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The 10 Best Damn Mountain Climbing Albums

You're all geared up and ready to climb. The glacier loos solid, and the rock faces look sturdy. You're about ready to hit the slope, and start climbing, but you want a killer soundtrack to power you to the summit. And the usual radio style fluff just isn't cutting it. If you're looking for some fresh tunes for a climb, take a gander at these killer albums. Climb on.

1. Clubfiles - The Album - DJ Quicksilver

This album rules. It's got covers of Jean Michael-Jarre songs that sound super epic in Trance form, as well as a lot of originals. Equinox IV, Anthem, Power Of G.O.D., and Ameno are excellent for pounding up those glaciers on the way to the summit.

2. The Album - SPOOT

A lot of this album is full of kind of pop Trance and eurodance type tunes, but we included this one, because Cry is great for those moments when you're leaving the treeline and striking out onto the ice early in the morning, and Lost Horizon is absolutely unbeatable for when you reach the summit, and have a chance to survey the vast wilderness below.

3. A Decade 1997-2007 - DuMonde

One of the best Hard Trance albums, bar none. Tomorrow, Atmosphere, God Music, Never Look Back, I Feel U, all excellent tracks for those tough climbs, and for those summit moments. Superb stuff.

4. Die Prophezeiung - E Nomine

This album may be excessively epic. It's a mix of Gregorian chants/ opera/ classical, and Epic and Hard Trance, with bits of downtempo and ambient interspersed throughout. There's loads of variety in here, and it's great for when you're approaching the summit.

5. Princess Mononoke Soundtrack - Joe Hisaishi

And now for something completely different. This is largely film music and classical, and is great for when you're taking breaks, or pacing yourself while walking through the woods on the way to the treeline just before dawn. The Journey To The West is fantastic for those pre-dawn moments.

6. Adventure Trance Vol. 1 - Various Artists

This isn't an album, per se - it's a compilation. But it's crammed to the gills with high energy melodic Trance and Hard Trance, and was specially collected for the express purpose of mountain adventures. If you need to get pumped before an especially tough climb, this is for you. Even features a special compilation-only exclusive trance by the compiler.

7. Trance Top 55 - Various Artists

This shares some similarities with the Adventure Trance compilation, but has a much larger, and more comprehensive list of songs in it. Great for driving to the trailhead to begin the climb, or for on the trail itself.

8. Trinity - Ace Da Brain

This is only a 3 track EP, but each version of the song is wholly unique, and awesome. Epic and Hard Trance converge for a mix of tunes that are bright and uplifting, and dark and aggressive, and melancholy and mystical. Just the stuff for reaching the summit to.



10. Exodus - Andy Hunter

A grand mix of Trance, Breaks, Downtempo, and Progressive. There's something for everyone in here, and it has a slightly uplifting, slightly melancholy sound that fits perfectly with early morning hikes, and late night returns.Go, Amazing, and Sandstorm Calling are particularly powerful tunes.


What Is Adventure Trance?

So you've been prowling the Twittersphere, or the Facebooks, or wandering Soundcloud/ Youtube, and have seen this term floating around.

But just what the hell is this Adventure Trance nonsense?





Adventure Trance is a hybrid genre that mixes early 2000s era Trance leads and pads with Hard Trance drums and basslines, with wide tempo changes, abrupt rhythm changes, key changes, Dubstep, Breakbeat, and Glitch Hop rhythms, Electro House sounds and percussion, acoustic guitar, and folk instruments from around the world.

Adventure Trance:


All combined, it creates a high energy, intense sound that capture the feeling of racing down mountain highways on a bike, scaling icy peaks with friends, and pushing life to the limits.


The 10 Best Damn Hiking Albums

The weather's warming up, and the itch for adventure needs scratching. You've plotted out a few good spots to hike, gotten your Forest Pass, gassed up the Subie, and are ready to hit the trail. But before you go, you're looking for some new tunes to propel you on your journey. But nothing you've got right now quite fits the scenic splendor of the places you want to go. Here are some of our personal picks for the best wilderness hike albums.


1. Integrated Future - Denga & Manus

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This one definitely tops our list of best hiking albums. Heavy, powerful, dramatic tunes full of thundering bass, intense drums, ripping synths, and soaring melodies make this perfect for racing up those mountain passes.


2. No Silence - ATB

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A little more chilled out than the others, No Silence is a glorious, groovy album. Marrakech and Mysterious Skies are excellent for wandering through dense forests in the rain.  We dig it.

3. Before The Storm - Darude

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Classic Trance at its finest. Sandstorm, Feel The Beat, Calm Before The Store, Burning... all excellent, epic tunes. Perfect for those cloudy day hikes in the mountains.


4. Painting The Sky - Amiranu

Buy On Bandcamp

Local Psytrance from a Skagit-based psychedelic trance artist. Full On, Dark, and Ambient Psytrance is the name of the game. The Rainbow God and We're All Shards Of A Fractal are especially epic tunes. Great for forest adventures and road trips.

5. Blue Planet - Bluebear Project

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Excellent Progressive Trance from Finland. The Bluebear Project created a great mix of melodic and techy progressive tunes, capped off by an excellent chillout tune, Summer Is Calling. Great for a relaxing day out by a lake.

6. Bella Stella - Highland

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Euro Rap from Germany. It's an eclectic blend of rap, opera, classical, and some old Russian songs, meshed together in a very awesome package. Very unique, and very awesome.

7. Land Of Chakrila - Dynamic

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Classic Trance from Sweden. Full of warm, retro sounds, and a lot of personality, this is a great album for early morning hikes. La Marche De La Lune and Voices Of Chakrila and Desti9nation Skyline are our favorites.

8. Infinite Evolution - Mr. Peculiar

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Super groovy Psytrance from Australia. The perfect blend of melodic, uplifting, and psychedlic and funky, it's a great album for afternoon treks through lodge pole pines and high alpine forests. Hero is a super catchy little number you'll have on repeat all day.

9. Sleep Is The Enemy - K-System

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We've been listening to this one for over 10 years, and it never gets old. Classic and Hard Trance from Finland, with just a touch of ambient to round it off. This album is full of big dramatic vibes, and variety to keep it fresh. Great for the drives out to the hikes.

10. Ace - Ian Van Dahl

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The album Ian Van Dahl's quintessential number "Castles In The Sky" comes from. Has uplifting vibes mixed with just a touch of melancholy, that makes for the perfect soundtrack to wandering through the dense cedars of the Pacific Northwest.

What Is Swamp Psytrance?


So you've been prowling Psytrance forums, or went to a gathering recently, and heard some mutters about a newfangled style of Psytrance called "Swamp Psytrance," or "Swamp Trance." But what the hell is it? How is it different from Progressive Psytrance, or Zenonesque?

Put your questioning minds to rest, friends.


Put on your boots and wade in.


Swamp Psytrance is a derivative of Dark Progressive Psytrance and Minimal (what is also called Zenonesque). Much like Forest Psytrance, Swamp is Zenonesque's squishier, wetter, more organic spawn.




It's characterized by lower tempos, down around 128-136 or so, weird, moody atmospheres, and squashy, squelchy organic noises, covered in reverb and delay, for really spacey, psychedelic textures.


Dark, dissonant pads and atmospheric effects give it a dismal, dank sort of sound, and the basses tend to be very deep and pronounced and heavy, keeping in tone with the heavy, laborious beats that accompany them.


Swamp Psytrance:


In summation, Swamp Psytrance is Zenonesque's moodier, creepier, squelchier offspring.

It isn't a terribly common style to encounter, but it can be a lot of fun to dance to (and make).


If you want to find more, check out the free Swamp releases on Ektoplazm.

psy festival 3

5 Local Music Festivals You Should Know About

Outside the Seattle area, music festivals are far and few, but for those pining and seeking a festival beyond the urban jungle, here are five festivals that may strike your interest.


Bellingham Folk Festival

Held each January in the heart of Bellingham, this festival celebrates the spirit, tunes, and all other things special about folk music. The festival this past year featured renowned artists such as The Lil’ Smokies from Missoula, Montana and Danny Barnes from Texas. Through the course of three days, newcomers and aspiring new artists may partake in workshops led by musicians established in the art; also are dances, jam sessions. So when this festival comes around again, grab your guitar and join the stars! 



Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival

Held each summer in August from the 4th through the 20th  at the performing arts center in Eastsound, this two and a half week festival transports you through musical journeys, stories, and captivating performances by some of the most renowned classical musicians of our time, brought in from all parts of the world to bring the audience music ranging from renaissance to contemporary and so much more, in unexpected ways.



Birch Bay Music Festival

The Birch Bay Music Festival, held up in Birch Bay from July 29-31, is a non-profit festival that is the voice of the voiceless and supports animal rights so strongly it’s central to the entire shindig. Much of the music featured will be rooted in the rock, blues, and folk genres, featuring beloved artists such as Maximus, Tai Shan, and Blue Eyed Mary as they dazzle concert-goers with their finesse. The event will be located at The Homestead Golf Course, and admission is free.



Darrington Bluegrass Festival

The name says it all. It’s all about bluegrass here. Taking place July 15-17, this festival will celebrate its 40th year and feature acclaimed artists such as the Balsam Range, Mountain Faith, Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado. Additionally, there will be great food, jam sessions, and dry camping at the foot of some of the largest mountains in the state.



Whidbey Island Music Festival

Apparently, the fall and early spring are not the most popular seasons to hold festivals around this area. In fact, it’s obvious. There aren't any. Slated to take place in late-July/early August, this music festival will also have an emphasis on classical music, featuring the works of Antonio Vivaldi. That's the only information available at this time, but stay tuned for more; follow their website to stay up to speed and not miss this unforgettable festival.



by AnderssonArts

What Is Forest Psytrance?

So you're a devoted psyhead, or maybe even a newcomer to the Psytrance scene, and you've been seeing the term "Forest Psytrance" or "Forest Trance" thrown about amongst the serious freaks, and you have no idea what it means, or what the hell it is.

There's some disagreement over what Forest Psytrance is, or whether it even constitutes a separate genre at all.

Let me lay that to rest right now.

psy festival 1.jpg


Forest Psytrance is a derivative of Dark Psytrance, that focuses less on high tempos and aggressive distorted electric-sounds and harsh noises and "evil" vocals about death, destruction, nihilism, etc. Use of glitchy, bitcrushed and distorted effects and sounds is less prominent, taking a backseat instead to flanger, phaser, and reverb and delay effects, coupled with dark, deep, pulsing basslines with Lopass Cutoff filters applied to them, to create a warm, murky sound.

Pure Dark Psytrance:


While a form of Dark Psytrance, Forest tends to be a bit slower, between 145-155 BPM, and with a heavier emphasis on atmospheric, moody sounds, and organic textures.


Classic Goa/ Psy Trance "squishy noises" made using sawtooth waveforms and extreme Cutoff Filter settings, and sound samples from nature (bubbling sounds, bird sounds, strange squeaks, blips, whistles, and other "wet" noises are used heavily in Forest to create earthy, organic soundscapes.



Also prominent is the use of atmospheric pads and choirs, usually set to dissonant chord progressions, and with heavy use of phaser, flanger, and reverb effects, to create dark and moody tones that convey a dark, dismal mood (not unlike say, being lost in the woods on a cloudless night).


Forest Psytrance:



In summation: Forest Psytrance is Dark Psytrance's nature-loving, tree-hugging kid. Dark and trippy, but less glitchy, and more squishy.


If you want to find more, check out the free Forest releases on Ektoplazm

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25 Local Volunteer Organizations You Should Know About

Are you bored, and looking for a way to fill your day? Need to build up your resume with some fresh experience (and a few good references)? Graduating from high school (or college) soon, and need some community service hours?


Not sure where to start, or what's good? Looking for something that suits, well, you?


Take a gander at this list of local organizations, and see where you fit in!


1. KSVR 91.7 FM (Skagit Community Radio) - Skagit Valley College

Local college radio. They always need more engineers, DJs, editors, and recording people.



2. Pacific Northwest Trails Association - Sedro-Woolley

Trail restorations, community outreach programs and events, and organized hikes. They always need volunteers to help with their activities.



3. Mountain Stewards - US Forest Service

Government agency that oversees and maintains public forest lands. Their Mountain Steward program is a great way to do some meaningful work, and get some much needed exercise in the mountains at the same time.



4. Habitat For Humanity - Mount Vernon

Organization that helps build homes and shelters and schools around the world, and locally.  They always need extra hands at their thrift stores and community projects.



5. KSVU 90/1 FM (Upriver Radio) - Concrete

Concrete's local radio station. News, music, talk shows, job and career help, they do it all. And they need volunteers. Send them an email and join the team today.



6. Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group - Mount Vernon

Salmon habitat restoration organization. They need help with planting trees, restortion shorelines, and repopulating streams and lakes with native salmon species.



7. Sedro-Woolley Senior Center - Sedro-Woolley

The Sedro-Woolley Senior Center provides entertainment, health, and education services to the senior citizens of Sedro, and outlying areas. They always need an extra hand.



8. Nature Abounds - Anacortes

Local wildernes restoration and education organization. They always need volunteers to contribute time and hands for their projects.



9. Burlington Public Library - Burlington

The Burlington Public Library. They need folks to do storytimes, help out with events, and help with customers.



10. Saving Pets One At A Time - Burlington

Center for adoption and foster programs for pets and abandoned animals. Help save a kitty's life. Foster today.



11. Boys & Girls Clubs Of Skagit County - Mount Vernon

Activities and recreation programs for kids and teens. They always need volunteers at their centers and outreach programs.



12. Sea Mar Community Health Centers - Mount Vernon

Healthcare centers. They always need folks to help out.



13. Skagit Land Trust - Mount Vernon

Organization that helps preserve Skagit farmlands and forest areas. Join and help them in their mission.



14. American Cancer Society - Mount Vernon

American cancer Society. Healthcare organization focused on cancer treatments and mental health. Join today.



15. Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center - Mount Vernon

Wildlife rehab center. Nurses injured animals back to health and gets them ready for being reintroduced into the wild. Help out now.



16. Anacortes Family Center - Anacortes

Center providing services to women, children, and the homeless. They always need a hand, so help out!



17. Celtic Arts Foundation - Mount Vernon

Foundation dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Celtic culture in the region.



18. The Cat's Meow - Anacortes

Cat adoption and rescue center in Anacortes. Go down today and help take care of the kitties, or take one home!



19. McIntyre Hall Performing Arts & Conference Center - Mount Vernon

Performing arts center at Skagit Valley College. They always need extra ushers, and staff for concerts.



20. Mount Vernon Downtown Association - Mount Vernon

The association that maintains and organizes events for downtown Mount Vernon. They always need extra staff for Art Walks, community events, and cleanup after said events.



21. Mount Baker Planned Parenthood - Mount Vernon

Local chapter of the family planning and women's health center. They always need staff to help patrons.



22. North Cascades Institute - Sedro-Woolley

Information and activity center for the North Cascades Recreation Area. They always need volunteers at their two centers, and for their outings. Get in touch and help them today.



23. Serving Women Across Nations - Burlington

Volunteer organization helping to empower women at home and abroad. They need help spreading their message, and working directly in the communities they serve.



24. Skagit Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services - Mount Vernon

Center to help victims of abuse in the area. They always need center volunteers, and counselors. Lend a hand today.



25. Skagit Valley Festival Of Family Farms - Sedro-Woolley

Local festival featuring local farmers and their families 9and lands). They need help during their tours, so this is a good chance to help the people who put food on our tables.


5 Ways To Save Money On Your Event

So, you're getting hitched, and have begun compiling a list of everything you'll need for the wedding. Maybe you've even begun looking at potential vendors. But those folks don't come cheap. Between the coordinator, the caterer, the DJ, the lighting providers, the photographer, the videographer, the florist, the officiant, the venue itself, the list looks huge and intimidating. And when you send out a couple furtive queries to get an idea on how much you can expect to pay some of these people, the figure you get is so astronomically huge that you have to call up Neil deGrasse Tyson just to make sense of it.


Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to make things easier and save money?




We have a few helpful tips here to help you get the best deal when booking for your event.


1. Book During Off-Season Months

The most popular months for throwing events (weddings, festivals, etc) are the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months. It's easy to see why. Pleasant weather, most folks take their vacation days during these times and everything is pretty and in bloom. Vendors also know this, and hike their prices accordingly. If you want to save a bit of cash on your event, plan for it to happen during one of the slow seasons (excluding Christmas/ New years, when the prices skyrocket briefly), and ask prospective vendors if they offer Off-Season Discounts. odds are, they will, since business will slow down right around the end of September, and they'll be in need of bookings.


2. Ask About Yelp!/ Website Review Discounts

Event vending is a fiendishly competitive industry. Everyone is constantly on the lookout for new clients, and they are using every possible tool to secure new business wherever they can. Yelp!, and other review sites have become an essential tool for making sure they continue to attract new clients, and vendors are desperate for positive reviews. So while you're negotiating prices and packages, inquire if your vendor would be willing to knock a few bucks off for leaving a positive review, or a Website Testimonial (or both).


3. Ask About Partner Discounts

Check the Links section of your prospective vendor's website. Do they have other vendors from other aspects of the industry listed there? Does the photographer you want provide a link to a videographer they know? Does the lighting company you want have a link to a DJ on their page? They might be friends with them. The certainly prefer working with them (hence the nod on their site). Ask both vendors if they provide any kind of discount for booking the two of them together. Partner discounts can be a great way to not only save a few bucks, but also ensure consistency and a friendly atmosphere at your event.


4. Ask About Special Discounts

For extra fun, when booking your DJ, ask if you can book them without having any face-to-face meetings (try for Skype instead). The less the DJ has to spend on gas and coffee and other in-person meeting overhead, the more likely they are to cut you a break. If you were hoping the best man, or a groomsman could make the announcements instead of the DJ, ask if they could knock 10 or 20 dollars off the original price, for saving the DJ the trouble of dealing with announcements and the like. For a real saver, write out (and ideally, time) every song you want played at the wedding - from the processional music, to the Grand Entrance music, down to the reception dance party music. The less work your DJ has to do, the more likely they'll be to cut you some slack (since you cut them some). If you can provide the DJ, videographer, photographer, etc, with photos of the venue from different positions and angles, you can help them eliminate a lot of guesswork from their jobs, and speed up their setup and tear down times immensely. Again, this can be a money-saving bargaining position. This rule applies to any event anywhere. Corporate party? Christmas party? Blues festival? Music night at your brewery? It all applies here.


5. Ask About Military & Nonprofit Discounts

Are you an active or retired servicemember? Are you the head of the planning committee for a certified nonprofit? If so, you may be in luck. Most vendors will be happy to provide you with a discount, if you inquire. And in the case of nonprofits and charities, depending on the time of year, and the size of the vendor you are contacting, sometimes the vendor may be willing to donate time and/or equipment to your event, in exchange for a tax deduction later.  Just be prepared to sign and notarize official documents to such ends if they agree to it.


And there you have it. A few money-saving tips to help you cut a few costs, and still get the most bang for your buck. Happy hunting!

The 10 Best Damn Road Trip Albums

Summer is just around the corner, and with summer, comes road trips, vacations, camping, and adventures galore. If you're tired of the same tunes on rotation in your CD player, and the ads on the radio are getting you down, check out the albums on this list, and get your motor running. There's something old, something new, something familiar, and something unexpected on here... a little something for everyone.

1. The Stadium Techno Experience - Scooter

Buy It On Amazon

Classic EDM, Trance, Progressive, Breaks, Techno, and Hard Trance converge for an album that is pure fire. It's a little on the old side, sure, but the songs stand the test of time, and will propel you into your next adventure.

2. Deep Purple In Rock - Deep Purple

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One of the best Hard Rock albums of all time. Seminal Hard Rock and proto-meta at its finest. Child In Time is particularly excellent for those long summer drives, but the whole album is dynamite.


3. In Silico - Pendulum

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Get ready for some serious heaviness. This album is crammed to the gills with raging Drum N' Bass and Breaks. Slamming basslines, thundering drums, and intense melodies make for an album that will probably land you a speeding ticket or two.

4. Le Voyage - Floorfilla

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Bouncy, fun, high energy EDM, Trance, Techno, and House is the name of the game here. A little bit oldschool, but always a jolly time. Full on banging, hands in the air type tunes, but doesn't take itself too seriously. Good for sunny summer drives in the woods.

5. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

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Classic Hard Rock by the legends themselves, Led Zeppelin. No roadtrip is complete without a little Zep blaring over the stereo. Stairway To Heaven provides excellent musical backing to nightfall, when you're driving on the coast.

6. Dimmi Perché - Highland

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European hiphop + opera singing and classical melodies? What? Sure, it sounds confusing, but it sounds amazing. No better way to make your drive more epic than some heavy belting in Italian coupled with heavy bass beats.

7. Recess - Skrillex

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Slamming Dubstep, Breaks, Glitch Hop, and Drumstep from the godfather of the modern American EDM, Skrillex. This album's chock full of gutsy, ferocious tunes that'll get your blood pumping. Great for those hot July afternoons.

8. Fly Toward The Sun - Dawnchaser

Buy On Bandcamp

Uplifting, epic sounds, from an indie artist from the Pacific Northwest. Uplifting Trance, Progressive, Ambient, Breaks, and Hard Trance come together for an album that's a few parts bright and cheery, and a few parts dark and epic. This album's free, although you can donate a few bucks, and help support and independent artist.

9. Once - Nightwish

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Finnish Symphonic Power Metal at its best. If you need some scream-your-lungs out, balls-to-the-wall music for racing down empty mountain highways, this is your album. Dramatic classical melodies collide with searing guitars and soaring vocals for one hell of a musical ride.

10. Screaming For Vengeance - Judas Priest

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Saved the best for last one this one. Classic oldschool metal, from one of the greats. There's no better feeling than blasting You've Got Another Thing Coming when you're roaring down a deserted highway.

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