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Skydivin'

Darren Styles

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Album Review

Taking a break from remixing compilation albums featuring other artists' material, Essex hardcore DJ Darren Styles released his debut solo album, Skydivin', in the summer of 2008. Styles, known as a record producer, songwriter, and remixer, had not previously attempted to record anything under his own name, and right from the start of track one, "Flashlight," one could hear the influences of many artists who had benefited from his expertise in the past. There was the driving, pumping beat of hardcore dance albums and Euro-beat pop albums such as Scooter's Jumping All Over the World and Ultrabeat's self-titled album, and even a track such as "Come Running," for which the first minute was an acoustic, slower (certainly not slow) number, broke into a pulsating synth-beat style for the rest of the track. One could certainly not accuse Styles of scrimping on the sheer amount of music on the double album: nearly two hours and 30 tracks split onto two discs, one labeled Hardcore and the other labeled Commercial, with only two of the tracks presented in two different mixes, "Save Me" and the title track, "Skydivin'." Longtime collaborator Mark Breeze was present, assisting with the writing of several tracks, but this was mainly a Darren Styles solo effort to the greatest extent possible. He produced all 30 of the tracks, wrote all but one, and even lent his vocals to 13 of them, receiving helping hands in the vocal department from a number of singers including Francis Hill, Lisa Abbott, Mike DiScala from Ultrabeat, Justine Riddock, Karen Danzig, and Rebecca Rudd. Fans of hardcore trance and dance music and people who respected the name of Darren Styles from his remixing and production work absolutely lapped this album up, sending it to number four in its first week on the charts and keeping it bubbling inside the Top Ten for several weeks — but perhaps two hours is a little on the long side for a hardcore/techno/Euro-beat album.

Biography

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Arguably one of the most influential DJs in modern U.K. dance music, Darren Styles has been instrumental in helping hardcore crossover into the mainstream. Born in Colchester in 1975, Styles, christened Darren Mew, was encouraged from an early age to pursue his interest in music by his father, an avid blues fan. His first taste of the underground rave scene at Oscars Night Club in Essex in 1992 instigated a love of dance music, and a year later Styles signed with legendary hardcore label Kniteforce...
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Skydivin', Darren Styles
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