If you’ve been following the mainstream trance scene in the past few months, then you’d be no stranger to Armin Van Buuren’s new Who’s Afraid of 138? project, which is a push for the faster, more traditional trance that was once popular before the big cheesy Trouse sounds became dominant in most trance productions and sets.
Though there will always be someone to tell you that the faster 138-style trance never actually went anywhere, the breath of life that Armin is giving the subgenre is more than welcome, and perhaps we’ll see these faster productions rise to prominence once again.
Many of the artists that have stayed true to their 138 stylings are now enjoying their time in the limelight. Names like Bryan Kearney, Indecent Noise, and Simon Patterson are now more popular than ever, with Patterson recently being given a slot on BBC Radio 1s monthly In New DJs We Trust radio show, it’s looking like the 138 movement is the strongest it’s been since it’s meteoric rise at the start of the new millenium.
Another artist that has stepped up to the plate in 2013 is Photographer, a Ukrainian duo that has received heavy support from a number of big names of the past year. Chances are, you would have heard of Photographer from their widely played hit Airport. This is a track that has seen heavy rotation in Armin DJ sets, mashed up with the classic vocals that featured in the title track of his popular album Shivers.
Airport is played frequently for good reason. It reflects the sound of a time when trance experienced one of it’s explosions of popularity in the mid 00’s. A fairly standard traditional driving intro followed by a simple yet familiar melody lends itself well to those with a nostalgic side, and is accessible enough so not to frighten off those that are less familiar with the faster side of trance.
More recently, Photographer’s remix of Billy Gillies Daytona has seen early signs of success, with support from a number of popular trance acts. Daytona showcases Photographer’s strong production talents well. A little harder than usual, Daytona’s main motif is a rough lead that barks constantly throughout, before the track descends into a very hard trance-like breakdown and very powerful tech-inspired climax.
They also host a weekly podcast entitled SoundCasting, and it’s well worth checking out if you’re a fan of powerful 138bpm trance. This podcast, and any other sets they have on other radio shows are posted on the Photographer Mixcloud.
Photographer’s remix of Daytona is already a contender for my favourite track of 2013, so I’m very excited to see where which direction they’re going to go this year. Hopefully they continue with the hard edged sound, but even if they don’t, their production skills are strong enough that I’ll be pleased no matter which road they go down.