Classic House Series Episode #29 – Funk-A-Tron – R. Rivera’s Grooves

Legendary house producer Robbie Rivera‘s legacy stems largely from his status as one of the biggest contributors to the tribal-house genre.  The Puerto Rican-born DJ’s signature dark, dirty, underground tribal rhythms with heavy doses of Latin and progressive influences have rocked dancefloors around the world since the mid-90s with hits including “Bang“, “Feel This 2001” and “The Hum Melody“.

Rivera’s 2000 release “Funk-A-Tron” on the equally legendary Subliminal label is a brilliant departure from his usual sound as he serves up a slab of slithering, nasty electro house chock full of needle-sharp synth lines and a bubbling bass groove underneath.  Any Subliminal release at the time was worth listening to, and after about 30 seconds my decision to grab this one was complete.  The track became huge in the clubs and raves and I dropped this one so often that one of the hip-hop DJs I worked with back then went out and bought himself a copy simply because I smashed it week after week.

The original mix has held up well, but for me the Crazee Remix on the flip has always been my go-to.  The track would be resurrected and re-released in 2003 as “Funk-A-Faction” thanks to some new mixes courtesy of electro DJ/Producer Benny Benassi.  With lots of mixes to choose from, this remains a crowd-pleaser to this day and can kick the energy of your audience up to 11 in no time.

The Evolution of Paul van Dyk – Album review and interview

Like a breath of fresh air, epic electronic dance music pioneer Paul van Dyk has released his sixth studio album “Evolution” and once again we have a great disc here with a very fitting title.

Evolution” is very much a collaboration-heavy album, but not in the sense of having a crossover R&B star featured on every track.  The collaborators van Dyk has chosen do include vocalists like Sarah Howells and Michelle Leonard, but it is his work with his peers by way of co-production that really stands out here.  Two collaborations with trance superstar Arty are featured here, including a very cool drum ‘n’ bass vibe on “The Sun After The Heartbreak”.  Ummet Ozcan brings his signature sound to “Dae Yor”, providing one of the record’s best highlights.  (If you haven’t yet heard Ozcan’s brilliant “Miami Sundown” yet, I suggest you track it down immediately.)  Most of the vocal tracks work well, including “Eternity” which features the vocals of the man behind Owl City, Adam Young.

Austin Leeds guests on the album’s fantastic opener “Symmetries” and returns a few tracks later on the lead single,  “Verano” ,which has been getting pounded in clubs throughout the world.  Fans will definitely want to check out PVD’s own Full Fire Remix of this one for a more big-room take on this anthem.  Perhaps the true gem of this disc is “Lost In Berlin” with Michelle Leonard which “evolves” from a techy, electro sound to a pure hands-in-the-air anthem over the course of its six minutes.  Album closer “Heart Stops Beating” doesn’t seem quite a strong a tune as some of the other selections here, but is preceded nicely by a fantastic collaboration with Giuseppe Ottaviani in “A Wonderful Day”.

Paul van Dyk’s sound continues to evolve with each album he releases and while he retains the familiarity of his classic sound and style throughout, he isn’t afraid to explore some more tech-heavy arrangements giving the disc an extremely well-rounded feel.  This is definitely one you’ll want to listen to from start to finish and you shouldn’t find yourself reaching for the skip button anywhere here.  With 15 cuts and bonus tracks available on the iTunes release, this one has something for fans of PVD new and old and feels like a true return to form for the acclaimed German superstar.

****/5

Check out this fantastic interview with Paul van Dyk below as he talks about the album, his Evolution World Tour and what he thinks about the state of electronic music today.