On this week’s Unsung Heroes, we travel back to 2010 to focus on the relationships of different styles of music that caters to certain venues, as well as unleash a deadly weapon from Toolroom‘s back catalog. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the explosion of EDM has changed then entire dance scene throughout the world. Even though dance music has been a huge staple of cultural life in Europe and in other areas in the world, (such as Argentina, South Africa and the continent of Australia), many artists are now attacking the American market almost as much as miners settled out west during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800’s. While many people are commenting on the lack of creativity that the mainstream EDM scene has adapted to, almost no one has taken the time to realize that dance music has moved away from the secluded club scene towards the open air festival grounds. While many artists have their own unique sound, it cannot be challenged that many tracks on the Beatport Top 100 are most suited towards big, open grounds where their booming, colossal sounds can be heard up to a couple of miles away. It makes sense really; more money is to be made at festivals and the increased exposure of thousands of people versus maybe a thousand people at a club is a great incentive, not to mention the heavily increased production value and the tempting rush of ‘superstardom’ that seems to strike many artists in today’s scene.
However, before this shift, (which, incidentally, happened around the same time as the beginning of the big push for America), many big end tracks were tailored towards the club scene, where the enclosed spaces allowed more freedom to implement groove and constant drive towards their tracks. While it seems almost premature to state that 2010-2011 were the golden years for club driven tracks, it most certainly was a fantastic year for the emerging style of Progressive Tech House, and many high end artists, such as Jerome Isma-Ae and Paul Thomas, flourished during this time period. However, two artists who were dominating the airwaves throughout the scene were none other than the individual careers of Funkagenda and Michael Woods. Funkagenda is notorious for his technical brand of music, as he received accolades such as the ‘Best Ibiza Track Of 2008’ and ‘Best Breakthrough Artist Of 2009’. Michael Woods was also storming through the scene at the time, as his unique style of refined productions garnered fiery praise from Pete Tong and Deadmau5, who chose him to be a part of his iconic 2010 UK tour. Finally brought together by the pioneering team over at Toolroom Records, the duo created a completely fresh interpretation of their mixture of styles in the form of Alchemy. The qualities of Alchemy signify all of the legendary qualities of this certain club driven sound that lead the dance scene in 2010 and also goes beyond expectations to ignite flames towards many dancefloors.
As part of the highly accredited Toolroom 5 compilation, (or TK5), the combined forces of Funkagenda and Michael Woods was a dream collaboration from the start. What makes this track special is the amount of time, precision and effort put forth by these two talents as it manages to expand to the edges of club music in a very sophisticated and elegant point of view. Chock full of highly layered spatial pads and white noise implementations, the broad spectrum of the track’s overarching expansion fills the entire space with sound, energy and most importantly, power. Rather than focusing on pure tech, the duo instead establish an almost manic gleam to their eyes, as they introduce a sadistically sinister bassline that slams listeners with a sudden increase in atmospheric pressure that then rumbles throughout the entire track. As natural born masters of instrumental layering, they slyly incorporate more and more parts throughout the soundscape as it slowly evolves into a terrifying behemoth of raw, spectral force. But rather than have this be a greasy, gritty track, their expert sound design is both cutting edge and innovative, as they pull through their vast reserves of musical knowledge for only the finest and most futuristic sounds to induce an almost surgical feel to the track. It pulls through a calm section with an unbelievably breathtaking breakdown before Michael Woods‘ abilities shine with his uncanny buildups, which then brutally crushes dancers when the devilish drop finally reconnects.
Funkagenda & Michael Woods‘ collaboration of Alchemy is out now on Toolroom Records, so make sure you grab a copy today.
Keep the music alive. -Q
Unsung Heroes is a weekly segment where we take a look back at an amazing production and bring it back into the light for older and newer fans alike. These tracks were often overlooked, overshadowed by a huge release or are just not that well known to the public here in America. Here, you can find all the hidden gems in many genres and find a new favorite track (or another tool/weapon for aspiring DJ’s).