Dance 4 Syria Compilation Vol. 3

Dance 4 Syria

Damascusby night

Album: Dance 4 Syria vol.3 Compilation

Artist: Various Artists

Style: Trip Hop, Ambient, Electronica

Release date: 2013

A total of 23 songs.

One of the most amazing compilation albums that came to my attention lately is the Dance 4 Syria vol. 3 compilation. It’s a series of projects compiled by J/Producer Marc Hupkens. He also runs the music prod company PJSM Productions.

What has drawn me to this album is its diversity in terms of styles and moods. Sure it’s an electronic compilation featuring trip hop and EDM artists but there is that unifying theme that runs in the entire album. This also goes for others in the series.

Why did this came to be? Perhaps it’s a call to pay attention to the issue in Syria putting a political theme to the fore, or perhaps it is something else entirely? Here’s the answer I got from the official website of PJSM Prodictions

PJSM Productions is proud to announce that we are sponsoring and supporting a world-wide campaign to raise funds for the desperate families that have been displaced and dispossessed as a result of the ongoing onslaught on the Aleppo region. The campaign is a humanitarian effort to provide financial support, food supplies, and medical care for the people of Aleppo, who have been badly affected by the current crisis. Please visit the campaign’s Facebook Page  for more details. We have set up a special Indiegogo Crowd funding Project for this campaign, which you can use if you wish offer us your support and a DONATE button if you wish to donate any sum.

That answers my questions. I think this is an amazing project with a big heart behind it. After all we are all the same regardless of race and culture. What happens to the people out there also affects how we see ourselves in the bigger picture. We are human beings. We deserve something better than being abused, bullied, tortured or killed. Those are our brothers and sisters!

The album cover of vol 3 shows an urban portrait during the rush hour. That time when people leave their work and start commuting home.

The first track  Bastilidad by Addictive Fuzz Conspiration  sets the mood of what’s the come. There are over twenty songs in this album. So it’s like buying two albums for a price of one.  The production quality is also excellent and it reminds you that a lot of hard work has been put in this album before it got its release. Other songs have ambient styles like the tune Are We by Balkansky. Almotahalik Aljanobi by Hullabaloop is something I’d recommend for those who are into world music-particularity Arabic tunes. It’s like the Gregorian chants of the Muslim world.

Except for dance inducing tracks like The Worst in Me and The Final Point , every song sounds like dance music in a chair. You get that groove but it is cool enough to just let you sit down and relax. A truly good album to beat the rush hour.

To sample the music, simply visit this link:

Spotlight:Nouvelle electro(Interview)

Nouvelle electro Paula and Ian

Nouvelle electro Paula and Ian

This week’s featured artists are a duo of Ian Henderson and Paula better known as Nouvelle electro.

Ian: synths, vox, songwriting, programming, production. Former member of Irish Synthpop band EDEN 1997-2011 with over 20 releases world wide including Let It Flow, If I Was A Pet Shop Boy and Only Lovers Do.

Paula: Synths, vox, songwriting, programming.Various solo works and collaborations.

Paula O’ Brien and Ian Henderson of the duo Nouvelle electro love the art of songwriting. My conversation with them provided a glimpse of the ideas that what are important in creating a strong tracks. It’s all about the underlying structure. Style comes later. It is fascinating to know makes  a song stand out from the rest. Blend those with the hard work that songwriters put to it, and you get something timeless and beautiful.

Meriam-Webster  online dictionary defines Nouvelle as: relating to nouvelle cuisine nouvelle restaurant-French, “new cuisine”> and it can also mean trendy and novel.

The Taste of Sweet Salvation is catching fire on the inter webs for its strong melody and big beats. We are talking about full bodied medium paced beats that can groove their way into your subconscious. This single has two versions. The one which is the radio edit and the other one with orchestral arrangement which  is the album version yet to be released. It has more layers and also longer than the one on this post.

Ian Henderson is based in Kells, Meath Ireland while Paula O’Brien (she prefers to be called as Paula) is based in Yorkshire. I was about to elaborate how they started this musical partnership but I will let them tell you that through this interview.

How was the experience launching your first track? Do you think this cements what you think your duo stands for in terms of style and direction?

Ian: Well we really just let this track out as a taster, to get a feel for how it worked. In terms of an official launch track we are a bit off that at the moment. We have a lot of work in the pipeline and there are a few potential tracks there as the first release. Salvation is one aspect of the sound we have worked on. I’m conscious of modern electro acts have fallen into a particular style and and we made a conscious decision to write songs first and style later.

Paula: Sharing “The Taste of Sweet Salvation” with everyone has been an exciting process. The positive feedback and support has been great! Already we’ve had 2 radio stations give us airplay and more is scheduled soon. As for the creative direction, we have so many influences between us to draw upon so who knows what will happen! Whilst the track certainly places us firmly within the electro genre, we’re not going to limit ourselves to a particular approach.

That beat was perfect. How did you know that a particular track demands that kind of tempo?

Ian :When Paula first sent me the demo I found the melody very strong and I wanted to make sure I captured the mood of the song accurately. The main thing I felt I could bring to the track was a bit more urgency and drama. I actually went through various versions before we ended up with the track today.

Paula: The original track was up tempo. Ian has given the beat a stronger presence and the new bass line now gives the song a very defined groove.

For Paula: It seems collaboration comes easy for you.What is it that you find in collaborative work that you can’t find in solo projects other than fusion of styles?

Paula:Collaboration is just an extension of the creative process. Aside from the fusion of styles, it’s nice to connect with others who understand where you are coming from and speak the same language, to feel a common bond in this way. Kindred spirits. It’s great when it’s a balanced experience of creative exchange and input. When it does feel like this it’s much more of a positive experience. It’s how creativity should feel, ideally.

For Ian: What is so good about composing and producing for Nouvelle electro?

Ian: For me Nouvelle is a kind of “come out of retirement” project. After the last EDEN album I was so burnt out and miserable. I had lost the spark and joy of making music altogether. I only recorded one thing in the entire of 2012. So this came together very naturally and at the right time for me. I’m happy to be locked in my studio again.

 What’s the inspiration behind The Taste of Sweet Salvation?

Ian: Oddly enough I only added in the string sections at the end of the mix. I had just watched Lord of the Rings and thought the arrangements in the soundtrack were amazing and I must try and implement some orchestral parts. It really warms the song. So in short, Frodo inspired me!

Paula: Lyrically, eternal love, the quest of the heart…(sorry Frodo!)

I love the addition of the choral voices in the last part of the song. Who’s idea is it?

Ian: This goes back to my earlier thoughts on the song needing more urgency and drama. The biggest challenge I had with this song was the remaining bars after the middle 8. It took me a while to crack it in terms of really giving it that final lift and push. I added the vocals to do just that.

Paula: Ian arranged and added the backing vox parts and I really like the result. It’s a first for me, hearing a backing male vox on one of my songs!

In terms of structuring songs, what’s the outline? How do you two decide what the song should sound like?

Ian: It’s a new way of working for me, as in we are working in different studios and its a lot of back and forth over the net. There is no set way, to date Paula sent me songs and me her, and I’ve sent some so her ideas for development and vice-versa. In terms of sound I don’t want us to get boxed into one style or become predictable. So while salvation is quite moody and purposeful the track we are working on the moment is the polar opposite, full of candy canes and happiness!

Paula: We are very flexible where ideas are concerned, you have to be…and wait and see where they lead in their own time. We’re in regular contact and the tracks are developing quite quickly. We might have a theme for a lyric, it might be a track we’ve already got written so the structure is in place when we send our work to each other. The end result though may be entirely different. Whatever inspires! No hard or fast rules.


Nouvelle electro will have a live radio interview coming up in March. That and more airplay. To get more of their news, please like them in facebook:

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The State of EDM: Interview with Carlos Barajas

Carlos Barajas, the man behind Wave 5 in Motion is not much into written interviews but rather he answers questions spontaneously through Google hangout. Here’s my initial questions and he answered the rest during our conversation.


Electronic Dance Music Composer, Producer & Computer Musician.

How/why did you become a musician/producer?

I’ve never thought about this, good question. I was introduced to electronic music at a very young age (thanks dad), ever since been into the electronic dance music scene. Producing my own music just naturally came to me. Never did I imagine or called myself a producer, I produce because I find it interesting and fun, it’s something I really love doing.

What’s the main reason why you created Google communities devoted to electronic music?
I love the electronic community and I felt that google+ could use a place for electronic musicians who have original music to share, can now share their content via this community.

Can you cite your main influences and how they shaped your way of making electronic dance music?
Magik Series and In Search Of Sunrise Series 1-5

Have you played a live set and how’s the EDM scene in California these days?

No live sets, yet. A buddy of mine and I figured out that the crowd in the Central Valley of California are not into the “Trance” scene. The EDM scene is growing, and I do see more and more EDM event’s being held more frequent, that’s good thing, I think.

Is there a plan for an album?

No plans for an album, yet,  all in good time. Maybe an EP.

How do you make clear crisp recordings. What’s the process?

I’m not going into details on this subject, but I will say this, give each track space and room to breath, spacial balance, EQ, compression then add sweeteners like reverbs or delays.

Where can listeners reach you other than the obvious?

For now, Google+ is the best place to reach me.

“One interesting about the electronic music community is they way they support and stick to each other” noted Carlos Barajas who is a 23 year old music producer/artist who is also majoring in music. He formed Google communities devoted to electronic music and its artists. Having friends with electronic musicians since 2006, I agree with his statement.

He told me about this one discussion he had with a musician  in a band. The guy made it clear that real music involves only the guitars, bass and drums which are thought of as ‘real instruments.’ Carlos defended the idea that electronic music is still an art and is still real music only it makes use of electronic equipment and computers. And there are electronic musicians who even go to school to study music and theory. Which brings us back to the argument: is real music only involve playing 4 chord patterns, shouting your lungs calling it art because it is emotional? Or could it be the combination of both emotion and discipline? Yes?

” I picked up a copy of Tiesto when I was around 15 and that got me started into music.” He further stated. In return mentioned that Tiesto has this big fat sound that dominated his earlier records and you can hear this in Wave5 In Motion which is his current project . He replied that he also thinks that Tiesto’s sound has evolved and it more or less sound sterile compared to his early albums. He noted that Armin Van Buuren(who is also one of his influences) has maintained the kind of sound he had since 2005. I noted that in my opinion, Tiesto is more of a rock star. I mean you can see that when he greets his thousands of fans in the arena. Armin van Burren on the other hand seems to be just concerned about crafting his style. But that is just my opinion.

We both agreed on the fact that electronic music has come a long way. The arena used to belong to the band musicians-the hair rockers and pop singers. Now electronic musicians have taken a huge bite out of the pie.The mainstream now realized that EDM is a marketable kind of music style. However, he stated that the kind you hear mainstream is not really what electronic music is all about.  He also noted that most of the newbies in EDM got into dubstep first. But it is not the kind that really showcases what dubstep is. He recommended I take a listen to Submotion Orchestra to get the feel of what Dubstep is about. And I did and I kind of agree with him on this, especially after comparing it to others in the genre.

Carlos wants to see the electronic music community expanding and getting more artists to interact with each other. I think that interaction is always amazing because it brings out something new. While writing this, my other friend Layne who writes acoustic music has just collaborated with an electronic musician. And like what Carlos said, EDM is a form of art like any other.



Carlos Barajas and Wave5 In Motion


Carlos Barajas:Electronic Dance Music (EDM) composer, producer & computer musician from Atwater, California. He’s been composing and producing Trance music since 2010

Wave5 In Motion:Sophisticated Electronic Dance Music for discriminating ears.

Carlos Barajas is a young musician/producer who moderates the  Electronic Music community in Google+. More and more musicians and listeners are joining the music communities in Google. I see the advantage. Not only that this is a and  hangout for listeners and artists, posting also helps you in terms of traffic and interaction.

Carlos Barajas is  an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) composer, producer & computer musician from Atwater, California. He has been composing and producing Trance music since 2010. His current project is Wave5 In Motion. The first thing you will notice listening this one is its clean and melodic style.The emphasis is the beats but it is also a kind of music that’s elegant and you can just chill out to it after a long day’s work. Those who love the music of Paul Van Dyke will like this one.

Listening to one of the tracks off Wave5 In Motion makes you wish for a full bodied album . I hope it is soon because I want to take to with me where ever I go.

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