A Look Back at Jay Lumen’s Origins in Progressive House and Trance

Nov 25, 2022

Sierra Vandervort

3 min read

These days, Hungarian DJ and producer Jay Lumen is known as a master craftsman of techno bunker tracks. But he didn’t start out that way. A deep dive into his earliest singles and releases gives way to a much more melodic, progressive sound. Armada Music, Anjunabeats, and Baroque Records all housed some of his earlier tracks. So where did the switch happen?

Thanks to his nearly decade-long stint in a music conservatory, Lumen always had a theoretically solid and classical knowledge of music. In this way, it’s not hard to see where the pull toward strong harmonics and melody originates—though Lumen will give you a more effervescent, heartfelt answer.

“If I want to send a track to someone, the first and most important thing for me is to do something which is coming from my soul,” he said in his Spotlight interview with Gray Area. “I'm just trying to do something that I really want to do. So I just have an inspiration, and I do that kind of track.”

Early Lumen tracks like “Calypso” and “12 Hours From Paris” have the driving beats seen in his later tracks, but with shimmering synths instead of corrosive techno textures. After becoming restless in the seamless world of trance, Lumen switched to tech house in the mid 2000s. He enjoyed a few good years there and blessed fans with tracks like “Dirty Groove” and “The Groovy Stuff.”

But at the turn of the decade, Lumen again felt the need for change. “I don't want to be in a scene that’s oversaturated, and getting more commercial because of there being too many acts,” he said. And so he switched over to the dark side of the club.

When Lumen made the switch to minimal techno, his music came to life. Tracks like “Human” and “Asteroid” show Lumen cutting through the noise and ripping up the dancefloor. His technical chops are still evident, but this time there are no frills, just hard-hitting beats with a sinister sound. Though he seems to have found his groove, Lumen knows better than to say “never.” He may return to his more progressive roots someday, but for now, he’s exactly where he wants to be.

“I'm always happy to change and switch up my sound a little bit,” Jay says. “Because if something is not inspiring me anymore, I don't want to keep doing it.”

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