It’s not easy to make a strong impression in the fast growing EDM hot spot that is Los Angeles, but Markus Schulz has certainly found his second home here. When sitting down with us to tell us about his new compilation Los Angeles ’12, Markus stated, “one of the special things about Los Angeles is that dance music is blowing up in the United States and LA is right in the center of it. However, I want to point out that it’s not just the community of Los Angeles who come out; people come to LA from all over the world… I think that people everywhere can be proud of Los Angeles for being an amazing host city.” This was certainly true last weekend on Saturday, February 18th as he hit Hollywood’s Avalon for the first day of the compilation’s launch party. The nightclub was packed with die-hard trance fans from all over the globe who were tweeting to #LA12 as large screens on both sides of the club streamed the interaction.
Markus kicked off the first few hours with more minimal and progressive tunes like Airbuzz by Koen Groenveld as he slowly built the energy up to a spectacular trance climax at 1AM. Big letters on the LCD screen behind him flashed out the words Unicorn Slayer as curtains dropped revealing the full size and scale of his stage setup. It was at this point that he unleashed merciless tech trance upon the crowd. There was, however, more melody in his set this time around than his last performances at the Avalon. When speaking with him about this change in sound, Markus said, “last year I wanted to make a powerful statement against how cheesy mainstream trance was becoming by releasing a lot of aggressive “pitch-bend” type of tracks on my Coldharbour label. Now that I’ve got everyone’s attention again, I’m glad to bring back the melodies that I got into the scene for.”
Los Angeles ’12 is a very accurate representation of Markus’s live sets today. The first disc has a strong emphasis on deep ambience and features progressive tracks with easygoing harmonies like Hyperfocus by Mark Otten. The second disc has more of a big room feel with hard techy bangers like Recapture by DNS Project, and also features Coldharbour staples like Mr. Pit, Arnej, and Rex Mundi. Unsurprisingly featured are two tracks by Markus’ favorite producer at the moment, KhoMha. When describing his music, Markus said, “his tracks are very warm, bassy, and just really hit the spot.” Of the two, Mind Gamer and Artemis, I really enjoy the latter for its bittersweet breakdown, epic build, and driving basslines.
Last year, Prague ’11 was my favorite compilation for the radical direction Markus Schulz took his sound in. I’m grateful that this year he continued to break new ground and evolve the genre further with Los Angeles ’12.