The most pressing question facing popular artists today is “When can we expect the new album?” Fans voraciously consume tracks from their favorite artists, expecting more and more each time the biggest names in dance release another track. On the eve of his Pier of Fear appearance in New York City, Armin van Buuren will release his latest full-length studio album, “Embrace” potentially shifting all existing paradigms in dance music.
Phonetically titled to embrace the single-word aesthetic that accompanies his other albums (think “Shivers,” “Mirage,” or “Intense,”), Armin has made it clear that he intends to literally embrace new elements of musicality in this album, bringing in instruments and musical techniques rarely seen in the dance world, where more than three elements in a track could be considered superfluous. Speaking to the album, Armin said, “The idea was to “EMBRACE” several different instruments and sounds, and incorporate them into my sound. I hope my fans will “EMBRACE” this new chapter in my life.” Having tempted us with the orchestral arrangement accompanying the first single from the album, “Another You” featuring multi-Platinum recording artist Mr. Probz, one is left wondering what magic Armin has left to show us on the rest of the LP. Among the other teaser tracks we’ve gotten thus far are, “Embargo” with Cosmic Gate, “Strong Ones,” featuring Cimo Fränkel, and the title track, “Embrace” featuring Eric Vloeimans.
Make no mistake, this is not just another album release. Having watched the sonic trends in what I still consider my relatively short career spent in dance music, an album with the explicit goal of aiming to shift the status quo of dance music can have MAJOR implications. Just think back to what Scary Monsters, Nice Sprites did for Dubstep in 2010, what Settle did for deep/pop house sounds, and what various bootlegs and mixtapes did for advancing trap music (think the Flosstradamus remix of “Original Don”, the first time you heard “Mercy” remixed by RL Grime, or this old ass video of Flux Pavilion and Skrillex going b2b on a trap set). These artists and the albums/EPs they produced weren’t simply popular, they redefined their genres, basically dictating what was going to be popular in dance music from that point forward. Dubstep was the rage after Skrillex’s work, Deep House after disclosure, and Trap after the aforementioned Original Don remix pretty much defined what it meant to “Run tha trap,” just to name a few examples; and each one of these influences is still felt to this day in some way or another.
The above is not meant to suggest Trance isn’t still among the most popular genres, a multitude of radio shows are still dedicated solely to the genre (Armin’s A State of Trance included) and it is likely one of the most popular genres globally, but what Armin releases on “Embrace” (on 10/29) has the potential to have the same far reaching, culture altering, cross-genre influencing effect each of the above mentioned albums have had. Over my time writing and covering events, I’ve heard my fair share of genre cross overs and influences, which is of course partly defined by my personal preferences and partly defined by what promoters know to be profitable (I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether audiences influence bookings or bookings influence audience tastes), but Trance has stayed relatively insular in its development (again, from my subjective and potentially biased perspective). Armin has the opportunity to be yet another paradigmatic shift in the industry with “Embrace,” literally embracing new instruments, new music, and a potential new future of dance music, defined by the release on 10/29. We’ll just have to wait to feel the album’s full effect.
Pre-order EMBRACE here!