Markus Schulz pres. Dakota - Thoughts Become Things II

Image For Markus Schulz pres. Dakota - Thoughts Become Things II

It’s been a while since I’d stopped and actually listened to anything from Markus Schulz. Each to their own, but for mine, he moved into an area that wasn’t really hitting the spot for me. While still trance, it became a bit too similar to what the more ‘popular’ labels were pumping out.

Similarly, Schulz’s sets had become a bit predictable for my liking, and were for the large part lacking in the edge that all too often littered some of his older stuff. That said, when producing under his Dakota alias, things were always just that little bit dirtier, and I dare say, less cheesy. On the back of that, when his Thoughts Become Things II was sent my way, I wasn’t quite sure what kind of surprise I would get.

Given the name, it is the follow up to his 2009 effort Thoughts Become Things that brought us the monsters Johnny The Fox and the epic Sin City. These were tunes that would feature in not only Schulz’s sets, but would destroy many a dancefloor across the globe. Had Schulz once again let Dakota do some serious damage?

As seven-minute epic Gypsy Room instantly recalls that oh-so-fun melodic proggy style of trance that Schulz played all those years ago, the initial signs are overwhelmingly positive. And just as quickly, he flips into a dirtier, driving offering in the form of Red Star with some big breakdowns, before Sleepwalkers takes it up even further; the kind of tune that with a big system will send a crowd into an absolute frenzy. Little wonder that Armin dropped this into a few (too many) of his ASOT500 sets earlier in the year. And with a nice big breakdown at the end, it is certainly pumping, albeit predictable.

Sinners follows suit, starting off as peacefully as trance can possibly be, before breaking out into some pretty furious big room stuff. So much fun, and not surprisingly another tune that has been getting regular airplay at sets all over.

Vocals are nowhere to be found; this is all just about the music. And I must say, it is actually pretty damn good. If I sound surprised, it is because to an extent I actually am. I honestly thought the days of Schulz dishing out the smackdown like he does here were gone – but I’m wrong. He clearly still has it in him, and if Dakota is his outlet, then that is fine by me.

Katowice is a tech-trance grinder with serious balls – and apparently named after a Polish town of the same name (it was the first town to transmit the DJ’s Global DJ Broadcast on a weekly basis – and also where the show began at Global Gathering Katowice). It is dark and driving and one that will slot in nicely in good tech-trance sets everywhere, with Mixmag even saying: “”All in all, this is darkly minded, challenging and satisfying trance music”. Amen.

All up, is Schulz – or Dakota in this case – a better producer than DJ? Maybe. His sets are often criticised as being a little too predictable and not as cutting edge as what they once were. His productions, however, remain fun to your typical driving tech-trance fan, fun. No big vocals getting in the way, just a relentless boom. Bravo.

Thoughts Become Things II is out now on Armada. Markus Schulz is here for Summadayze and Summafieldayze this New Year’s festival period.

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