The German-American legend Markus Schulz recently released his third Dakota album “The Nine Skies” and it’s safe to say it’s one of the albums of the year. The dark and spiritual album was first announced at the end of 2016 and eager fans have finally been rewarded for their patience with a stunning release.
Take one look at the cover of this LP and you get an understanding of what the album is about, overarching darkness-to-light.
The tipping point for this album came after the tragic attack on Florida’s Pulse nightclub. “All the shit that’s happened after that has really changed things, but somehow that all seemed to start with Pulse. It just devastated me. Shook me to my core. It woke me up to the idea that, in general, we’re not on the right path. I believe to get us back there, to turn things around, anyone who is able has to do their bit. The Nine Skies is me trying to do mine in really the only way I know how”.
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.
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.”
The story behind this album, how it originated and what it means to Markus, is simply fascinating. To sum up, “Nine Skies” is astonishing, enigmatic, and thought-provoking. Get your copy of this album here:
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