Reviews of 2008 albums - Part 2

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Dez 17 2008, 11h23

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.

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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)

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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)

Comentários

  • Vaxo2007

    nice review

    Dez 17 2008, 20h19
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