Often referred to as the “Prince of Trance,” Andrew Rayel has recently spread his wings far beyond the niched genre he once called home. Although still one of the most prevalent subgenres in electronic music today, trance has lost a lot of traction of the years since the glory days of 1990’s Paul Oakenfold. However, just because he has Trance roots, that does not mean Mr. Rayel planned to be stuck in that box forever. His recent releases are reminiscent, not of trance, but of the sugary progressive house that catalyzed the explosion of electronic music into the EDM/festival mania we know today. Think less Armada, more Revealed.
So, with this musical dichotomy in mind, I was curious as to what a 2016 Andrew Rayel set would sound like. His debut album “Find Your Harmony” released in 2014, which in the modern music world is a lifetime ago. Would he pay homage to his trance roots as I would have expected in 2014? Would he lean more towards his newer, commercial sound?
Well, it turns out that the answer was neither. Stylistically, Rayel’s set was all over the board. Of course, he played all of his classics; I’d say about 60% of the set was classic Rayel. But, the other 40% varied from the aforementioned “sugary” progressive house to electro house and big room that had everyone’s feet in the air. Some traditional trance fans may have been disappointed by Rayel’s deviation from said tradition; but, there is something to be said for it. As a musical artist, particularly in the DJ position, it is crucial that you’re able to adjust your performance to whatever crowd is in front of you. This includes the Metro crowd.
Shows at Metro are known to be high energy, raging parties, and that is an energy that is undeniably felt by every artist who steps on that stage. Rayel clearly felt it and, thankfully, responded to it by playing exactly what the crowd was asking for. This synergy between crowd and artist can make or break any set, whether at a nightclub, a warehouse, or a music festival; the synergy is what makes the connection. This very phenomenon could be seen by anyone who looked around the Metropolitan Nightclub on Saturday night. The huge crowd was loving everything that Rayel threw at them and using it to fuel their energy even higher and higher, which was matched by even more pulsating, energetic song selections.
Whether or not you’re a fan of his music production, no one can deny Rayel’s professionalism and flexibility as a DJ. There are many artists who would stick to their guns regardless of the crowd. The DJ aspect of being an electronic music artist is about cultivating an experience. All of the artistry is poured into each production, from a single remix to an album, and that’s what builds a fan base in the first place. But, while the producer role may be what builds artist fan bases, the role of the DJ maintains the fans. One cannot survive without the other. And, based off his music and what I saw on Saturday, I’d be willing to bet Andrew Rayel has secured himself a career with longevity that most Hypem artists can only dream of.
Written By: Camila Woodmansee