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Armin Van Buuren Secret Gig, Potsdamer Platz – Berlin

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When landing in Berlin and thinking of music, especially electronic music your mind instantly races to the many techno hotspots that dominate the city, Berghain, Tresor, Watergate, Weekend, the list is endless. Whilst the city is a mecca for all things techno that’s surprisingly not what this jaunt to Berlin was about as we headed over to the German capital to visit the city’s IFA technology summit at the invitation of electronics giant Phillips and international superstar DJ and producer Armin Van Buuren, with the latter meaning only one thing: trance.

Whilst Phillips and Armin might seem an unlikely combination at first on closer inspection it’s easy to see why the pair make for such easy bed fellows both being Dutch electronic exports and with Phillips now tentatively entering the DJ market with their first controller in the M1X- DJ.  Earlier in the day we joined a specially invited audience of journalists and industry professionals to unveiling the new collaborative venture of the M1X-DJ sound system in which Armin explained his role in the products development and gave us a hands on workshop to demonstrate how it works saying “Together, we want to inspire more people to listen to, create and share the music they love”.  Before adding “Fans often ask me what equipment they should buy when they want to start mixing themselves and a lot of kit can be expensive, so with the M1X I wanted to create something that’s accessible for everybody. The other great thing about the M1X is that you can play it wherever you want, whether that’s the beach, the park or your street: it’s the ghetto blaster reinvented for today.”

So with Armin’s words of endorsement ringing in our ears we then headed off to Potsdamer Platz  to watch the Dutchman perform at a secret gig in a disused part of the Berlin subway and as a self confessed house and techno head I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Armin or trance in 2013. The evening started well as for a cavernous space Phillips did an amazing job with the sound as tracks retained a powerful clarity despite our underground concrete surroundings which seemed more than suitable for our presence in Berlin.

Needing no introduction,  Armin immediately jumped into the fray showcasing the skills which have made him a household name around the world.Recording the set for his popular online radio show ‘A State Of Trance’ Armin showcased a history of trance blending in mixes of crowd pleasing classic cuts from the genre whilst mixing in enough  fresh material to keep the crowd guessing as he alone played the entire evenings event.

He began with the Juvente remix of Cole Plante, Myon & Shane 54 feat Koko Laroo’sLie To Me‘, a pulsing introduction to get us nicely warmed up, before launching into a gorgeous vocal trance title in the form of the Mikkas remix of his own ‘Beautiful Life’. 

His tune of the week from CE3AR has beeen receiving a very positive reception from avid fans of both artists, and the crowd (I in particular) was overjoyed to hear Omnia’s ‘Immersion’ make an appearance. The dropping of Orjan Nilsen’s EDM enthused ‘Mafioso’  was another highlight, but by far the most euphoric moment came when he unleashed the Benico remix of Alex M.O.R.P.H.’s classic ‘Overdrive’, which is another tune which is always sure to have the crowd moving their feet and raising their hands.  A dazzling end to a dazzling night, perhaps I should head out to trance more often…

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