The rumours are true, but now it's time to make it officialâ€¦
Two years ago his first Dakota album heralded one of the boldest branch-outs that's ever been undertaken by an EDM artist. This summer Markus Schulz will return his genre super-collider to the dancefloor frontlines. A bigger comeback in 2011, you will not findâ€¦
Back as far as its turn-of-the-millennium origins, Markusâ€™ alter ego was always conceived as a channel through which he could explore the darker and more devoutly club side of his mind.
"To me the audio that Dakota presents and the music which I put out under my own name stand totally apart. Itâ€™s an entirely separate set of tempos, sound-ranges and FX rules. To have this studio â€˜other selfâ€™ with which to produce this type of music is more important to me than everâ€, he says.
The first â€˜Thoughtsâ€™ long-player proved nothing short of a revelation, drawing Schulzâ€™s productions into the CDJs of an entirely different type of DJ. Two years on and its sequel is on final approach. A fully floor-equipped, 14 track album, â€˜Thoughts Become Things IIâ€™ again explores every cleft and crevasse of the prog/trance/techno/house panoply.
Stylistically â€˜Thoughts IIâ€™ picks up precisely where the first album left off, in the deeply trenched progressive of â€˜Gypsy Roomâ€™. From there the unmistakable churning, techno glint of â€˜Red Starâ€™ and the shadowy atmospherics of â€˜Where It Went Wrongâ€™ continue to build the bridge between the two albums. Each one a Dakota device purpose built to send strobe-lit underground dance spots unrelentingly towards critical mass.
Expanding its style sheet further is the house-led thematic of â€˜Terrace 5AM. Recalibrating Moroderâ€™s immortal, discofied â€˜I Feel Loveâ€™ bassline to 2011 levels, its set to become a much-demanded spin at Schulzâ€™s new Space Ibiza residency. Equally 80â€™s inclined is â€˜Tearsâ€™, whoâ€™s poignant, film-noir channels Vangelisâ€™ enigmatic â€˜Blade Runnerâ€™ theme.
Every bit as redolent is the low-tempo industrial roll of â€˜Katowiceâ€™s dystopian main line, the flowing transcendental melod-prog of â€˜In a Green Valleyâ€™ and â€˜Apolloâ€™ - the expansive, epic album dÃ©nouement.
Dakota fansâ€™ first contact with â€˜Thoughts IIâ€™ will inevitably have come through the propulsive twin-turbines of its first two singlesâ€¦ Together, over the last three months, â€˜Sinnersâ€™ and â€˜Sleepwalkersâ€™ have nitro-injected Schulzâ€™s sets time and time again. The latter has already developed its own early cult status, when its emergence during his set at ASOT500 pushed Schulz into Twitterâ€™s worldwide trending top 10.
â€˜Thoughts Become Things IIâ€™ holds back its toughest sonic punches till last, with a closing track triumvirate. The gated synthery of â€˜Miamiâ€™, the hard-ratcheting white-knuckle-tension of â€˜Cape Townâ€™ and stridently riffed, big-room suspense of â€˜Saintsâ€™ all collectively producing the album its mighty endgame.
As with its first installment, â€˜Thoughts Become Things II will have resonance with DJs of numerous electronic dance disciplines. With barely a track over the 130bpm mark and referencing many a dance sub-genre, it is this summerâ€™s most intrepid, creative long-player.