Folks, we may have just received one of the most powerful pieces of music of the year. Markus Schulz has dropped “The Nine Skies”, and 18 track album under his darker moniker ‘Dakota'. (You can read HERE about the re-emergence of Dakota and how its is SO much more than an alias.)
Dakota has had its spiritual side from the off. The first and second ‘Thoughts Become Things’ albums were the pathfinders for this new, and possibly most definitive of Dakota projects. These releases were measures deployed to see if electronic music’s citizenry were receptive to something deeper and more involved.
Markus has always seen Dakota not as an alias but as a persona – an identity even. “Sometimes I’m wearing Dakota’s head; other times it’s Markus Schulz’s, he says. Through that division, I’ve found the artistic space to make darker, moodier, deeper music. More exploratory and experimental gear… if that’s where my current state of mind is taking me.
Atypically, the entire The Nine Skies project – concept, show, album, et al, was wrapped and complete before but a word of it was breathed. “This, expands Markus, gave me an opportunity I’d not had before. It gave me a chance to shake up my usual release pattern. So in keeping with the progressive spirit of The Nine Skies/steps, rather than coming with dozens of shows and an album’s worth of new material frontend, I brought it one stage and single at a time. I felt it would give the audiences more time to digest and absorb what is undeniably a broader concept”.
Markus considers that if there’s one thing enlightenment does take, it’s time. ”Rarely, if ever, in life does something happen overnight”, he says. The release of the album’s first four singles was designed to reflect one of the possible journey arcs from darkness to enlightenment. That started with early-in-the-album track, ‘Mota Mota’ and ended with its penultimate one, ‘Spirit of the Warrior’. “It arches from one of the most ominous darkly-minded, night-black numbers I’ve written to possibly Dakota’s most uplifting, emancipating moment ever”, says Markus.
The underlying theme of each of the 18 tracks on the album broadly falls into one of the Skies’ nine realms. “That, cautions Markus, is not something that’s going to be immediately apparent the first time you listen to it. Give it time though, and over subsequent spins I think, you’ll get an ever-greater feel for the transitional passage the album is taking. From Sky.One’s The Follower, transcending right the way over to the ninth Sky: Nirvana.”
Dakota’s extraordinary The Nine Skies LP is released through his own Coldharbour Recordings. One can also look forward, in the not too distant future to the The Nine Skies box set. This very special limited edition audio-visual release will include the DVD of Markus’ performance of The Nine Skies at Prague’s O2 Arena, as part of the Transmission 2017 event.
Check out the full album below and make sure to listen to it from start to finish to enjoy a full 18 track journey!
The Nine Skies tracklist:
01. The Nine Skies Intro
02. Bravo on the Go
03. Follow Me
05. Who Are You
07. Running Up That Hill
08. Eve's Doorway
11. The Way It Is
12. Cafe Del Mar
13. The Master
15. In Search of Something Better
16. Future Shock
17. The Spirit of the Warrior
18. The Ninth Sky
More info on Markus Schulz, Dakota and ‘The Nine Skies’