#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.


Enjoyed this? Check out some of our other reviews here:

Muzik Speaks Album Reviews


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#EventSpeaks: Chicane @ Concorde 2, Brighton – 19/05/17


   

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On Friday 19th May 2017, Chicane came to Brighton to perform a full-band set (which is a very rare thing!) It was an absolutely incredible night, with support from Chris Hopkins, who did an hour and a half DJ set.


Chris Hopkins (DJ Set)

One of Nick’s friends,¬†Chris Hopkins¬†did a great DJ set to get the evening started, playing a range of dance anthems as well as some remixes of classic songs by Prince and others; it was non-stop tune after tune.

Highlight:

  • The dedication made to Robert Miles before playing ‘Children’ was touching and had the crowd cheering and dancing along.
  • Also playing a¬†Chicane song (not on the set list), right before he took to the stage, was a great way to get the crowd going.

Chicane

Chicane took to the stage with the recent, ambient, ascending track¬†’38 Weeks’, accompanied by his band (Karlos Edwards on drums and Simon Small on guitar and bass) and singer, Rosalee O’Connell. The set was then packed with his biggest hits from the past 20 years, in celebration of his recent album,¬†Twenty.¬†I particularly enjoyed the live performances of¬†‘Poppiholla (Anniversary Remix)’, ‘Fibreglasses’,¬†‘Don’t Give Up’,¬†‘Nite On Shore’ and¬†‘Saltwater’.

The set was diverse, mixing his more upbeat, club anthems (which had the audience going wild; jumping up and down and singing along) and the more mellow, ambient tracks; at times joined by¬†either of the two singers (Rosalee O’Connell or Gavin Conder) accompanying and others with just the musicians; it all flowed perfectly.

It was great to hear these tracks live and the combination of Nick’s synth tracks and keys alongside live instrumentation was a really unique way to experience his music.

The performance¬†was about an hour and a half long and people loved every second of it (myself included); we¬†could quite happily have gone on listening, watching and dancing all night. There was genuine disappointment when it came an end but an encore¬†led to rapturous applause before closing the show with¬†‘Stoned In Love’, with Gavin Condor on vocals.

If you haven’t ever seen him play with a full band, you must! I’m already itching to catch him live again!!!

Highlights:

  • The set list was crammed full of hit after hit.
  • Nick mixed the sounds to perfection and whilst the quality sounded like the studio versions, the subtle changes to the track made them unique to that performance.
  • The bass sounds were so heavy and loud, you could feel them reverberate through your chest.
  • The guitarist was incredibly talented, particularly on the track,¬†‘Nite On Shore’ when he showed off some impressive acoustic guitar skills.
  • The superbly¬†powerful vocals of both singers were stunning to witness.
  • The drummer’s use of both drum kit and samples pads added a diverse edge to the performance.

All of these excellent photos are credited to Elliot McRae.
Go on, give him a follow ‚Äst@EMcraePhoto


 Setlist

38 Weeks
The Bridge
One Thousand Suns*
Poppiholla (Anniversary Remix)*
Saltwater (Kryder Remix)
Hiding All The Stars
Still With Me
Fibreglasses
Carry Me Home
Don’t Give Up*
Nite On Shore
Saltwater*

Encore
Stoned In Love

* These songs can be viewed in the YouTube playlist, below.


Finally, I want to say an absolutely HUGE thanks to Louis for organising this review and backstage interview (here) and also to Chicane (Nick) for putting on such an immense evening; I loved every minute of it.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MellowMonday: A R I Z O N A – ‘Oceans Away’


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We’ve featured the American trio,¬†A R I Z O N A before and damn it, we’re going to do it again!¬†‘Oceans Away’¬†is the most recent track to be released by the songwriter/producers and it’s as encapsulating as all of their other releases.

I love the sound of this track, and indeed the band, because they fuse the softer side of rock with the more contemporary¬†sounds of pop, topped off with almost house-like beats. It’s virtually genre-less but it doesn’t matter; it’s damn catchy and their sound fills the listener with intrigue and admiration.

I know that the band are currently hard at work on their debut album, but in my opinion, it cannot come quick enough!

No video has been made as of yet, but we’ll keep you posted on this!

What are your thoughts of this band? What’s your favourite song they’ve done? Please let us know your thoughts or share your own #MellowMonday track in a comment below or via our social media, using the hashtag.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Oceans Away’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/oceans-away/id1182618729?i=1182618765


#ThrowbackThursday / #ThrowbackThreesday: Deepest Blue


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Deepest Blue were an electronic music duo, comprised of Matt Schwartz and Joel Edwards, who were active from 2002-2005.

Their first single, the self-titled¬†‘Deepest Blue’, was released in 2003. The song was originally recorded as a different version, but did not gain any interest, but when it was re-recorded and released, it reached Number 7 in the UK charts. It was due to the song’s progressive house feel that the song gained interest, as the genre was popular at the time.

Deepest Blue – ‘Deepest Blue’


In February 2004, the pair released their second single,¬†‘Give It Away’. The song is a catchy, deep house song,¬†which provided the duo with another¬†Top 10 hit, reaching Number 9 in the UK Charts, and it’s probably my favourite song they’ve released.


Deepest Blue – ‘Give It Away’


Although their fourth single,¬†‘Shooting Star’, failed to reach the UK Top 40, it’s a great song due to the fantastic string arrangement; it’s powerful and instantly recognisable.

Released in August 2004, it was the fourth single taken from their debut album,¬†Late September, but it was prominent for its use on Sky Sports News and Soccer Saturday from 2004 to 2007. It’s still used by¬†Sky Sports as incidental music during UK football matches.

This song is epic as it showed just how diverse this duo were and it’s such a shame that they are no longer about – maybe a reunion should be put on the cards!


Deepest Blue – ‘Shooting Star’


Matt – Muzik Speaks

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#WildCardWednesday: Alan Walker – ‘Faded’ featuring Iselin Solheim


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Alan Walker first gained attention by releasing an instrumental version of this song, called ‘Fade’, via¬†NoCopyrightSounds¬†(NCS) back in 2015.

He has since signed to MER Musikk under¬†Sony Music Sweden, to re-release the song, re-titled as¬†‘Faded’ and features the uncredited vocalist¬†Iselin Solheim.

Since then, the 18-year-old’s track has reached Number 7 in the UK charts and gained him a lot of recognition: not bad going at such a young age!

What do you think of this awesome House track? Have you heard much of his other music? Looking forward to hearing new releases from him? Please share your #WildCardWednesday choice in a comment below or via our social media accounts.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Faded’¬†can be downloaded off¬†iTunes now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/faded/id1058093269?i=1058093278


#Two4Tunesday: Galantis – ‘No Money’ & Snakehips – ‘Falling’ featuring Malika


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Galantis – ‘No Money’

Swedish electronic duo, Galantis dropped their latest song,¬†‘No Money’ recently and it’s the first new material since their album¬†Pharmacy was released in 2015.

The song is co-produced by Digital Farm Animals and sees the duo’s continued use of almost digital female-sounding vocals which work so well with their sound.

I have a feeling that this song could be just as big as¬†‘Peanut Butter Jelly’…here’s to hoping!


‘No Money’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-money/id1093377456?i=1093377466



Snakehips – ‘Falling’ featuring Malika

Snakehips have had success with their recent single, All My Friends and have just put out a three-track EP called Money On Me.

One of the tracks from the EP is¬†‘Falling’¬†featuring Malika and it’s incredible! The use of brass instruments and intricate drums makes for a hypnotic and brilliant sound. The vocals ascend to awesome heights too; it’s a real journey just to hear this song!

If Snakehips can keep releasing interesting and diverse music like this, I think they’ll have a long, bright future ahead of them!


‘Falling’¬†is¬†on¬†iTunes for downloading now! –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/falling-feat.-malika/id1098624307?i=1098624375


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#Two4Tunesday: Flo Rida – ‘I Don’t Like It, I Love It’ & Cash Cash – ‘Take Me Home’

Flo Rida & Cash Cash¬†are gracing our #Two4Tunesday¬†post this week; both¬†amazing tunes…so enjoy!

Flo Rida Banner

There is no doubt about it, Flo Rida has made quite the success of himself! He’s collaborated with handfuls of artists and amassed over 75 million downloads worldwide!

His latest release, ‘I Don’t Like It, I Love It’¬†has got that funk vibe thanks to Earth, Wind & Fire bassist, Verdine White. The chorus hook is by hip-gyrating, line-blurring,¬†Robin Thicke. This song makes for an interesting sound for Flo Rida, since he’s normally renowned for his pop/club bangers.


‘I Don’t Like It, I Love It’¬†is available on iTunes right now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-dont-like-it-i-love-it-feat./id995403219


Flo Rida¬†– ‘I Don’t Like It, I Love It’ featuring Robin Thicke & Verdine White


Cash Cash Banner

Cash Cash are an EDM trio made up of brothers¬†Jean Paul Makhlouf and Alex Makhlouf, alongside Samuel Frisch. The group ¬†started as more of a pop-rock band (think Forever The Sickest Kids) but have completely morphed into their current producer/DJ outfit. They have remixed some big-name artist’s songs, including Katy Perry’s,¬†‘Birthday’¬†and Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Catch My Breath’ as well as¬†release several of their own albums and a single in tribute of Michael Jackson‘s passing.

One of their most recent songs was¬†‘Take Me Home’ featuring Bebe Rexha¬†and its electro-house sound is truly infectious. It may have been released in 2014, but I’ve recently rediscovered it and am still loving it now!


‘Take Me Home’ can be downloaded now –¬†https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/take-me-home-feat.-bebe-rexha/id807417251


Cash Cash¬†– ‘Take Me Home’ featuring Bebe Rexha

And that’s it for¬†this week’s¬†#Two4Tunesday! Have you got¬†two songs you’re¬†loving right now? Leave¬†your comments below.

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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