of his seventh album, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget (released through Modena Records and Armada Music); here’s what we think about it…

Chicane - The Place You Can't Remember, The Place You Can't Forget.jpg

I would go so far as to say that this might be one of Chicane‘s best albums to date; it’s diverse, eclectic and contemporary whilst not compromising on his instantly recognisable sound and style.

The album opens with the stunningly atmospheric ‘Running To The Sea’ which reverberates right through the chest, due to low rumbles and bass notes but meanwhile uses harmonic guitars, making it sound equally euphoric; it’s like the dawn of a beautiful day, but in this instance, the day is the album!

From there, 2017 single, ‘Gorecki’ (featuring vocals by Hannah Robinson), makes an album appearance; very much a classic Chicane track – mesmerising, hypnotic synth plucks, dream-like pads, echoing vocals and deeply rooted in the house genre.

Also, Tracey Ackerman makes a much anticipated return collaboration on single, ‘Serendipity’; a calm and ambient track.

Some of the other, most notable tracks, include: the instant, turn-it-up anthem, ‘A Love That’s Hard To Find’; definitely a song that provides room to breathe throughout but also includes some Daft Punk-esque vocals (from Paul Aiden) on top of a summery, deep house beat; ‘Rainbow’ keeps you in suspense all the way through with its calming vocals (provided by Tyler Lyle) and synths that teeter around the edge of something big, probably making it one of the most ambient songs on the album and two Rosalee O’Connell-sung tracks; ‘Nirvana’ – an EDM meets house affair that has some wonderful, broken falsetto vocals, with a touch of something old-school (like ATB‘s ‘9 PM (Till I Come)’ or York‘s ‘On The Beach’) and ‘I Came Here For You’ which serves up an exotic combination of cascading synths, heavy drums, rhythmic bass and dreamy vocals that sit in the centre of the mix, almost surrounded by the instrumentation.

Somehow this feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

To be perfectly honest though, it’s incredibly hard to find something not to love about every track on the album; ‘Chord – Less Yacht’ slowly builds from a muffled, static-like intro to an angelic-sounding, deep house anthem with shimmering synths and thumping beats, ‘Judder’ sounds like the theme to an 80s fighting game (think Street Fighter) but with dramatic changes in tempo and barely audible vocal notes coursing through it, ‘Ten Deep’ sounds like the film score to a modern sci-fi movie, due to its soaring synths and bold brass sounds and ‘Fear I Must First Let You Go’ (featuring vocals by Chris James) is a positive take on looking to the future – a therapeutic song that has an almost sermon-like quality to it.

Without a doubt, The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget is still an ambient, atmospheric and deep house-filled album that is instantly recognisable as Chicane, but somehow it feels very different to some of his previous releases; it is uplifting, fresh, reinvigorating and really pushes the boundaries of what he can produce.

Lastly, I would like to make a special thanks to Nick and his manager Louis, for allowing us to be the first and only people to have had access to the full album prior to its release. It truly has been a privilege.

Rating


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’¬†is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-place-you-cant-remember-the-place-you-cant-forget/1377444000


‘The Place You Can’t Remember, The Place You Can’t Forget’ on Spotify

Serendipity (Official Video)

A Love That’s Hard To Find (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this incredible musician and producer’s latest album? Do you love it as much as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or share your views about it via our social media.


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#Review: George FitzGerald – All That Must Be


   

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George FitzGerald is an English, electronic musician who previously worked for London label, Black Market Records, but after relocating to Berlin in 2010, began recording and releasing his own music. 2015 saw the release of his debut album, Fading Love, and now in 2018, he’s releasing his second record, All That Must Be. Here’s what we have to say about it…

George FitzGerald - All That Must Be.jpg

The album opens to the sounds of the hustle and bustle outside FitzGerald’s London studio, nicely setting the theme for the rest of the record, which very much echos the thrum of urban life.

In amongst the production, vocals are present, however, save for the tracks with guest vocalists, Lil Silva and Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl), they are barely recognisable, through much distortion and production wizardry. This is executed perfectly though, as they blend so well with the instrumentation, that it actually takes a few listens to properly realise they are in fact vocals.

George further explains, “In many of the songs the vocals are disembodied and processed to the point you can‚Äôt make out what they‚Äôre saying. I wanted that to mirror the uncanniness you feel when a massive event happens in your life. Everything looks and sounds the same but it‚Äôs somehow different. Your surroundings are less intelligible.” This is very much reflected in the album’s lead single ‘Burns’, which was also played regularly on Radio 1.

This album is a complete body of artistic work that has a unique story-like quality to it.

All That Must Be is very much an album of music that brilliantly depicts urban life. It is almost a soundtrack to the commotion of a city and represents the rhythm and heartbeat that so many cities often seem to have.

On first listen it’s easy to feel like all the tracks on the album are quite similar and that it stays the same from start to finish. However, it’s only when you listen again that you can truly appreciate just what a remarkable piece George FitzGerald has created, with subtle, intricate variations and changes in atmosphere. This is a complete body of artistic work that has a unique story-like quality to it. It might not be to everyone’s taste but it is astounding how an almost entirely instrumental album, can so clearly illustrate a picture in the mind and audibly represent so many moods. It’s both hypnotic and melancholic in places and there is a real sense of motion about it; it certainly doesn’t stand still.

Some of the most stand-out tracks are ‘Frieda’ for its meditative quality, ‘Burns’, for simply being the monster track that it is and ‘Roll Back’ and ‘Half-Light (Night Version)’ for their collaborations with Lil Silva and Tracey Thorn, respectively.

This is a record that could easily be experienced and enjoyed on a long drive at night, with the warm summer air breezing through the open windows or as something to ultimately sit back, relax and chill out to.

Rating
4


‘All That Must Be’¬†is out now¬†and can be downloaded from iTunes –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/all-that-must-be/1322664114


All That Must Be on Spotify

Roll Back featuring Lil Silva (Official Video)

Burns (Official Audio)

George FitzGerald Tour Dates

All tickets are on general sale now, via www.george-fitzgerald.com.

19 March – Munich, DE – Ampere
20 March – Berlin, DE – Schwuz
21 March – Cologne, DE – Yuca
22 March – Paris, FR – Nouveau Casino
23 March – Brussels, BE – AB Club
24 March – Utrecht, NL – Catch Festival
26 March – Brighton, GB – The Haunt
27 March – London, GB – Islington Assembly Hall
28 March – Glasgow, GB – The Art School
29 March – Manchester, GB – Gorilla
09 May – San Francisco, US – The Independent
10 May – Echo Park, US – The Echo
12 May – Salt Lake City, US – Kilby Court Gallery
13 May – Denver, US – Larimer Lounge
15 May – Chicago, US – Subterranean
16 May – Toronto, CA – Drake Hotel
17 May – Montreal, CA – Bar le Ritz PDB
18 May – Boston, US – Great Scott
19 May РNew York, US РRough Trade


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of George FitzGerald’s second album,¬†All That Must Be! What do you think of it and what would you rate it? Please let us know your thoughts in a comment or share your feelings about it via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#FeelGoodFriday: Maroon 5 – ‘What Lovers Do’ featuring SZA


   

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Maroon 5 are gearing up to release their sixth album in November this year (2017) and with a series of new singles since their fifth album, V, this is the latest to be released from their upcoming LP.

‘What Lovers Do’¬†features American singer¬†SZA¬†in addition to¬†Adam Levine‘s trademark falsetto vocals, tied together with house-style synths and upbeat drums and handclaps. It’s got a great summery vibe to it and it comes right at the end of the season to give us one more mood boost before autumn sets in.

The singles the band have been releasing have had a real R&B tint to them and it sure excites me for their upcoming album.

*UPDATE* The music video has emerged online and as I suspected, it’s epic! Great visuals and superb use of CGI effects throughout, albeit in quite a cheesy way, but it’s certainly humorous and fun.

What are your thoughts on the band’s latest summery jam? Have you got a #FeelGoodFriday track you’d like to suggest to us? Please leave your thoughts or song recommendations in a comment or hit us up via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘What Lovers Do’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/what-lovers-do-feat-sza-single/id1274373328


#WildCardWednesday: Ben Phipps – ‘Mrs Mr’ featuring Lizzy Land


   

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Ben Phipps is a twenty-six year old music producer hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden with a unique style of production that draws influence from both deep house and mainstream pop music.

His latest single, ‘Mrs Mr’, is a¬†collaboration with LA-based singer/songwriter Lizzy Land, whose¬†soaring vocals work effortlessly in line with Ben Phipps‚Äô tempting melodies and layered electronic arrangements.

No music video has been released yet but there is something in the pipeline – in place of a traditional music video, Ben Phipps aspired to produce and direct a live-action lyric film taking place in his home, and across New York City. The piece was filmed by local filmmaker, Christian Lucas, and will be released September 4.

This is definitely an artist who knows what he wants and how to achieve it – he is one to watch out for!

What are your thoughts of this producer’s house track? Have you got your own #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or via social media.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Mrs Mr’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/mrs-mr-feat-lizzy-land-single/id1263893256


#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Pogo (Nick Bertke)


   

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Having recently released his latest album Weightless back in December 2016 and a brand new¬†tune, ‘Boy & Bear’,¬†I had the privilege of talking to the fantastically talented, Nick Bertke (aka¬†Pogo).

During our interview, Nick chatted about what it’s been like to work with Disney, what he’s got in store for releasing music this year, where he takes inspirations from and who he’d like to play him in a biographic film. It‚Äôs all¬†in the interview video below!

I want to say a massive thanks to Nick himself for taking the time to make this interview happen! Such a genuine, lovely guy ūüėÄ

I really hope you enjoy watching this interview! Please show your support for the band by sharing the link to this post on all of your social media accounts!



Pogo‘s releases are all¬†available:


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Muzik Speaks Inteview Title - Pogo.jpgMuzik Speaks Inteview Title - Pogo.jpg