For many, especially in the U.S., dub-step, (I’m sure many people won’t read past this word, but believe me, it’s worth it), is a trend as controversial as the Twilight series. There are many who will baulk at the mere mention of the word, and who disapprove of any synthetic whomps in their songs without ever truly giving the genre a fair chance. On the opposing end there are also die-hard fans so enthralled by the bass-drop that they will gobble up every new DJ or song regardless of how it sounds, because let’s face it, this new genre has a smattering of very, very talented producers surrounded by wanna-be bedroom DJs that continually vomit up synthetic trash for the world to hear and scrutinize…thank you YouTube and Soundcloud. Among that electronic sea of rubbish a new DJ has clawed his way to the surface, and has reminded people that although anyone can make dub-step, it takes a true artist to make a track worth listening to, over and over again. Breathtaking melodies with synth that can take you to the highest highs and earth-shattering bass that can drop you to the lowest lows, Jeff Montalv, aka Seven Lions, deserves your undivided attention, although he’ll undoubtedly have it after one listen of his remix of Above and Beyond’s “You Got To Go.”
Some of the power behind this track is who he chose to remix. Above and Beyond is a world-renown band that produces the EDM genre of trance, which involves consistent pulse-pounding bass and a constant four-beat measure, surrounded by melodic synth work. What Seven Lions was able to do to the original track was completely original, and quite simply, astounding. He managed to slow down the song, but keep the intensity thanks to his climatic use of synth and bass. The high-pitch synth raises you up, asks a question, and is answered by the drop of the bass, crashing you back to earth. There’s mind-warping cosmic synth as well as build-ups that don’t let you down…or I guess they do, but they send you crashing down into a pool of euphoria. Simply put, Seven Lions made his remix of Above and Beyond comparable, and possibly even better in some regard (due to the different, creative take on it and the blending of trance and dub-step), which is a feat that was before unthinkable.
I first heard this remix back in December, and without it, as well as his other remix of Oceanlab’s “Satellite,” I never would have made it through finals, and can’t imagine my Christmas break without it. In fact, these two songs have such staying power that they will always remind me of the winter 2011, which is awesome.
I hadn’t heard anything from Seven Lions for a while after winter, which I figured was due to his sudden rise to fame after winning a Beatport’s remix competition. Two days ago, however, I found out he released an EP out of Viper Records on April 22nd, as well as some other singles on his Soundcloud account—this is my reasoning for the late review. Don’t worry, Seven Lions stays true to himself on Polarized by ingeniously bridging the genres of trance and dub-step, and it is worth many, many listens.
He has recently signed to Anjunabeats, a label owned by the members of Above and Beyond and just finished supporting the UKF tour in North America. I look forward from hearing more mind-blowing, body-disintegrating tracks from this new producer/DJ, and I know he won’t me down.
Check out this interview with Jordan Calvano from theuntz.com where Jeff Montalv mentions that he originally couldn’t stand dub-step.
*Note: Oceanlab is a side project of Above and Beyond, which consists of the original three members with the addition of a singer.