May, what a month! With festivals flooding the weekends and new music taking over sound-systems, it’s safe to say that creativity is at a summit. It was a task and a half to gather a solid front of Hard Dance releases to represent this month; with bundles of top-quality music floating around, it was far from easy to create a defining Top 10. To wrap up a wonderful month, we’re revealing a 360 degree view of the harder styles by incorporating the sounds of UKHC, Hardstyle, Hardcore and even Frenchcore into this list!
*TALENT TRACK* Avana – Mars Needs Women
Forthcoming Fusion talent Avana has released a handful of solid music over the past year or so. With his productions covering the broad spectrum of Hardstyle and not abiding by the usual formulas, it’s no surprise that this name has fallen a little underneath the radar. So, with that being said, it’s about time this young producer gets some well-deserved recognition! As soon as I heard the reverse bass intro in Avana’s latest release “Mars Needs Women,” it was an instant yes. From there on, the track develops into a catchy, dynamic ball of dynamite that explodes with excitement. If Avana keeps pursuing this road of production, there’s no telling how high he can climb!
#10 Da Tweekaz – Hewwego (Darren Styles Remix)
It’s not a ‘top 10’ without a cheeky UKHC smasher in there! If the original “Hewwego” wasn’t energetic enough for you, legendary producer Darren Styles added some herbs and spices and oh, amped it up to 170BPM! This track somewhat reminds me of that burst of energy to get you through the last, most intense minutes of your workout and not to mention, it would be an awesome addition to aerobics classes. The build up and piano melody is gorgeous, so kudos to Styles – this one is HUGE!
#9 Psyched feat. Aninia – Encomium
When I came across “Encomium” on Hardstyle.com, I’m not going to lie, I immediately assumed that it would be another random raw track. Boy, was I wrong! Theracords rising star Psyched blew me away with this release; the beautiful vocals by Aninia fit go hand in hand with the spine-shivering atmosphere. Combine the light and balanced melody with penetrating kicks and you’ve got yourself a winner. These days it’s all about the ‘atmospheric’ raw and Psyched is an example of an artist who’s pioneering that sound with utter perfection!
#8 Paradox & MickeyG – Push The Faders
Fast-rising producer MickeyG has got a huge future ahead of him. After already releasing a handful of impressive tunes, he’s back again with yet another slammer! Teaming up with Paradox, the pair created “Push The Faders,” a funky and energetic number which even tops productions from more experienced names. A cool melody, well-rounded kicks and non-stop energy all wrapped into one – what more could you want?!
#7 Re-Style – Unit Of Measure
It’s time for your monthly dose of Hardcore. And who better to do the honours than long-standing legend Re-Style?! His latest release “Unit Of Measure” blew me away. Firstly, despite the fact Re-Style has been releasing music since 2002, he still manages to produce such intense and impacting tunes; there’s nothing average in this guys discography. Secondly, this beast of a track retains a musical and accessible edge; but don’t be fooled, it’ll still have you going crazy.
#6 DJ Thera – Going Under
This month, a new album was born into Hardstyle-land. Theracords head-honcho DJ Thera gave it a solid shot with his debut album Training Sessions, however his second attempt ‘The New Era’ blew me out of the park! The music on this album is incredible; if you’re into spine-tingling atmospheres, gorgeous melodies, hard kicks and everything in between, then this album is for you! Our featured track this month is my personal favourite “Going Under,” an emotionally-charged and hard, yet sweet masterpiece.
#5 Death By Design & Brutal Jesters – Fearception
It’s not often that we choose to put a Frenchcore release so high up in our charts, but to be honest the genre is kind of growing on me these days. Death By Design is one of the most promising new names in Hardcore and when you combine his efforts with those of Brutal Jesters then madness is bound to happen! This track captivated me mainly because of it’s melody and atmosphere; I love those underground-ish sounds and the fact that it’s not overly ‘hard’ to the point where you can’t enjoy it. An overall solid track, so big ups to Death By Design and Brutal Jesters!
#4 Da Tweekaz & Darren Styles – Heroes
I’m not going to lie; when I first saw “Heroes” drop into the scene I didn’t particularly expect anything overwhelmingly great, however once I listened to it I couldn’t get it out of my head! Seriously, this track was my ‘life’s’ theme song for at least a week; I’d pump it in the car, listen to it on my morning run and even sing it in the shower! The energy is infectious, the storyline is touching and the fact that you can choose between 150 and 170BPM makes it all the more special.
#3 Advanced Dealer & Kutski – Killscreen
During one of my irregular morning workouts I was listening to one of Kutski’s KTRA episodes and after having my ears caressed by this exceptional collaboration, I knew that I just HAD to include it in this month’s chart. Where do I even begin praising this boundary-breaking hit? Well, first and foremost a collaboration between Hard Dance legend Kutski and rising Hardcore name Advanced Dealer seemed a little random, however the result was outstanding. This raw Hardstyle/Hardcore crossover can be folded into any set; the swift change of BPM is pure genius and will send your brain into a multi-sensory journey.
#2 Coone & Hard Driver – It’s All In The Game
The amount of pressure put on artists to execute an exceptional festival anthem is ridiculous, however I guess we’re all a tad guilty of being extra judgemental when listening to an anthem for the first time. Representing this years’ edition of Intents Festival is no less than Dirty Workz legends Coone and Hard Driver, who managed to smack down and enter victory with their mighty anthem “It’s All In The Game.” Prior to hearing the track for the first time, I wasn’t expecting anything too riveting, however after hearing it I couldn’t shake it from my memory bank. Anthems shouldn’t only be about melodramatic breaks and overly ‘epic’ melodies, festivals are all about dancing and losing your sh*t several times and that’s what “It’s All In The Game” is all about.
#1 *WINNER* Technikore feat. Emi – Just Be
For all of our lovely readers who are still unable to appreciate the beauty of Happy Hardcore, this is not a drill – we are for real. Taking out the winning position for the month is Technikore’s latest (and greatest) “Just Be.” A little unexpected, yes, but this placing is more than deserved. I heard this jovial number a couple of weeks ago and can safely admit that I’ve been listening to it at least twice a day. The melody is seriously infectious and when you smoosh it together with the vocals by Emi, this track is just as impactful as 200BPM Hardcore (don’t hate me, please). For Hard Dance fans who want to unveil a new passion and ignite a different flame, I highly recommend that you give this killer track a chance; it may just change your entire outlook on the happier sides of Hardcore.
Thanks for tuning into this month’s Top 10; bring on June!