Twenty-one this year, yet still way ahead of its time, I think ‘Netherworld’s the track all other trancers should be judged by. Oliver ‘LSG’ Lieb’s 2017 mix omits the industrially percussive clank of the Vinyl Cut, but those milling anticipatory crowd noises, epic chords, bleeps, breaks and mournful foghorns translate into cruising prog-trance exceptionally well. For those missing Vinyl Cut’s more primal traits, the mix — exactingly re-mastered — will be available on the release’s (yup) limited edition 12”.
'Adventure To The South'
Pure Trance Recordings
I’m a sucker for a left-of-centre title and ‘Adventure To The South’ certainly draws you in with that. Future Disciple’s intro trucks along nicely, but its first significant riff could be fresher. It’s not until the drop that it really gears up, twisting its snares into surprisingly imaginative arrangements. Adding greater phase emphasis to the mainline, it morphs into something considerably more formidable. On his mix, Robert Nickson ups pace and impetus, while fleshing out the mid-range elements and generating a sleeker finished product.The SoundCloud content at https://soundcloud.com/future-disciple/adventure-to-the-south is not available, or it is set to private.
LTN & Julie Thompson
'Devil & Deep'
For the vast majority of its runtime, ‘Devil & Deep’ gets it right. As with many of his, through judicious sound choice, nagging engaging note arrangement and beautifully distinct bass, Louis’ production resounds beautifully. Julie’s vocal inflections meanwhile put you in mind of early Jan Johnston (about as far from a bad thing as you can get). Lyrically the verse is very cool, but (and here comes the caveat) contrastingly its chorus is a touch pat and poppy. Overall though, a fine release.
In Trance We Trust
A generation-spanning 16 years after ‘Massive’, Mr. Barendse delivers his second Ralphie B outing to the label. That’s gotta be some kind of record for a follow-up. Fans are unlikely to be disappointed as ‘Homestead’ hits all Ralphie’s key features. The bass is loaded, its initially hesitant main melody develops winningly within the break and its pay-off wants for little. That said don’t miss the Skylex rework, which, if anything, has even more flow.
Jason Ross feat. Lauren Ray
'I Will Be There'
Class is one thing you can always rely on from Anjunabeats, and ‘I Will Be There’ has that in spades. In a deeper, more proggy fashion, Jason’s production is understated to just the right degree. Evidently its there to support what it knows is a slam-dunk of a vocal. That confidence it not misplaced. Lauren is clearly moved by the pathos of her own lyrics, which translates brilliantly into the vocal. A more authentic and touching end result you’ll not hear this month.
Bookended by buffering snare fills, somewhat OTT distortion and EDM-ish exaggerations, ‘People’s not the best or most attractive track of the month. Technically it’s impressive though, achieving real transparency between its fusillade of elements and making each pop cleanly in the mixdown. Its vocal’s pretty decent too.
The Digital Blonde & Simon Motnikar
The Digital Blonde & Slovenia’s Simon Motnikar first side-by-side commences with a beat-free, atmosphere-filled overture. From there though it appears to go somewhat into expectation-management mode, keeping the drums, bass and FX feel dark, minimal and linear (almost to a fault). What it’s actually doing however is ensuring that the contrast to the astonishing, moving pad and chord soar it supplies in the drop is as stark and emphasised as possible.
'Sunrise (Indecent Noise’s Dreamstate Remix)'
‘Sunrise’, frankly, is an open goal of a remix. Courtesy of its aggressing acid, Balearic strings and the Gaelic rendering of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’, it’s got three killer elements to work with/bounce off. Yet it remains one of the most overlooked (and thus under-remixed) bona fide trance classics out there. Indecent Noise both redresses that imbalance and while featuring all the aforementioned doesn’t rely too heavily on them. The result is an excellent, more-boisterous-than-the-original-version excursion.
Space Raven vs. Wavetraxx
'Told In A Whisper (Wavetraxx Mix)'
Hard Trance Europe
With aliases like Space Raven and Wavetraxx, the Franco-Swiss pairing really couldn’t be anything other than hard trance producers. Thus, new label Hard Trance Europe is a natural stable for their latest. What ‘Told In A Whisper’ lacks in nuance, sophistication and restraint, it more than makes up for with vim, vigour, bloody loud percussion and an immensely satisfying post-break combustion.The SoundCloud content at https://soundcloud.com/hardtranceeurope/space-raven-wavetraxx-told-in-a-whisper-wavetraxx-mix is not available, or it is set to private.
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
‘Voices’ from Heaven's Cry comes on strong, and with the speed of hurricane. Seemingly, at first, possibly too much like a hurricane. There’s so much going on that — without wishing to mix weather metaphors — a disorientating auditory whiteout threatens. As the grey matter adjusts to all its bombast though, the merits do materialise. By the time the trifling matter of the ‘break’ is hastened away and it’s dropped into some seriously ripped tech, likely you’ll see what it’s been swinging for all along.