It’s a question that gets asked more and more frequently as trance artists change their styles or chase the growing “trouse” trend, but the answer is that tech trance is alive & well in smaller labels or artist-backed sublabels. Mark Leanings, another product of the Irish tech trance machine that boasts the likes of John O’Callaghan and Bryan Kearney, has rolled out Whatever Happens out on John O’Callaghan’s own Subculture.
The original mix of Whatever Happens is a classic tech product, driven by dark bass with elements of psytrance and a starkly contrasting melodic break. The star of this well-rounded release, though, comes from Arctic Moon. With his remix, Arctic Moon blends uplifting arps into the build, providing the listener’s attention span with more than just a relentless bass drone. This makes the transition to the euphoric break much less drastic than the abrupt change from techy bass to floaty pianos present in the original mix and so many other tech trance tracks. If that wasn’t enough, the drop—marked with a cheeky vocal sample demanding “people, turn up the bass!”—is a completely grimy affair that destroys any illusions that this could only be an uplifting trance track.
O’Callaghan himself rounds out the release with a mashup called Whatever Happened to Puzzle Piece, which overlays the original mix with Tania Zygar’s vocals from her track Puzzle Piece with Space Rockerz. It seems like this addition could be part of the “everything sounds better with vocals” trend that EDM producers are banking on, but the high point of this release is still the instrumental Arctic Moon remix.