ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC
DJ Marshmello, who is most famous for dressing in all white and donning a marshmallow-shaped helmet, has lasted way past novelty status and released his third album in three years.
On Joytime III, the American DJ-producer has made a significant departure from the instrumental Joytime II and gone for a record chock-full of collaborations.
While there are plenty of names from the electronic dance music (EDM) world, he also works with a significant number of rock acts, combining alternative rock music and future bass on tracks such as Run It Up, Sad Songs and Rescue Me.
Electric guitars and rock drums take the lead, but also meld with percussive electronic beats and production. The mix is particularly and unexpectedly effective on Rescue Me, which features the powerful punk pop of American rockers A Day To Remember. Lead singer Jeremy McKinnon’s powerhouse vocals carry the track which could be at home at an arena rock show as much as it could in a club.
Marshmello also explores sub-genres of dance music, like his attempt at a house track, Set Me Free, with French DJ duo Bellecour.
Jungle and trap music, a trademark of Dutch producer Wiwek, heavily influence the number Angklung Life. Here, the sounds made by both the angklung (a bamboo instrument from Indonesia) as well as gamelan gongs have been masterfully manipulated to make a modern-day, multi-genre EDM track.
Much of the meat of the 13-track album is packed midway, with songs such as Room To Fall, which features English DJ Flux Pavilion and the soaring vocals of American singer Elohim.
Then there is Earthquake, the much-anticipated collaboration with American trap and dubstep producer Tynan, which delivers on epic drops, and dubstep squeals and distortion.
But while Marshmello has seemingly dipped his toes in new waters, he does not stray too far away from the high-energy, mass market-friendly sound that made him popular in the first place.