Joseph Thomas Youngman, known more prominently as American DJ and producer Wolfgang Gartner, has been through the ring. He's given us tech-influenced tracks like 2010's "Space Junk," explored groovier waves in "Anaconda" and electro on 2012's "We Own The Night." He's gone melodic progressive with Tiesto on "I Will Be Here" in 2009, and deeper with Mark Knight on "Conscindo" in 2011. More recently, we've seen Gartner return to his roots and explore new territory.
If there's one thing that's for sure, Gartner has been an influencer in the house music industry for enough time to see it go from a marginalized subculture to mainstream radio. And it's no wonder that watching that transformation has influenced his production.
As the artist album has become more prevalent for dance music artists, we've seen those like Hardwell and Steve Angello take a stab at the long-form formatted artistry, and now, Wolfgang Gartner joins their rank in a totally new way.
Pop music is the most obvious space that has influenced the development of dance music, and vice versa. With music on the radio sounding eerily similar to the singles being spun on specialty stations like SiriusXM's BPM, it can feel like the "easy way out" when a producer of Wolfgang Gartner's resume takes on a track that could fit in the Top 40 along as in the club.
But Gartner has taken an approach to making crossover tracks that while infectious, also feel like a slight commentary on the state of the union. Take "Y.W.M.O." for instance, whose groovy, heavy nu disco production is made new by a Justin Timberlake-like vocal performance from Gene Noble. The same can be said for "Faded," a collaboration with Marc Griffin.
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Hip hop and house music have seemingly led parallel lives: former subcultures built on sampling, both have roots in disco. Gartner reminds us of just this with his boom box-toting "Hurricane Slurricane," featuring E-40 and DaM Funk. This track brings on memories of everything from The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" to Will Smith's "Miami," in a perfect symbiosis of disco and hip hop.
Wolfgang Gartner's wheelhouse is of course, "house," an umbrella term that today can mean just about anything. Here, we're using it to refer to Gartner's attention to detail in his tracks like the disco-fueled, familiar single "Unholy" and the punchy, festival-ready collaboration "Up In Smoke" with A-Trak.
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All in all, Wolfgang Gartner's first album isn't conventional. Just like his music, in the past, his first LP is not one journey from start to finish, but is his take on individual different personalities he sees in himself through music.