Markus Schulz just released his third LP under his Dakota alias called Nine Skies and let me tell you it is a great one!

If “Thoughts Become Things” I and II were pathfinders for this last one and possibly the most definitive of Dakota projects, Dakota has had always its own spiritual side, and that is perfectly reflected in the Nine Skies.

It all started last year, Florida’s Pulse nightclub attack being the main trigger .  All that happened that night, changed things for Markus and it influenced him into producing the album. It made him think more about deeper aspects of life and how can we all change the world and be on the right path, doing our part individually. He took all those thoughts and put them into 18 tracks, trying this way to do his part into turning things around.

In respect of ‘The Nine Skies’, Markus’ own awakening started predominantly through books. “I started reading, he says, like a lot!” “At home, in hotel lobbies, on flights, in the studioI’ve always had a lingering interest in spirituality and the desire to make some sense of life. It’s something I share with people that are close to me. We like to chat about the nature of things like dharma, prajna, true-self – all that stuff. It is how – over time – the ‘Skies’ came into being.

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Markus says that he has always seen Dakota, not as an alias, but as a persona. An identity. And that the division between the Dakota hat and the Markus Schulz one, helped him find the artistic space and make darker, moodier and deeper music. Exploring and experimenting more, leaving to the state of mind of the moment to lead him.

The LP has 18 tracks and I’ve listened to all of them quite a lot this past week. Even if it is not the bpm I am usually listening music to, it was something I enjoyed a lot. I listened to this on my way to the office, at the office, at the gym, writing articles, working on designs or daily chores. It worked perfectly with all of these activities. And it also put me in a very good and happy mood. A zen one actually. And when music does that, you know it is GOOD music.


  1. The Nine Skies Intro
  2. Bravo on the Go
  3. Follow Me
  4. Mota-Mota
  5. Who Are You
  6. Searching
  7. Running Up That Hill
  8. Eve’s Doorway
  9. Edonismo
  10. Kismet
  11. The Way It Is
  12. Cafe Del Mar
  13. The Master
  14. Carbonado
  15. In Search of Something Better
  16. Future Shock
  17. The Spirit of the Warrior
  18. The Ninth Sky

I said 18 tracks, but as the title says there are 9 skies to reach:

1. The Follower – From wandering as lost souls, to learning how to be a good follower, in order to become a good leader.
2. The Contemplator – From questioning what surrounds us, to contemplating and opening our minds, in order to fill it with wisdom.
3. The Pathfinder – From a growing confidence, to finding our own path, in order to deeper understand ourselves and the world around us.
4. The Pleasure Seeker – From finding our way, to submitting to temptation, in order to learn from others and see the different point of views.
5. The Activist – From travelling along the path and understanding others, to standing up to make a difference.
6. The Master – From being tested and challenged, to disintegrating self doubt and building confidence, to measuring success through our inner happiness.
7. The Visionary – From beginning to see things clearly, to understanding the process, the world, the connections.
8. The Prophet – From seeing clearly to anticipating events and being one step ahead.
9. The Nirvana – From understanding the world, to feeling the overwhelming glow of happiness.

Reaching all of them is a complete and well thought journey. And I really like it when artists do this. I appreciate them taking the time drawing it for the listeners and pushing them to become better through music. I know I always do. Music helps me concentrate and reach all my happy places. And this album did it too. It worked for me, and I hope it will work for you too. Markus did an amazing job into producing this and I hope I understood everything as he envisioned it. Dakota is and will always be a very close to my heart project, because of works like Nine Skies.

The Nine Skies project was all done before anyone could say a word about it. It gave Markus the opportunity to release it in his own way, by bringing tracks to the stage one by one. This way, he gave the audience the possibility to digest and absorb it’s essence easier. And not feel crowded by all the shows, news or other classic materials. Enlightenment takes time and nothing happens overnight. Markus released the first 4 singles in a specific order, to reflect the journey from darkness to enlightenment. Started with Mota Mota and ended with Spirit of the Warrior. Each track has its own theme and each reflects into the Skies’ nine realms. Even if at first listen, you may not see the journey Markus envisioned, give it time. You’ll get all the feels this album is about.

Dakota’s extraordinary The Nine Skies LP was be released through Coldharbour Recordings on December 8th. You can grab your copy from here: For the Dakota enthusiats they also prepared The Nine Skies box set, that will become available soon. This very special limited edition audio-visual release will include the DVD of Markus’ performance of The Nine Skies at Prague’s O2 Arena, as part of the Transmission 2017 event.

Even tough I like the whole album, I do have some favorites: Mota Mota, Searching and The Spirit of the Warrior. What is your favorite?

More info on Markus Schulz, Dakota and ‘The Nine Skies’ available, via the online resources below: