The newly formed duo featuring Marcus Schössow just released one of the best melodic house & techno projects of the year.
If you’ve been following Above & Beyond on their recent tour, then you probably recognize the name gardenstate. Currently opening for the Anjuna founders at venues like Red Rocks, The Armory, and Echostage, gardenstate is building on this recent success with their debut album Inspirations.
Released on Anjunabeats, the 16-track LP explores progressive house sounds with a touch of trance and techno. What impresses me most about Inspirations is the superb quality of the music. While the total running time of the album is over an hour, there’s no filler tracks or skippable songs. The vibes never stop on Inspirations, and its honestly one of my favorite albums of 2021.
gardenstate’s first song came in 2019, but the friendship of Marcus Schössow and Matthew Felner started back in 2008.
Being someone who often revisits dance music from 2008-2014, I really started to get into Marcus Schössow earlier this year. With classic songs like “Kemi” and “Swedish Nights” and an appearance on Tiesto’s In Search of Sunrise 6: Ibiza, Schössow has quietly had an extremely influential career in electronic music.
Formerly working as a talent buyer for an event production company, Matthew Felner booked Schössow for his first North American show in 2008. The two remained close over the years and decided to begin the gardenstate project in 2019.
Inspirations is top tier house & techno, and most songs tell a story with very few lyrics.
gardenstate wastes no time with “Dark Waters”, the first track on the album. It brings an atmosphere that feels a bit mysterious and intriguing. That feeling continues on “She Was Looking Into The Sun” with KhoMha.
“1995”, previously released as a single, brings a more upbeat vibe. “Take Me There”, “By Your Side”, and “The Best Part” all did particularly well ahead of the album release. However, the real beauty of Inspirations might be on its lesser known songs.
“Revival”, a collaboration between gardenstate, Gabriel & Dresden, Andy Moor, PROFF, and Mokka is definitely one of the highlights. Something about this track just really hits me in a positive way. It feels like a collaborative song between friends that was started during quarantine but turned into something bigger.
The second half of the album continues with a progressive house vibe and some more experimental sounds.
“Koski” explores some exotic instruments, while “Alma” and “Sisu” keep things progressive. “5AM” and “Dusted” put on a melodic house clinic before the album ends with “Surreal”, a powerful vocal track.
Inspirations will definitely be in my album rotation well into the future.
In a era where many artists are experimenting with this genre, Inspirations really sticks out as being on a different level than everything else. The emotion and pure musical talent conveyed just can’t be ignored. Considering Marcus’ background, it reminds me of one my go-to albums: darko by Dirty South. Inspirations gets more impressive with every listen, and I see myself revisiting this often.
While gardenstate is only a couple of years old, the experience of this duo is obvious in this release. You can tell these guys know what they’re doing, and the result is super impressive. Inspirations is a must-listen for all fans of high quality electronic music. gardenstate is on tour in North America through January 29, with shows in Miami, Dallas, and Boston still to come.