Album Review: Kyau & Albert / ‘Nights Awake’ (Euphoric)

kyau-and-albert-nights-awake

★★★★☆

Ralph Kyau and Steven Albert have a penchant for producing synthy trance anthems and mystifying, serenading masterpieces. Their latest effort is no exception to their distinguished reputation. But as with all great masterpieces this process takes time: in this instance it took six years for Nights Awake to finally materialize. Opening track “Encounter” is a peaceful, inviting, therapeutic odyssey providing abundant auricle satisfaction. It segues nicely into “What Lovers Only Know” by getting lost in the soaring, emotional builds and the desirous poetry of breathtaking love. Scattered within are the pre-released and beloved successes of “A Night Like This,” “Another Time” and “This Love.”

“Open My Eyes,” their collaboration with trance veteran Paul van Dyk, is another triumph. While it has the familiarity of their classic “Kiksu” or “Are You Fine,” the rooted contributions of all three talents can be equally detected. (It should be noted that Van Dyk had recognized Kyau & Albert early on, playing their now classic “Outside” on his radio show in 2001.)

Historic, epic trance seeps through Nights Awake on the Ronski Speed collaboration “Euphonia.” Smooth, futuristic synths drive “Do You Still Know” and “What Will Go.” An orchestral background blended at times with a subtle island beat dictate the aerial “Nightingale.” Deviating from the traditional archetype of utilizing the vocals of Steven Albert, the duo recruited Australian singer and TV personality Adaja Black and found her unique creativity and her impassioned vocals of “Could You Fall” a fitting asset to the mix. Some of the more melodic and entrancing tracks on the collection come from “We Own The Night” and the single release “All Your Colours.” The former, with its resonating vocal echoes, was the choice track by Euphonic label mates Stoneface & Terminal when they agreed to do a track together for the album. The four label mates worked it, ran with it, nailed it and the final piece is wondrously enchanting.

The lengthy journey to Nights Awake has been worth the wait. Once traveled and embraced it’s a destination of passion and love, a utopian escape that you’ll desire to revisit again and again.

File under: Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond Group Therapy, Paul van Dyk

Contest Alert! Win Tickets to Ultra Music Festival

ultra-music-festival

Ultra Music Festival 2013, taking place March 15-17, 2013 and March 22-24, 2013 at Bayfront Amphitheater in Downtown Miami, is celebrating its 15th anniversary the only way it knows how — by once again booking some of the world’s best DJ and electronic talent to perform at its world-famous event.

We’re giving away a precious pair of tickets to weekend one to a lucky Big Shot reader courtesy of our friends at UMF. The jaw-dropping bill includes a lineup of stellar international DJ talent: Swedish House Mafia, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Yeasayer, Eric Prydz, Infected Mushroom, Avicii, Boys Noize, Martin Solveig, Ferry Corsten, Kaskade, Fedde Le Grand, Rusko, Booka Shade, Bassnectar, Above & Beyond, Sub Focus, Major Lazer, Pretty Lights, Wolfgang Gartner, The Weeknd, Porter Robinson and many more.

Excited? You should be!

To enter the contest tweet the following:

I want to win @ultramusic tickets for #UMF weekend 1 from @bigshotmagazine
http://bit.ly/12R59Od

Remember: you only need to tweet the above sentence once in order to enter the contest. Good luck!

The Rules:

• Entrants must be following @bigshotmagazine and @ultramusic
• Winner must be 21 or over
• Winner is responsible for transportation to/from UMF 2013
• Anyone found using multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible
• Contest ends at 12:00 pm EST on March 8, 2013

Like Big Shot on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram @bigshotmagazine.

And the winner is…

Congratulations to @AliDegan! Big thanks to everyone who entered.

AliDegantweet

Editorial: Global Spin Awards Honors Hip-Hop DJs, Pays Only Lip Service to EDM

Last week it was announced that Global Spin Awards, a new ceremony honoring DJs, will take place on November 19 in New York City. Reads a blurb on GSA’s website: “Actors have the Academy Awards…Recording Artists have the Grammy’s…And Now…DJ’s have the GSA’s!!”

Good idea, we initially thought.

GSA is the brainchild of Shawn Prez, an employee at Bad Boy Records. He told to the New York Post that “GSA is not about the hip-hop community. It’s about the DJ and their music. Award shows like these would help get awareness to what influence DJs have on social culture.”

However, looking at the list of nominees, I’m not so sure I agree with Prez’s statement not being only “about the hip-hop community” — a scan of GSA’s list of nominees clearly gives dance music DJs gets short shrift.

Out 200 nominations in 42 categories, only a handful of the DJs affiliated with electronic music are in the mix. Some of the nominations seem entirely random, such as nominating Daft Punk for Dance DJ of the Year. Aside from creating a mix for Saint Laurent’s show during Paris Fashion Week last week, the reclusive French duo rarely DJ and haven’t toured in ages.

While every publication (including BS) is guilty of typos, there are several on the list of nominations — specifically the spelling of dance music DJs Paul Van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and deadmau5 — on GSA’s site. My guess is that they are likely the result of the organization’s unfamiliarity with EDM (we’ll table our issues with the list of nominees for another day):

 

While Global Spin Awards promise musical diversity it’s also interesting to note that only hip-hop DJs — Funkmaster Flex, Kid Capri, Sway Calloway, Clinton Sparks and legendary DJ/producer Marley Marl — were present at the kickoff press conference. Big Shot didn’t receive an invitation to cover the press conference, and judging by the dearth of coverage on EDM sites we’re going to assume invites weren’t extended much beyond hip-hop press.

Honoring DJs is unquestionably commendable, but saying you’re paying homage to all DJs is quite another.

In the future, let’s hope the organizers cast as wide a musical net as possible and solicit help when paying tribute to DJs beyond their own personal comfort zone. After all, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

105 Arrested at HARD Summer

With a lineup boasting many of the usual DJ suspects (Skrillex, Nero, James Murphy) and a few interesting left-of-center choices (Squarepusher, Bootsy Collins), the two-day HARD Summer Music Festival held this weekend at L.A. State Historic Park near Chinatown had the dubious distinction of having over 105 arrests, according to the L.A. Weekly. The massive number of arrests included 9 busts for drugs. A city official reported 22 minor medical incidents and four hospitalizations for people believed to be under the influence of drugs. At HARD’s 2011 installment, there were 31 “medical emergencies” at the dance music fest, according to the LAFD, with 17 arrests.

In related news, two people died and 19 others were hospitalized on Thursday during the Mansfield, MA stop of roving U.S. electronic summer music tour IDentity Festival held at the Comcast Center featuring Eric Prydz, Paul van Dyk and Wolfgang Gartner.

Image via Facebook