Articles

RSS
  • 2010 Reviews - Part 1

    22 jui. 2010, 13h38m

    I noticed that I haven't posted these in a long time. So here is some of the reviews I've done during this year. Next ones should come out in a month or so.

    ATBThe Dj 5



    CD 1
    01. ATB -9 Pm Reloaded (Club Version)
    02. Fischerspooner - Supply & Demand
    03. Arty - Gentle Touch
    04. Alpha 9 - Bliss (Alpha 9 Club Mix)
    05. Dash Berlin With Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren - Man On The Run
    06. Cor Fijneman Feat. Melissa Mathes -Disappear (Carlos Sun Juan Remix)
    07. Jaco – Unreachable
    08. ATB Pres. Flanders - Behind (Edx Ibiza Sunrise Remix)
    09. Simon Patterson - Different Feeling
    10. Estiva - I Feel Fine (Piano Mix)
    11. Signalrunners - Meet Me In Montauk
    12. JPL - Waking Up With You
    13. DJ Tatana - Somebody (Leventina Remix)
    14. Mossy - Come With Me

    CD 2
    01. ATB - Gravity (2010 Atb Club Mix)
    02. Kyau & Albert - I Love You (Cosmic Gate Remix)
    03. Steve Brian – Starlight
    04. Josh Gallahan - Shades Of Love
    05. ATB - L.A. Nights (Atb`S 2010 Energy Club Mix)
    06. Cold Blue – Fever
    07. Akesson - Flavour Park
    08. ATB & Josh Gallahan – Mythology
    09. JPL - Summer Skin
    10. Ferry Tayle & Static Blue - L`Acrobat
    11. Henrik Christensen – Overseas
    12. Oliver Smith- Cirrus
    13. Adam Nickey – Callista
    14. Ronski Speed - Aural Slave (Thomas Datt Remix)
    15. Walsh & Mcauley - Beyond Belief

    CD 3
    01. Dance 2 Trance - Hello San Francisco
    02. Zyon - No Fate (Struggle Continious Mix)
    03. Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar (Three N One Remix)
    04. Chicane Feat. Moya Brennan – Saltwater
    05. Hidden Logic Pres. Luminary – Wasting
    06. Breakfast - Dancing In The Moonlight
    07. Jam & Spoon – Stella
    08. Three Drives - Greece 2000
    09. Airwave - When Things Go Wrong
    10. Moonman – Galaxia
    11. Andain - Beautiful Things (Gabriel & Dresden Unplugged Mix)
    12. Moby – Go
    13. Cosmic Baby – Liebe

    Look! I can spin trance!


    After last couple of reviews I decided, that it is time to move back into trance. Of course since it's january, it's bit hard to find any record to be reviewed. And with trance that problem is even bigger, since there isn't that many trance-albums or compilations around. But because of that, it's easier to spot some certain album, or compilation in this case. And look what I found! ATB is here again with the latest addition for his The DJ-series!

    First of all, I have to admit that the first three ATB-albums weren't that bad. Movin' Melodies was ace. But productions became more and more uninteresting during the years and the last couple albums were just unmemorable. The DJ-series then again... Well the first two compilations had some good tracks but mixing was next to horrible. And The DJ 3 was the last one I checked. I don't really know why, since it was full of tracks every trance DJ played at the time. That album just shouted ”Look! I can play the same f**king tracks everyone else plays!”. It wasn't bad. Not at all, it has some good tracks when I look at the tracklist, but it was just insignificant. I didn't even notice that there was The DJ 4 so I guess it's as good time as any to move back to mr. Tanneberger's mixing.

    What can I say about the first disc? Well it does have couple of good tracks (I liked especially Gentle Touch) but there's a big problem. It doesn't have any sense. Consistency is non-existent. It basically offers everything which is trendy in trance. There is some buzzing electro-bassline, some uplifting trance, some tracks with deadmau5-ish feeling and some vocals. So to sum it up, it has as little as if Tijs would play ice-hockey naked. But what I especially can't understand is 9PM reloaded. It's just unbelieavable how André can make pretty catchy track into really irritating track. And why? Because he probably thinks that 9PM needs to be introduced into wider audience, because he thinks that it needed to be changed, because it is way too hard to put track which is older than one year into the mix or because he thinks that he gets lots of euros from that track.

    Second disc is closer to proper mix. It doesn't jump from one place to another. But unfortunately it doesn't jump anywhere either. After first track it just stays in one spot. It is just uplifting trance without any changes. There isn't anything which changes. I actually begun to want some vocals just for the sake of a little bit variation. But because this just stays in one place, I begun to ignore what the track really sound. And because of that, this album stays in background without any highlight and I just waited when it stops so I can put something else on. Something that actually is memorable, something that is different. This disc definately isn't anything like that when it is the very same thing over and over again.

    And of course there is disc 3. No, I didn't listen to it. Not at least yet. I don't consider it as a part of this compilation. Because I think it's bad? Not at all. Majority of all those tracks are very good. But it's just yet another classic mix with tracks everyone has mixed during all these years and with tracks I can remember perfectly. So what's the point? I know that disc is good but why bother when I can listen all those tracks individually too.

    In the end I have to think, what this really offered? First disc full of randomness and couple good tracks and second disc with the same thing over and over again. The same thing we all have heard for the last 5 years. And of course there is that one disc with classics which definately are good but would you buy this album just because of those? You probably have heard those already and many of us already has those tracks. And the mixing? Okay at most times. But there are couple really ankward transitions too. So there isn't really anything that special.

    4/10 (Not counting disc 3)

    Ace tracks:
    ArtyGentle Touch
    JacoUnreachable
    Random pick from disc 3

    Massive AttackHeligoland



    1. Pray For Rain
    2. Babel
    3. Splitting The Atom
    4. Girl I Love You
    5. Psyche
    6. Flat Of The Blade
    7. Paradise Circus
    8. Rush Minute
    9. Saturday Come Slow
    10. Atlas Air

    Borderline case


    It's somewhat unbelievable that the first album released by Massive Attack was already released in 1991. Blue Lines already had some great moments back then and it didn't stop there. It's almost just as unbelievable that Heligoland is only the fifth studio album from Massive Attack since the band never have been really on hiatus. Protection came out in 1994, Mezzanine in 1998 and 100th Window in 2003. But because every album has been done for quite some time, the quality has been astonishing. I especially like 100th Window and most of all Mezzanine, which I listened just before I begun to listen Heligoland. Now that album is one of the best albums of all time!

    So it's no wonder that I was expecting this album. And since it was been made for quite some time, expectations might go even too high. At the same time it's somewhat amazing to finally have this album. Already in 2004 Massive Attack was in the studio, but that stuff isn't here. But after that it was announced that “Weather Underground” is coming. No-one thought that it would take so long to actually have this album. During that time title Weather Underground was changed into “LP5” and finally into Heligoland. And now it's here. After so long time. Maybe even too long?

    Pray For Rain is the first track of the album which at least shows that there isn't that much change. This album is still pretty downtempo and triphop-elements are still there. But it almost sounds like many tracks in one track where couple good parts are spoiled by few parts which aren't that good. And somewhat I was fond to that dark atmosphere of last two albums. Babel is pretty “uptempo” for downtempo and it's dominated by in my opinion pretty odd vocals which doesn't have any appeal to me whatsoever. Splitting The Atom has some nice elements which made Massive Attack great, including even vocalists which are well-known from Massive Attack before, but it gets annoying after 4 minutes since it just stays where it begun and it really don't have that necessary catch in it. Girl I Love You is then again one step into better direction which almost feels like a track from Mezzanine. Clear highlight so far! The same goes to Psyche. Maybe this album is now taking a step into better direction?

    Nah. I don't find Flat Of The Blade that good at the beginning. It grows towards the end nicely but it's not just enough in my opinion. But it's not a bad effort either. Paradise Circus is a strange case. Yes I love the track and Hope Sandoval's vocals are definitely interesting. But I can't help out thinking that maybe this should not be in Massive Attack's album. Somehow I feel like it should be under some other name, like Air or something. Great track nevertheless and maybe the best track of the whole album. Strange, yet dark and atmospheric and it just builds up more and more. Rush Minute and Saturday Come Slow aren't that special especially after that track. They just runs in the background and you could just skip those two tracks. Atlas Air ends album nicely and this 7 minute long trip is nice in the end of the album.

    And that was it. Was it worthy of waiting? Not really. Track just aren't that interesting for the most parts. There is no new Angel or Teardrop here. And some tracks are just boring and unimaginative, even annoying. Also what I liked Massive Attack in the past was that albums sounded like ones. Mezzanine was a trip, Protection was a trip, 100th Window was a trip. Those took you into the other world when you put them on. This album tries to move away from 100th Window but doesn't know if it should sound like Protection, Mezzanine or even Burial's Untrue. The result is somewhat confusing which is the first time with Massive Attack. And when that has happened and the tracks just aren't that good for the most part, the result is the first big disappointment of the year. This is not necessary a bad effort, but not something you would expect from an act like Massive Attack.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Psyche
    Paradise Circus
    Atlas Air

    BTThese Hopeful Machines



    Disc 1
    1. Suddenly
    2. The Emergency
    3. Every Other Way
    4. The Light Of Things
    5. Rose Of Jericho
    6. Forget Me

    Disc 2
    1. A Million Stars
    2. Love Can Kill You
    3. Always
    4. Le Nocturne De Lumiere
    5. The Unbreakable
    6. The Ghost In You

    Unemotional technology


    Ah yes. BT is here once again. It is time for his 6th studio album and I was pretty excited. I don't hide my love and appreciation for BT. I really think he can do really good music. Actually I think he has done two excellent album, two good albums and one which was a huge letdown. Also he has done some really good tracks like Firewater, Flaming June, Namistai, Godspeed... The list goes on. And since This Binary Universe was really good album, I expected this to be at least nearly as good.

    But first of all. What I think that describes BT's sound is his love for technology. He is more like technological prodigy than actual producer. First album IMA was more like a product of it's time full of usual Epic House-stuff, but already ESCM had some unique sounds and ideas while it also sounds complete making that album in my opinion his best up-to-date. Movement In Still Life was still good but it was also full of different tracks making it bit jumping from one place to other. Tracks were also full of odd solutions. Though I have to admit that some tracks from that album are really, really good. But Emotional Technology was just a let down and full of way too overproduced pop trying to show how many different effects you can use with vocals. This Binary Universe then again was interesting downtempo-album. It maybe lacks soul but it is very interesting and it sounds like an album with some good tracks. That's why I think it's the second best album from mr. Transeau. Now it's time for These Hopeful Machines.

    If I would choose one word to describe this album, it would be confusing. Yes, even after three listens I find this album confusing. Why? Let's take those three tracks I had heard before listening to this album for example. Rose Of Jericho is BT-track for clubs (which doesn't really work in that environment) which wanders between progressive house and trance. It seems pretty simple if you don't really listen to it, but all those little things makes that track interesting and when the most energetic parts sound good, it's one of the best tracks of 2009. Every Other Way relies highly on Jes's unique voice. Vocals works fairly well but this downtempo track doesn't have that much appeal and even though it's nice, there's nothing that would take your attention. Still it's fairly solid track. Suddenly works in my opinion well as a radio edit. It's a good pop-track with trance and post rock influences. But the longer version just plays around for too much and vocals which works pretty well in short version becomes irritating in the end. But come on, three tracks and all of those are totally different and also full of weird technological effects.

    And the same thing continues in the album. First four tracks goes like this. Suddenly is that post rock / trance hybrid with passable vocals, The Emergency takes influences from this modern “minimal”-trend and it almost sounds bit deadmau5ish and it has very average, almost annoying vocals. Every Other Way is “just nice” downtempo-track with vocals. The Light Of Things is trancier track with pretty good vocals from Jes. So there you go, already after four tracks you got the feeling that this just jumps from one place to another. And next track is by the way Rose Of Jericho, again totally different tracks compared to others. Explanation comes from the sleeves. BT has co-produced tracks together with many different names including Boom Jinx, Airwave and Ulrich Schnauss for an example. It doesn't really surprise me since BT often has gotten aid from other producers with his best tracks. BT rarely has made a good track all by himself and many tracks that have that catchy part is made together with someone else.

    This goes back to BT's love for technology. He seems to want mostly make technologically good track but he has forgotten that humans are emotional, technology isn't. The result is that this album looks very good from the outside, almost perfect. But inside this album is empty. And this leads yet another two points. Lack of emotion is sometimes hidden with vocals which sometimes work, mostly not. This album has couple tracks with really annoying vocals. Also what I find odd is that I find most of the tracks two minutes too long. I don't usually have problems with long tracks but here it feels just like that even with couple good ideas, BT tries to play around with his tracks way too long and he just tries to show what he can do with technology he has and he puts that one more glitch or effect into the end of the track.

    So in a nutshell, this isn't really a bad album. There are couple pretty annoying tracks but those won't dominate the album. The problem is that it's not a good one either. Tracks just aren't memorable or catchy. There is nothing what would pull me back to this album. This album is soulless. It's dead, artificial. It lacks emotion. Production here is top notch as you would expect from BT but the quality of production just isn't enough. And when this album just fails as a album since it sounds like collection of tracks BT has made during the last two years in a random order, this album is probably the second worst album in BT's history winning Emotional Technology barely. I am officially disappointed when BT album reaches 6/10 and even that rating comes just barely. And I tried to like this album. I really did.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Rose of Jericho
    The Light Of Things
    Every Other Way

    V/A – Anjunadeep:02



    Disc One:
    1. Jaytech & James Grant - Moth
    2. Hernan Cerbello - Reach Your Soul
    3. Jody Wisternoff - Lassoo
    4. Oliver Smith - Sunday
    5. Paul Keeley - Disco Belle
    6. Jamie Matrix - Rotation
    7. Solarity - Diophantine
    8. Michael Cassette - Kilimanjaro
    9. 16 Bit Lolitas - Singularity
    10. Daniel Portman - Elder (Peter Horrevorts Remix)
    11. 16 Bit Lolitas - Re-Murdered
    12. BT - Flaming June 2010 (Jaytech & James Grant Mix)
    13. Monakhov & Que - Hola
    14. Solarity - Red (Redder Mix)

    Disc Two:
    1. 16 Bit Lolitas - Cold Energy
    2. Paul Keeley - Cloud 9
    3. Dave Horne - Q.E.D.
    4. Boom Jinx & Andrew Bayer - By All Means
    5. Marcus Schossow pres. 1985 - London
    6. Jaytech - In The Jungle
    7. Jamie Matrix - Gold Rush
    8. Roddy Reynaert - Fellowcraft
    9. Sergey Tkachev - Alien & Butterfly
    10. Boom Jinx & Andrew Bayer - To The Six (Martin Roth Remix)
    11. Hydroform - Shine (Andrew Bennett & Rico Soarez Mix)
    12. Tom Fall - Cubic
    13. Jaytech - Ozone
    14. Solarity – DNA

    Solid


    Anjunadeep-series has reached it second version. First one had some potential. It had a clear red line and some really good tracks. But even though it had potential and that compilation was already on the breakaway, it couldn't score. Now is turn of James Grant and Jaytech and Anjunadeep:02. James Grant is more unfamiliar in the field of producing to me. All I know is that he is brother of Jono Grant. But Jaytech is a good and solid name. Everything Is OK-album was more than just OK. It's in my top 3 of Anjuna-albums of all time. Also Pepe's Garden and it's awesome bassline is one of the best tracks released during the last few years. So this is promising.

    And unlike parent label Anjunabeats, I like Anjunadeep. Exactly why? Because it's somewhat different. Anjunadeep offers slower paced trance with some house-elements. Someone calls it progressive, but it's kind of hard to put under progtrance. It doesn't sound anything like 90's progtrance, not progtrance from the beginning of millenniumm, not even the kind of progtrance Markus Schulz has played for years. Anjunadeep doesn't have that much those annoying elements from “minimal” or “electro” either and it isn't as much about unicorns and rainbows like Anjunadeep usually is. This stuff isn't played to death. A lot of it has been played for sure but the doses are still manageable. That's why I will check this one with a lot of interest. But how I should view this one. I decided to analyze three the most important elements. Mixing, flow and track selection. So here we go.

    First Anjunadeep-compilation really suffered from mixing. It didn't destroy that record but some of the transitions were bit ankward and you didn't really get into the good vibe. Second coming is better. Now mixing is exactly what you can expect during this computer age. It's fairly smooth and it doesn't have much flaws. But it's just that. It's just that basic mixing. There aren't those memorable transitions which you remember years after years. Mixing here is just that basic thing. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The second point of mine is the flow. Yes, here we have clear red line and idea of using Anjunadeep-tracks works pretty well. At least it doesn't jump ankwardly from place to another. But it's also the greatest weakness of the album. This album just barely moves from the place it was in the first place. This album just developes too slowly, if at all. One CD is passable but two CD's and 2,5 hours is just bit too much. If you make this long compilation, there must be something to keep you interested. And the other option is the tracks. Those must be really good to keep your attention. But are they?

    Actually yes. This compilation is full of sweet tracks. Overall level of tracks is surprisingly good, especially if you consider this to be somewhat connected to Anjunabeats. I don't find any annoying tracks in this compilation. Not single one. But there aren't that much tracks that stands out either. There isn't too many tracks which you want to listen over and over again. Especially in the first disc there was like two tracks I really noticed. Jaytech's disc is better since it has more really good tracks. But then again there is more tracks which are totally unmemorable and worthless. But I have to point out to one of the tracks. New version of Flaming June? Really? What's the point of remaking that track? I'm asking this from you Jaytech and James Grant, what's the problem with the original track?

    It is a strange thing. I think that this is really solid compilation, but there is one major flaw. I tried to listen both discs in one try but I couldn't do it. After 1 hours and 45 minutes the amount of similar tracks was just too much. But when I listened these discs separately, both discs sounds like 7 or 8 out of 10 discs. So my recommendation is that listen one disc at the time and you will get the most pleasant listening experience. Because this compilation really has some good moments and lots of potential. If the first Anjunadeep-compilation was already on the breakaway but wasn't nowhere near to score, this one already hits the post. Maybe Anjunadeep:03 finally scores. And one last thing. Rating is based on what I felt after listening to both discs at the same time. If you will listen to those discs at different time, you can add one rating more to the score.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    16 Bit LolitasRe-Murdered
    Jamie Matrix - Gold Rush
    Hydroform- Shine (Andrew Bennett & Rico Soarez Mix)

    Hybrid LeisurelandScroll Slide



    1. Division And Composition
    2. Traditional Drugs
    3. Gentleness Color
    4. Imagination Of Imagination
    5. Breeze Is Nice
    6. Exist Unreality
    7. Breathing Smoke
    8. Threshold
    9. Balance
    (9b. Puppeteer)

    Background music


    I haven't heard even one truly amazing album this year. Some good compilations and artist albums yes, but all of those I have heard have some certain flaws which have caused them to be just nice. And of course there has been big disappointments with the likes of BT and Massive Attack. It's definately not like the last year when there was immediately John Tejada's Fabric and albums from Telefon Tel Aviv, Yagya and Solar Fields. But this year is already in third month and I put my hopes on familiar label. It's Ultimae time.

    During the last year I begun to finally trust Ultimae Records. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed artists from the catalogue, but I came to realize what is the connection with many of the artists. Last year Ultimae released albums from Solar Fields, Aes Dana, H.U.V.A. Network and Cell which all were either good or at some cases, exceptionally good. So now when new album from the label is coming out, I'm interested. A lot. Even though I had no idea who Hybrid Leisureland is, I thought I could count on Ultimae. By the way it's no wonder I had no clue who Hybrid Leisureland is. Discogs states that Hybrid Leisureland is Hidetoshi Koizumi who has released only one album under the name Hybrid Leisureland and pretty much nothing else.

    But this is not actually the most common Ultimae album. Sure, Ultimae has released pretty chilling albums before too. But this album is much more relaxing than Ultimae usually releases. Because Ultimae Records has usually more upbeat-tracks in their albums too. This don't have those. Instead this is pure ambient and tempo is down all the time. It is music that makes you relaxed and which you can't listen when your eyes are shut or when you don't need to hurry anything. It is also fairly beautiful music and tries to create nice and calm atmosphere.

    But to be honest this might be bit too calm. Because the main problem here is that almost nothing here stands out. It's just that music which is heard in elevators. It just stays in the background. Some tracks are maybe bit better than others but I really had problems trying to pick ace tracks. Not that tracks would be bad or anything but nothing stands out. Well except for Breeze Is Nice. That track at least is bit different than others and even though it's not that special downtempo-track which uses piano, it still is the most interesting track from the album in my opinion.

    The problem here isn't that this would be bad. This album is way too unmemorable for that. But that is exactly the problem. This is unmemorable. If there is nothing you remember from the album, it fails. Even though the overall level is good, something must stand out. Something which makes you come back to the album. This album has nothing. I can't say that this album would disappoint me either but this isn't as good album as I would have wanted it to be. Search for the good album continues. I put my hopes on Hybrid.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Breeze is nice
    Threshold
    Imagination of imagination

    Ferry CorstenOnce Upon A Night



    Disc 1
    01. Yuri Kane - Right Back
    02. Yuri Kane - Around You
    03. Alpha 9 - Come Home
    04. Progressiver pres. FineSky - Fine Sky
    05. Fred Baker pres. Saona - Saono (Andy Duguid Remix)
    06. Tritonal feat. Soto - Forgive Me, Forget You (Ashley Wallbridge Remix)
    07. JPL - We Move In Symmetry
    08. Salt Tank Pres. Meet Me At The Burning Man - Leaving Town (Allende Remix)
    09. Phynn - Hello Love
    10. Amurai feat Melissa Loretta - Unconditional Love
    11. Arty - Hope
    12. Fender Woods - Ain’t She Pretty (Amurai’s Yerevan Remix)
    13. Cramp pres. Sliders - Meteor

    Disc 2
    01. Mark Sixma - Forsaken
    02. The Airstatic - Worldwide (Anton Firtich Remix)
    03. Tempo Giusto - Metropolitan (Alex O’Rion Remix)
    04. Breakfast - Slow Motion
    05. Bart Claessen - Hartseer
    06. Rafaël Frost - If Only
    07. Mike Danis - Sweet Dynamite
    08. Anton Firtich pres AF Project - Something Wrong
    09. Akira Kayosa - State Of Origin
    10. Ferry Corsten pres. Pulse - Once
    11. DJ Eco pres. Pacheco - Dancing Under Streetlights
    12. BT - The Unbreakable (Breakfast Remix)

    Lost in motion


    I think that some of the old producers still have a lot of potential to make a good music. Even the big names. At least compared to many new producers, older ones seem to make good tracks more often. I don't know why but it might have something to do with the fact, that when for an example Solarstone and Ferry Corsten begun their career, they had to use hardware. Then you had to make a track from a scratch and be more innovative compared to nowadays. Back then they learned how to make music and not just tracks. Ferry Corsten in my opinion is a pretty good producer. Every now and then I still find some good Ferry-track from back of the days, when he had more aliases and when he remixed a lot. And to be honest, back when he made uplifting trance he knew how to make good track. He was one of the names which created that genre and he knew exactly how to do it. Later on he was creating trance with a hint of electro when there yet wasn't bandwagon.

    Under his own name, he has made two pretty good albums. L.E.F. was in my opinion a miss, but even the latest album Twice In A Blue Moon was pretty good. Surely it had nothing special and innovations were pretty much non-existant. But tracks were well done and they sounds good. And since Ferry knows how to make a good track, I believe he knows how the good tracks even from the other producers should sound. That being said I have to admit one thing. I have never really liked compilations or mixes I have heard from Ferry Corsten. Always I have felt that something is missing. I have checked few compilations but no. It might have been the style or lack of good tracks but I wasn't just that impressed. But I know that the potential is there.

    And to my surprise, he shows some part of that potential. Yeah, I actually liked most of the first disc! It's nothing special but it has some good uplifting trance with the hint from the more progressive side. Disc also gets more and more energetic as the track goes which is only a good thing. I almost have lost hope that some of this stuff would be good. But for the most part of the record it is. Like the Yuri Kane's Right Back. It's not groundbreaking or anything, but piano works well and vocals aren't annoying at all. The other track from Yuri Kane is pretty good also. But I begun to thought that the quality would go down with tracks from Duguid and Tritonal. Luckily it didn't. JPL already made pretty good job with We Move In Symmetry but it's Allende's version of Leaving Town (I thought this was Chicane's track which featured Salt Tank?) which hits the spot. This track has been around here in Finland for two years and now it seems like it's finished. Basically it's more energetic version of the track and it works! After that the quality drops and there are couple silly vocal-tracks but then again not all of the remaining tracks are bad. Quality still remains pretty good.

    Second disc isn't unfortunately that impressive. It has it's own flaws. The biggest problem is that unlike the first disc this CD stays in the same spot. It's uplifting trance all the way and there isn't that much change. Also it doesn't have that many highlights and only Breakfast's Slow Motion and Ferry's own track Pulse – Once were better than else. But then again this has it's own good sides. The quality remains good almost all the way through and when thinking about regular level of uplifting trance, this is really good. Quality also becomes better when the disc continues and tracks become more interesting. Also this doesn't have annoying vocals. And then comes the last track. I wasn't impressed with the original version of BT's The Unforgivable and when those male vocals the track has are placed in regular uplifting trance, it just doesn't work. Instead it becomes pretty annoying and if the last track of the compilation is annoying... Well it's not really a good thing.

    But I have to admit that this is pretty good compilation. Actually one of the best records from uplifting trance in the recent years. I can't remember when I would have been this excited about uplifting-album. Usually if I like trance, it's from proggier or darker side of trance or psy. And this is probably the best record I have heard from big trance DJ's since Tiësto's ISOS 6. This compilation shows once again why I think Ferry Corsten is the best from the big trance DJ's. In his case, it's still possible to hear some good music. I think that this record shows that there might just be a little bit of hope in trance. But what fresh things does this record offer? What new it brings for the year 2010? Just like Twice In A Blue Moon it probably doesn't offer anything new but instead it offers well made tracks. And it just might be enough.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    Yuri KaneRight Back
    Salt Tank pres. Meet Me At The Burning Man -Leaving Town (Allende Remix)
    Ferry Corsten pres. PulseOnce
  • What 2009 offered?

    7 jan. 2010, 18h10m

    So, this has been my tradition to make top lists at the end of the year. So I do this year too. So here is the list of my favorite albums and tracks from the last year. So here we go.

    Albums

    15. Röyksopp - Junior



    Röyksopp succeeded to make once again pretty good album. Surely this isn't as good as Melody A.M. or The Understanding, but still as a whole this was pretty good album. This wasn't anymore similar album as the previous albums but instead offered new kind of Röyksopp. And it was nice mixture of old Röyksopp, some synthpop and electro-sounds, which are so popular these days. After couple listens it begins to work and you begin to wonder, what kind of tracks does Senior offer?

    Ace track: Röyksopp Forever

    14. Porcupine Tree - The Incident



    I know that Porcupine Tree isn't exactly the kind of music I listen mostly. But still, I have found these guys pretty interesting before and I think they have made pretty good tracks. But still The Incident is something else. It is an album. It doesn't have individual tracks but instead it goes on all the time and developes little by little. Difference from earlier productions is also the more raw and harder sound compared to their usual progressive rock. Either way this is as a whole very interesting listening experience.

    Ace track: The whole album

    13. The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die



    The magic of Music For The Jilted Generation or The Fat Of The Land is long gone but still, this was pretty nice surprise after really bad album The Prodigy released between this and The Fat Of The Land. Liam Howlett begin to search the roots of The Prodigy and added some elements early Prodigy had to the raw and hard sound of The Fat Of The Land. Result is interesting and energetic breakbeat with certain influences from rave. And it works pretty well and gives me hope that The Prodigy might become as magical as they were before.

    Ace track: Warrior's Dance

    12. 00.db - Heaven & Hell



    John OO Fleming and The Digital Blonde has made some great tracks together during the past few years. The music is interesting mixture of influences from psytrance, dark trance and 90's based progressive tracks. Usually the tracks gets more and more epic until it reaches short climax. With these elements it's something that is really unique. If just more trance-artists would make something really memorable and not just copy the work of others. And because tracks sounds unique, this easily qualifies as an album with clear red line. But the tracks aren't as good as some other work these guys have done, so this isn't exactly the highlight of the year. Good album nevertheless.

    Ace track: Ark

    11. Aes Dana - [Leylines]



    Something a friend of mine recommended. Ultimae Records releases lots of awesome downtempo-albums and Aes Dana's latest offering wasn't exception. This offers relaxing music which you can just listen to but it also goes from the calm parts to more agressive parts. As a whole it works pretty well but it isn't bull's eye either. But nevertheless the quality of the album is pretty impressive and definately gives you enough reason to check this one out.

    Ace track: Lysistrata

    10. Tiga - Ciao!



    One of the biggest surprises of the year for me. I didn't expect much from Tiga but then again maybe I should have checked co-producers before I begun to listen this one. Because this one works surprisingly well. This albums offers various genres like house, techno, electro and synthpop. So the overall sound of the album is bit non-existant but this album really lives to the quality of tracks. As long as overall quality of tracks is good it doesn't matter if album jumps from direction to another. And this album definately offers good and memorable moments.

    Ace track: Beep-Beep-Beep

    9. DJ Hell - Teufelswerk



    Sometimes album is just... interesting. This is definately the case with Teufelswerk. Many of the tracks aren't that special, especially in the first CD where this albums mostly (with some exceptions and great tracks) offers fairly uninteresting techno but the second CD is very interesting. It's more calm and relaxing but also offers some very unusual solutions and sounds. As a result you find this album very interesting and that's why you give it pretty much credit.

    Ace track: Germania

    8. Way Out West - We Love Machine



    Maybe the most expected album to me this year. As a massive Way Out West-fan it was nice to hear finally new stuff and it was a relief to find that it still worked. This isn't at the same level as self-titled debut or Intensify but the quality is still there and this does sound like Way Out West. This album gives you pretty nice and interesting progressive house with some trancey elements. And it still sounds pretty good. And it has some kind of bit summerish feeling. Also this has some of the best tracks I have heard this year. Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff can still do some awesome music!

    Ace tracks: We Love Machine

    7. Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself



    The other part of Telefon Tel Aviv, Charlie Cooper died one week after the release of this album. It's sad because this album is very good and just shows how much potential went with him. This album definately grows with every listen. It offers a really good combination of house, electro and synthpop. But what does it tell that the sad tracks are the best tracks of the album? Was it some kind of innuendo? But anyway everyone who likes similar artists will adore this one.

    Ace track: You Are the Worst Thing in the World

    6. Planisphere - Cyborganic



    More like EP than an album but still Laurent Veronnez made really good job. The previous album Solarism was really good too and the quality here is just as good. But this is more energetic album with clear sounds from the progressive trance of the 90's. But still those sounds are updated into this date and actually sounds like the future. There is also some variation with breakbeat-tracks but still as long as those sound similar to trance-tracks, the result doesn't suffer. As a whole this works surprisingly well if we think about that this is pretty much just a bunch of tracks. The quality drops a bit in the end, but still this is one of the highlights from trance of 2009.

    Ace track: Cyborganic

    5. Shpongle - Ineffable Mysteries From The Shpongleland



    Immediately when I read that the new Shpongle-album was coming, I knew that I could expect something pretty odd but interesting and exciting. Simon Posford and Raja Ram didn't let me down this time either. The first time I listened to this I got sidetracked to notice only the odd things but everything went better and better after the next listens. I can't even categorize Shpongle but what I know is that it breaks the patterns pretty much. And as I have noticed with Shpongle before, Shpongle works as an album much better as an individual tracks,

    Ace track: Nothing Is Something Worth Doing

    4. Jori Hulkkonen - Man From Earth



    This finnish artist got it going with Errare Machinale Est and the next album isn't bad either. Hulkkonen has clearly found what he can do best. After first albums his style has went more and more into the direction of synthpop. Even house-tracks have clear influences from synthpop nowadays. But everything here is solid with just enough variation. Compared to earlier album Errare Machinale Est this album has more highlights which is only a good thing.

    Ace track: Undercover feat. The Dove

    3. Yagya - Rigning



    Music for the rainy days. This whole album has the red line with raining which you can see from the title of the album as well as the name of the tracks (which are just Rigning *add number in icelandic here*). And it works. This is just wonderful downtempo-album perfect for relaxing. You don't need to do anything else than close your eyes and listen and you have a really pleasant experience. No wonder that almost everyone I know who have listened this album has recommended it. So clearly this album is one of the highlights of 2009 for many. And I don't complain about it.

    Ace track: Rigning Sex

    2. Union Jack - Pylon Pigs



    Simon Berry is back! It was one of the best news I had heard in a long time when I noticed that Art Of Trance and Union Jack are making comeback. Union Jack-album offered new stuff and my god does it work. TB-303 of acid trance is still there. Also there is hints of darker and progressive trance and every track developes almost all the time into more and more epic sounds and when those finally hits climax, it's something really good. This is how trance should sound and gives me hope that maybe, just maybe trance might return into it's former glory. One can only hope.

    Ace track: Triclops

    1. Solar Fields - Movements



    After I listened Movements for the very first time, I knew that it is a very strong candidate for the album of the year. Ultimae Records have offered good downtempo many times but this album is cream of the crop. Everything is almost perfect here. Sounds are pleasant, album is relaxing enough and interesting enough, it has highlights but it also works well as a album. Movements is in my books finest album of the last 3 years and that is a lot since I have listened to a lot of music. Magnus Birgersson really knows how to make more epic chillout. Movements definately deserves album of the year title.

    Ace track: Das Bungalow

    Honorable mentions
    I want to mention these albums but since these offers mostly just old tracks and nothing new, I just want to mention these. Definately worthy of checking out and quality is top notch, but really, these are just a bunch of old tracks:
    Art Of Trance - Retrospective
    Blue Planet Corporation - A Blueprint For Survival

    Compilations:
    Three compilations stood out this year. Here they are:

    3. Solarstone - Electronic Architecture



    Solarstone brought one of the most pleasant surprises from trance this year. Rich didn't go the easy way with his compilation but instead took time to search new talents and obscure tracks which fits into his idea of good compilation. Because this track isn't trance by numbers. Instead it's interesting compilation of progressive trance and more energetic stuff. And it flows well and sounds like a mix with beginning and the end.

    2. John Tejada - Fabric 44



    This compilation was the first album I reviewed this year. When I got this I didn't expect it to be this good. But John Tejada really made album full of awesomeness. Techno and more relaxing tracks works well together as well as the old and new tracks. This album proves also the sentence less is more. It doesn't have that much tracks but it works very well and it is very effective.

    1. Joris Voorn - Balance 014



    If Tejada's album was "less is more", here there is more of everything. It's just amazing how many tracks Voorn used with this Balance-compilation. And does it work? Surprisingly well! Some parts of the compilation are just awesome when many tracks seems to work perfectly together. I just wonder what kind of stuff Voorn used while making this album. Nevertheless Balance-series still impresses me, maybe even more than before.

    Tracks:

    1. Union Jack - Triclops
    2. BT - Rose of Jericho
    3. Way Out West - We Love Machine
    4. Shiloh - Chords
    5. Way Out West - Future Perfect
    6. R.E.N.O.I.S.E - Dead Wishes
    7. Rosie & The Goldbug - Heartbreak (Gareth Emery Dub)
    8. Union Jack - Papillon
    9. Planisphere - Cyborganic
    10. Tiga - Beep, Beep, Beep
    11. Solar Fields - Das Bungalow
    12. Gareth Emery - Metropolis
    13. Röyksopp - Röyksopp Forever
    14. 00.db - Oxygene
    15. Paul & Fritz Kalbrenner - Sky And Sand
    16. Ville Lope & Chantola - Blowfish (Planisphere Remix)
    17. Syna - Forever
    18. Tiga - Luxury
    19. DJ Hell - Germania
    20. Solarstone - Dark Heart (Beetseekers Remix)
    21. The Prodigy - Warrior's Dance
    22. Yotopia - Mr. Brotherman
    23. Union Jack - Funnelweb
    24. Shpongle - Nothing Is Something Worth Doing
    25. Way Out West - Pleasure Control
    26. Vitalic - Poison Lips
    27. Union Jack - Longhorn
    28. Gui Boratto - No Turning Back
    29. Planisphere - Jarresque
    30. Ville Lope - Gratitude
  • 2009 Reviews - Part 3

    6 jan. 2010, 17h57m

    It's been almost 0,5 year since my last journal. But I have continued to make reviews. These are reviews from the last half of the year. I hope that all enjoy to read these as much as I enjoyed to write these. And of course feedback is highly appreciated.

    Aes Dana - [Leylines]



    1. Alignments
    2. Bam (Album Edit)
    3. Oxyd
    4. Heights
    5. Adonaï
    6. Leylines
    7. Lysistrata (Album Edit)
    8. Signs
    9. Inter
    10. Blossom

    Beauty never fades


    I have to admit that I didn't have that good idea about Ultimae Records, the label which released this one. And I surely should have checked what they have to offer much earlier. But then again, I actually know many of the artists from the label. Carbon Based Lifeforms, Asura, Cell, h.u.v.a. networks and Solar Fields are all very good stuff which I recommend for everyone who wants to listen to more chilling electronic music.

    But the name Aes Dana was unknown to me. The reason why I even checked this album was that I got recommendation to check this one out. And I had some clue how it might sound so I checked it out. But first some info about Aes Dana. Aes Dana is an artist name for Vincent Villius and this is far from his debut. In fact Ultimae have released 3 Aes Dana-albums before this one so the name probably isn't that odd for many listeners. But to me... well this was the first Aes Dana-release I checked so I can't compare it to the older releases. All I can do is to write what I think about this release. So let's see what [Leylines] includes.

    I am not the best person to talk about ambient-stuff. I enjoy listening it but describing it is different thing. But what I can describe is that this album is pretty chilling for most parts using beautiful sounds. But at the same time the beats aren't forgotten and the album has both breakbeat as well as more familiar 4x4. But what I liked the best was the basslines which are powerful and interesting making the tracks catchier and generally more interesting to listen to. Also what I found remarkable was that every now and then the album becomes faster and after it comes more chilling parts suggesting that it's again just a calm before the storm. Of course even the faster parts are pretty peaceful and you can't find too much energy from this one but hey, it's ambient!

    So is it good then? Well at the most parts yes. I think some of the tracks are pretty impressive and there certainly aren't any completely bad moments. Maybe bit dull but that's still more about being "calm before the storm". The album is beautiful piece of music and offers many interesting sounds but still, it fails to impress me completely. I don't know exactly why, but even though I think this sounds good, it doesn't sound awesome. As a whole album works well but it doesn't exactly go the one more step for being really awesome and memorable album.

    Still, I would recommend this album for all those who like Solar Fields or any other producers which are in Ultimae's catalog. You don't waste your time while listening to this. Just press play-button and relax. You don't need to do anything else while listening to this one.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Heights
    Leylines
    Lysistrata (Album Edit)

    ---

    Paul Oakenfold - Perfecto Vegas



    CD1
    01. Hibernate - Left Alone
    02. The Fraction - Awaken (Torin Schmitt Remix)
    03. Shawn Michaels & Kenneth Thomas - Funktion Won
    04. Joe Echo - On All My Sundays (Liam Shachar Remix)
    05. Dezarate & Mitchel Manzano - Kiss My Love
    06. Shannon - Let The Music Play (David Delano, Dirty Lou & Swedish Egil Remix)
    07. Joey Modus & Kazell - Slack Jaw
    08. The Fraction & Corey Croft - Tease
    09. Nat Monday - Break & Fall (Adam White Radio Edit)
    10. Vibe Shock - Invasion (Borganism Remix)
    11. Elucidate - Carousel
    12. Outer Sunset - Fell My Magic (Adam White Remix)

    CD2
    01. Robert Vadney - Fallen Angel's Symphony
    02. Happy Monkey - King Of The Berry (Piano Slam Mix)
    03. Jan Johnston - Sleeping Satellite (Robert Vadney's Blamed Remix)
    04. Barry Jay - Infused
    05. Robert Vadney - Away From You
    06. Nat Monday - Flammable (Adam White's Perfecto Remix)
    07. Kenneth Thomas Feat. Colleen Riley - Wish You Were Here (Ehren Stowers Remix)
    08. Trenix - Becoming You
    09. Robert Vadney - Club Perfecto
    10. Amine Edge & Alexis Dante - Eivissa (Deluna Remix) (Bonus Track)
    11. Barrington Lawrence & Shefali - Eclipsing The Sun (Barry Jay Remix) (Bonus Track)

    Look! A monkey!


    Oh yes, Oakie is here again! Oakenfold is at least in my books odd case. He definately was one of the first guys who defined the term superstar DJ and Oakie was also one of the first who became more and more commercialized (or like some would say, sold his soul to the devil) which eventually has lead him to be warm-up DJ for Madonna not to mention that horrible piece called A Lively Mind. But then again this is the guy behind Goa Mix and two good Global Underground-compilations and there has been much good things under the name Perfecto. And Oakie and Perfecto have once mixed with almost perfect result, Perfecto Fluoro. So there is still a chance that this might sound good. The chances might be small but there it is.

    But first, let's look at the cover. What the f*ck really? Just... look at it! I have seen countless of CD covers during my life and some of them are really, really bad but this one looks like it tries to beat all of them. This is one of the worst covers ever. Just look at it. Colours aren't that bad and similar colours worked pretty well with Armin's Shivers-album for an example. But this looks just horrible. Oakie looks like he have drinked for one week without any break and everything is fulfilled with that hand which is... scratching his beard? I don't know about you but that makes me think about apes in the rainforest. Maybe Paul is trying to make new brand with the name Monkeyfold or something.

    But let's try to forget all that and check what is in the CD's. And first disc actually begins very well, because Left Alone is a really good progtrance-track and even though it has vocals, those aren't annoying, since those aren't the whole point of the track. And actually the second track isn't that bad either. Is this going to be awesome? Nope, because already the third track takes Perfecto Vegas into the world of electro-bollocks and later on there are couple really bad vocal-tracks. But there is one major flaw in this disc. It sounds really random. It doesn't grow towards the end or build momentum for the last tracks. It just goes from another side to another (not really a new thing with Oakie). There is electro, minimal, prog and vocal-tracks almost in random order. To be honest there are couple good tracks like Tease and Carousel but it isn't enough to make this CD really memorable.

    Is the second disc any different? Well it goes pretty same tracks than the first disc. And with that I mean that it's still fairly random. There is vocal track here and there, sometimes it offers electro, sometimes bit proggier stuff and sometimes it gets more epic. Yep, this disc certainly is more uplifting than the first CD and this disc doesn't offer so called minimal. Instead it highly relies on Mr. Vadney who takes almost half from this disc. But to be honest the only Robert Vadney-track that is really succesful is the first track of the entire disc. And I find the last track of the entire CD very annoying. Those vocals are just awful. Thank you for ruining fairly good feeling that this disc otherwise produced. And the bonus tracks are in my eyes just additional bonus and to be honest, those two tracks aren't that good or that bad that those would have any effect to rating.

    So my final judgement is this: it's okay. Nothing more, nothing less. Some tracks here are really good but not mindblowing and then again some tracks are mostly just irritating. But still this is probably bit better than your random trance-compilation because this at least offers few highlights unlike certain compilations which just begins, goes on for 80 minutes and in the end you remember nothing. I also like to point out that Oakie never was too good with mixing and this just continues that saga. Oakenfold have almost always let the tracks speak for themselves and that is one reason why everything sounds bit random. That was the case with even his Global Underground's. But since the tracks aren't THAT good here and Adam White and Robert Vadney aren't in their top condition with these tracks, this gives pretty decent feeling. Still, not bad effort,

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Hibernate - Left Alone
    The Fraction & Corey Croft - Tease
    Robert Vadney - Fallen Angel's Symphony

    ---

    Union Jack - Pylon Pigs



    1. Papillon
    2. Submerge
    3. Triclops
    4. Longhorn
    5. Mainlining
    6. Blink
    7. Lifeblood
    8. Vowel
    9. The Dark Major
    10.Funnelweb

    Art of trance


    It was rainy evening and I didn't expect anyone to come. I was just sitting in my couch watching TV when suddenly someone knocked my door. I was wondering who it might be and opened the door. There was an very old friend of mine. He was in poor condition but still I knew him. I had almost forgotten him but there he was. His name was trance and I was more than happy to see him after a long time. This was my reaction with new Union Jack-album.

    Pylon Pigs is somewhat surprising release. Simon Berry and Platipus had been pretty quiet for years and there had been nothing with the name Union Jack in years. But last year there was an announcement which stated that Simon Berry will make new Union Jack-material with Paul Brogden and the new album was on the way too. There was also the first new track being Papillon which was trance. And I mean really trance. Acid-elements, dark atmosphere and it repeative and hypnotic. Also I found letters which are said during the track really influencing and nowadays almost everytime I repeat those letters when they comes during the track. And that track was one of the best I heard during the last year.

    The next tracks I heard weren't worse either. Before the album was released I had heard Triclops, Longhorn and Funnelweb. Triclops don't have clear acid-sounds but it is also dark and hypnotic enough. It slowly builds into higher and higher eventually being one of the most epic tracks I have heard during the year. And that is just how I love my trance. And Longhorn is similar track but it doesn't have that good climax. But still I found that track very appealing and it has very good bassline. And those horns works really well here making it pretty epic track. Funnelweb is one of the most driving tracks of the album and even though it might not reach the level of other tracks I had heard before, it is still very appealing with it's awesome bassline. It also works very well when it ends Pylon Pigs. But anyway if all the other tracks would be at the same level, this would be one of the best releases ever.

    Unfortunately I find those four tracks (Papillon, Triclops, Longhorn, Funnelweb) probably the best four tracks of the album. But it doesn't mean that the quality would be poor. Submerge calms things down after Papillon (and before Triclops) and in that purpose it isn't bad. It's calm and chilling and basically it repeats the same melody over and over again but it's somehow very hypnotic track nevertheless. Mainlining is a wonderful track after two epic tracks. It calms things down a bit and is similar to Submerge. It has pleasant sounds all over it and reminds me about Art Of Trance's Wildlife On One in a positive way. And after that track Blink offers basskick once again. But even though I learn alphabet once again (just like with Papillon) the track itself is in my opinion probably the worst track of the album. It's still fairly hypnotic and dark but almost all the really good elements are missing. Lifeblood's only purpose is build some mood for the next track. It's short, calm and it only offers some vocalsamples. Nothing less, nothing more. But then begins the acid-elements there is Vowel. And just like all the other good tracks in this album, it builds little by little but the climax isn't as epic as for an example in Triclops. Still it is a really good track and would be ace track in many other albums but not in this one. The Dark Major is a bit odd case. It's not like the other tracks from the album. It has some dark and hypnotic elements which are all over the album, but is still the only track with chilling breakbeatish atmosphere. But it does follow the pattern that after more energetic track there are more peaceful moment. And is it good? Well, yes. I like that track and it shows the way into last track (Funnelweb) nicely. And like I mentioned, Funnelweb ends the album really well.

    In brief, this album is still the best trance-album I have heard in a long time. The best tracks are really one of the best tracks of the year 2009 and other tracks aren't that bad either. And honestly, the second time I listened this album I was in my bed and my eyes were closed. And I enjoyed every minute of that time because this album really put me into trance. I really felt that I was elsewhere than in my own bed and that doesn't happen with modern trance filled with unicorns and fairies. This is how I feel at the moment, but I really think that this is the best album from Mr. Berry alongside with Art Of Trance's Wildlife On One even though I know that's lot to say.

    Welcome back Union Jack!

    9/10

    Ace tracks:
    Papillon
    Triclops
    Longhorn

    ---

    Way Out West - We Love Machine



    01. We Love Machine
    02. One Bright Night
    03. Only Love
    04. BodyMotion
    05. Pleasure Control
    06. Future Perfect
    07. Survival
    08. Ultraviolet
    09. Tales of the Rabid Monks
    10. Surrender
    11. The Doors Are Where the Windows Should Be
    12. Tierre del Fuego

    Domination


    I haven't exactly hidden my love for Way Out West. After all we are talking about band which is second most played artist in my last.fm. So no wonder that I begun to wait for this album immediately when I saw the news that this one would come. And now the wait is over! Well, almost. I'm ordering my copy in couple of days and it comes eventually, but I don't have this album quite yet. Instead you can listen the full album in their homepage in a pretty good quality so I was able to make a review of this one.

    Ah Way Out West. Duo made by legendary Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff. Both have done well in solo too but they are best known for Way Out West-tracks and why not. Ajare, The Gift, Activity, Mindcircus, Killa... The list of well known tracks seems endless. And they have made two good albums too. 1997 and Way Out West-album was good combination of progressive house, trance and breaks and it had my all time favorite, Domination. But even though Way Out West was gorgeus, I think that the second album Intensify is their best one. This album made in 2001 is full of awesome tracks like The Fall, Activity and Intensify Part 1. It continued in the same path than the debut, but was bit more energetic. But then... I think Don't Look Now released in 2004 isn't that good. Sure it has good tracks and Killa is a masterpiece but it didn't impress as a whole. But now it's year 2009 and time for the 4th album.

    Actually this is one of the few albums I have anticipated so much that I checked every track which was around before the release. I actually rarely do that because too many times it just generates too much unnecessary hype. I know that with Way Out West I could have been disappointed if the quality wouldn't be what I expected. But hey, We Love Machine, Future Perfect, Ultraviolet and Only Love didn't lower my expectations at all. Instead I liked the style those 4 tracks presented. This would be pretty chilling but beautiful and stylish mixture of progressive house and trance. We Love Machine (the track) is the most energetic of those tracks and I think it's probably the best track of the album. It has interesting sounds, catchy effects and guitar which seems to fit flawlessly into the track when it isn't the main point of the track. Future Perfect and Ultraviolet relies more in atmosphere and both succeeded well in it. Especially Future Perfect is a masterpiece showing how good prog can sound.

    But I have complains too. The vocals. Yes I know Way Out West has used vocals before and I don't have any problems with those in many of their tracks. But it seems that Nick and Jody can only make good track with female vocals (Intensify, Mindcircus, Anything But You...). Because when there is vocals singed by Jonathan Mendelsohn, it just doesn't seem right. Male vocals seems to be hard for house/trance-producers and this isn't exception even though I have to admit that Jonathan does sound bit feminine. But Only Love and Surrender are in my opinion the worst tracks of the album partially because of vocals. Fairly nice strings doesn't save Only Love and Surrender relies too much on vocals which just doesn't work. Survival is better mostly thanks to other interesting sounds but there vocals sounds out of place and only makes me irritated because those don't fit into otherwise very solid track.

    Otherwise this album follows pretty well the path which was shown by Future Perfect and Ultraviolet. One Bright Night is very chilling track with nice little guitar in it and builds mood nicely. And most of all it sounds like Way Out West. BodyMotion, Pleasure Control and Tales Of The Rabid Monks are just that kind of mixture of progressive house and trance like Ultraviolet and Future Perfect are. Pleasure Control hits the spot completely and is one of the highlights of the album. BodyMotion works well too and it uses some vocal-samples which have always been one of the trademarks of Way Out West. Tales Of The Rabid Monks is a weaker track which seems to be stuck in a same place and which doesn't have anything interesting in it. Last two tracks are bit different and calms things down just before the end. The Doors Are Where the Windows Should Be is peaceful breaks-track and Tierre del Fuego just gives the last sounds. There aren't anything terribly wrong in those tracks but those aren't the highlights either.

    So what is my conclusion? Well I like this album. A lot. It is the kind of stuff which sounds like Way Out West and what I expected. Sure they have calmed down a bit and there are less samples but eventually who cares as long as the result is just fine. Some tracks stands well with the best tracks Nick and Jody has done in their long career. Rating would be one better immediately if there wouldn't be couple tracks which are clearly worse than the other tracks and if vocals wouldn't be so bad. But nevertheless this is very good album with clear vibe which goes on all the way from the start to the finish line. So do as I do and preorder the album and put it into it's rightful place next to Way Out West and Intensify.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    We Love Machine
    Pleasure Control
    Future Perfect

    ---

    00.db - Heaven & Hell



    CD1:
    1. Magna
    2. Indigo
    3. Lantra
    4. Ark
    5. Orba
    6. Pro 1
    7. Entropy
    8. Darkness
    9. Astrix - Ice Cream (00.db Mix)

    CD2:
    1. Sasha Watching The Stars
    2. Eminox
    3. Run
    4. Worlds Of Space
    5. Dreamcatcher (42 Minute Chill-Out Journey)

    It has finally arrived!


    I could say that this album ends the trilogy. There were three albums I expected more than any other albums released during the end of summer / beginning of autumn period. Other two has already been reviewed and ironically the record I ordered first and which should have been released ages ago was the last one to arrive. But finally yesterday there was something in my mailbox and there it was. Heaven & Hell had arrived after a long wait.

    00.db is a group of two producers who have been more than very important for my musical development: John 00 Fleming and Ricky Smith (The Digital Blonde). It was pretty much these guys who finally took me out from ASOT-loop. John 00 Fleming introduced me into bit darker and proggier sound alongside with psytrance with his sets and The Digital Blonde released Synthology, excellent album full of stuff which gives hints into the time which is almost forgotten these days. Soon enough their collab Fused came and later there came more and more tracks which had been made by 00.db. There was 8th Day and Fused and eventually John and Ricky announced that album indeed was on the way. Actually, 3rd disc of JOOF's Psy-Trance Euphoria was called Heaven & Hell in 2008 and it had tracks made by 00.db, but after all it was not finished version of the album. It still took about 1,5 years but the waiting is finally over.

    So how can I describe the sound of the album? After all this album isn't exactly the most traditional trance-album with couple of breakbeat-tracks here and there and couple of unnecessary vocal-tracks in other places. No, if there is human voices, those are samples which doesn't dominate the tracks at all. Also the album offers just what 00.db can do: trance. Though there is 40-minute ambient trip in the end, it's outside the other album and doesn't really bother. And those trance-tracks aren't really the most usual either. Because those tracks takes some parts from the sound of both guys. There seems to be dark atmosphere and psyinfluences from JOOF and the memories of the 90's progtrance and epic climaxes from Ricky making the tracks pretty different from usual mnml/electro/uplifting bollocks trance scene is full of nowadays.

    But is it good music? Well I need to ask couple more questions before that judgement. Have you heard any other 00.db-tracks before? If no, check pretty much any 00.db-track in youtube or Spotify. If yes, I have to ask one final question. Did you like the track you listened? If you didn't, then this album isn't for you, because this album sounds pretty much the same from the start to the end. If yes, then go and buy this album, because you will like this album. Personally I have liked what these two guys have done already for couple of years so I like this album. Though I think that 3rd disc of Psy-trance Euphoria was actually bit better than the final result.

    And I would give couple of smaller notes just before the end. The cover of the album is... well yeah. Not that good. Though I have to give credit that for once, there isn't the producer watching the horizon in the cover of trance-album. And I must say this once more. For a change, this is trance-album which sounds almost like an album. It has the clear red line, it doesn't bounce from house to techno and it sounds like 00.db all the time. And this is in my opinion way too rare in electronic music. Good job John and Ricky! Though this album could be better, it's not complete letdown either. It's pretty good album and I think it's worthy of that money which I lost when I preordered this one.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Ark
    Pro 1
    Worlds Of Space

    ---

    Ferry Corsten - Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed
    VS.
    Solarstone - RSEMIX



    01. Shelter Me (Rafaël Frost Remix)
    02. Black Velvet (DJ Mind & Jerry Ropero Remix)
    03. We Belong (Lange Remix)
    04. Gabriella’s Sky (Solarstone Remix)
    05. Made Of Love (Heatbeat Remix)
    06. Radio Crash (Ummet Ozcan Remix)
    07. Twice In A Blue Moon (DJ Eco Remix)
    08. Feel You (Ashley Wallbridge Remix)
    09. Life (Patrick Plaice Remix)
    10. Brain Box (Marlo Remix)
    11. Shanti (Sied Van Riel Remix)
    12. Brain Box (Markus Schulz Remix) [Bonus Track]




    01. Part Of Me (Solar Energy Remix)
    02. Rain Stars Eternal (Bot Cyprian Remix)
    03. Slave (Probspot Remix)
    04. Spectrum (Stan Void Remix)
    05. Late Summer Fields (Ferry Corsten Remix)
    06. Breakaway (Jaksaw Remix)
    07. Filoselle Skies (Jox Dub Mix)
    08. The Last Defeat Pt 1 (Bissen Remix)
    09. Dark Heart (Beetseekers Remix)
    10. Lunar Rings (Pedro Del Mar & Dj Cosmo Remix)
    11. 4ever (Update Project Afterhours Remix)

    Versus


    Yes yes I know that it's been a long time since the last review. But there are reasons. First of all I don't want to force myself to make a review since those would become total garbage. And then again I wanted to make something different for a change. First I thought that I would do a review for new Porcupine Tree-album but soon I noticed that review wasn't going into the right direction. Instead I decided to make review for two albums and decide which is better one. And then I had to wait for RSEMIX. But now there is two reviews in one message. Everyone wins?

    So then I decided that I would make a review for two Remix-albums. Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed and RSEMIX. These albums are fairly common these days and almost every album made by a big name releases the Remix-album these days. But I don't know when this trend really begun.I remember Paul van Dyk's Re-Reflections from the year 2004 and Tiësto's Just Be (Remixed) from the year 2005 but clearly these albums have become more usual lately. I'm not a fan of those to be honest, since those albums are made by dozen different artists so there isn't even the slightest chance that Remix-album would sound like an album. And by that I mean something with clear red line. It's just bunch of tracks in a CD and all I can hope is that the tracks are good.

    But then why these two albums if I don't usually like them? There are two reasons. One is that both Ferry Corsten and Solarstone are big names and those are always something that are interesting and at the same time something that I can easily write about. And I have already written about original albums so it's fairly easy to compare new ones to old ones. Both albums could have been better. Ferry's album was pretty good even though it didn't offer anything special. Ferry did fairly nice job with Twice In The Blue Moon but there wasn't really anything that would make that album mindblowing. And Rain Stars Eternal was bit of a letdown for a fan of old Solarstone. Tracks just weren't catchy enough except for couple of tracks and I didn't exactly like new even more poppier style than before. But anyway let's check what we have here.

    Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed looks pretty regular when looking at the tracklist. There is Lange, Solarstone and couple others with couple of good tracks but I didn't have that high hopes about it. And of course there are some good tracks. Rafaël Frost's Remix of Shelter Me opens the album very well and I like that kind of energetic trance. Lange's Remix of We Belong has also some nice ideas but it doesn't use the full potential. Heatbeat Remix of Made Of Love could be nice too without awfully long breakdown and bit too weak part just after it. And Brain Box (Marlo Remix) works nicely but mostly thanks to the original track since this is just ”generic techtrance version” of that one. And there are couple tracks in a more annoying department. I didn't like that much Ummet Ozcan's Remix of Radio Crash and I felt that Ashley Wallbridge's Remix of Feel You is just incredibly boring. And Patrcik Plaine's Remix of Life is just that kind of boring and unimaginative minimal/electro-bollocks I highly dislike. Other tracks are decent, nothing more, nothing less. Yes, even Markus Schulz Remix which is ”nice” but it's nothing special either.

    So in Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed there are some good tracks and some bad ones. As a whole it's not that interesting in my opinion but I won't begin to bash it either. After all it is Remix-album. And you can hear it. It offers all kind of tracks which are fairly popular in the trance-community these days. But it can't sound like an album if it tries to give something for everyone. It just sound funny that there is electrotrance track after uplifting trance. But it is decent album nevertheless.

    And then to the other album. RSEMIX looks bit more interesting when I'm looking at the producers. There is Ferry Corsten, Beetseekers, Probspot and so on which I think have better potential than the ones in Ferry's effort. And there are fairly many good tracks. Solar Energy's Remix of Part Of Me immediately begins album well with nice and relaxing trance with nice guitar. And I like these vocals which, I admit, is a rare thing. And Bot Cipryan Remix of Rain Stare Eternal is pretty nice too. Probspot doesn't let me down either and he offers very tasty breaktrance-track. Jox makes also good job with Filoselle Skies and what I really like besides it's nice atmosphere, is that it takes most of the annoying vocals away. Also Beetseekers usually makes pretty good job and it's the case also this time. His remix of Dark Heart resembles his remix of Knights Of Cydonia and that is something I like. Vocals doesn't annoy either. Unlike in Pedro Del Mar's and DJ Cosmo's version Lunar Rings where otherwise nice track is spoiled with vocals. And finally the case of Ferry Corsten. He shows that occasionally can still make really tasty trance. I absolutely adore his remix of Late Summer Fields! Other tracks are decent. Not bad but decent.

    RSEMIX is actually pretty good album. Much better than expected, even though artists seemed fairly interesting. Most of the tracks are pretty tasty and there isn't too many weak links. Actually I think that this is lot better album than the original Rain Stars Eternal. Also this is more like usual album than Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed. Except for couple tracks (Slave which is breaks and 4ever which is ambient) it's mostly pretty driving progressive trance. So it's similar to Electronic Architecture, which compilation that I liked and in my opinion the best trance-compilation I have heard this year.

    So which one won? That's easy question to answer to. Good album beats decent album. RSEMIX is actually very interesting compared to much stuff released nowadays when Twice In The Blue Moon suffers more from current trends. Decision between RSEMIX and original Twice In The Blue Moon would have been much harder but this time it's pretty easy.

    Winner: RSEMIX

    Twice In The Blue Moon Remixed:
    5/10
    Ace tracks:
    Shelter Me (Rafaël Frost Remix)
    We Belong (Lange Remix)
    Brain Box (MarLo Remix)

    RSEMIX:
    8/10
    Ace tracks:
    Slave (Probspot Remix)
    Late Summer Fields (Ferry Corsten remix)
    Dark Heart (Beetseekers Remix)

    ---

    Shpongle - Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland



    1. Electroplasm
    2. Shpongolese Spoken Here
    3. Nothing Is Something Worth Doing
    4. Ineffable Mysteries
    5. I Am You
    6. Invisible Man In A Fluorescent Suit
    7. No Turn Un-Stoned
    8. Walking Backwards Though The Cosmic Mirror

    Are you still Shpongled?


    I actually have to admit that even though Shpongle is a fairly well-known name and I like to explore every now and then, the first time I listened to Shpongle-album was around one year ago. But some say that it's better late than never. But when I listened to the first two albums Are You Shpongled? and Tales Of The Inexpressible I was shpongled. So it's no wonder that when I read about Shpongle's 4th album Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland (after this I refer it as IMFS) I got excited. This is something I absolutely had to check!

    So what is Shpongle? It is project of Simon Posford and Raja Ram. Posford is also known from Hallucinogen and Younger Brother, but this differs pretty much especially from Hallucinogen. Shpongle makes pretty interesting music. It's interesting combination of psy, ambient and tribal-influences. And Shpongle doesn't go the easiest way. Actually not at all. There are weird sounds everywhere and tracks often breaks the pattern when solutions aren't the most usual. So clearly I have to take some hallucinogens before I listen to this album. Or then maybe just little bit of whisky.

    But as some know, there is only a fine line between very interesting music and overproduced garbage. IMFS is trying to keep it's balance between those sides. At times it's very interesting and fresh-sounding psy/downtempo/something which even has some catchyness. And at times it feels like complete opposite and it kind of feels like it's unusual just for the sake of it. Sometimes the unusual solutions aren't even close to be the best one and those at times even are bit annoying. The album is very inconsistent. Some tracks are good, other ones aren't. And even some tracks has really good parts and then much weaker parts later on.

    Still IMFS is interesting album. For sure it's not the best one from Shpongle but fine enough. Especially after the second listen you begin to notice that the album is more than just bunch of weird solutions. Even though it breaks the pattern pretty often, there is still enough music to keep you interested. The first track of the album describes the album well. It's bit strange but it has much good in it too. So if you want to briefly check what kind of stuff this album offers, check that track too and if you liked it or at least thought it was okay, then check the rest of the album. Because as always, Shpongle is the strongest in full album and not in individual tracks.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Electroplasm
    Nothing Is Something Worth Doing
    Walking Backwards Though The Cosmic Mirror

    ---

    Jori Hulkkonen - Man From Earth



    1. I Am Dead feat. Jerry Valuri
    2. Boying in the Smokeroom
    3. Dancerous
    4. The Other Side of Time
    5. Re Last Year feat. Villa Nah
    6. Ridge Over Trouble Forrester
    7. Musta Gunilla
    8. Undercover feat. The Dove
    9. I Dance to Your Bass My Friend
    10. Bend Over Beethoven
    11. My Brother Went to Space and All I Got Was This Lousy Vacuum
    12. Man from Earth feat. Jerry Valuri

    Sweet


    Jori Hulkkonen is a strange fellow. He is one of the most well-known finnish producers but still he is relatively unknown. Also he has done all kind of music and he had guts to put Star Trek-costume on when he had a gig. But he has made some awesome music in the past too. Under his own name he has released bunch of albums as well as some great tracks like Lo-Fiction and Custom's Person. The most well known track though is probably his collab with Tiga. Tiga & Zyntherius - Sunglasses At Night had fairly big success in music charts too and actually it's not that bad track. This album though was bit harder to find but eventually I found it from Spotify so now I can review it.

    But anyway Hulkkonen has done many albums before too. When No One Is Watching We Are Invisible, Different, Dualizm and Errare Machinale Est comes into my mind. All of them pretty good albums too with some ace tracks. But it is interesting to notice how his sound has changed during the years. First two albums were more like groovy house music and little by little he has taken more influences from the 80's which you can hear already in Dualizm. But with Errare Machinale Est Jori Hulkkonen finally was spot on and that album which nicely united synthpop with some house-sounds was the first really good album from this man. So no wonder that I had high expectations with this album.

    And Hulkkonen doesn't disappoint. It seems that when he found what he really can do with Errare Machinale Est, he doesn't change it too much. If it isn't broken, don't fix it you could say. This album is like it's predecessor full of nice synthpop-tracks with certain influences from house and that's how I like my Jori Hulkkonen. There are even some acid-influences which is always nice to notice. If you want to know similar albums, Tiga's album from this year is pretty close. Though it's no wonder, because Hulkkonen helped with 2-3 tracks with that album too. But it is similar otherwise too. Some tracks are clearly synthpop while others are more housey but it's just nice to have little bit of variation while keeping that certain vibe.

    There are also some collabs in this album. Visitors mostly gives some vocals since Jori Hulkkonen doesn't consider himself as a singer. Finnish duo Villa Nah helps Jori with Re Last Year but in my opinion that is one of the weakest and the most pointless track of the album. Undercover has been made with The Dove even though it's obvious that the vocals are made by Tiga. But it seems to be funny to be under alias at times. But nevertheless that track is really good. Undercover has bunch of nice sounds including acid-sounds and Tiga's vocals fits here perfectly. And after all it reminds me about good Ciao!-album which was released under Tiga's name. And then there is Jerry Valuri. I don't know how these two guys make it, but I just adore everything Valuri and Hulkkonen makes together. Including their sideproject's Processory-album. This album begins and ends with track featuring Valuri and my god those are good. It's synthpop but Valuri's vocals just perfects the tracks and Hulkkonen is making melodies which aren't too cheesy and obvious. And I can't do nothing else than appreciate it!

    So the conclusion. This is a good album. A really good album. If Errare Machinale Est was pretty good all the time, highlights were short. But this album has a lot of good tracks all over the album. Also it seems to follow that certain red line all the time. Some tracks with be poppier than others and some tracks are more house but it doesn't matter as long as the tracks are solid. Good job mr. Hulkkonen!

    9/10

    Ace tracks:
    Boying In the Smokeroom
    Undercover
    Man From Earth
  • 2009 Reviews - Part 2

    30 juin 2009, 14h44m

    So first I would like to give little background for these reviews. I haven't made all these reviews at the same time. Instead I have made one review at the time and I'm just copy-pasteing these from the forums I have released these earlier in couple of forums.

    Usually I choose to review pretty recent album and give it some promotion. There are still three different kind of albums I select. 1) I have expected the album for some time and would like to check it and also review it, 2) The album is made by some big name so it would seem unacceptable not to check it or 3) I pick the album randomly. I have made these reviews in english after september 2006 if I remember correctly and in finnish long before that.

    So this is Part 2 of the year 2009. Some new stuff since march and except the next entry at the end of september / the beginning of october

    ---

    Solarstone - Electronic Architecture



    CD1
    1. Tarrantella - Jigsaw (Reconstruction)
    2. Forerunners - Dragonfly (Ilya Malyuev Remix Reconstruction)
    3. Cormac Murphy - Oversound
    4. Filigro - Questinia
    5. Katcha - Touched By God (Alucard Remix)
    6. Under This - Black & White (Reconstruction)
    7. Solarstone & Orkidea - Slowmotion (French Renaissance Mix)
    8. Jahawi - Kenya
    9. LTN - Outer Limits
    10. Harley Soan - Long Drive Home
    11. Edu - Before They Came (Escape Mix)
    12. Dave Horne - What Lies Between (Retroid & Original Reconstruction)
    13. Winterlight - Mirror (Solarstone Subterranean Mix)

    CD2
    1. Reconstructed Intro
    2. Leo G - Muttering Retreat
    3. Majera - Believe
    4. Stan Void - Transience
    5. Bot Cipryan - Astral Breeze
    6. Saints & Sinners - Peace (Breakfast Remix)
    7. Solar Energy - Wanna Feel What You Feel (Instrumental)
    8. Haylon - Starfighter (Observer & Heatcliff Remix)
    9. Jox - Microbial
    10. Solarstone & Alucard - Late Summer Fields (Forerunners Dub)
    11. Gary Orvis - Try To Find
    12. Souls In Motion - Sensual Illusion (Reconstruction)
    13. Reii - Shocks

    Compilation that earns the name Solarstone


    If some artist gives me a really mixed thoughts nowadays, it must be Solarstone? Why? Well partly because Solarstone was Rich Mowatt AND Andy Bury when I first hear them. Later Andy left and it somehow feels odd to call Rich Mowatt's solomaterial as Solarstone. But the biggest reason is the latest productions. Rain Stars Eternal did have some pretty good tracks but as a album it was average as best. The difference is huge compared to AnthologyOne which summed up earlier Solarstone pretty well. Solarstone have made good trance in the past and a lot of it. Solarcoaster, U Write The Rules, Seven Cities, The Calling, tons of remixes... Amount of great tracks is incredible but it's all irrelevant if the latest stuff is "only" decent.

    And to be honest, last Solarstone set I heard wasn't that great. It was his gig in Tampere last december but I felt that Rich's set was clearly worse than DJ Orion's and Orkidea's who were before him. That set was generic uplifting trance from the beginning to the end added with Solarstone's own productions which were the best tracks in his set by far. And then there was In And Out Of Love... good god. When I heard that Solarstone-compilation was on the way I wasn't that interested. Bit more than with some average trance DJ but not that much. But when the tracklist was revealed I was shocked. I didn't know that much names from it and I was immediately much much more interested. If nothing else, this is something you must appreciate because Rich didn't choose the easiest way even though with name Solarstone, anything would have sold pretty many copies. But that's enough background story, let's check what Electronic Architecture (after this, just EA) offers.

    First disc begins nicely. Reconstruction of 1996 track Jigsaw is nice, peaceful and builds things nicely. The same goes to couple next tracks. Questinia is the first track which brings some power to the compilation (and it actually has nice piano-melody). And this begins to show pattern. There are lot of peaceful and emotional moments in the first disc and those moments builds up to the more powerful tracks. Overall this is really good disc. Good example of well done, modern progressive trance. Even though it is not fast, it feels like danceable yet emotional enough to be good at home too. And especially after Slowmotion, this disc is fabulous.

    Second disc begins with Leo G's Muttering Retreat which seems to continue from the point first disc stayed. So my guess is that it only gets faster and more energetic here with couple of breathing places. And that seems right. First three tracks were fairly energetic and then comes Peace to calm things down a bit and after that record begins to build tension and energy to the point where ultrapowerful Jox - Microbial kicks in. And it's done yet once before the last track which makes things calmer indicating that this is the end. So how this disc sounds? I don't know if this is progressive trance or uplifting trance. Some tracks are clearly another one but mostly this is some kind of hybrid of those two but hey, it works pretty well. The quality isn't maybe as good as the first disc but this was enjoyable too, except for Sensual Illusion which sounded like awful Ferry Corsten-leftover.

    So the final conclusion. If take that bit bad taste I got from Sensual Illusion, I think this is very solid compilation well worthy of name Solarstone. This compilation might not be groundbreaking or innovative but at least it flows well and builds nicely from slow start to more and more energetic stuff with enough space to breathe. Huge improvement from that live set I heard just 4 months ago. CD 1 is clearly the better than CD 2 and it would maybe even get 9. This is not compilation of the year-material but it is at least best trance compilation I have heard in a long, long time and in that category, it might even have a chance.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Edu - Before They Came (Escape Mix)
    Winterlight - Mirror (Solarstone Subterrenean Mix)
    Gary Orvis - Try To Find

    ---

    Tiga - Ciao!



    1. Beep, Beep, Beep
    2. Mind Dimension
    3. Shoes
    4. What You Need
    5. Luxury
    6. Sex O'Clock
    7. Overtime
    8. Turn The Night On
    9. Speak, Memory
    10. Gentle Giant
    11. Love Don't Dance Here Anymore

    Strangeness


    Sometimes it's really fun to check some album, you didn't even meant to check. So this album falls into random album category. I know Tiga by name and I have heard couple of his most succesful tracks. Hot In Herre was, well just boring version of Nelly's same titled track but Sunglasses At Night, another cover made with Jori Hulkkonen was in my opinion very tasty and I have listened it pretty many times. I also know that Tiga has released another artist album earlier called Sexor but this album released few years ago is still unlistened. I don't know what to expect here but my bet goes to electro-synthpop crossover which should actually even have some commercial potential. It seems that most of the tracks are produced by Soulwax or Jesper Dahlback so this shouldn't be too bad. So let's put sunglasses on and let's check what this album has eaten.

    I think the most important track of every album is the first track. Even though the importance isn't as big as it was in the time of the vinyls where the first track had to be the track which sold the album, the first track still gives you the first impression of the album and sets you to expect (or not to expect) good album. Beep, Beep, Beep is wonderful start which is pretty chilling and shows what kind of sound modern synthpop has. It's easily accessible yet pleasant for ear. Things gets strange only after it with Mind Dimension which is more standard techno-track which highly relies on it's effects. What? Where did that vocal sample came from? Is that TB-303? What on earth is that one second long sound? The track isn't bad one but fails to impress me. What the f*ck factor keeps on rising with Shoes where Tiga(?) asks all kinds of... interesting stuff from some woman which just rejects those quation ("disgust, don't touch my skin"). Sounds of the track aren't too bad but the idea of the track is odd.

    What You Need sounds like Tiga trying to imitate Justice. Track has that overbuzzing bassline which goes at times even annoyingly high and it almost hurts my ears and I bet that's not what producers meant while doing this track. Luckily Luxury takes a huge step towards the more pleasant sound and actually this might well be the best track from this album. This track shows exactly how good modern synthpop with elements from house and old electro can sound. it has some vocals but those works. It's bit like with Jori Hulkkonen-album last year but it can be just little coincidence. Well the next track Sex O'Clock is co-produced with James Murphy and Jori Hulk... Right... Other than this fairly uninteresting fact this track offers very little. Some uninspiring vocals which aren't even really singing, fairly buzzing bassline and sound world directly from modern electrohouse. This is not necessary bad track but it screams "filler!". And then comes line "I never stop" and then complete silence...

    ...Which ends in couple of seconds and then the next track Overtime begins. Overtime is some kind of... I don't know what this is to be honest. Electro-house-synthpop hybrid? It has nice catchy bassline but otherwise it lacks catchyness but it still is fairly good track. Turn The Night On is more (synth)poppish track and highly vocalbased but when you consider it as pop, it's not too bad and it's fairly catchy too which is just a good sign. Speak, Memory is co-produced with Jori Hulkkonen and this easily could be from Jori Hulkkonen-album when style resembles Errare Machinale Est. This is yet another track which relies on vocals and influences from 80's electro and modern house but this isn't too memorable track even though it has some potential.

    Gentle Giant goes even more chilling direction and this is almost vocalbased ambient. Track isn't too bad but it just well, doesn't impress in any way and even though producer James Murphy is trying his best, the track doesn't have too great climax. "As the last record plays, as the last record fades". It's time for the last track which begins as really chilling vocalnumber with piano without real electronic elements. But it changes after couple of minutes and after that the track turnes into nice electro with housey elements but still it's chilling enough for the last track. And man this has some interesting sounds, it offers catchyness and it is pleasant. In brief a great way to end this album.

    This record surprised me. I read couple of reviews from older Sexor-album and those were mostly positive but still I am kinda surprised that this album turned out to be this good. I thought that this album sounds pretty much like 2008-album Jori Hulkkonen - Errare Machinale Est which isn't actually too surprising. I know that Tiga is a good friend of Jori and after all Hulkkonen even produced couple of tracks for this album. This is interesting combination of modern synthpop, electro, house and even techno and those of us who don't stay within boundaries, this album can offer interesting moments

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Beep, Beep, Beep
    Luxury
    Love Don't Dance Here Anymore

    ---

    Richard Durand - Always The Sun



    01. Divine
    02. Always The Sun
    03. Papillon
    04. Into Something
    05. Ancient Garden
    06. No Way Home
    07. The Cube
    08. Slow Geisha
    09. City Never Sleeps
    10. Mouseville
    11. Silver Key
    12. The Trigger
    13. Chaos
    14. Dr Gorgo
    15. No Way Home (Unplugged)

    In search of good Durand-track


    Oh god, this is next in line to be reviewed? Please spare me from this evil! There you go, I have to admit that I don't have any exceptations for this one and it's almost completely opposite. I have never ever like Richard Durand (well, Into Something is pretty decent) and I can admit it already here. So why I am I checking this one then? Well I have still that naive person inside me who wants to believe that this record holds trance I like so much and because Richard Durand is already pretty big name, one of the biggest of the new generation. And that is actually one of the setbacks for me.

    Most of the music I love is made by old guns, veterans who actually had to make tracks from the start to the end with various synths without the help of modern programs. That is why old producers knows how to build tracks and that might well be the reason why Ferry Corsten still nowadays makes pretty enjoyable tracks despite producing getting more and more digital. But the new generation which constantly claims this and that being the savior of trance (that's funny actually, they like admit that something in trance is wrong) has produced with the served table. They use the same ideas, same VST presets and the same sounds over and over and over again because it seems to be easy. The same goes to Richard Durand when I listened his first tracks. Those were the remakes of old classics like Way Out West's The Fall which basically was the sample of old track added with "generic techtrance drum" and "generic techtrance synth" which in my opinion spoiled the tracks. And that is why I have pretty negative image of Durand. But now I try to turn my angry mode off and make myself believe that I have missed some awesome Durand-tracks because I haven't listened too much music from the guy and convience myself that some of those goldies are in this album.

    Divine (some kind of pun for Define?) starts nicely and works pretty well as intro track but the track itself isn't too memorable and it feels like it misses half of it's length like it probably does. It introduces some usual sounds from uplifting trance and it has breakbeat part in the middle but everything goes way too rapidly. Always The Sun (the track) is one track again with bit of everything. Something from progtrance, bit of beeping sounds which are nice and completely useless vocals forced into 5 minutes. This could work bit better if given enough space to breathe but it's like trying to put 2 cups of coffee into one cup. It just doesn't work. Papillon reminds me about Arnej's Dust In The Wind. It's generic "minimal" trance people are making nowadays but this isn't too bad but it lacks power and memorable parts even though it flows nicely forward. I have stated my opinion of Into Something earlier but I say it again. It's nice uplifting trance but it's just nice. It doesn't offer anything special and everything is just nice. Nothing wrong but it defines the term decent. The part in the middle after breakdown could be better and if it would have been done properly, this could be even pretty good track. Ancient Garden doesn't offer anything special either. It's basically same melody looped over and over again with bit minimalistic background but I find that melody pretty good and I found myself enjoying some Durand-track.

    No Way Home brings more energy into this record but after pretty good start, it turns into track with guitar and really... unnecessary, stupid and cheesy vocals without any catchyness. Which is bit unfortunate since background isn't too bad but the vocals are. The Cube goes to annoying generic techtrance I have begun to hate with passion. There aren't anything catchy and instead it seems that the most important factor is to repeat two irritating sounds over and over again without any sense. Slow Geisha is more hybrid of uplifting and tech trance with one pretty nice melody but that's the only thing this track has to offer and good god that's just not enough. City Never Sleeps is finally really good track. it's much more chilled and warmer than most of the tracks from this album showing how poppish uplifting trance can sound. But the saving grace is the vocals which actually fits into the track and they fit well. Mouseville has banging basskick but that's pretty much the only good thing here when the track sounds like track germans made in 2003 or 2004 and the catchiness is also completely missing. This track might work fairly well in the dancefloor but as a part of the album it's not that good, especially when it's shortened.

    Silver Key good god... What is that melody during the breakdown? It's irritating, pitched way too high and if it would be possible, my ears would bleed especially when drums aren't even synchronized with that melody. Other than that, track is decent but that melody goes on for so long that I just want to ignore this track. The Trigger has pretty good main melody but in parts it just decides to be boring and generic techtrance with overbuzzing bassline and those parts just aren't interesting enough. Chaos also suffers the same destiny and it's almost like a brother of The Trigger. At parts it offers pretty interesting sounds and might work pretty well in the dancefloor (if the similar stuff isn't repeated over and over again) but the track fails to impress completely. Dr. Gongo begins with extremely irritating sound but the end of the track isn't that bad. Sure it's bit dull and it would definately need more melodies but still it's nice banging techtrance-track. Almost like old Mark Norman and that reference can't be that bad. The album ends with acoustic version of No Way Home and this way this isn't too bad track. Surely it's just well, usual acoustic guitar track but it calms things nicely and sets nice mood during the course of ending. Also vocals works much better in this version than in more electronic version.

    I have always said this and I will say it again. When you are making trance-album, put full length tracks there. When tracks are edited I will always get the feeling that something is missing here. And in this case some tracks have potential but things just goes way too quickly. I guess editing is meant for those who aren't that much into trance but come on, make this two CD's and the rating would be one or two better. Also this album isn't too innovative or interesting. It's just basically same stuff everyone else is making and even though this is executed fairly well, the really interesting. And one more note. What exactly Always The Sun means here? Is Durand referring to himself? Like does he mean that he lightens the dark or bring happiness to life? Or does he just think he's Jesus or something? But anyway in brief this album isn't that awful, not at least as awful as I expected. It has couple of pretty good tracks but also lots of minimal/techtrance bollocks without too much soul. Couple of mostly irritating tracks and the rough editing lowers the rating a bit. 5,5 would be good rating for this one but since I don't use half points...

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    City Never Sleeps
    Ancient Garden
    No Way Home (Unplugged)

    ---

    The Crystal Method - Divided By Night



    1. Divided By Night
    2. Dirty Thirty (featuring Peter Hook)
    3. Drown In The Now (featuring Matisyahu)
    4. Kling To The Wreckage (featuring Justin Warfield)
    5. Smile?
    6. Sine Language (featuring LMFAO)
    7. Double Down Under
    8. Come Back Clean (featuring Emily Haines)
    9. Slipstream (featuring Jason Lytle)
    10. Black Rainbows (featuring Stefanie King Warfield)
    11. Blunts & Robots (featuring Peter Hook)
    12. Falling Hard (featuring Meiko)

    Falling maybe bit too hard


    Okay, I'm officially mad. I have just listened Divided By Night and good god how huge disappointment this is. These guys once made Vegas after all. And that was just awesome piece of breakbeat full of energy. And also it was noticed elsewhere since The Crystal Method started to show up in movies, trailers, videogames, tv shows and so on. And the road to decentness had begun. And then comes this which goes even under the last album which I thought was already too commerial, slow and just uninnovative. But after all I knew Crystal Method could release something awesome.

    But only could. This album doesn't offer too many good moments. And exactly what is wrong with this one? Well let's see with more details. Or then you can just look as long list of featured names as river Nile and guess it before even listening this CD. Your choice.

    Divided By Night sounds like poor track from The Chemical Brothers's We Are The Night-album (possible pun found!). It tries to be as creative and weird and it has this vocoder-voice saying Divided By Night but there isn't anything catchy in the whole track. Dirty Thirty actually has one catchy part there but bassline isn't too good and for some reason it has sounds which are pitched way too high. But still this track isn't too bad. Drown In The Now opens with some annoying chanting and soon we have track with some MC rapping at the top of decent background. Actually I think without those vocals this would sound pretty good but in this form this just annoys everyone in the building. Kling To The Wreckage also has really useless vocals which aren't appealing at all. Too bad when this track actually sounds bit more like old Crystal Method. I guess it's not a coincidence that the first really good track of the album is instrumental track. Smile? actually offers catchy bassline and good breakbeat background with decent melodies. And that's all what it needed to make good breakbeat-track. But then Sine Language goes into the cr*p department with vocals which sounds like Robbie Williams in flu. Well the track isn't too solid anywhere else either.

    Luckily Double Down Under is different. It is fast and energetic instrumental track with some interesting parts. This is the kind of quality these guys can make at best. Come Back Clean might be the best vocal-track yet since vocals aren't completely useless or unnecessary. But the background in this track isn't just catchy enough to make huge impact. Slipstream shows just how pop these guys have went. The track itself is pretty good but you can't deny the structure from pop. Chorus is the main point of the track, it has vocals and guitar. Vocals are pretty good actually but this track is just a good pop track in my book. Black Rainbows is then more awful track for a change. Everything in this track is bad in my opinion. Beats sounds lazy, vocals are unappealing and the musical value is close to zero when the main point seems to be making as buzzy bassline as possible with as little effort as possible. Blunts & Robots is then once again step into better direction. It has some interesting sound and good vocal sample but does the main melody have to be made with guitar? It's the weakest link of this track but it doesn't completely ruin it. It's Falling Hard that ruins it. It has pretty nice chorus but otherwise... good god. It is slow ballad with really really decent vocalist. With this kind of tracks vocalist should shine and not to annoy. Now this just gives even more bitter taste of this album than before.

    The whole reason I am disappointed in this CD isn't just the change in style. Breakbeat seems to be dying genre and that's why it is just natural to take steps out from bigbeat-sound. But it's more about the quality that pisses me off. Too much vocals that doesn't offer anything catchy, too many lazy backgrounds and too few memorable moments. That is Divided By Night. But I'm sure this brings some chicks with cute little handbags into The Crystal Method-gigs.

    5/10

    Ace tracks:
    Smile?
    Double Down Under
    Slipstream

    ---

    Art Of Trance - Retrospective



    CD1 (Wildlife On One):
    1. Kaleidoscope
    2. Mosquito
    3. Gloria (Transparent Mix)
    4. Haagen Daaz
    5. Octopus
    6. Golden Showers
    7. Deeper Than Deep
    8. Blue Owl
    9. Emerald Eyes
    10. Cambodia (Tunnel Vision Mix)

    CD2 (Voice Of Earth):
    1. Breathe
    2. Monsoon
    3. The Hummer
    4. Madagascar
    5. Requiem
    6. Dud UK
    7. Easter Island
    8. Stealth
    9. Panorama
    10. Voice Of Earth

    CD3:
    1. Art Of Trance - Swarm (Original Mix)
    2. Art Of Trance - Colours (Clanger Remix)
    3. Art Of Trance - Cambodia (Clanger Remix)
    4. Art Of Trance - Kaleidoscope (Sunday Club Lens Of Atlantic Remix)
    5. Art Of Trance - Love Washes Over (Original Mix)
    6. Art Of Trance - Madagascar (Richard Durand Remix)
    7. Tekara feat. Xian - Wanna Be An Angel (Art Of Trance vs.DBA Remix)
    8. Art Of Trance - Persia (Original Mix)
    9. Art Of Trance - Mongoose (Tek^tonik Remix)
    10. Art Of Trance vs Pob - Turkish Bizarre (DBA Remix)
    11. Jan Johnston - Calling Your Name (Art Of Trance Chillout Remix)

    Tales from the past


    To me, one of the best news of the year 2008 was the return of Art Of Trance and Union Jack. I was delighted to hear Papillon and Swarm after years of hiatus. Nothing was heard from this guy since Persia which was also kinda ignored. Either way who is Art Of Trance? Well if you don't know then you have missed something. Art Of Trance is Simon Berry, one of those guys who helped creating and evolve trance. So is this new stuff from mr. Berry? Nope, more like title suggest, trip to the world which isn't no more. There really isn't new stuff except for Swarm and the new stuff comes out with Union Jack-alias later this year.

    So why should you get excited about this one? After all it doesn't offer anything new and is far from current sound. Well mainly because this music is awesome. Simon Berry always knew how to make good sounding tracks. And most of all, because Art Of Trance is part of the history of trancemusic. And not just a small mention in the middle but the whole chapter. That's why I found this release pretty good. It hopefully introduces some great music for those who haven't heard so much trance from the past and at the same time introduces them to the age where everything wasn't about breakdowns and supersaws.

    Wildlife On One is in my opinion the highlight of this album. The main problem of the album is that at parts it sounds terribly outdated, some sounds have been heard so many times after it and some solutions are odd from the perspective of modern listener. But then again this album really has something that is missing from lot of modern trance. It has soul. This music was made with love and passion and even though at some parts it sounds terribly simple, it sounds awesome even today. Less is more in trance and this once again is one proof. Also Simon Berry really puts everything out from that little box called TB-303 pushing it to the very limits of it's capabilities. Wildlife On One has many ace tracks and it's more about thinking which track is completely superb and which is just good.

    Voice Of Earth is more modern album released in 1999 and you can also hear it. It doesn't sound that outdated anymore but it also isn't that good either. Don't get me wrong, this album beats almost all trancealbums released in 2009 but it just isn't as astonishing as Wildlife On One. Acidsounds made with TB-303 are still there but it's also step into more progressive sound at the turn of the millennia. It has good moments and it goes well from the start to the end but as a whole it just isn't that strong. But with re-release this album, I can only hope that some people finally realizes that what they refer as Art Of Trance-Madagascar is actually Ferry Corsten Remix. Original track didn't have that strong synth which is so well-known. Instead it's one very nice acid trancer.

    The third disc introduces all kind of stuff. Some less known AOT-tracks and remixes are there. Of course there isn't any big idea, it's just track after another. But there is some good stuff. Swarm is good new track from mr. Berry and Persia is just overlooked. Other Art Of Trance-tracks are nice but doesn't really impress. Remixes also ranges from awesome to horrible. Clanger's version of Colours (made in 1993!), Sunday Club's version of Kaleidoscope and dBA's version of Turkish Bizarre are the best from the crop while I still hugely dislike Richard Durand's "techtrance by numbers" remix of Madagascar... and surprisingly it's more like remix of Ferry Corsten Remix. So is it Re-Remix? The album ends nicely with Chilling version of Calling Your Name, which actually has for once good singing from Jan "I sing in trancerecords" Johnston.

    So the conclusion is that these three discs are just fabulous. For those who haven't listened Art Of Trance before, first you can be ashamed and then you can check this. It is totally worth it. For those who have heard about Art Of Trance, you have to think if Retrospective has enough stuff you don't already have. For the owners of Wildlife On One and Voice Of Earth this album probably doesn't offer enough new stuff. But if not, then you can also go and check this one. It's nice breeze from the past after all and I had at least forgotten, how great Wildlife On One actually sounds. Now all we can do, is to wait for Union Jack-album!

    9/10

    Ace tracks:
    Wildlife On One: Kaleidoscope, Mosquito, Blue Owl
    Voice Of Earth: Breathe, Madagascar, Easter Island
    CD 3: Colours (Clanger Remix), Kaleidoscope (Sunday Club Lens of Atlantic Remix), Turkish Bizarre (DBA remix)
  • 2009 Reviews - Part 1

    14 avr. 2009, 20h38m

    So first I would like to give little background for these reviews. I haven't made all these reviews at the same time. Instead I have made one review at the time and I'm just copy-pasteing these from the forums I have released these earlier in couple of forums.

    Usually I choose to review pretty recent album and give it some promotion. There are still three different kind of albums I select. 1) I have expected the album for some time and would like to check it and also review it, 2) The album is made by some big name so it would seem unacceptable not to check it or 3) I pick the album randomly. I have made these reviews in english after september 2006 if I remember correctly and in finnish long before that.

    So this is Part 1 of the year 2009. Not too much since January was pretty quiet. Next part coming up in the end of June / in the beginning of July.

    ---

    John Tejada - Fabric 44



    01. Dave Hughes - Let's Do It
    02. Pigon – Kamm
    03. Namlook - Subharmonic Atoms
    04. Donnacha Costello - Colorseries Olive B
    05. WAX - WAX10001
    06. Nekes – Cristal
    07. Alex Cortez - Phlogiston EP
    08. Palette All-Stars - Downtown Hotel
    09. Palette All-Stars - After School Special
    10. EQD - Equalized001
    11. John Tejada & Justin Maxwell - Benus Boats
    12. John Tejada & Arian Leviste - M Track 1
    13. Orbital - Fahrenheit 303
    14. John Tejada – Torque
    15. M-Core - Be Gene
    16. John Tejada & Arian Leviste - Forbidden Planet
    17. Substance - Relish (Shed Remix)
    18. Spooky – Candy
    19. John Tejada - The Open
    20. LJ Kruzer - Huba (Plaid's 15 Years Lost Remix)

    Let's hear it


    Silence is golden but the lack of new albums was somewhat annoying. As I have mentioned before, it almost felt like after Twice In A Blue Moon, everything 2008 had to offer was offered. But even as marginal genre as electronic music has to follow commercial market with it's releases. New albums released in december or in the beginning of january just won't sell. But now the ball is rolling again!

    Fabric 44 is one of the first compilations of this year. This series is nowadays one of the best known series of undergroundish electronic music. Right with the level of Balance and Global Underground. This series named after the club in London already has 44th part and I have read how many great compilation belongs into those 44 records. I have to admit that I haven't gave enough attention to this series as much as it deserves. Not to mention John Tejada. I didn't have any clue who he is before this record. But anyway let's check what we got.

    The first track is often important. It creates certain mood for the rest of the record and usually is the track which raises expectations. Here it works well. Let's Do It is nice Joris Voornish track with nice effects. After it Pigon's Kamm calms things a bit giving some kind of calm before the storm-feeling. After it things gets going again and by then, the style of album begins to be clear. I'm not expert with subgenres of techno so I can't say where exactly this belongs. But this album at least falls into that category. This is techno with certain elements from electro. Bit like Joris Voorn but bit more minimalish. And couple of tracks has nice bassline which gives nice funky feeling. And there is little piece of TB-303 with old Orbital-track. Right in the end things get more breakish but that's actually just nice variation.

    But is it good then? Well sure in certain degree. Those who adore blindly melodic side of trance might not like this one because this lacks layers of melodies. But in my opinion it's not a problem. Techno works well without overdose of melodies. Just like this compilation shows, less is sometimes more. This has rhythm and it has effects with usually very simple melodies and it works. For sure I would like to listen this in the club. Maybe even more willingly than
    Solarstone 's set I heard right before the christmas.

    And folks, this has various good tracks. It was really hard to choose ace tracks, because there is about 6 really good tracks. Especially in the last half of the record. And when this record has more chilling parts and some variation, this 74 minutes was a pleasant journey. It seems that 2009 begun well enough.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Dave Hughes - Let's Do It
    Donnacha Costello - Colorseries Olive B
    Orbital - Fahrenheit 303

    ---

    Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself



    1. The Birds
    2. Your Mouth
    3. M
    4. Helen Of Troy
    5. Mostly Translucent
    6. Stay Away From Being Maybe
    7. I Made A Tree On The Wold
    8. Your Every Idol
    9. You Are The Worst Thing In The World
    10. Immolate Yourself

    "I know that your the silence after the sun has gone away.."


    Oh man. I didn't even meant to review this album. I was prepared to make next review about JOOF's Psy Trance Euphoria II and complain about it's length and not too inspiring full-on psy in third disc. But the fate decided otherwise. Today I read about death of Charlie Cooper, the other half of Telefon Tel Aviv. And only a week after the release of brand new album.

    So in memory of Cooper I decided to go back to this CD. I already had listened this couple of times and decided it being "pretty good". But now I went backwards in time and put this record one once again. Immolate Yourself... The name is somewhat disturbing. I bet the events happened only couple days after the release weren't in their minds when Telefon Tel Aviv named their third album. Yes, third. This is follow-up for the albums called Fahrenheit Fair Enough and Map Of What Is Effortless.

    I never gave Telefon Tel Aviv much attention earlier. Partly because I have been somehow bounded to trancescene even though I try to stay open-minded and partly because, well, I didn't know about them before Invol2ver and Sasha's rework of You Are The Worst Thing In The World. Still I decided to check this one when I heard this album was coming and already the first track showed the reason why I hadn't heard about Telefon Tel Aviv before. The Birds is a fantastic track with great sounds but really, some sort of synthpop and electro combination isn't usually the first thing you will hear, not to mention get interested in, when you are a fan of trance music.

    Your Mouth continues the similar way. The beat is more clearly broken (okay, more electro-based) than in The Birds but overall, the track is very similar with the first track. But when it works, why not? M adds some vocals to background which are in my opinion a bit disturbing and the reason why this track isn't just as good as the first two ones. And unfortunately Helen Of Troy goes with the same way. Vocals just don't fit here. Those vocals aren't sang so well and that ooo-ooo-ooo line really makes me annoyed. But Mostly Translucent succeeded better. This track grows all the time from the very relaxing beginning to the part where these guys brought some strings in. And when that little part of vocals what is in this track stays in the background, this track brings quality back.

    Stay Away From Being Maybe is once again one quality track. It is more clearly electro-influenced track than couple of previous ones but man is this one powerful? Of course this might not be powerful in the dancefloor but through the headphones it sounds f**king great. It might be just a good thing that I Made A Tree On The Wold is much calmer and relaxing track than the previous offering. It gives you time to breath or something. Hey, it's still a good track and it has more emotions than your average trance-tune would ever have. Your Idol follows the same pattern but for some reason, I feel something is wrong here. I think the drums are weird and sounds in background aren't quite synchronized with them. But either way it builds up for the next track which is mixed to it. You Are The Worst Thing In The World has much more than just a long name. Even though vocals haven't quite worked in this album (at least all the time) I like those here. All those who have heard Invol2ver knows what to expect here. TTA's version has of course the same ideas, it just is more pure synthpop. And that main melody is pure golden. And the track with the same name as the album ends this album fairly well.

    In the beginning of this review I said that I thought this album is "pretty good". Now I would take it the word "pretty" away and stick with just "good". No. I take the word "good" away too and change it to "excellent". Because after one more listen this album sounds even better than before. The reason might be the adaption to overall sound of the album, finding the new things from it or just the appreciation for Charlie Cooper. Either way I would have given 7/10 already before this listen so it is a good album. And definately worthy of checking out because it is likely that this is the last album Telefon Tel Aviv will ever release. And if you liked M83 's Couleurs, then definately check this one.

    9/10

    Ace tracks:
    The Birds
    Your Mouth
    You Are the Worst Thing in the World

    ---

    Armin van Buuren - Imagine The Remixes



    CD1
    01. Face To Face (Martin Roth Remix)
    02. Unforgivable (First State Smooth Mix)
    03. In And Out Of Love (The Blizzard Remix)
    04. Never Say Never (Myon & Shane 54 Remix)
    05. Rain (W&W Remix)
    06. Fine Without You (Sied van Riel Remix)
    07. What If (Ohmna Remix)
    08. Hold On To Me (John O'Callaghan Remix)
    09. Imagine (Paul Miller Remix)
    10. Going Wrong (Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody van Eyden Remix)

    CD2
    01. Never Say Never (Omnia Remix)
    02. What If (Arnej Remix)
    03. Intricacy (Thomas Bronzwaer Remix)
    04. Rain (Cosmic Gate Remix)
    05. Unforgivable (Stoneface & Terminal Vocal Mix)
    06. Going Wrong (Sean Tyas Remix)
    07. In And Out Of Love (Richard Durand Remix)

    What exactly should I imagine?


    Oh god. Why am I even doing this? I must me ctazy or something. I guess there are two main reasons behind this pick. First one is that last two reviews have been about techno and synthpop so it is time to pick something from trance for a change. And the other reason is that Armin van Buuren is ridiculously big name in the EDM-scene and alongside with Tiësto gives the face for trance. And even "album" like this creates more discussion than Nicholas Bennison would even make.

    Okay I'm honest here. I have no expectations for this one. In my opinion Imagine was "trance by numbers". That album sounds crystal clear but it is full of decent at best poptrance tracks without imagination (lol) with decent at best vocalists with one exception. In And Out Of Love was actually pretty catchy even though lyrics were pretty meaningless, but you must thank Sharon den Adel for that because she actually can sing. And the rest 3 tracks were generic uplifting-trance anyone could have released already in 2005. And even though I haven't gave much attention to tracklist, I have seen names like Cosmic Gate, John O'Callaghan and Sean Tyas making remixes for this remix-album. Wow that is something new... I admit, as a reviewer I should think every album is the best thing since the release of TB-303. But I just can't do it here and I'm reviewing this anyway. Live with it.

    Hey what is this? The first track seems to actually work pretty well. Nice and deep Martin Roth-bassline added into that pianomelody from the track I can't remember (Face To Face) seems to work fairly well. Shame that melodies from the original track are so generic. Those work even here pretty well but different sounds could have made good track even better. "It ain't over till it's over". I really don't like vocals for Unforgivable. The message is bollocks and singing isn't catchy in my opinion. Also First State Remix lacks power (thank sidechaining for it) even though it has nice proggy sounds. In And Out Of Love has good vocals. I mentioned that before. And that is pretty much the only good thing in The Blizzard Remix. I have read much good about this guy, but I just can't find anything special in this track. It sounds like Coldharbour-stuff from two years ago! Myon & Shane 54 's (Who?) Remix for Never Say Never is boring. The vocals doesn't have any feeling and the main idea of the track seems to be using buzzing bassline for all the time while nothing really happens. W&W , where is the basskick? Forgot it somewhere? Actually the only good things in this track is the piano from the original track and actually those lyrics fits pretty well into this "electro"-bollocks.

    Fine Without You is actually pretty nice. This track is full of mediocre sounds and guitar is far from new idea, but there is a pretty good part in the middle of this "rocktrance"-track. Sied van Riel seems to have succeeded fairly well. And Ohmna forgot to put basskick into his remix too. What is the idea with it really? In my opinion rhythm is one of the main things in trance and this has almost no rhythm! And the track doesn't have anything else interesting either. I never like vocals of What if and the track is pretty much vocals + Coldharbour bassline and I'm not excited with it. No wonder that John O'Callaghan Remix for Hold On To Me sounds fairly good when it actually has proper basskick. But that's about it. This track would work pretty well in the dancefloor but otherwise it's pretty generic poptrance-fluff. Easily listenable but it doesn't offer any real value. I have some hopes for Paul Miller 's Remix of Imagine. Title track was in my opinion the best thing from the original album with good intro and pretty catchy atmosphere. And the remix is very similar to the original track. Maybe bit more like Sean Tyas, but it works pretty well nevertheless. And the CD is finalized with Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody Van Eyden Remix of Going Wrong (I don't write that one again!). The original track was just one stupid poptrance-s*it, but actually... I like this uplifting version. Actually this remix makes justice for those vocals. This is still not the most profound track you can imagine (lol) but at least it is listenable and might work in the club.

    And the second disc begins with... Never Say Never, again. Well maybe this one is better than Myon & Shane54's pathetic effort. Well this track doesn't use vocals too well and it sounds like it's made by some Andy Moor-wannabe, who doesn't get it right. What? Ohmna? AGAIN!? Arnej Remix of What If, I have actually somewhat enjoyed couple Arnej-tracks so this one has hope. But actually this is mostly just yet another uplifting-track with FAR TOO LONG breakdown. Also this remix lacks memorability when nothing really stands out. Intricacy gets treatment from Thomas Branzwear. While the original track was pretty generic uplifting trance, this is too. This track then again has some catchyness which makes both original track and this remix pretty pleasant experience. Cosmic Gate Remix of Rain is exactly what you expect. If you like Cosmic Gate, you like this one too. In my opinion this style is bit boring and this buzzing bassline doesn't appeal to me. Hmm what's this? Pretty catchy remix of Unforgivable? All these elements have been used thousand times in uplifting trance but this actually works pretty well. So it's Stoneface & Terminal Remix, those guys have actually made some good uplifting trance even pretty recently and I guess I should have expected good remix from them. "It ain't over till it's over" still sounds stupid though. Can lightning hit the same place twice and can Going Wrong have two good remixes? This must be Sean Tyas Remix (it was... surprise). I like piano in this track but I don't like how the vocals are used there. Otherwise the track is exactly what you would expect from Sean Tyas. If it's good or bad thing, it's up to you. Oh god. The album ends with Richard Durand . I have hated this guy with passion ever since his generic as h*ll remix of The Fall and Madagascar (which didn't use anything from original mix actually). I have always thought he makes the most boring techtrance in existence and this isn't exception. This is one irritating techtrancer full of annoying sounds and vocals are transformed into unbearable condition and this goes on for almost 8 minutes. Go away from my headphones!

    I don't actually like the idea of remix-albums. In my opinion albums should sound like albums and have some idea, the red line which follows all the way through. Remix-albums are just like it sounds. Bunch of different tracks in random order. It doesn't really matter who remixes those, these won't have real idea. This album has some good parts too, especially first CD has couple of good tracks but most of the tracks are just generic prog and uplifting bollocks from artists Armin has played over and over again in ASOT. The result could be worse since my ears didn't begun to bleed while listening to this album but I still won't listen this one again. Couple of remixes maybe, but that's about it.

    This leaves me to do one more thing. Unfortunately I don't have this on CD. I could have done something fun with it. Like throw it out of window and check how long it takes before someone grabs it. Or stab it with my knife. But since this is just data in my hard drive, it makes me to do only one thing. *pushes delete-button*

    4/10

    Ace tracks:
    Face To Face (Martin Roth Remix)
    Imagine (Paul Miller Remix)
    Going Wrong (Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody van Eyden Remix)

    ---

    The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die



    1. Invaders must die
    2. Omen
    3. Thunder
    4. Colours
    5. Take me to the hospital
    6. Warrior´s dance
    7. Run with the wolves
    8. Omen reprise
    9. World´s on fire
    10. Piranha
    11. Stand up

    Experience?


    If we talk about big names in EDM-scene, The Prodigy is usually one of the first to be mentioned. It all begun in the last days of rave when Liam Howlett begun to produce music and tracks like Charly, Everybody In The Plavce and Out of Space became hits. The first album Experience had the similar sound as those tracks had. Nowadays those sounds more like tracks made just for fun for the ravers. Experience sounds really outdated nowadays when only couple of tracks sounds good nowadays but then something unexpected happened.

    Together with Leftfield and The Chemical Brothers The Prodigy suddenly got into big festivals and electronic music (well... breakbeat to be precise) became somehow accepted. During this time one of the most acclaimed EDM-albums of all time, Music for the Jilted Generationwas released. Surely most of us knows tracks like No Good (Start the Dance), Voodoo People and Poison alongside with other tracks from the album. If nothing else, Jilted Generation was step forward for more mature music and I still regard Jilted Genearation as very solid album. And then came the year 1996 and two huge hits which both had Keith Flint's vocals and other one had memorable guitar riff. Firestarter and Breathe were ridiculously big hits at the time and The Fat of the Land-album was too. The album marked the peak of the popularity of bigbeat and because of influences taken from rock, the album was widely accepted outside the EDM scene too. The Fat Of The Land is also a very good album with tracks like Smack My Bitch Up, Narayan and Climbatize. And then we begun to wait for the next album. And we waited, waited for some more time, forget everything about The Prodigy and then in the year 2004 we got bulls**t called Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. And now we have a new The Prodigy-album (which is nr. 1 in UK and top 5 in Germany...) which hopefully is better than the previous effort.

    Have you heard Invaders Must Die or Omen yet? Those two tracks have been out to promote this album. Opening track Invaders Must Die was released as a free track around 2 months before this album was released and Omen was released as a single. If you have heard even another one of those, you know what to expect from the album. Those two tracks aren't necessary the best tracks from the album but those describes the album pretty well. Style is some kind of combination of melodies which are pretending to be rave-melodies of the 90's, The Qemists / Pendulum kind of stuff and influences from rock music and the old Liam Howlett. So what do I think about those two? Well, Invaders Must Die actually has some nice melodies and I like the sounds here but it lacks power. Omen then again has some good ideas but it also lacks something which isn't more cowbells. But at least Omen would sound powerful in the club unlike Invaders Must Die.

    So then we will get to the unreleased stuff. Thunder is a weird one. It has some odd reggae vocals every now and then and in my opinion those doesn't really fit here. But otherwise this track is really solid breakbeat which you don't hear much nowadays and this sounds probably most like The Fat Of The Land in this album. Colours is then again more like the worse tracks of the previous album. Okay this one succeeded better than The Way it Is and other bollocks but this still isn't too good even though bassline is very strong. Take Me To The Hospital is one step into better direction. Some kind of AONO-feeling comes sometimes but mostly this is tasty with the melody which reminds about the sounds of the beginning of the 90's. And when the breakbeat-track has power like this has, it can't be bad can it? One sidenote here, this track has sample from Pepe Deluxe - Salami Fever which is a finnish band. Like anyone would have though in the 90's that The Prodigy would one day take sample from finnish music. Either way the next track is the highlight of the album. Warrior's Dance was first seen in awful quality youtube-clip last year but you could hear the potential already back then and when this is in good quality, it shows that it used the potential. The vocal sample taken from Cut With True Faith - Take Me Away added into very powerful breakbeat sounds awesome. This is probably not in the same level than Narayan was in The Fat Of The Land but Warrior's Dance is the best track from this new album.

    Run With The Wolves has familiar vocalist. Flint is shouting some random bollocks while the background is pretending to be powerful while it is pretty weak breakbeat. And when the vocals are... well just bollocks this track isn't anywhere near the ace tracks. And I don't know why Omen Reprise is here. It is basically two minutes of random sounds with some vocals from Omen. And the idea of having this in the middle of album is exactly what? As a intro this would be great but here it is mostly just disturbing. Luckily the next track World's On Fire is better. Keith Flint and Maxim are shouting something here again but this time it doesn't sound that disturbing when the background is in full fit. Beats are powerful and the track has some catchy melodies. Piranha is a track with Maxim's vocals and those works pretty well in this contrast. The track itself sounds like it's made just for fun and is full of raveish melodies and like that it works fairly good. Stand Up is then again odd track. It sounds completely different from the rest of the album being pretty slow track (and apparently having real drums) and having acid-synths in the middle. This track isn't actually that bad but it doesn't sound like The Prodigy and most of all, it sounds out of place when compared to the sound of the rest of the album.

    So is this album good one? Not really. The album doesn't have real highlights except for Warrior's Dance. Also this album lacks new ideas and memorability. Nothing is catchy enough or interesting enough for being absolutely mindblowing. So is this album bad one then? Not really either. This album is pretty solid all the way. It has a clear sound and it doesn't jump from the side to another (except for two exceptions) and this doesn't have as annoying tracks as half of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunner had. Standard here is pretty high especially compared to some other albums released recently. So is this worthy of buying then? Well listen to Omen. If you absolutely love it, then go to the nearest recordstore and grab this. After all this is pretty solid album and for sure clearly better than the previous effort. But don't expect Jilted Generation or The Fat Of The Land. Those days are long gone.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    Take Me to the Hospital
    Warrior's Dance
    World's on Fire

    ---

    Markus Schulz - Toronto'09



    Disc 1
    1. Dino - Queensquay And Jarvis 1
    2. Thomas Sagstad - Backfire
    3. ClAud9 - Rain (Coldharbour Rework)
    4. Karnak vs. Dymos - Travail
    5. Tritonal feat. Cristina Soto - Crash Into Reason (Moonbeam Remix)
    6. Rex Mundi - Scorpion
    7. Arnej - Tomorrow Never Comes
    8. Tenishia - Everything (Tim Grube Dub Remix)
    9. Skytech - Cardboard Box
    10. Mr. Pit - The Cube
    11. Rex Mundi feat. Susan - Nothing At All
    12. Max Gueli - Remember The Silence
    13. Adiva feat. Vicky Fee - How Does It Feel
    14. Omnia - Stick In Monday

    Disc 2
    1. Dakota - Koolhaus
    2. Umek & Beltek - Is It? (Wippenberg Remix)
    3. Dakota - Sin City
    4. Rowald Steyn - Hold Control
    5. Mike Foyle - Bittersweet Nightshade (Markus Schulz Return to Coldharbour Remix)
    6. Mr. Pit - Besides Words
    7. Danilo Ercole - Harbour
    8. Dance 2 Trance - Power of American Natives (Markus Schulz Return to Coldharbour Remix)
    9. Project MC - Bromley Ave
    10. Michael Calderone & Christopher Reddick - Sound Of Flight
    11. Khaz & Boris M.D. - Eliana
    12. Element One - South Haven
    13. Barnes & Heatcliff - Pyjamaparty
    14. Arnej - Dust In The Wind

    Even flow



    This has almost become annual tradition. When Markus Schulz releases his new compilation during the turn of winter and spring, I also start making review. Okay 2007 was the year of "Progression" but during that year, Schulz didn't release compilation. Anyway I made the decision to review this compilation already in friday and during the last couple of days, I began to think why I am really doing this once again. I eventually figured out three reasons. First one is simple. Amount of trance-releases this time of the year is relatively small. Kuffdam released artist album and then we have couple of "random trance-compilations" around but that's about it. Most of the major trance-releases are still on the way and will be still for a while. Second reason is the name. Markus Schulz is one of the biggest names of the trancescene and that fact doesn't probably change even in the years to come. And third one is the fact, that it is easy to write about Schulz. He is well known, I have listened his previous releases, I know his radioshow and his style and so on. So it is easy to grab pencil and start writing about Schulz.

    So this is the third time in a row when I review this compilation (second at t.nu) and before writing about this compilation. Let's look at the past shall we. IBIZA'06... da*n I was too harsh with that one if I remember right. Archives are incomplete and I don't know where I could even read that review but if I remember right, I gave something like 4/10 as rating and said it was bland, boring and unmemorable. But during that time, I got somewhat bored for both regular uplifting trance and what some people call mcprog but at the same time didn't know what else I should look for. So I ended up listening the same ideas all over again and got overdose of trance and that was why I was somewhat bitter and I was overly harsh with Ibiza. I guess I would give better rating if I would review that record now. Then I wrote that Amsterdam'08 was not bad but... That is one opinion I can still keep. IMO Amsterdam 08 was pretty nice compilation but it lacked memorability and only couple of Glenn Morrison-tracks were gems. And now the new year has arrived and we have moved into Canada and Toronto.

    I pretty much knew what to expect from this record. I admit that I haven't checked Schulz's work so closely recently and I have listened only couple of Global DJ Broadcast's in the last two years and I didn't check Schulz when he was in Finland. But still I know that he plays "modern version" of progressive trance, mcprog as some might say. That means basically slow (around 130 BPM) trance with relatively low amount of energy and which tries to create some kind of mood made by melodies. But usually at least my musical experience is bit distant and I often just say that "it's pretty nice but nothing more". And you know what, my expectations were pretty right with the first disc! Basically first CD is full of usual mcprog-stuff with pretty warm atmosphere. It works pretty well and the mix goes forward nicely. What is missing here is once again the certain memorability. Couple of tracks like Glenn Morrison-tracks last year here and first disc would go from above average to excellent. Now this record is once again just "pretty nice", full of stuff where someone has forgotten to put power to basskick. But then again even though the end has some average vocal-tracks it builds nicely up to the point where the last track kicks in and that works very well.

    Guess what, second disc continues pretty much same pattern. There are little differences and the biggest one is probably the slight change at the mood. While the first disc was pretty warm and bright, second one is slightly more darker and colder. Second disc shares the similar problem with the first disc. Even though it flows fairly well, it is almost totally unmemorable. Couple of tracks stands out in this disc but mostly the tracks goes from one ear to another. Especially Markus Schulz's own production seems to be so decent that you don't remember anything two seconds after the track is finished. Of course there is an exception with totally unnecessary remix for old Dance 2 Trance-track (Power of American Natives). I don't think the original track was that special or even close to the best track Dance 2 Trance has made but this rework doesn't add anything and mostly it just annoys me. But after that track, the compilation gains some speed and tracks are actually pretty good, even though ideas used in those tracks aren't exactly new ones. So overall, second disc succeeded pretty well.

    So my final conclusion is this: It is fairly good compilation. Yes that is right, it is pretty good. If we ignore Power of American Natives, this compilation works surprisingly well, moving forward all the time and even adds some tempo in the end. Overall quality is above average here and even though both CD's lack memorability like I have said couple of times already, this is actually pretty pleasant musical experience where second disc is slighlty better than the first one. But the both discs are similar enough so I recommend you to consider listening only one disc at the time. I don't know what you might think about this, but when I listened this thing straight through, I thought that it could end already even though the quality was actually pretty good. But anyway, this is better than Amsterdam 08 and the rating must be better too.

    7/10

    Omnia - Stick In Monday
    Umek & Beltek - Is It? (Wippenberg Remix)
    Omnia - Dust In The Wind

    ---

    Röyksopp - Junior



    1. Happy Up Here
    2. The Girl And The Robot
    3. Vision One
    4. This Must Be It
    5. Röyksopp Forever
    6. Miss It So Much
    7. Tricky Tricky
    8. You Don't Have A Clue
    9. Silver Cruiser
    10. True To Life
    11. It's What I Want

    Not Alpha Males anymore


    Those who have been interested in this album have probably checked this one already, but that doesn't stop me making this review. If nothing else, you can compare your opinion with mine and maybe I will make someone else interested in this album. Anyway Junior was (is?) easily available as free listen in Röyksopp's own website or in Spotify, where I found it. Immediately some people begun to state that album is a big disappointment, not good, way worse than anything Röyksopp has done before or something similar. But that is expectable after so long waiting. And what is my opinion? Despite it flaws and the change of style, I don't actually think that this is that bad album.

    For those who don't know, Röyksopp is norwegian duo including Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge. As a finn, I know music from Nordic countries better than those who aren't from this area and Röyksopp is still pretty well known name. It all begun in 2001 and that track with almost nothing else than beeping sounds. Eple sounds like it's from car commercial but it was catchy. Poor Leno and Remind Me were another singles from debut album Melody A.M. but both failed to reflect the sound of first album. Singles were more upbeat than the chilling album. Melody A.M. isn't the most profound or revolutionary album, but it flows incredibly well and it has couple of great tracks. Only This Moment (obviously cousin of Eple) and What Else Is There? presented second album The Understanding better. Both tracks were pretty chilling and more based on vocals than the first album was. The Understanding in my opinion didn't reach as high as Melody A.M. but it was still pretty good album with a clear red line. And it had Alpha Male! And after 4 years, we have Junior.

    Happy Up Here isn't maybe the best opening track. It sounds like Röyksopp is trying to use Eple/Only This Moment concept once again but failed. The same idea can't work year after year. This "Eple Part 3" isn't that bad actually when you have heard it couple of times, but isn't spectacular either. With The Girl And The Robot Röyksopp uses another nordic artist, Robyn for vocal parts. The vocals aren't bad but the background is pretty boring except for the strings in the end. Vision One is listenable track. Background is electroish and it has vocals but overall it works pretty well. Hey, next one has that What Else Is There?-vocalist. Her voice is... different. It is purely based on your opinion if you like her vocals or not. If you do, This Must Be It is a good one, if not... The background is pretty uptempo for Röyksopp but it fits into vocals. And then Röyksopp Forever.... Every Röyksopp album has that special-track. Röyksopp's Night Out was in Melody A.M. and Alpha Male was in The Understanding. Junior has Röyksopp Forever. It is that pretty long track which begins quietly and which grows little by little to the epic point where you can't say anything else than WOW! Strings, drums, guitar and melodies all works perfectly with this track and I honestly think this is one of the best tracks of this year so far.

    Miss It So Much continues with the similar stylish sounds but adds Lykke Li's vocals and those vocals works well. Those vocals sounds like it's sang by very shy girl but hey, it works! Tricky, Tricky is meaningless filler track in my eyes. Couple of nice sounds isn't enough when vocals doesn't work. You Don't Have A Clue is a memory from a past. It sounds pretty much like The Understanding and it is a good thing. Good vocals in this peaceful background works well. With Silver Cruiser it seems that Junior finally is going into the old ways and gets more relaxing. The track isn't anything special but it's nice and nothing else. It would have been nice way to end the album, but it goes on for a little longer. True To Life sounds complete filler and I don't know why it is a faster track than Silver Cruiser. And pretty much same goes to It's What I Want. It is pretty nice track but that's about it.

    I know I didn't say much about how this sounds. I will do it here instead. It isn't exactly the easiest thing to describe how this sounds. For sure don't expect similar album with Melody A.M. and The Understanding. If previous efforts were chilling and very stylish, this is much more faster and uses even more vocals. Other sounds has taken also significant step towards to M83 and such. This is probably some kind of hybrid of synthpop, old Röyksopp and electro-sounds. So no wonder that some fans didn't accept this one. Overall album isn't as good as previous albums either but it isn't that bad disappointment either. Give it a second, third or even fourth listen and after the shock has gone away, make you final judgement only then. I would give Melody A.M. 9 and The Understanding 8, so this one follows the same pattern.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    Röyksopp Forever
    Miss It So Much
    You Don't Have a Clue
  • 2008 in a nutshell

    27 déc. 2008, 12h35m

    12 months have one pretty fast. It feels like yesterday when I was in the middle of nowhere spending my military service. But because I am music addict, even there I spent some of my time listening to some music. Military service caused certain overlooking for new tracks and albums but then again, I tried to find as much new music as possible in the last 6 months of 2008. But now it is almost the end of the year and time for annual toplists. So here we go.

    ---

    ALBUMS

    10. Trifonic - Emergence



    It was hard to choose album for the 10th spot. The albums after this were much easier to select when all of those caused certain WOW!-effect. But there was only 9 of those and one was missing and I had to choose album from very wide range of good albums. Anyway I finally decided to choose Emergence. Just because it is probably the most interesting album of those candidates. Emergence is interesting downtempo-album which uses the same technology with This Binary Universe and even though the album isn't exactly at the same level, this american duo have made respectable debut.

    Best track: Parks On Fire

    9. Whirloop - Watch the Skies and Keep Looking



    Pretty good follow-up for Whirloop's 2006-album A Fascination For Clouds. The first release saw some unexpected sound issues with too loud low-sounds but I guess those are fixed by now. If you will ignore that, you will hear fabulous album from this swedish producer. This is how trance should sound like. Driving basslines added into sounds from both progtrance and psytrance sounds pretty good and interesting. This album maybe fails to be as interesting as A Fascination For Clouds but is still worthy of checking.

    Best track: Hosanna (Whirloop Remix)

    8. C-Jay - Magnanimity



    It feels great when occasionally you will find some new artist album you haven't heard before and which turns out to be full of great stuff. This is exactly what happened with C-Jay. Okay I had heard couple of his tracks before and that was why I eventually decided to check this album. And I'm happy that I did it. C-Jay's album is full of great progressive house with certain trancier touch. If you have overlooked this one and you like progressive house, then go and check this album.

    Best track: Commencement

    7. Lutzenkirchen - Pandora Electronica



    When talking about interesting albums, this one is pretty high on the list too. I had heard Lützenkirchen couple of times before this album came but my knowledge was pretty limited. But still I decided to check what Pandora Electronica offers. And it offered great stuff. The album is full of banging techno with influences from electro. Even though the album doesn't have much highlights, it doesn't fail at any place either making Pandora Electronica a pleasant experience.

    Best track: Casa Cadabra

    6. Kino Oko - Alphabetically Divided Highway



    This album continues the series of interesting albums. I still remember when friend of mine asked if I had heard this album I had to say no. Then I checked some information about this album and noticed that it was released by Tribal Vision. Label with Vibrasphere and Tegma for an example. Then I decided to check what Kino Oko has to offer. And that was something... interesting. You can't put single label for the style Kino Oko has. It is something between progressive house, progressive house, psytrance, IDM, electro and the list goes on. You could even say that the soundworld in this album is almost as wide as sphongle has. And that is something you don't hear every day. Kino Oko truly have widen the horizon with album without anything being completely obvious.

    Best track: Mother Mature

    5. Jaytech - Everything Is OK



    I know Anjunabeats is a label which is hated by many. Yes they do release a lot of uninspiring uplifting and progtrance but then again they will release a lot of good stuff too. Including that one really good album per year. 2006 it was Tri-State, last year it was Tecktonick. This year it is Jaytech's debut-album released in ajunadeep-sublabel. Australian producer James Cayzer has created album which is in between proghouse and progtrance and which relies highly on strong basslines and pretty good supporting melodies. And when the soundquality is in crystal clear anjunabeats-level, nothing is especially wrong here. Instead, everything is ok.

    Best track: Pepe's Garden

    4. Nicholas Bennison - Tension of Opposites



    This guy is one of those who proves that trance doesn't have to be clearly uplifting, full-on psy, progpsy or progressive trance. Instead you can make trance sound darker with something of your own. Tension Of Opposites is an album which is full of Bennison's trademark sounds which almost no-one else uses. And when those sounds are added into wide range of genres including dark trance, progressive trance, psytrance and even breakbeat, the mixture is rather interesting. The biggest flaw in the album is the fact it doesn't exactly have the clear red line and it bounces from subgenre to another. Still the tracks are interesting enough to make this album one of the best 2008 had to offer.

    Best track: Life Back

    3. Jori Hulkkonen - Errare Machinale Est



    Finally Jori Hulkkonen had it right. Even though earlier albums like When No One Is Watching, We Are Invisible... and Different had some good parts, Jori never made really good album before this one. But now this finnish heavyweight created album full of stuff what he really can do. This album is fabulous mixture of synthpop and downtempo. It is unfortunate that this album got real release only in Finland. But I assure you, even the digital copy is worthy of every cent.

    Best track: Gentlemen Prefer Laser

    2. Wizzy Noise - Renaissance



    It is strange really. I have listened Wizzy Noise-tracks for years now. But I always thought that almost every track they make sounds almost the same than the previous making Wizzy Noise rather predictable act. Maybe I should have expected better already when couple of tracks in the last album were bit different and at least with their remix for Knights Of Cydonia. Because this album is one of the biggest positive surprises of this year. Even though this album is clearly full-on psy we know, this album also introduces some great proggish influences. You don't believe how well that works before hearing this album. The tracks usually begins with something predictable and almost boring stuff but before the end you will notice that the track just kept on growing to the awesome climax. And when this continues for the whole album, the result is excellent. There, I will reward this album with "psy-album of the year" award.

    Best track: Sea Song

    1. Orkidea - Metaverse



    Even the modern trancescene has some unique artists. Tapio Hakanen a.k.a. Orkidea is one of those. For sure the biggest finnish DJ and the biggest tranceproducer has achieved his status with hard work, awesome mixes and with superb productions. His debut album Taika was close to perfection and that gave Metaverse big expectations. And it answered almost completely for those expectations. Even though certain tracks aren't quite in the level of the glory of Taika, some tracks certainly are. And the best tracks of this album makes this album, which wanders between progressive trance and uplifting trance, makes this album the best artist album of the year.

    Best track: Requiem

    ---

    Honorable mentions
    Albums which didn't quite make it to the top 10.
    00.db - Heaven & Hell (was the 3rd disc of psytrance euphoria. Real release saws the light in 2009 so that's why this isn't in my top list)
    Ferry Corsten - Twice In The Blue Moon
    Hibernation - Some Things Never Change
    Human Blue - Base Basket Buffet
    Josh Gabriel - Eight
    Juno Reactor - Gods & Monsters
    Morphonix - Off the Grid
    Perfect Stranger - Free Cloud

    ---

    Compilation of the year

    Hybrid - Soundsystem 01



    There wasn't much challenge for the top spot of this list. Soundsystem 01 was so much above everything else that you could see Invol2ver, Fabric-series and Balance-series only with binoculars and others are completely invisible. Even second, the clubbier proghouse disc was almost at the level of Metaverse with tracks like Quivver's Surin. But that isn't even all. It's the first disc what really matters here. It is wonderful mixture of relaxing progressive breaks and downtempo and I can tell you, it's the only time I got chills in my spine while listening to new music this year. In brief, if you will buy only one album this year, buy this one.

    Best track: Take your pick

    ---

    Tracks

    1. Orkidea - Requiem
    2. Ticon - 1987
    3. Nicholas Bennison - Life Back
    4. Jori Hulkkonen - Customs Person (feat. Jerry Valuri)
    5. M83 - Couleurs (Sasha Invol2ver Remix)
    6. Jaytech - Pepe's Garden
    7. 00.db - Worlds Of Space
    8. Atlantis Ita - See You in the Next Life (Beetseekers Remix)
    9. Wizzy Noise - Sea Song
    10. 00.db - Ark
    11. Orkidea - Better Day
    12. Christopher Lawrence - Gotham
    13. Lowland vs. Orkidea - Masochrist
    14. Tenthu - Phenomenon
    15. Cristal Snow - Scarred
    16. Nicholas Bennison - spirit Chamber
    17. Jaytech - Pyramid
    18. Leftfield - Song of Life (Tim Davison Mix)
    19. Way Out West - Spaceman
    20. Juno Reactor - Immaculate Crucifixion
    21. Ferry Corsten - Made of Love
    22. Solar Stone - Part Of Me
    23. Gareth Emery - This Is That
    24. Ernesto vs. Bastian - Thrill
    25. Apocalyptica - Grace (Proteus Remix)
    26. Lutzenkirchen - Casa Cadabra
    27. Quivver - Surin
    28. Vibrasphere - Autumn Lights (Oliver Prime Remix)
    29. Junkie XL - Stratosphere
    30. Super8 & DJ Tab - Elektra
    31. Josh Gabriel - Viscocity
    32. Human Blue - Lone Ranger
    33. Vadim Zhukov - Talking to a God
    34. Trifonic - Parks On Fire
    35. Jori Hulkkonen - Gentlemen Prefer Laser
    36. Denis Sheperd - Run away
    37. Kino Oko - Mother Mature
    38. Nufrequency - Go That Deep (Redanka’s 93 Dub Mix)
    39. Telefon Tel Aviv - You Are The Worst Thing In The World (Sasha Invol2ver Remix)
    40. Damien Strong - Time2Fly
    41. Menno de Jong & Re:Locate - Solid State (Gareth Emery Remix)
    42. Michael Cassette - Cyan Child
    43. Ticon - Less Is More
    44. Joonas Hahmo - Cocktail Bar
    45. Perfect Stranger - W
    46. Robert Vadney - Second Sky
    47. Rafa Rubio - Astonished
    48. Airwave - Haka For Peace
    49. Hibernation - Are You Sure?
    50. Dj Tatana - Spring Breeze (Martin Roth SummerStyle Remix)

    ---

    Top DJ's
    1. Orkidea
    2. John OO Fleming
    3. Orion
    4. Nicholas Bennison
    5. Luke Fair
    6. Oliver Prime
    7. Christopher Lawrence
    8. Miika Kuisma
    9. Hybrid
    10. Homegrove
  • Reviews of 2008 albums - Part 2

    17 déc. 2008, 11h23m

    This is part 2. You can find first part here.

    So first I would like to give little background for these reviews. I haven't made all these reviews at the same time. Instead I have made one review at the time and I'm just copy-pasteing these from the forums I have released these earlier. After this I think I will post these reviews more regularly into last.fm too so you don't need to check this big posts after this.

    Usually I choose to review pretty recent album and give it some promotion. There are still three different kind of albums I select. 1) I have expected the album for some time and would like to check it and also review it, 2) The album is made by some big name so it would seem unacceptable not to check it or 3) I pick the album randomly. I have made these reviews in english after september 2006 if I remember correctly and in finnish long before that.

    So here we go. These are the albums released in 2008 I reviewed this year. I hope you enjoy to read these.

    ---

    Dousk - Kind Of Human



    01. Touch me light mama
    02. Gigi
    03. Flunked
    04. Cuckoo Rocks
    05. Serenata Delouxe
    06. Kolee
    07. Dreamhill
    08. Fat Princes
    09. The Place
    10. Loose
    11. Dolly
    12. Pentatonic
    13. Ass Table And The Stick
    14. Heavy Armor
    15. Boy Toy
    16. Good for you

    Expect the unexpected


    Who is Dousk? He is greek producer called Ιοannis Douskos, producer who have been supported by names like John Digweed, Dave Seaman and even Orkidea. Dousk have done lots of different stuff in the past but is probably best known from his dark progressive house tracksbut he has done more downtempo stuff too.

    Kind Of Human is a second album from Dousk, follow-up for D.I.Y. and some expected it to be another album full of proghouse but it actually isn't. With Kind Of Human Dousk have ventured to the world of more chillier stuff. Instead of dancefloor stuff, Kind Of Human has lot of vocals and have influences even from jazz. But there are clear electro-influences in the most tracks too. And with electro I mean real electro-sounds, not that overbuzzing bassline.

    Is it bad thing? Not necessary. I disliked the album at the first listen. Maybe because I was expecting darkprog and when there wasn't any, the result was confusing. But it took only two listens and the album begun to open. For an example the bassline of Flunked begun to sound extremely good. And bells in The Place sounds pretty good for that simple sound. And Dolly has really good guitar!

    And yet one more positive side. There isn't too many bad tracks and quality of tracks remains relatively high for the most of the album. Only bad experiences came with Serenata Delouxe which had really unfitting vocals. And the vocals in Ass Table And The Stick are just... purely stupid. Vocals just repeats the words from the title and good god they sound horrible. But I guess that you can't win all the time.

    In conclusion this album is pretty good listening. Kinda reminds me about Trentemöller and Guy Gerber which is never a bad thing. But unlike those two artists Dousk is missing the last thing which is needed to make good album. As a whole this sounds like an album but it would need couple of really good tracks more or cutting out couple of worst tracks from these 16 tracks.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    Flunked
    Dolly
    Boy Toy

    ---

    Christopher Lawrence - Unfold Vol. 2



    CD1
    01. Spooky - New Light (Strobelight Mix)
    02. Glenn Frantz - Backspace
    03. Matt Saunders - Nuance (Progressive Mix)
    04. FM Radio Gods - Elastoplast (True Lies Mix)
    05. Audio Junkies - Something 4 Your Mind (Dub Mix)
    06. Glenn Frantz - Space Bar
    07. Freza & DJ Flash - Cosmogirl (4Mal’s Underground Pink Mix)
    08. Adam Nickey Ft. Tiff Lacey - Letting Go (Andrey Loud Dub)
    09. Georgia vs The Stimulator - We Rise (Georgia Dub)
    10. Mark Norman - Blikken Machine
    11. Rafa Rubio - Astonished

    CD2
    01. Bitmonx & DJ Fabio - Six A.M.
    02. SAS - Comin On (Mark Sherry vs James Allan Remix)
    03. Brain Damage - Waiting For My Angel
    04. Mad Contrabender - Illegal Hardware (Live Remix)
    05. Gaudium vs. Dualsnug - Killer
    06. Etnica, Bamboo Forest - Microdrive
    07. Basic - Toyster
    08. Mad Hatters & Cosmonet - Intellect (Mad Hatters & Cosmonet 2007 Remix)
    09. Mad Hatters - Alien Area
    10. Audio-X - And We Survive
    11. Jason Robinson - Acid Rain
    12. Talamasca vs. Spacecat - On Purpose

    Little piece of everything


    I promised myself that next review would be trance. So I will not make review for Hybrid just yet. But it will come soon... So let's move to the point. As the most clever individuals have already noticed, this is follow-up for Unfold Vol. 1. First volume came last summer and was mixed by John OO Fleming and had some really good moments. This year the responsibility is given for Christopher Lawrence, american DJ who was banned for the last years DJ Mag voting.

    I was surprised with the fact that JOOF didn't make second Unfold but then again I thought that Christopher Lawrence would be good choice to replace him. There is much in common with Fleming and Lawrence. They don't play your usual anthemic trancetunes. Instead they are offering usually the finest progressive trance there is as well as some psytrance. But Lawrence is known also from playing driving techtrance and lately also some "electrotrance".

    First CD begins wonderfully with New Light. Nice and calm progtrance track with a little hint of vocals is really good way to start the record. And then it happens. The CD turns into "electrotrance" (I hate that term when it has nothing to do with electro and to be precise, not much with original trance either). Powerful basslines follows to nearly the end of CD. But, yes there's a but, the record still isn't too bad. These tracks have avoided overbuzzing basslines and cheesy vocals almost completely. Audiojunkies isn't inspiring or the voice of Tiff Lacey but overall this is still pretty enjoyable music highlight being Cosmogirl. The last two tracks of the first CD are bit different when Mark Norman gets more proggier and then for some reason Lawrence have decided to put driving (and good) trance track in the end. They are out of contrast to be honest even though these two tracks belongs the finest tracks CD1 has to offer.

    First notes of CD2 already tells what is going to come. Six A.M. immediately shows that now we have entered the world of psytrance. Luckily first few tracks aren't the usual full-on psy and they have some interesting moments. Mostly thanks to clear techtrance influences. And Comin On almost sounds like acid trance in one point! But the main problem after this is the usual. Full-on psy sounds awfully generic. Yes Lawrence haven't picked up the most generic tracks (maybe because of his background) but still the CD gives exactly the same feeling than Gatecrasher CD last year. It just goes by without real highlights. It's not bad music and it goes well in the background but it stays there. All the way to the middle of the CD.

    And then... What the h*ll happens in the middle of CD really? Music stops with Microdrive and then Toyster cames from nowhere. And the style changes completely into progpsy. It's in a way good thing. Progpsy is more interesting than full-on psy but really now. Progpsy could be in the beginning of the record slowly moving into faster BPM's or other way round. But the pause in the middle of mixed record is very odd move! And then Acid Rain takes the record yet again into the world of full-on psy.

    So what can I say. Trackselection isn't still too bad. Especially the first CD gives some really nice moments. There isn't bad tracks in these two records but the main problem is obvious. The styles goes here and there and there isn't flow at all. It seems like Lawrence wanted to show everything with this record but he didn't have any idea of how to do so. And I would have liked to hear more tracks like Astonished. His Rush Hour-radioshow has those tracks, why not in this album?

    So who is going to make Unfold Vol. 3? Oliver Prime? Nicholas Bennison?

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Spooky - New Light (Strobelight Mix)
    Freza & DJ Flash - Cosmogirl (4Mal Underground Pink Mix)
    Rafa Rubio - Astonished

    ---

    Hybrid - Soundsystem 01 (Compilation)



    1. Harry Gregson Williams - Desert Chase
    2. Trentemøller & Buda - Gamma
    3. Massive Attack - Sweet Is Good
    4. Trifonic - Parks On Fire
    5. Lostep - 6am Sedna
    6. Andy Page - Yellow Tracksuit
    7. Vector Lovers - Last Day Of Winter
    8. Stefan Anion - Das Land Spricht
    9. Spooky - The River
    10. John Murphy - Going Home
    11. Harry Gregson Williams - Saladin
    12. Gorillaz - Film Music (Mode Remix)
    13. John Murphy - Soldier's Requiem
    14. Charlotte James - Shadows Of The City
    15. Barry Jamieson - Arp Thing
    16. Ryuichi Sakamoto feat David Sylvian - World Citizen
    17. Harry Gregson Williams feat Lisa Gerrard - Man On Fire

    CD2
    1. Sasha - Coma (Spangled Rubdub)
    2. Quivver - Surin
    3. Luke Dzierzek - Identity (King Unique Mix)
    4. Longrange - Just One More (Hybrid Dub Mix)
    5. Shifter & Carvell - A Dark Distance
    6. Soliquid - Lonesfield
    7. Hybrid feat Charlotte James - The Formula Of Fear (Hybrid Remix)
    8. Hybrid feat Harry Gregson Williams - $50 Pistol (Shifter & Carvell Mix)
    9. Lank - Confrontation
    10. Oliver Moldan vs Harada - Fortune Cookie (Jerome Isma Ae Mix)
    11. Stefano Greppi - Electro Pop (Ambient Mix)
    12. Elite Force - Shivva (Original Mix)

    The best 2008 has to offer


    Now hands up all of those who haven't heard Hybrid yet. You should go to record store and find their stuff, seriously. Hybrid is best known from the tracks like Finished Symphony, If I Survive and True To Form which presens their style pretty well. Progbreaks with strings is a really good combination. Their debut Wide(r) Angle was really good, follow-up Morning Sci-Fi had it's fine moments and I still recall I Choose Noise as the best album of 2006 over BT's This Binary Universe or The Digital Blonde's Synthology.

    Still Hybrid wasn't #1 in my waitinglist. Mostly because this is a compilation after all and might not represent Hybrid sound. Still ever after Orion mentioned in his glorious Hybrid-set that compilation is on the way I have saved money for this one. And now Soundsystem 01 has arrived.

    The album begins with beautiful strings that builds the mood and you don't even notice when 3 tracks have already passed (including new Massive Attack). And then with Parks On Fire we finally hear the kick come. And this is the way first CD goes. Few chillier tracks are building the mood and keeping it high and then comes the beautiful progbreaks-track. And folks that works very well. The CD works perfectly as a whole, it seems to continue flawlessly and the strings seems to follow through the CD as well as certain organ elements. The result is the best I have heard this year.

    Really now first disc is really is close to perfection. None of the tracks is outstanding but this works really really REALLY well as a whole. I just adore when this disc is made like it has. Between the great progbreaks-tracks there are strings or something similar and this works. I got the feeling that this is f*cking awesome countless times when I listened that disc. The chills went down my spine nearly all the time and that doesn't even usually happen to me. I can't even remember the last time.

    The second CD begins wonderfully with intro from Sasha's Coma (works well in that purpose) and then changes into Surin. Already at this point you can hear that second disc is completely different from the first one. This CD is more club-oriented and focus is in progressive house, but you can find techier stuff as well as breakish stuff in this CD too. But unfortunately this is not as great as the first CD. After Surin the level of tracks goes from amazing to solid but then again there aren't completely bad tracks in this CD. But there are some highlights in this album afterwards including Just One More, The Formula Of Fear and Confrontation.

    So in the nutshell, this is the definate purchase. Even CD2 is close to 9/10 rating but it's been shadowed by the greatness of the first disc. It is really unfortunate if this will be forgotten when this CD might be the best new CD I have heard in years. Buy this one!

    10/10

    Ace tracks:
    CD1
    Quivver - Surin
    Longrange - Just One More (Hybrid Matrix Dub)

    ---

    Oceanlab - Sirens Of The Sea



    1. Just Listen
    2. Sirens Of The Sea
    3. If I Could Fly
    4. Breaking Tides
    5. Miracle
    6. Come Home
    7. On A Good Day
    8. Ashes
    9. I Am What I Am
    10. Lonely Girl
    11. Secret
    12. On The Beach
    13. Breaking Ties (Flow Mix)

    Oceanlab is Tri-Stated!


    How many years it's been since beginning of Oceanlab-project? It was at the time when trance was still in the charts every now and then and at the time when Above & Beyond didn't need to present it. After I checked it, Clear Blue Water was released already in 2001 and their probably biggest hit Satellite in the year 2004. Anyway Oceanlab is mostly Above & Beyond (Jonathan Grant, Tony McGuinness, Paavo Siljamäki) with vocalist Justine Suissa.

    But still when it was announced last year that Oceanlab-album was on the way, it surprised many. At least I was surprised. There was nothing after Satellite and after many years of complete silence, album was on the way? Even more was surprised when album finally came some time ago. It didn't have 12 tracks of uplifting trance! What? It can't be! Oceanlab has always been uplifting trance with vocals!

    Instead we got pretty chilled album. There are many downtempo-tracks which relies on piano, effective strings and of course Suissa's sweet voice. There are of course some faster tracks but they are more progtrance than overhappy uplifting trance.

    I wasn't surprised too much though. I have listened my Tri-State well enough to know how Above & Beyond-album will most likely sound. Tri-State had calmer tracks between trancier tracks and even those had tracks like Liquid Love which really weren't too fast. Actually Alone Tonight was the only epic trancer in the whole album! Why Oceanlab-album would have been different? And then again as a album this really works better. I haven't heard in ages good trance-album which is full of epic supersaws and where BPM rises into 138 and above. Instead this solution works well for the whole album.

    After all even though Suissa is pretty good vocalist, especially when we are comparing her into other vocalist tranceartists uses today, I don't believe that anyone would have really liked uplifting album. Vocals fits better into ambient (and breakbeat) than into trance. At least in my opinion.

    Well is it good album? In a way yes. Production is guaranteed Above & Beyond quality. Actually it almost makes you want it to have even some rawness, it's so crystal clear. And Suissa's voice never becomes annoying. Instead even I can easily listen this through and I'm not usually too fond into vocals. But there are problems too. There isn't one single really memorable tracks. Yes tracks sounds pretty good all way through but nothing rises above other. Album really would have needed the ace tracks when now it just falls into the vast collection of other decent albums. Tracks that I mention in the end of review goes close but not close enough.

    So I shall give very neutral rating for neutral album. There you go. And I'm not going to give it worse rating just because it's not trance or because it sounds poppish. And trust me, generic and really uplifting anjuna-stylish Above & Beyond Club Mixes are already on the way waiting for their release.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Sirens Of The Sea
    On A Good Day
    Secret

    ---

    Sasha - Invol2ver




    1. Badger - Intro
    2. Telefon Tel Aviv - You Are The Worst Thing In The World (Invol2ver Remix)
    3. Rone - Flesh (Invol2ver Remix)
    4. Sasha Vs Ray LaMontagne - Eclipse (Ray LaMontagne Vocal Version)
    5. Sasha Vs Adam Parker - Lowlife (Adam Parker Vocal Sample)
    6. Charlie May - Midnight (Adam Parker Vocal Sample)
    7. Apparat - Arcadia (Invol2ver Remix)
    8. Home Video - That You Might (Invol2ver Remix)
    9. Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (Invol2ver Remix)
    10. M83 - Couleurs (Invol2ver Remix)
    11. Thom Yorke- The Eraser (Invol2ver Remix)
    12. Sasha - 3 Little Piggys
    13. Engineers - Sometimes I Realise (Invol2ver Remix)

    Still going strong


    Sasha is one of the biggest DJ's of all time. He has been in the top 10 in DJ Mag's voting every year since 1997 and his popularity peaked in the year 2000. And he deserved it. He just made two Global Underground-compilations (009 & 013) which are still recalled as one of the best compilations of all time by many. Of course he have made couple other compilations too. Proghouse-compilation Fundacion NYC and Involver which was progressive breaks. And of course then there was his own productions, like Airdrawndagger and Xpander EP.

    It is somehow amazing that I have the record now. When Involver 2 was originally announced? Somewhere in 2006? And last year there was scheduled Involver 2-tour but not a record. So some people begun to think that this album is not coming and the rest kept waiting and built huge expectations. Finally in july tracklisting was released and we knew the album is actually coming. But how Sasha can answer to all hype?

    After nice intro we have some action. You Are The Worst Thing In The World despite the title sounds pretty good. Bassline is really catchy and keeps the track interesting. But I don't really know what to think about those male vocals. Sure they don't ruin the track but doesn't make it interesting either. But overall pretty good start. Flesh then again is pretty nice track which creates nice atmosphere and uses some melodies which you don't hear everyday. Sasha's Eclipse begins pretty slow but at best it sounds very epic proghouse-track. At best moments this track sounds really mindblowing with it's awesome bassline. Only bad thing here is some unnecessary vocal samples here and there. And after bit odd transition Lowlife begins. Now this is first weaker track in the record. Basically it sounds the same kind of proghouse than whole record but it just sounds boring. There isn't anything catchy and vocal sample sounds irritating.

    Then we have Midnight which is short Charlie May track. This little progbreaks track is here to calm things down a bit and build some mood before the next track kicks in. And it works well. When Arcadia comes you are immediately taken in. Arcadia is all about bassline which is good one. And the track grows nicely. You will forget bad vocals when the climax comes. With bassline there are some really good melodies. That You Might is yet again one bassline-based track. This again has some vocals but they aren't there long enough to get irritated. Instead we have very groovy track here which fills compilation pretty well. Unfortunately Destroy Everything You Touch fails to keep good pace. Okay it's fairly groovy but vocals are awful. They are streched and manipulated into horrible sounding mess.

    But then like phoenix rises from the ashes, Invol2ver rises too. Couleurs... I knew it is a good one but here it works perfectly. From the first seconds you hear catchy sounds and it just keeps on building. I love the drums here, I love the melodies, I love the whole track. And this version is certainly better than Jori Hulkkonen Remix which is good too but how can you beat one of the best tracks of the year? The Eraser still lives with the vibe of Couleurs and is really too short to make a good impression. But it fits into album pretty well and that's what matters. 3 Little Piggys continues the same route. It has some good melodies but lack of good bassline makes it more like a filler. Sometimes I Realise finalizes the album and ends it well. Here we have pretty good male vocals which are supported by some very powerful melodies. As a whole the track works well and and album ends with a good vibe.

    So in the nutshell this is pretty good compilation. Just what I expected from Mr. Coe. This is his present style: groovy proghouse with some vocals. Seems that whatever he plays, it sounds good. Probably Invol2ver doesn't get the same status than some of his older works but this one is quality record which you should get if you like proghouse. Not a compilation of the year (that place is reserved for Soundsystem 01) but one of the best records of the year. Any questions?
    -Yeah. Does it sound like Xpander? Now that's a choon!

    Ace tracks:
    Sasha vs. Ray LaMontagne - Eclipse (Ray LaMontagne Vocal Version)
    Apparat - Arcadia (Sasha Invol2ver Remix)
    M83 - Couleurs (Sasha Invol2ver Remix)

    ---

    Wizzy Noise - Renaissance



    1. Lost Atlantis
    2. Theory of Evolution
    3. Renaissance
    4. Eyes Wide Open
    5. Abyss
    6. Sputnik
    7. Oblivion (Remix)
    8. Sea Song
    9. WizzDom

    Trip tonight


    The circle is completed. The very first review I made in english was back in the year 2006 and was about Wizzy Noise's Sabotage. Already back then I found how predictable Wizzy Noise back then was. But it all was about to change. Endelexia with John OO Fleming was a good sign already back then, not to mention remix for Knights Of Cydonia which was pure golden. And why I mentioned those tracks when neither of those is in the album? Well I'm going into it soon enough.

    Renaissance is the seventh album of Wizzy Noise. They have released one album almost every year and that made Wizzy Noise, well, awfully predictable (full-on psy usually is predictable though). Maybe they realized it after Sabotage Part II and waited for two years before releasing this one. Maybe they tried to find new sounds to make this album better?

    The beginning of Lost Atlantis doesn't promise much. I got the expression that I have heard this one so many times before. For some reason certain sound reminded me about L.S.G. but otherwise it sounded dull and usual full-on psy but then the break kicked in. Vocalsample used here isn't mindblowing or anything but together with nice melody it saved the track and when it merges with the first part, it made me feel like this album could become something. You could say pretty much the same about Theory Of Evolution. Before the break it sounds bit dul but again finally the track brings good melodies and surprisingly, it sounds okay. But couldn't they find any other samples? That "let there be light" speak is kinda overused. And then comes Renaissance. It's a moody track, well as moody as full-on psy can be. But it creates a nice feeling before the album really kicks in.

    Eyes Wide Open is first really good track. The track begins with usual psy-bassline but it sounds pretty catchy here. Then comes some "nevermind" vocalsamples but then it suddenly happens. Very powerful melody comes and takes me away. And there's nothing wrong after it. This track is very solid piece of psytrance. The comes Abyss. I like how this track evolves bit by bit. The track begins with male voices and little by little there comes psyinfluences. It sounds really good all the way to the 5,5 minutes. I expected something really good when mainmelody kicked in but it was bit of a letdown. It sounds like it's taken from the Sabotage Part II but then again the track around it sounds so good that it doesn't completely destroy the track, but there was so much more potential. Sputnik goes back to the album. Most of the track is pretty uninspired but the climax sounds pretty good. Still I got the feeling that this album should end soon

    And the feeling grew stronger with Oblivion (Remix). Despite the few fairly good sounds this reminds me most about generic full-on psy. So if this is going to be a direction for the rest of the album I quit... Wait... What is that? This sounds awesome! Sea Song is undoubtely the best track of the whole album. I didn't give it attention it deserved while I listened JOOF's psytrance euphoria (it was covered with too many full-on psy tracks which sounds 99% the same than previous) but here I finally noticed it. This track is THE highlight of the album full of interesting melodies. Unfortunately WizzDom doesn't end the album that well. It's one of the least interesting tracks of the album and doesn't offer anything unexpected which could have been good idea. Now this album basically is 76 minutes the same stuff track after another.

    And back to the beginning and to the reason why I talked about Endelexia and Knights Of Cydonia. It seems that Wizzy Noise has finally evolved. They are not just making generic full-on psy, they have added new sounds into their older style and good amount of those sounds reminds me about John OO Fleming and the likes. So maybe Wizzy Noise learned something while working with JOOF. And folks this is really good thing.

    So in conclusion this album is a lot better than previous Wizzy Noise-efforts. This album sounds pretty interesting and has lot of good tracks. Some parts still sounds extremely predictable but you can't probably change everything. I wouldn't listen this all night but I can listen this easily for those 76 minutes this album takes. And ace tracks are really ace.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Eyes Wide Open
    Abyss
    Sea Song

    ---

    deadmau5 - Random Album Title



    1. Sometimes Things Get, Whatever
    2. Complications
    3. Slip
    4. Some Kind Of Blue
    5. Brazil (2nd Edit)
    6. Alone With You
    7. I Remember
    8. Faxing Berlin (Piano Acoustic Version)
    9. Faxing Berlin
    10. Not Exactly
    11. Arguru
    12. So There I Was

    Trance? Not Exactly...


    Joel Zimmerman who is better known as Deadmau5 must be one of the most discussed producers at the moment. Ever since Faxing Berlin and Not Exactly emerged, there have been endless threads about this guy... and immediately someone emerges and makes comments how bad producer he is.

    I have tried to stay away from Deadmau5 as much as possible and I have missed the reason for dislike. Yes he made horrible and totally needless remix for Finished Symphony and he has now remixed Café Del Mar. I have also heard how similar his tracks sounds and I haven't been that deep in the cave that I wouldn't have notice how fast he releases new tracks.

    Random Album Title is actually second album of Deadmau5. Vexillology was released in 2006 around the time he was chosen as producer of the year in Beatport Music Awards. And what it contains? Well basically it's package of tracks he has released in the last year with couple new tracks. Nothing more, nothing less. If you love Deadmau5 you will love this one too, if you don't, then stay away from this one.

    For those who don't know what kind of tracks Deadmau5 is making, I guess I have to describe it. I guess he walks somewhere between progressive house and minimal house. It doesn't have that clear proghouse-sound, mostly thanks to minimalistic soundworld and his tracks have the same kind of build-up than Faxing Berlin had. And this one goes to all the tracks in the album except for piano version of Faxing Berlin. But I know that at least he doesn't make trance. There is hardly any trance-elements here and the fact that some trance dj's plays his tracks doesn't make him trance artist either. And to be honest I heard Deadmau5 before trance dj's found this guy.

    I'm actually amazed how big fuss Deadmau5 have caused. This album is at least in my opinion very very neutral. I don't find anything extremely irritating (except for useless vocals in I Remember) and there's not much memorable either. Okay tracks are very similar to each other and it makes this bit uninteresting but really, where all the hate comes from? From the album art which looks more like rat in E?

    Completely neutral album deserves completely neutral rating.

    5/10

    Ace tracks:
    Brazil (2nd Edit)

    ---

    Nicholas Bennison - Tension Of Opposites



    1. Tension of Opposites
    2. Angels Fear
    3. Undulate
    4. Spirit Chamber
    5. Rumble
    6. The Valley
    7. Unstuck
    8. New Power
    9. Dead Weight (Album Mix)
    10. Exocet (Bennison Album Rework)
    11. Life Back

    How blissful genre like trance could actually be dark!?


    It's a shame really that trancealbums nowadays seems to follow certain formula. Album has couple of chilling tracks and breakish tracks,couple of instrumental tracks and the rest of the tracks are filled with meaningless and unnecessary vocals. I have never found that formula succesful. And when we think album as a whole, it works even less when there is no clear red line in it. And then we have Nicholas Bennison.

    It was John OO Fleming's Global Trance Grooves when I heard Nicholas Bennison first time. It happened few years ago. Bennison had a guest mix and the name didn't ring a bell. After glorious first hour I thought I could listen to second hour also. And I'm happy that I did. Immediately first track sounded so great with it's dark atmosphere and energetic soundworld. And this continued for the whole set. And especially first track and one track in the middle were awesome and I noticed that those were Bennison's own production (The Dawning and Exocet). After that Bennison has done some great works so it's no wonder that I waited for this album.

    The album begins with Tension of Opposites. In the beginning it has some piano and strings but before the end it creates more breakish atmosphere and gets pretty epic. And this is just a intro! But very good intro. And just after I bashed the pattern of trancealbums, Bennison gives Angels Fear. It is a breaktrance-track but very good one. And at least it is full of Bennison's trademark sounds which makes it easily recognizable Bennison-track. Undulate is the first trancetrack of the album but despite very good bassline, it doesn't really impress me. It has couple of nice sounds but as a whole it lacks something. And then Spirit Chamber, good god! This one had individual release about 1,5 month ago and I fell in love with this one. Very energetic and dark track with catchy bassline. And the greatness is fullfilled with TB-303 (acid) sounds. I find this one of the best tracks of the year.

    Undulate takes influence from psytrance. That bassline sounds like it could be from Wizzy Noise-track. But then again when this track has some clear Bennison-sounds, the result isn't too bad (bit like Beyond The Limit). The Valley then again takes album to breaktrance direction again. This might be actually the weakest link in the album. Bennison's sound is usually pretty energetic and when he tries to put those into as slow track as this one is, result isn't too good I afraid. New Power then again is slower trancetrack with again noticeable Bennison-sound but this one too is quite uninspiring. Couple of good sounds just can't save the track. Unstuck is bit different track than as a fan of Bennison I have used to. Again much slower track than usual Bennison-stuff but trademark sounds are almost non-existent here. For some reason I like the drums here and to be honest, the main melody sounds pretty good here. Still this isn't really in the level of Spirit Chamber or even Angels Fear.

    And then we have Dead Weight. This is a strange part of the album. The unedited track is much longer but album edit is only 2 minutes long. But even at that time it shows how glorious the full track would be (I guess unedited track are already available). And at least it creates mood nicely and let us expect for something great. Original mix of Exocet would have been it but this reworked version works pretty nicely too. First there is familiar Exocet-melody and then BOOM! Very powerful bassline comes in and little by little the track grows even more epic. And Life Back ends album pretty well. It sounds like it takes some influence from old uplifting trance and puts it into his own dark and energetic sound and this works very well. I actually checked if this is older track but it seems that it isn't. Well whatever it works.

    I had to think very hard f I would give 7 or 8/10. After Life Back I decided to give 8/10. I guess already the fact that Nicholas Bennison haven't jumped into electro or minimal bandwagon or doesn't use fluffy vocals deserves it. But as a album this could be better. Every album has it's best tracks and not so good tracks but this one goes bit too much from the style to another. Even though it has certain red line thanks to Bennison's usual elements, breaktrance-tracks in various different places, one psyish track and couple of slower tracks here and there doesn't really make this sound an album. So in that thing, Bennison stepped into usual trancealbum pattern. Anyway this is much more interesting than for an example albums from Ronski Speed or Phynn I have heard lately.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Angels Fear
    spirit Chamber
    Life Back

    ---

    Ferry Corsten - Twice In The Blue Moon



    1. Shelter Me
    2. Black Velvet
    3. We Belong
    4. Gabriella's Sky
    5. Made Of Love
    6. Radio Crash
    7. Twice In A Blue Moon
    8. Feel You
    9. Life
    10. Brain Box
    11. Shanti
    12. Visions Of Blue

    Punk or Junk?


    I'll tell you something. There are basically three types of albums I'm reviewing. First one is the albums I have expected for some time, are made by some of my favorites and I which I expect to have high quality (Nicholas Bennison for an example). Second one is a random pick. Album which is recently released and which I don't know pretty well, but I think that I could check it. And the third one is albums made by really big names with massive reputation. Obviously Ferry Corsten is name big enough that I just can't pick him randomly and I didn't actually expect this album money ready in my wallet reserved for it, especially when thinking what kind of stuff other superstar dj's are releasing.

    But come on! It's Ferry Corsten! You just can't ignore him. Certain 1999 track called System F - Out Of The Blue really begun dutch invasion to the trancescene and by doing so, changed trance completely. Around that time he produced many great tracks under various aliases like Moonman, Pulp Victim and Gouryella (with some dude called Tijs Verwest) which presented new uplifting trance. And to be honest, when I occasianaly hear some Ferry-track from that time which I haven't heard before, I find those tracks pretty good. Ferry really knew what he was doing with his supersaws. And later he produced Rock Your Body, Rock and Punk under his own name which brought electroclash-influences to trance. Ferry didn't jump into electrobandwagon at that time when there was no f*cking bandwagon! Right Of Way-album which had those tracks had some great tracks too like Sweet Sorrow, Star Traveller and Right Of Way. It is unfortunate that follow-up L.E.F. wasn't that great including only few good tracks.

    What about Twice In The Blue Moon then?

    The album is started with Shelter Me. Not too bad actually. The beginning sounds like some usual electrotrance-track with it's buzzing bassline but when the mainmelody kicks in, there is one pretty good moment. I could say that this begins the album pretty well. You know I'm usually very very critical about vocals in trance. When the vocals begun in Black Velvet I was ready to say it again here but those improved pretty nicely when track growed. Still the track in my opinion relies too much on the vocals and there isn't too much other ingredients in the track. And We Belong... this works nicely. Vocals aren't really necessary here but they doesn't ruin the track either. Especially when this is one energetic track with pretty catchy melodies. Gabriella's Sky begins pretty nicely and after a while the kick comes in and you notice that this is breaktrance-track. The main problem here is that track doesn't move anywhere. And after all this is usual trancetrack with just bit different kick, not anything special or huge variation to the other Ferry-tracks.

    The next track brings probably intentionally nostalgic feeling. Made Of Love is really similar with old Sweet Sorrow. This is almost like vocal mix of it but then again, I just can't whine too much about it. For once I find in my opinion pretty good vocaltrance-track. Probably mostly thanks to the Sweet Sorrow-likeness but is it because of nostalgia or is it something which has gone missing after it? I really don't know. Probably almost everyone has already heard Radio Crash. After all it is the first single released from this album (correct me if I'm wrong). This is closest to generic electrotrance so far from this album. And I have found this one ever since I heard it first time pretty boring piece of music. Twice In The Blue Moon (the track) follows the same path but at least it has some fairly good melodies in the middle of the track before the mainmelody, which doesn't work at all, comes in. And Feel You is again track with "electroish" bassline but unlike some other tracks from the album, the vocals doesn't work fell enough and doesn't really add anything special into the track.

    What can I say about Life? Some certain parts are very dull but breakdown sounds pretty good... in the beginning. I don't really know why but for some reason Ferry have decided to put some malevocals into the end of breakdown. Those doesn't fot there and there aren't vocals anywhere else in the track! Brainbox then again is one of the highlights, mostly because of the first three minutes. It is pretty energetic stuff and has some sounds which aren't recycled for many times already. It's bit unfortunate that the mainmelody can't do the same even though it's not that bad either. Shanti is one of the better tracks too. It screams potential thanks to the A-part but mainmelody just doesn't too it justice. It seems that Ferry thinks he have to put some "electrotrance" melody into the track to make it sound ferryish when I think it wouldn't be needed. Then only two minutes long Visions Of Blue ends the album peacefully with pianomelodies.

    Too bad really. I could clearly hear potential here. If Ferry would have taken away some unnecessary vocals and "electrotrance"-melodies and replaced those with something else, this could be mindblowing. Also I think that album had really good start and fairly good ending but the middle lost the touch. There are some bit worse tracks. Still Ferry did just enough to gain 7/10 rating but just barely. He was already really close to the bar.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    We Belong
    Made of Love
    Brainbox

    ---

    Vibrasphere - Lungs Of Life



    1. Decade
    2. Breathing Place
    3. Ensueno (Morning mix)
    4. Waveguide
    5. Analog Marinade
    6. Follow Me
    7. Dewdrops (vs. Ticon)
    8. Erosion (Glenn Morrison and Bruce Aisher remix)
    9. 102 Miles From Here (Solead remix)

    102 miles from origins


    Ah Vibrasphere. Swedish group of Rickard Berglöf and Robert Elster has been around for a decade now and to celebrate that event, we have a new album here called Lungs Of Life! The group originally came famous for making propsy and their first 3 albums (Echo, Lime Structure and Archipelago) reflected it. In 2006 they decided to release track called Floating Free, progtrack without real psyinfluences and that was probably (I'm not 100% sure) their most popular track up to that date. 4th album Exploring The Tributaries followed the tracks of Floating Free being combination of progressive trance, ambient and little bit of psy. I guess it's a safe bet that Lungs Of Life follows those tracks,

    Decade is a nice intro track. Even though it's 4,5 minutes long, it just focuses in being calm and relaxing and trying to create a good vibe for the forthcoming trip. Breathing Place introduces the drums but continues in ambient-way. Nice and moody melodies added into peaceful background makes the track very pleasant musical experience and makes you wonder how good the faster tracks sounds.The beginning of Ensueno (Morning Mix) (the original track was already in Exploring The Tributaries) promises a lot. The calm intro is great and is kinda good gateway from more chilling intro into trancier world. When the bassdrum finally kicks in, you can immediately hear bit buzzing bassline. And bit later you can hear pretty nice melodies but then again, isn't this bit like Markus Schulz? Don't get me wrong, the track itself isn't too bad. Instead it is pretty good and it has some mood but still. Haven't we heard this already?

    And then we have Waveguide. And here we are going wrong. Vibrasphere takes "less is more"-thinking into new heights. The track is basically the basskick with the most basic TB-303 bass you can imagine. And no, that isn't interesting. Especially when the track is 8,5 minutes long. And to be honest, Analog Marinade isn't much of a improvement. In the beginning, the track just focuses on being buzzing progtrack. And after 3 minutes the track just repeats the same bassline over and over again with one little different moment. The beginning of Follow Me sounds promising. It reminds me about the days of Archipelago. And the first impression is pretty correct. This is progpsy you could have expected from Vibrasphere couple years ago or from Human Blue for an example. Still the track remains in the background and doesn't offer anything memorable.

    And what to expect track with Ticon? I know that Vibrasphere is cabable of making great tracks and Ticon had one pretty good record couple years ago (Zero Six After). But then again Ticon jumped into electro-bandwagon with the last album (reviewed earlier) with couple of nice exceptations. I hope the best here. And this track succeeded quite well. Little hint of TB-303 here and there added into good melodies works well. This track doesn't show the negative sided of modern Vibrasphere and Ticon sound. And then into odd choices. Vibrasphere-album has two remixes in the end. Both remixes for Exploring The Tribatries-track. Erosion remix is nice remix with similar touch than original track had and which lives thanks to the original track. 102 Miles From Here is then again just crap. Minimal house remix of progtrance-track is a odd choice. And I have heard some good minimal house but this isn't good.

    So what can I say? Don't expect Archipelago kind of progpsy. This is much closer to previous album Exploring The Tributaries. But when Exploring The Tributaries was one of the highlights of the year 2007, this is just stays in background. Exploring The Tributaries had some really good tracks like Erosion, Forever Imaginary and Mountain Lake, this doesn't have ones. Ticon-track is the closest alongside with good intro but that just isn't enough. After all this is not a bad album but fails to follow the glory of last two albums. Mostly this album is pretty listenable but that's about it. And thanks to the bad taste remix of 102 Miles From Nowhere gave, I will drop the rating I thought I would give after Erosion by one. And because there is no Orange or Autumn Lights in this album.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Decade
    Breathing Place
    Dewdrops (Vibrasphere vs. Ticon)
  • Reviews of 2008 albums - Part 1

    17 déc. 2008, 10h40m

    So first I would like to give little background for these reviews. I haven't made all these reviews at the same time. Instead I have made one review at the time and I'm just copy-pasteing these from the forums I have released these earlier. After this I think I will post these reviews more regularly into last.fm too so you don't need to check this big posts after this.

    Usually I choose to review pretty recent album and give it some promotion. There are still three different kind of albums I select. 1) I have expected the album for some time and would like to check it and also review it, 2) The album is made by some big name so it would seem unacceptable not to check it or 3) I pick the album randomly. I have made these reviews in english after september 2006 if I remember correctly and in finnish long before that.

    So here we go. These are the albums released in 2008 I reviewed this year. I hope you enjoy to read these. And sorry for Sander van Doorn. I was too harsh with it.

    Sander van Doorn - Supernaturalistic



    1. Look Inside Your Head
    2. Riff
    3. By Any Demand
    4. 15
    5. Pura Vida
    6. Sushi
    7. The Bass
    8. Lobby
    9. Apple
    10. Grasshopper
    11. Dozer
    12. Outrospective

    Sometimes the change doesn't do good


    Not long time ago everything looked great for Sander van Doorn. His tracks had massive success and it seemed that he would become one of the superstar DJ's. His techtrance-releases were popular and masses were waiting for new Sander van Doorn, Sam Sharp or Purple Haze-track. After few years he had released some killer tracks like Purple Haze's Adrenaline or his version of old The Police-tracks Message In The Bottle.

    But then something happened. In the beginning of 2007 SVD released two new tracks. Those were pretty succesful but people didn't know what to think about those. Sander had changed his style totally. Still no-one probably thought that techtrance would have been gone for good but it was. Now Sander begun to make minimal trance.

    And this is the result. Sander has abandoned his old style and now when he decided to release his debut album, it doesn't have any tracks which are close to his old style. Instead we have boring, monotonous and uninspiring trance. Even though minimalistic music can be very tasty, Sander really can't make it sound good.

    So here we are. In the end of album I can only feel relief. One year ago I couldn't have believed that Grasshopper is one of the best tracks in the album. Well it is the result when you make an album with rush.

    2/10

    Ace tracks:
    Apple (barely)
    Grasshopper (sounds relatively good here)

    ----

    Markus Schulz - Amsterdam 08



    CD1
    1 Dakota - Amsterdam
    2 Leama And James Davis Presents Grafiti - Ghettotech
    3 Glenn Morrison - Blue Skies With Linda
    4 Plastic Angel - Try Walking In My World (Original Mix)
    5 Lens - Beyond The Shadows (Moonbeam Remix)
    6 Glenn Morrison - Rubberband
    7 Rex Mundi - Sunrise In Ibiza
    8 Marcus Schössow - Mr. White (Ruben de Ronde Remix)
    9 tyDi - Meet Me In Kyoto
    10 Ketho Feat. Michael Calderone - Silent Room
    11 Supüer - Azaleas
    12 Destination X - Dangerous (Gareth Emery Remix / Markus Schulz Big Room Reconstruction)
    13 Sonic Division - If I Had Wings

    CD2
    1 Fulyan - Approach
    2 Dakota - Progression
    3 Carl & Joni - Forsaken
    4 Markus Schulz - Fly To Colors (Carl B Remix)
    5 Anton Chernikov - Your Burning Eyes
    6 Breakfast & BiG MiKE - Only Two Should Know
    7 Markus Schulz Feat Andy Moor - Daydream (Coldharbour Remix)
    8 Agnelli & Nelson Present A&N Project - Sleeping In Airports
    9 BeBop Breakthrough - Woodpecker
    10 B.E.N. & Mr. Pit - More Manners Please
    11 EnMass - Avalon
    12 Kenneth Tjonasam - Formulation
    13 Vir2l Vision - Entry To Heaven (Benya Remix)

    It's not a bad album but...


    Markus Schulz should be well known name for everyone who listens to trance. There are many who doesn't like him but he definately is one of the big trance DJ's. Spot of his radioshow have helped him a lot. Global DJ Broadcast happens to be just before A State Of Trance...

    Anyway Amsterdam 08 is exactly what you would expect from Schulz. There is nothing special in it. It is just exactly the same mcprog Schulz have played for years now. Pretty slow trance which relies heavily on atmosphere it tries to create. There are some really good mcprog-tracks in this record too but those easily are buried into mess of the same sounding tracks.

    Actually it is kinda funny how similar first track (Ghettotech) and the last one (Entry To Heaven) are. Both are the same style and both have those "pling-plong" melodies. And folks, this is the real problem here. When you listen to the album you really get the feeling that it doesn't develop anywhere. It is basically the same kind of track after another. In the end there are couple of "cool" electrotrance tracks but it doesn't change the feeling 1,5 CD's of the album made.

    So in my opinion Amsterdam 08 should have been just one CD. It has enough good tracks to keep it fairly interesting for 2,5 hours but it isn't exactly necessary. Instead one CD would have showed for an example Glenn Morrison-tracks in the better light. So in brief it is not a bad album but it is not magnificent either. But fans of Markus will definately like it.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Glenn Morrison - Blue Skies With Linda
    Glenn Morrison - Rubberband
    Carl & Joni - Foresaken

    ---

    Ticon - [2AM]



    1 1987
    2 Zebra Beat
    3 Models On Cocaine
    4 Weekend Warriors
    5 Spitfire
    6 In The Box
    7 We're Shining
    8 2 Am
    9 Less Is More

    I thought the bandwagon would be full by now


    Umm... Ticon. Another act I found thanks to John OO Fleming. Of course I bought Unfold #1 when it was released and soon after that I noticed Ticon's track called Rip It Up. It was nice progtrancer with good atmosphere and without any cheesyness in it. So I checked their 2005-album Zero Six After and it was pretty good. Some tracks were really nice and overall the sound of the album was top notch. And now after 2,5 years Ticon releases their 4th album.

    The beginning sounds great. Opening track 1987 is awesome piece of music. It is nice powerful progtrance-track with killer synths and such. It is easily one of the best tracks I have heard in a while. This is the kind of progressive trance you don't hear anymore when it all has turned into slower mcprog. But unfortunately it goes downhill from here.

    The rest of the album is a big letdown. For some reason Ticon has decided to jump into electro-bandwagon. So nearly whole album is full of buzzing basslines and those beepy melodies you have heard so much in the last few years. And I thought that this electro-trend would be soon over... Okay I have to admit that there are some nice tracks. Models On Cocaine, Less Is More and 2AM works pretty well. But goddamn how stupid the tracks in the middle are. Buzzing bassline, meaningless melodies and the most annoying lyrics in a while gives really nice experience.

    So what can I say about this one? Well it has those few great tracks but all in all it is pretty useless release. I expected so much more from the duo. I know they can do lot better than this album showed. 1987 is a great example.

    5/10

    Ace tracks:
    1987
    Models On Cocaine
    Less Is More

    ---

    DJ Orkidea - Metaverse




    1 Orkidea - Metaverse
    2 Andy Moor vs. Orkidea - YearZerp
    3 Orkidea - Free Dreams
    4 David West & Orkidea - God's Garden
    5 Solarstone & Orkidea - Slowmotion
    6 Orkidea - Stretching Time
    7 Lowland & Orkidea - Masochrist
    8 Way Out West - Killa (Orkidea vs. Dallas Superstars Remix)
    9 Orkidea - Requiem
    10 Nightwish - Bye Bye Beautiful (DJ Orkidea Remix)

    Thq quality beats quantity


    Now is the time. DJ Orkidea releases finally a new trancealbum. It's been already 5 years when glorious Taika was released. After that he has released A Place Called Happiness-compilation and ambient-album called Music Speaks In Thousand Languages. Both were minor releases and Tapio Hakanen officially have stated that Metaverse is basically the second artist-album after Taika.

    But before digging deeper I have to remind you that this isn't mostly made by Orkidea himself. Just like much of the greatness of Taika was based on co-producer Niclas Renqvist, this album depends highly on visitors too. Actually only two of the tracks are made just by Orkidea. 4 tracks are produced with Lowland (Petri Alanko) and even 3 of those states that they are written by Lowland. And then again YearZero is mostly Andy Moor, Slowmotion mostly Solarstone and God's Garden mostly David West. Also in the remix of Killa there are very clear Dallas Superstars-influences. But it's the music that matters and as a DJ, Orkidea is one of the best.

    Metaverse is the first track on the album. This is the first track produced with Lowland though the sleeves says that it is written by Orkidea himself. But the track is really good one. It uses powerful breakbeat-rhythm alongside with trancemelodies and the voices in the track fits prefectly in. And of course it has really good intro. YearZero is then again well known for the most. No surprise here that it does sound lot of Andy Moor. It has moorish bassline and moorish melodies. But it has some Orkidea-effects and then again the version here is the best one. Free Dreams is purely Orkidea-track and it is mostly a rework of older Orkidea-track. It is basically tranceversion of Dreams Are Free from Music Speaks In Thousand Languages. It sounds nice but it stays in the background.

    And next one is Wel... Sorry God's Garden. To be honest I can't hear Orkidea here. It sounds so much like West's Welsh Morphology that it easily could be remix of it. The track itself isn't that bad but it is easily noticeable. Slowmotion is made together with Solarstone and this one is pretty good. It has good melodies and pretty good bassline. Stretching Time is Orkidea's own track and it sounds good. Powerful trance with good melodies and little bit of fitting voices.

    And then comes Masochrist. And this is folks really good track. It has moody intro made by piano and then suddenly the kick comes in and you're hooked into powerful rhythm and great atmosphere. This one is one of the best tracks of the year for sure. And then comes Orkidea vs. DSS Remix of Killa. I don't know why Orkidea picked this version into this album when Orkidea Remix is better one. In any case this is not a bad version either. It has so called DSS-bassline and it uses much of the original track but of course it doesn't reach the same level that Way Out West's original track (oh that intro is so good).

    And Requiem. Another track made with Lowlands. It uses strings from Lux Aeterna and it is used when trying to make chillier breakdowns. And after those strings there always comes little moment of silence and then boom. Powerful rhythm takes you into control and TB-303 begins to bring it's own unique sound. This is awesome track and I surely hope I can hear it live in the Metaverse-tour. And then Bye Bye Beautiful Remix (made surprisingly with Lowland...). Well this one has two sides. Then again there are some really good melodies here and bassline is really good. But then there are chopped vocals from the track and don't know if that original melody fits here. This one isn't bad track though.

    So the album is worthy of checking. It has many good tracks already itself and then there are still unique code which can be used to download extramaterial including completely new track Better Day, older releases like Eternal Love, some exteded mixes and 2 hour Metaverse DJ-mix. So if you haven't ordered this one yet, go and get your own copy. This is very interesting for trancealbum and it doesn't jump into electrobandwagon or follow the current trends. It is an album which sounds like... Orkidea.

    9/10

    Ace tracks:
    Metaverse
    Masochrist
    Requiem

    ---

    Junkie XL - Booming Back At You



    01. Booming right at you
    02. Cities in dust
    03. You make me feel so good
    04. Stratosphere
    05. Mad pursuit
    06. More
    07. 1967 poem
    08. Zage
    09. Clash
    10. New toy
    11. No way
    12. Not enough

    Better than the previous album


    Oh yeah. Junkie XL is releasing new stuff once again. It is always interesting to hear what Tom Holkenborg has to offer. In the past he has offered a lot of interesting tracks, especially in the beginning. The last album Today wasn't so great but then again it still had a track like Mushroom which clearly shows that there are a lot of potential. And then again single-release for this album (More) wasn't so bad.

    The album begins with Booming Right At You. The track is mostly about repeating the titles of the track and album. Background is fairly good electroinfluenced house. The track is pretty short and it's actually good thing here because if track would have been longer, it wouldn't have been interesting. Cities In Dust is more like Today. Heavily guitar and vocal based track is still pretty nice. Rhythm is very strong and vocals singed by Lauren Rocket aren't too bad. When melodies works well, track becomes pleasant experience. You Make Me Feel So Good uses familiar vocalsample which says the tracktitle. Track is pretty slow but electromelodies are nice to listen. Stratosphere is good instrumental. It contiunues in the same parth than the previous tracks but when it takes away the vocals and ridiculously buzzing bassline, the result is very tasty.

    But after the good beginning comes Mad Persuit. Slow track with guitar and vocals isn't in this case a good combination. Vocals of Nicole Morier are just passes by and when the soundworld isn't intersting, the result isn't good one. And then comes More. It should be familiar to many. It offers very good chorus (where Pacman is mentioned) which is easy to get hooked. I found that it got stuck in my head. Otherwise the track isn't too bad either. Unfortunately 1967 Poem isn't so food follow-up for More. It is just way too familiar sounding electrohouse without anything catchy. Maybe that little vocalsample where some dude is shouting was meant to be the hook. And Zage doesn't make things better. It has stupid voices all over it and track repeats the same melody for the whole 5 minutes and in the end it gets pitched annoyingly high.

    But then comes a good track. Clash has some good vocalsamples and pretty catchy guitars. But it's the bassline which makes this track good. And I could say that it is nice to hear a track without so much electro after a while. New Toy is mostly stupid electro-bollocks b ut the track is saved by more peaceful part which has good melody and nice vocals. No Way is yet another track which is very similar to the others. Certain interesting electo-melodies with little piece of guitar and some vocals. But when the background just isn't interesting enough and chorus isn't as catchy as in More, it becomes just neutral track. But as a disappointment, Tom choosed to pick the worst track into the last. Come on album could have been finished with No Way but instead we have track with one melody, drums and annoying male vocals in the end. Who is this Willoughby anyway? So the fairly good feeling I got from the album is away with this bollocks.

    Anyway it is nice to hear that Junkie XL has still made pretty good album. Even though it is somehow jumping into electro-bandwagon, Junkie XL haven't used the most familiar solutions and have kept overbuzzing bassline mostly away. And this album is really different than Today. So this one have some good tracks and it is your choice if it's enough.

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Stratosphere
    More
    Clash

    ---

    Juno Reactor - Gods & Monsters



    1. Inca Steppa
    2. Tokyo Dub
    3. Las Vegas Future Past
    4. Mind Of The Free
    5. Immaculate Crucifixion
    6. City Of The Sinful
    7. Tanta Pena
    8. Perfect Crime
    9. Pretty Girl

    God is god


    I don't even start to count how many albums Juno Reactor have released. But the amount of those is huge. Still except for few tracks and old Bible Of Dreams album I haven't checked them as close as they would earn. So I hope that Gods & Monsters is an album worthy of checking. Don't know really what to expect but I'm interested to hear what JR has to offer.

    Already the beginning of the first track Inca Steppa sounds very good. Powerful bassline hits from the first moment. I like the tribal-feeling of this track. The only annoying thing in my opinion are female voices which doesn't really fit. Still it's pretty good track. Tokyo Dub then again just flows. It's nice and mellow track with one vocal line but it's not in my opinion interesting enough. When it's slow it should have something special in it but it stays in the same spot for 7 minutes. The Beginning of the next track (Las Vegas Future Past) sounds very good. It has nice bassline and I like the use of old intruments like piano. And track just grows in the end when it adds powerful melodies and breakbeat rhythm. Great track!

    Mind Of The Free is another slow track. It uses again lot of traditional instruments and some male vocals. But in the end you notice just that it just flowed from the ear to another. It's not bad track but it's not as interesting as it could be. And next one is Immaculate Crucifixion and don't skip this one! It is really powerful track. In the beginning there are nice sounding guitar and strings and then there comes "big bang" where electric guitar joins into the track and there comes powerful breakbeat-rhyhtm. And it works d*mn well! City Of The Sinful isn't much worse either. It has powerful bassline to keep track interesting and nice vocals and good rhythm to fulfill it.

    And Tanta Pena stays in the same area. Powerful track again with female vocals. That shouting fits into track pretty well and again I like those tribal elements Juno Reactor uses in this track. But the momentum ends here. Perfect Crime is another downtempo track but it sounds pretty poppish with it's male vocals and guitar. To be honest it isn't interesting at all but it's not even the worst track from the album. That title goes to Pretty Girl. The track that ends the album. I can see what Juno Reactor has thought here. They thought that it would be nice to end the album with slow stuff but the result is just... terrible. Male vocals are just horrible here and music in the backroung isn't any better.

    So what is the final judgement? Well some tracks in the album are really good. And those tracks fills half of the album. But the major problem here are those two closing tracks which just annoys me. They spoil otherwise top notch album. Also there isn't really theme here. Just pack of tracks in the same album. Anyway it is fairly good album and maybe it's just worthy of buying thanks to those few awesome tracks.

    7/10

    Ace tracks:
    Inca Steppa
    Immaculate Crucifixion
    City Of The Sinful

    ---

    Jori Hulkkonen - Errare Machinale Est



    1. Gentlemen Prefer Laser
    2. Errare Machinale Est Feat. Justine Electra
    3. Never Been Here Before Feat. John Foxx
    4. Forgive me Father For I Have Synth Feat. Ebb
    5. Synthetic Ballad of Charles Darwin Feat. Jimi Tenor
    6. Mere Vehicle
    7. Character Feat. Jerry Valuri
    8. The Descent of Man Feat. Nick Trian
    9. Titans Feat. Ernesto

    Science


    Jori Hulkkonen is one of the biggest names in electronic music who have come from Finland. Yes Orkidea is the biggest but then again both Orkidea and Jori have come a long way since the beginning, both have gained lot of respect around the years and both have defined electronic music in Finland. Still they are almost from a different planet. When Orkidea has lived with his trance-sounds, Jori Hulkkonen have walked much longer path. It begun with more dancefloor oriented music but that all have changed.

    Already previous album Dualizm sounded lot like this. It though still had something from the roots of Jori's sound but it showed that Hulkkonen had become artist. A musician trying to create something own. After that Hulkkonen made synthpop-album with Jerry Valuri with the name Processory and this album follows the same tracks.

    Like Dualizm and Processory-project this album is mostly synthpop. Not anything undergroundish music listened only a few but easier music but with the touch of something more less common. Hulkkonen likes to use a lot of elements from the 80's but in the positive way and adds them to vocals and new sounds. Love for the new technology is there and you can hear it. You could say that Hulkkonen makes 80's music with completely different machines than 80's did and he does that fine.

    Because this album works as a whole. Unlike Dualizm it is nice experience to listen this album straight through. It is nice and peaceful and still electronic. And even though it has vocals in many tracks, those doesn't annoy me. Maybe because Hulkkonen knows that he is doing pop and maybe because vocals doesn't tell about love that left or that you are so in love that you fly in the level of clouds like trance does. And then album is finished with acoustic guitar-track Titans which isn't too bad either.

    So all in all this is the best album Hulkkonen has done in a while. It has clearly a nice red line and it sounds nice and mellow. But there are really only two really good tracks (Gentlemen Prefer Laser and Errare Machinale Est) and that really good part tooks only about 10 minutes of the album. Yet one noteable thing. This album is only released in Finland as a CD. Elsewhere it is a digital release but then again digitally it has one extra track (Customs Person). But it is worthy of download.

    8/10

    Ace tracks:
    Gentlemen Prefer Laser
    Errare Machinale Est
    the descent of man

    ---

    Armin van Buuren - Imagine



    1. Imagine
    2. Going Wrong (With DJ Shah Feat. Chris Jones)
    3. Unforgiveable (Feat. Jaren)
    4. Face To Face
    5. Hold On To Me (Feat. Audrey Gallagher)
    6. In And Out Of Love (Feat. Sharon Den Adel)
    7. Never Say Never (Feat. Jacqueline Govaert)
    8. Rain (Feat. Cathy Burton)
    9. What If (Feat. Vera Ostrova)
    10. Fine Without You (Feat. Jennifer Rene)
    11. Intricacy

    Whatever I say I'm wrong


    Reviewing Armin van Buuren is a hard thing to do. Whatever my opinion is, I will be bashed. If I say it's a good album, I will be bashed for liking cheesy commercial music which kills the industry and I'm still a newbie in the scene (newbies usually listens Ulrich Schnauss or Guy Gerber). And if I don't like the album, I will be called as elitist (elitists usually listens to Sash! and 2 Unlimited) and die hard Armin-fans will give me the legendary comments like "if you don't like it, don't review it!" or "do better stuff yourself". And I'm serious with it!

    Anyway Imagine is a third artist album Armin van Buuren releases. First album 76 was actually pretty nice. It didn't have anything special in terms of sound but tracks like Blue Fear, Communication, Precious and Astronauts are really tasty. Second album Shivers was lot worse but I still think that it's better than it's reputation. It still contains great tracks like Zocalo and Control Freak and vocals in Wall Of Sound sounds pretty good. Now it's time for another album which reached #1 spot in Netherlands album chart. How it works?

    Actually first track Imagine is fairly good. After fairly good intro track really begins and it's power works. It has simple but powerful and effective bassline and good anthemic vibe with it. And even though I usually don't like guitar in trance, it works well here. But with Going Wrong Armin is well... going wrong. Okay as a pop track it's fairly good. But it is not really my taste when track has awfully cheesy male vocals and breakdown with guitar (good god how commercial that is!). It reminds me about Filo & Peri's The Anthem. This is better though. And with Unforgivable we go really down. First we have this stupid buzzing bassline and then comes bit of chopped vocals. And then it's fulfilled with meaningless and stupid vocals. In a nutshell, it's track with all the clichés trance nowadays have. But then comes Face To Face (nothing to do with PvD-track). It doesn't have anything special in it. It has melodies used so many times before but some female voices and good pianomelody makes the track enjoyable experience. Actually it's like a fresh wind from the past when anthemic trance actually was enjoyable.

    But then Hold On To Me goes back to the sound of Unforgivable. Buzzing "electro-bassline" - checked. Average female vocals - checked. Stupid "electrotrance"melodies - checked. Guitar - checked. So the conclusion is that it's annoying to listen those stupid elements again and again. Nothing interesting there so let's move on. In And Out Of Love has vocals from Sharon Den Adel. Now that is interesting, how singer of Within Temptation fits into trance? Answer is, very well. You can clearly hear that Sharon is as a singer in a whole different level than Audrey Gallagher. Okay the track isn't anything special but it's not bad either. Piano in the middle of the track is nice and bassline or melodies doesn't spoil the track. But then Never Say Never goes back to the bad level. Meaningless female vocals doesn't save the track which doesn't have anything interesting. Highly forgivable bassline and not a real melody in a long time isn't really a good combination. And when the main melody finally kicks in, you can hear that it's not that good either. In the end of track at least I got the feeling that "was that it?". And the Rain is the same thing. Female vocals singing the word "rain" isn't interesting. The best part is the supersaw in the middle but it's highly forgettable too just like the rest of the track. So was that it again?

    What If? is similar track again. Highly forgettable vocals doesn't make the track interesting and when there isn't anything so interesting in the track, result is again just decent. Well at least the track doesn't have annoying guitar. And next track has... Jennifer Rene. I haven't ever liked a single track where she sings and I found her highly overrated.But actually I think Jennifer Rene makes her best performance so far. At least from those I have heard. Overall track isn't amazing but I won't bash it either. It's fairly good vocal trancer. Intricacy finalizes the album fairly good. Track sounds much like Sean Tyas but after all it's good epic trance track. It has power and fairly interesting melodies. What annoys me here is that it's nothing special either. It uses old ideas and breakdown is heard probably million times before and this is the thing why I don't find the track so interesting.

    So the conclusion. Well at least it's better than In Between. Though this has lot of problems. The main problem here is that this album is highly forgettable. There is just too many vocal tracks, too much clichés and nothing new. But at least this is somehow returning to the roots. Armin seems to have realized that he isn't artist and stupid efforts from Shivers is gone and instead we have vocal trance and uplifting trance here. This isn't in the level of 76. Not even close. This is missing the really good tracks but at least this is way better than I expected. Next time hire some good singers and rating would rise with couple points.

    5/10

    Ace tracks:
    Imagine
    Face To Face
    Intricacy

    ---

    Solar Stone - Rain Stars Eternal (Album)



    01. Intro
    02. Part Of Me (Original Mix) (Vocals by Elizabeth Fields)
    03. Rain Stars Eternal
    04. Late Summer Fields (Vocals by Rich Mowatt)
    05. Filoselle Skies (Vocals by Julie Scott)
    06. Spectrum
    07. Lunar Rings (Vocals by Essence)
    08. Breakaway (Vocals by Alex Karweit)
    09. 4Ever
    10. Slave (Vocals by Julie Scott)
    11. The Last Defeat Pt. 1

    First Solarstone's soloalbum


    Oh yes. The good old Solarstone. Rich Mowatt and Andy Bury are responsible for many memories and many great moments which are bond into classics such as Seven Cities and Solarcoaster. Especially Solarcoaster is a piece of art with it's melancholic atmosphere. I remember seeing comment about Solarcoaster which stated that it was the last trancetrack nearly everyone liked. But Solarstone has also made many other great tracks and remixes like their remix for From Russia With Love. But now Solarstone has changed and Andy Bury has left the building making this Mowatt's soloalbum.

    While looking at the tracklist you can see immediately one thing. There are pretty many vocaltracks. It isn't necessary bad thing when Solarstone has made some pretty tasty vocaltrance in the past (Speak In Sympathy, Jump The Next Train) but when knowing the current state of trance, it sounds bit worrying. But let's see how album sounds.

    Intro is mindless bollocks like intros usually are so let's go into the first track which is called Part Of Me. And it isn't too bad actually. The track reminds me about good old Solarstone. It has little piece of guitar but it doesn't dominate the whole track, vocals are above average and most of all the track has nice bassline and good melodies. The track gives nice summerish feel and it's a nice starter for the album. And then comes Rain Stars Eternal. I liked the track when I heard it but after few listens the bad things became obvious. It doesn't have anything so remarkable and mainmelody just lacks power. Though it is nice to see that the melody is something different but all in all, the track sounds bit incomplete. Anyway the good streak continues with Late Summer Fields. The track has good vocals (made by Rich Howatt?) which obviously have been modified and the trick works nicely. And track has some other good elements too, like a good bassline and good sounding piano in a few place.

    And then comes Filoselle Skies. And I found from the beginning that the track will be complete bollocks. The vocals sounds stupid and unnecessary. And then you will find that the track is based on those vocals when there isn't really any melody and just some drums in the background. Then tempo rises again with Spectrum. The beginning sounds very good with TB-303 but unfortunately in the middle of the track mainmelody kicks in and good god it sounds awful. So there was lot of lost potential with that track. Lunar Rings has nice background and stupid vocals. Okay background has some generic elements but it works nicely which makes me wonder is there really a need for vocals. My conclusion is no and I would love to hear dub mix for this one because vocals are meaningless bollocks which just spoils otherwise nice track. Breakaway goes the same way. Pretty nice background is spoiled with malevocals.

    But then Rain Stars Eternal goes back on the track with 4ever. The track is clearly descendant for old Solarstone-classics with the trademark Solarstone-guitar. And as a surprise it still works nicely when added some good sidemelodies. Though "forever" sample in this track sounds bit odd the track is good one. But with Slave Julie Scott come again and to be honest the vocals doesn't work at all here either. But unlike Filoselle Skies this track is highly dependant for few melodies and piano. But the vocals are in the front of the track and when those won't work, track doesn't work. Last Defeat (Part One) ends the album with the nice ambient touch with guitar, piano and female voices. In that purpose Last Defeat works just fine and ends the album with pride.

    So after few listens the album isn't actually that bad. It still doesn't rise into the elite of the year but it is not as bad as I afraided. The beginning of the album is pretty tasty and some of the vocaltracks are fairly good. But the main problem is the use of meaningless vocals especially in the end of the album. Even with the tracks where there wasn't the need for those. And there isn't next Solarcoaster or Seven Cities in the album I afraid. But did anyone really expect for that kind of killers?

    6/10

    Ace tracks:
    Part Of Me
    Late Summer Fields
    4ever