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House

ToleX unveiled a fiery reckoning with their hell-hath-no-fury poetic epiphany of an EDM release, Cry Baby

ToleX’s EDM-Chill Step hybrid, Cry Baby, dropped on April Fool’s Day to prove they’re nobody’s fool in the searing indictment of post-breakup epiphanies. Even with the catharsis of the Chill-Step aesthetics, it hits with the force of a hurricane.

From the opening artillery of lyrics, ToleX sets the stage for a raw, unfiltered dive into the emotional abyss left in the wake of lost love. The poetic justice in the lines “It shouldn’t have to be until I leave to make you love me”, and “It shouldn’t have to be the memories that makes you miss me,” doesn’t just create a haunting reminder of love taken for granted; the introspection filters the enraging phenomenon through a brand-new lens.

But Cry Baby is more than a mere lament; it’s a battle cry wrapped in a rhythm. The female vocals, draped over ToleX’s fiery beats, serve as a siren song, luring listeners into a whirlpool of raw emotion and unapologetic truth-telling, resulting in a sonic uprising against the all-too-common narrative of love appreciated too late.

ToleX doesn’t just push boundaries; they incinerate them, offering a track that’s as much a balm for the scorned as it is a wake-up call for the complacent. Cry Baby is a musical inferno, burning away the clichés of heartbreak songs to reveal a core of fierce honesty and emotional depth. This isn’t just another break-up anthem; it’s a revolutionary redefinition of what it means to turn heartache into art.

Stream the single on all major platforms including Amazon Music and YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

We Architects Synthesised the Sound of Summer with their Progressive House Pop Hit, Light Blue Skies

If your climate isn’t giving you the feel of summer, tune into the sound of it with the seminal progressive house pop single, Light Blue Skies by the cousin duo, We Architects, who have become infamous since their 2014 debut for their infusions of contemporary pop and tropical beach vibes. The stellar production will whisk you away on a holiday you never knew you were going on.

After racking up almost a million streams on Spotify alone, this single which oscillates with serotonin and soul, has become a staple of many who love the anticipation of sun-soaked hedonism and the core memories that follow sticky sweet escapades in the sun.

We Architects gave the progressions superlative intuition by knowing exactly where to take you to ensure you’re always led to euphoria. The rapture in the polished instrumentals juxtaposes the vocal lines which carry a melancholic sting while vibrantly celebrating the sanctity of summer, making them a perfect addition to the emotion-rich production which reaches the epitome of infectious stridency.

Stream Light Blue Skies on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Put Material Reality in the Rearview Mirror with Zac Zhan’s Alt-Pop Ear Unicorn, Fantasy Fantasy

Zac Zhan is in his euphoric element in Fantasy Fantasy, a track that defies convention and carries you to a new realm by taking you on a vibrational voyage that you’ll want to embark on time after time. If you want to be transported beyond the confines of the ordinary and the chaos of reality, hit play on the mesmerising blend of dance-pop, alt-pop, house and hip-hop, which pulsates with infectiously kinetic energy.

The artist and producer meticulously crafted Fantasy Fantasy from its lyrically intimate inception to its exhilarant production climax. It’s a hyper-pop masterpiece that not only showcases Zac’s vibrant approach to music but also cements his commitment to providing a haven for an ever-expanding fanbase.

The track’s 8bit-esque instrumentals weave a captivating fantasyscape, engulfing the listener from the outset. Zac’s vocals, both electrifying and eccentric, enhance the track’s wildly exhilarating aura with a sense of playful, unbridled enthusiasm. For those who find solace in the sounds of Charli XCX, Grimes, or Carly Rae Jepsen, Zac Zhan’s Fantasy Fantasy is a must-listen and a vibrant echo of freedom in the realm of hyper-pop.

Zac Zhan said:  

“To create Fantasy Fantasy, I embarked on a deeply personal and introspective journey, one that mirrors the complexities of the human condition and the perennial quest for solace in a world brimming with chaos. The lyrics, steeped in vivid imagery and raw emotion express a universal longing for escape, a utopia amidst the trials of life.

I wanted to invite listeners to envision a world where they are the architects of their happiness. It’s a call to embrace the beauty of creation and the freedom that comes from releasing the burdens of the past.”

Fantasy Fantasy was officially released on January 18th; stream the single on Spotify.

Stay up to date with all the latest releases from Zac Zhan via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ed Roberts became the guiding light in the EDM scene with Northern Star featuring Amy Wyatt and Roi Aknin

Ed Roberts’ latest single, ‘Northern Star’, featuring Amy Wyatt and Roi Aknin, is a luminous beacon in the EDM universe. This track, infused with metaphorical depth, stands as a testament to Roberts’ burgeoning prowess in a genre often overshadowed by the towering legacy of icons like Avicii.

Roberts, a UK-based producer, draws inspiration from EDM stalwarts such as David Guetta and Armin Van Buuren. His journey, which took a definitive turn at the Amsterdam Dance Event in 2019, has seen him evolve from a vocal producer to a creator of his own distinctive soundscapes. His previous works have already made waves on platforms like Spotify, but ‘Northern Star’ marks a zenith in his artistic trajectory.

The track opens with a subtle, yet captivating melody that sets the stage for the soul-stirring vocals. The production, bathed in the twilight of dreamy synths, allows the emotional resonance of the lyrics to shine through. Each beat, each note, is meticulously crafted to carry the weight of the song’s heartfelt message.

As the song progresses, Roberts demonstrates his mastery of the genre, blending powerful, energetic drops with a sense of emotional depth that is often elusive in EDM. The reverb, far from being just an auditory effect, acts as a vessel for the song’s affective power, drawing the listener deeper into its narrative.

Northern Star was officially released on February 18th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sonic Alchemy: An Interview with KASIA on Weaving Spirituality into Music

In this enlightening interview with A&R Factory, artist KASIA opened up about her latest single, “Heartstrings,” and its deep-rooted connection to her spiritual journey in music. She reveals how her songs, emerging from personal struggles, have become a sanctuary for healing, with a special focus on the transformative power of specific musical frequencies.

The interview promises an intimate glimpse into her artistic evolution and the profound impact of her music on both personal growth and the collective human experience.

KASIA, welcome to A&R Factory! Can you share the story behind your latest single and music video, “Heartstrings”; where did the inspiration come from? 

“The inspiration behind my latest single and music video, “Heartstrings,” comes from personal experiences, as most of my songs do. The lyrics were born out of a pretty bad relationship, where I found myself struggling with difficult emotions. Throughout my life, music has served as my safe place, providing a certain protection from harsh realities. In many ways, music has been my reality, offering a means of expression and understanding in the face of adversity.”

How has music helped to shape your healing journey? And how important is it for you to light the path towards empowerment for your listeners? 

“Music has played a huge role in my healing journey, serving as a powerful form of catharsis and expression. It’s difficult to fully articulate the transformative effect that music has had on me. There’s a certain magic that occurs when you listen to music in specific frequencies. While most modern music is tuned to 440 Hz, which can sometimes evoke a sense of melancholy, I’ve found that music tuned to 432 Hz resonates more harmoniously with the energy of the Earth. Many older pieces of music were tuned to this frequency, and I tend to use it for my own work, including tuning my healing instruments to 432 Hz.

The impact of music extends beyond mere sound waves; it can deeply affect us on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. For me, creating and listening to music in these frequencies has been a source of profound healing and growth. As an artist, I feel a responsibility to not only share my personal journey through lyrics and music but also to be vulnerable and real with people – hopefully to the effect of empowering my listeners.”

Your goal is to create a spiritual and energising journey through your music. How do you incorporate this intention into your creative process?

“Creating a spiritual and energizing journey through my music is paramount to me. I focus on making empowering lyrics that resonate with listeners on a deeper level. I integrate the ethereal tones of sound bowls into my electronic productions using Ableton. My creative process is deeply intertwined with meditation and spending time in nature, where I find wisdom and inspiration. Through the practice of gnosis, a process of inner exploration and connection with our higher selves and nature, I tap into somewhat hidden creative expression. I want to authentically express myself while offering something meaningful to others on their individual paths. I believe that music serves as a conduit to higher states of consciousness and my goal is to channel that energy and share it with my audience.”

How did you come about developing your unique blend of house, bass house and pop? Were there any particular influences which shaped it? 

“My musical journey has been a fusion of diverse influences. Growing up, I was drawn to pop icons like The Spice Girls and Britney Spears, followed by a deep dive into hip-hop with artists such as Biggie, Tupac, WestSide Connection, Naz, and J Cole during my high school years. As I matured, I became more drawn towards house music. It was during this phase that I connected with the producer of Fan Death, SZAM, who invited me to step in as the lead singer, replacing Dandi Wind. Fan Death’s synth-pop style marked a pivotal moment in my musical evolution.

The more I got to know Vancouver’s music scene, I discovered a blend of techno and house influences. Although I wasn’t initially drawn to techno, I found my niche in Bass House, a genre that merges elements of house, pop, and rap. My journey is driven by a genuine love for music and a desire to create something uniquely mine. Recently, I’ve been particularly drawn to the lyrical style of Caroline Polachek.”

How indicative is “Heartstrings” of what is to come from your debut album? Which other themes does your LP explore? 

“While “Heartstrings” serves as a starting point, it’s just a glimpse of what’s to come with my debut album. I see it as an opportunity to test the waters, to gauge reactions to both my music and the visuals I create. Part of me is inclined to wait until there’s a readiness from the audience, while another part recognizes that significant change often arises from bold actions, regardless of initial readiness. As Theodore Roosevelt aptly said, ‘It’s not the critic who counts.’ So, while “Heartstrings” sets the tone, my debut album will delve deeper into a range of themes, exploring aspects of personal growth, resilience, and the human/spiritual experience.”

Did your transition from being a lead singer in a synth-pop band to becoming a music producer influence your current style? 

“The transition from being the lead singer of a synth-pop band to stepping into the role of a music producer has profoundly shaped my artistic trajectory. Fan Death was my first experience writing and recording professional music. I learnt what a DAW was and how to use it! Fan Death truly served as a pivotal chapter in my musical evolution.

Despite the stylistic differences between synth-pop and my current direction, I owe a great deal to SZAM, the creator and producer of Fan Death. The band imparted invaluable knowledge and skills. Looking back, Fan Death was ahead of its time, and I often reflect on the synchronicities and patterns that have guided my journey towards future endeavors.”

You’ve had your fair share of high-profile live performances; do you prefer writing music or performing and seeing first-hand the effects of your music on your fans? 

“Thank you for the question! It’s a tough call because I genuinely love both aspects. On one hand, there’s nothing quite like the energy of performing live and connecting with fans face-to-face. Witnessing firsthand the impact my music has on them is truly special. But then, there’s also something incredibly fulfilling about being in my element – in the studio, wearing my glasses and hoodie, lost in the creative process of making music. I find joy in every aspect of my artistry, including dreaming up music videos and bringing my vision to life through visuals.”

As a delegate of The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, what insights have you gained about the music industry?

“Just being around other artists pursuing similar goals is such an amazing experience. The most profound insight I’ve gained revolves around the power of community within the music industry. Coming from a small town where artistic pursuits were rare, I often felt isolated in my passion for music. However, being surrounded by other artists who share similar aspirations has been so refreshing. The opportunity to connect with full-time artists who understand the language of creativity has been incredibly inspiring. It’s a reminder that I’m not alone in this journey and that there’s this supportive community, rallying behind each other’s artistic pursuits.”

Stream KASIA’s latest music video on YouTube now.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Goshok’s Make It Right is a Tropic House Triumph of Fervid Soul and Blistering Hot Beats

Goshok started his latest tropic house pop hit, Make It Right, with an instant hook to cleanly cut through the layers of sound and instantaneously leave a lasting impression. From there on out, Make It Right is a masterclass in how to arrange tension and release; from the transcendence in the oscillating builds to the bursts of euphoria in the breaks, every progressive twist and turn will lead you further into the genius of Goshok. The scintillatingly curated sonics amplify the visceralism within the lyricism and vocals, which scorch with the heat of an old flame that you can’t bring yourself to reduce to ash and embers.

At 27 years old, the Czech producer, DJ and songwriter has effortlessly surpassed his influences and definitively come into his own as an EDM artist. If he keeps producing tracks in the same flawlessly deeply affecting vein as Make It Right, which will make you move and move you simultaneously, there’s no reason he can’t be bigger than his greatest influence, Kygo – especially as he will continue to drop hits throughout 2024.

The official video for Make It Right premiered on January 5th. Stream the video on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Oscar Hoset serenaded the twilight in his progressive house pop hit, Evening People (A Midnight Rhapsody)

After making a name for himself as a cover artist, the Norwegian luminary, Oscar Hoset, has illuminated the night with his debut single Evening People (A Midnight Rhapsody).  If you want to hear the liberation of hedonism reflected through luscious progressive house pop hooks, hit play and brace yourself for the infectious momentum of the polished production that strides far past the cusp of contemporary dance-pop.

Oscar Hoset didn’t just stay in own lane with Evening People (A Midnight Rhapsody), he entered a completely new stratosphere while appealing to fans of Avicii, Kygo, and Martin Garrix with his debut which could easily be the most promising new entry in the dance-pop arena in 2024. At just 22 years old, he’s already perfected the art of infusing visceral rapture into his productions. We can’t wait to hear what comes next.

Evening People (A Midnight Rhapsody) was officially released on January 19th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Maze Of Afflictions launched a tumultuous Electro House juggernaut with ‘Step Outside The Silence (89Keys Remix)’

Maze of Afflictions’ latest Electro House offering, Step Outside the Silence, is a tempestuous and ground-breaking track that redefines the boundaries of electronica. It’s a sonic odyssey that demands attention and captivates the listener from the first beat to the last.

The track begins with an electrifying energy, taking glitchy motifs and elevating them to a monumental level. The result is a tumultuous juggernaut of sound that is both overwhelming and utterly irresistible. Maze of Afflictions demonstrates a masterful understanding of the genre, pushing the limits of Electro House while paying homage to the heavy trip-hop tracks and industrial sounds of acts like Celldweller.

The unexpected and brilliantly executed rap interludes are a broadside that transforms the entire dynamic of the song while adding a raw, gritty edge that complements the electronic backdrop perfectly. This fusion of genres is seamless, creating a track that is as innovative as it is infectious.

The track’s volatile yet cathartic progression is a rollercoaster of sound that is impossible to experience just once. While electrifying nature makes it a seductive and sublime journey through sound. The Atlanta-based producer has created a piece that is superlative in every sense, from its intricate production to its powerful delivery.

Step Outside the Silence showcases Maze of Afflictions’ exceptional talent and unique vision, marking them as a force to be reckoned with in the EDM scene.

Step Outside The Silence (89Keys Remix) will drop on the 31st of January; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Suli Hyuga orchestrated the ultimate soundtrack for seances with the soul with the luxe ambient garage house grooves in his seminal track, +24. BLEED+

The timbres and textures within Suli Hyuga’s latest release, +24. BLEED+, may feel comfortingly familiar, but the London-based artist’s approach to synthesising UK Garage with House and Rap pushes the sonic flavours into arenas that few other artists have seen the potential within.

Perfect for late-night seances with the soul, this seminal release is a reverberation of pure incandescent hypnotism, with every progression, a new subjugation to its luxe atmosphere. With Suli leaving no one else’s imprint on his work as the sole architect of his soundscapes, the mark he will leave on the UK Garage landscape will be definitively his distinctive own.

+24. BLEED+ is the title single pulled from Suli Hyuga’s 5-track EP, which promises to dive deep into a cavern of cathartic dance-influence hip-hop. With rich resonance set to spill from the atmospheric synths between his smooth vocal flows as they groove through dynamic bars and around alchemic arrangements of raw basslines and intuitive percussion, the EP is primed to become an aural phenomenon in its own right.

Stream +24. BLEED+ on all major platforms, including SoundCloud, from January 19th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Annava Put a Fresh Spin on Garage House with His Track, I Know

With structural twists and style transgressions always a feature of his genre-fluid discography, Annava’s self-produced unorthodox approach to sound design is a far cry from electronica monotony. His latest single, I Know, is a transmission of uninhibited expression within an echo of a deeply evocative memory.

Following a year of sonic adventures and collaborations, this Sacramento-based producer has crafted a track that stands as a testament to his evolving artistry. It begins with a subtle introduction, setting the scene for an intimately expansive auditory experience. Annava’s skill in blending genres is evident as he infuses the track with elements reminiscent of 100 gecs and Fred Again while following lesser-explored intersections of sound.

The genius of ‘I Know’ lies in its ability to maintain a grounded edge while exploring melodic realms. The track’s progression is a masterful blend of restraint and release, with every beat and synth wave meticulously placed to build a crescendo of emotional resonance. It’s a trippy, trance-inducing experience that transports listeners beyond the ordinary. The track’s progressive momentum is matched by a sense of euphonic catharsis, leaving listeners drenched in a sea of electronic bliss.

Annava said:

“For this release, I was inspired by UK Garage, 90s jungle, DnB, and old house mixes and the influence of my music teacher who challenged me to add harmonic variation in my tracks. 

Mostly, my music has no inherent sentimentality or meaning. I Know became the exception when I chopped up some vocals I recorded for an unreleased track, and it became a reflection of the pain of leaving someone you are in love with.” 

Stream I Know on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast