Wolfgang Gartner – 10 Ways to Steal Home Plate

Released: 1/29/2016
Rating: 4/7

For fans of: Zedd, Deadmau5, Disclosure, Mord Fustang
What I expected: Awesome synthy-electro that makes me want to smash a Macbook
What I got: A shiny, funky dance album based more around vocal showcasing than club play
Standout tracks: “Unholy”, “Replay It”, “Feel Right”, “Hurricane Slurricane”

I know for a fact that I’m not the only person who has been asking, “Where the hell did Wolfgang Gartner go?”

In my early experiences with electro, he was the artist that consistently pushed boundaries and delivered incredible collaborations with Deadmau5, Skrillex, Cam’ron, Mark Knight, Tiesto, and (I guess I’ll mention) Will.i.am. After releasing Backstory in 2012, he dropped off the map for the most part.

There was rekindled hope of a major release in early 2014, when “Unholy” was released as a single, with remixes from up-and-coming heavy hitters Tchami, Milo & Otis, Amtrac and others. Sadly, the tour to accompany the release and all future performances were cancelled due to medical concerns, and since then Wolfgang has been silent. Until now, that is. Last week, 10 Ways to Steal Home Plate was released on Kindergarten Records, Gartner’s own label.

Anybody left searching for more variation and depth in recent dance music releases should find what they’re looking for in Gartner’s 10 Ways to Steal Home Plate. After being on a lengthy hiatus since his last LP in 2012, Gartner comes back to break into the dance/pop crossover market. Standout tracks “Unholy”, “Feel Right”, and “Replay It” walk the line between vocal pop and progressive house in a way that most EDM producers can’t pull off, and it feels good when those moments happen. While he does find success in that regard, his departure from frantic rhythms and intricate synthwork (refer to his earlier track “Menage a Trois”) might be a bit disappointing to longtime fans.

On the other hand, new listeners might find the album varied enough to catch their ear, which would be a boost to the veteran producer’s reputation. Even though it wasn’t what I was hoping for from Wolfgang Gartner, I can most definitely appreciate this LP as a solid attempt at bringing a sense of musicality back to electronic dance music.

Check out “Unholy” below.