Sometime after releasing his first piece of the puzzle that is Nine Skies, Markus Schulz finally drops the newest addition to the skies, “Running Up That Hill”.
First debuted last year at the Transmission festival in Prague, Running joins “Mota Mota“, produced with Koen Groeneveld, as part of the newest releases under Schulz’s Dakota guise.”Running Up That Hill” is a rework of the original 80’s classic by Kate Bush. Its airy pads and breath-taking ambience fill up the sound space with dreamy textures that differentiate it from its original form. Bev Wild’s haunting rendition of Bush’s lyrics brings another level of emotion to the song. Schulz’s production on this track is also satisfying as its melody pays a fair homage to the source material it’s based from.
Markus Schulz first introduced Dakota to the world in 1999, with his release Swirl. Dakota received its name from the street Schulz grew up on. Since then, Schulz has built the alias up with the 2009 album Thoughts Become Things followed by its sequel in 2011. The Dakota alias saw a revival after Markus Schulz found himself in a dark place. Schulz cited the dreadful shooting at Pulse Nightclub as the turning point. After a few months of a quiet period, Schulz emerged with the concept of The Nine Skies.
The Nine Skies project is essentially a live show concept that emerged during a reflective break for Schulz, following the Orlando shooting. Schulz came across the idea of Nine Skies when contemplating the kind of legacy he wants to leave in his career. He wants something to be remembered. The 90 minute live show is divided into 9 acts. These acts are based on what Schulz describes to be the nine skies to enlightenment and are as follows:
- The Follower
- The Contemplator
- The Pathfinder
- The Pleasure Seeker
- The Activist
- The Master
- The Visionary
- The Prophet
- The Nirvana
Each sky has a 10 minute duration in the live show. The show will have corresponding visuals to the music. The first single, “Mota Mota”, was said to have been made with the first sky in mind, The Follower, with soldiers as inspiration. The singles to follow will likely represent the rest of the skies, producing the opportunity to accurately capture the aesthetic of Nine Skies into an album.
The key difference between Markus Schulz and his Dakota guise is that when he produces under his own name, he derives inspiration from the crowds at his shows. When he produces under Dakota, he is solely reaching inside himself to create. He describes the music under his own name as for the partiers, and the music of Dakota as for those that want something more. Dakota was typically a darker, deeper, and more club-oriented sound. Based on the first two releases of Nine Skies, we can expect Dakota to vary from Tech to a progressive sound.
Following its Las Vegas debut, Markus Schulz is finally bringing his Dakota alias to the tour circuit with performances at some of the biggest festivals of the summer. Check out the official scheduled dates of The Nine Skies below: