The Quest For Beauty
Airwave doesn’t so much produce tracks, as stage them. There are few (if any) other artists you’d indulge a 12-minute long outing to these days. What Laurent stages with ‘The Quest For Beauty’ though is so studded with intricacy and conviction, not to mention drama and theatre (and opera!), that it’s extravagance is contagious. The Jam El Mar Remix (coup! touch!) provides a leaner, darker alternative.
With locomotive beats, ripping fills and aggressing FX, ‘Chapel Street’s intro is the preserve of full-blooded tech-trance. Come the break though, it pulls a switcheroo and cliff-dives down into a melodic wash and beatific female harmonics. Finally up-swinging, to complete its euphoric arc, you’ll question how it can maintain the pressure. Nicky, though, pulls it off with horsepower to spare, explicitly marking ‘Chapel Street’ as a career best.
Ferry Corsten & Cosmic Gate
Likely to whet appetites by virtue of its participants alone, ‘Event Horizon’ is a first-time paring for Corsten and the Cosmics. Warpy bass and electro are the intro’s ingredients. Opening the echo filter on the latter, it smartly expands from shard sharp to reverb-heavy and highly affecting. Backed by a super-warm phased mainline, it transforms from electro-austere to something unseasonably sun-tipped.
Armin van Buuren feat. Jacqueline Govaert
'Never Say Never (Namatjira Remix)'
A very different spin on one of Armin’s greatest moments here, courtesy of Namatjira. Paradoxically, Joost van der Vleuten is actually in more upbeat form than usual on the mix, but it doesn’t stop this from being a prog-trance treatment that occasionally skims the deep-house boundary. Once you acclimatize to the predictable loss of its end-of-break pads, you can enjoy the mix (including an deft after-touch to Jacqueline’s vocal) for what it is.
'Somewhere Out There/The Divine'
There’s always been something doggedly independent about Mark’s approach. The impression left is that he’s making music entirely from his gut, which — it barely needs saying — is less common these days. ‘Somewhere Out There’ is ‘Sandstorm’ reimagined as deep-end progressive trance, while ‘The Divine’ is more melodic in nature. Through skilled production and high imagination, both excel equally.
'Strange World (Andrew Bayer Remix)'
Given its classic trance credentials, Push’s crown-iest crown jewel is perhaps a less expected remix choice for one such as Bayer. Thus, the early appearance of ‘Strange World’s largely unadulterated riff and siren call vox should calm most qualms. Inevitably, though, from there, it does divert. Channelling into an extended bass-energised sequence, it ultimately replaces the mainline’s coursing flow with more stab and truncation.
Following his Money Shot-ing ‘Space EP', another refreshingly outside-the-box release from Romania’s Mr. Pit. In its intro, ‘Tattoo’ makes devilishly effective use of super-low frequency bass and sparser sub-riffs. In Pit’s typically atypical manner, he proceeds to wrap/warp a deeply messed-up trombone tone in. Sounding like its been beamed from another galaxy, its oddly brilliant tubular reverberation alone will have you clicking rewind over and over.
Ever the imaginative one, Dopping does his thing again here. ‘The Event’ starts off bleepy, minimal and atmospheric, before settling into a thumping, speedy-yet-linear groove. It culminates with prowling acid, effected-to-the-point-of-indistinct vocals and — best of all — slick psy elements. The latter’s theme is continued on ‘Stuck’, albeit to a slightly less striking result. ‘The Event’ though, well worth checking.
Dimension & Robert Nickson
Reassuring to see that not only is the until-recently MIA Robert Nickson back, but that he’s also hitting his release stride. ‘Wormhole’ teams him with the likewise industrious Dimension on a track that stylistically projects everyman/middle-ground appeal. There is an undeniable aroma of A&B’s ‘Surrender’ to its opening synth-plucks and undulated bass. That is only playing support to a killer mainline though, that wrings uplift from every note.