‘Deep Space’ is Oakenfold’s stab at pooling touchstones from the various genres he’s been associated into one track. Frankly, I doubt even he thought it’d turn out this good. There’s plenty of trance, natch, but it’s the other elements that make it stand apart. Moog-ish synths and Hammond-y organs transmit the Balearic, while minor melodies and truncated note sequences swirl prog into its proceedings. Pinned together by an infectiously housey groove, cease wondering how this all works so well and just enjoy that it does!
'Albion (Estiva Remixes)'
Throughout 2017 Estiva’s continued his determined push for a second chance at a breakout. The quality’s been so high, if it doesn’t happen, frankly it’ll be a crime. Aside from his own numerous productions (don’t miss recent first-among-equals ‘Oxy’ on Statement), he’s also performed a super-classy tackle on Myon’s ‘Albion’ this month. Already pretty classy in its own right, his remix lowers the tempo and has its tubular mainline riff engagingly off the groove of its ‘I Feel Love’-ish bass.
Hard Trance Europe
Something of an influence on many a Class of ’98 producer, the perennially underground Lab 4 have been going, if not since the dawn of trance, then as near as dammit. H.T.E. are the latest imprint to lure Adam & Les out of retirement. ‘Ascension’, the result, bristles with the same acid squall, bracing pace, hyperactive riffs and scant interest in breakdowns that typified their relentless Escape From Samara sets back in the day.
‘Always leave ‘em hungry’ seems to be Misja’s modus operandi, accounting perhaps for why we hear less from him these days. That said, following his pre-summer ‘Urgent’, this is at least his second for Rielism in 2017. Tempo-wise ‘Fluid’ clearly has its sights set on primetime. It’s in its calmer, break-side regions, most notably the subtle keynotes, measured strings, tempered piano and male harmonies that it enjoys its best moments though.
Solarstone & John 00 Fleming
'Hemispheres (Expanded Mix)'
Pure Trance Recordings
Can this really be the first in-studio contact between two such seemingly compatible trance minds? I rather think it can. ‘Hemispheres’ expectation x achievement axis is alleviated by the Expanded mix’s runtime. At 11+ minutes, Rich & John certainly give themselves plenty of time to deliver. What evolves is an FX-nuanced number, flush with murk-som Gregorian chants and expertly timed and applied key changes. There’s an abridged version too, but really, where’s the fun in that!?
Marco V vs. Signum
'Lost World Anthem 2017'
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
Marco and Ronald go head-to-head on this tech-tipped missile, that packs a more than decent midrange punch. Frontend, ‘Lost World Anthem 2017’ has an above-average degree of linearism to it. However it makes up for that elemental dearth with clever rotation and mutations of the parts it is fielding. Its fleeting uplifting aspects are consigned to the breakdown, and are more, you feel, a cursory nod to its ‘Anthem’ tag.
Bigtopo & Omar Diaz & Amélie Mae
There’s been ever-stronger buzz about trance emanating from the Spanish quarter throughout the year, with Omar & Bigtopo having a fair hand in that. ‘Pull Through’ — their latest — is big, energetic and later night savvy. Amélie Mae chorus ensures it retains some real heart though.
Mario Piu & Voolgarizm
Following some strong remix overtures, alongside patron Mario Piu this is the first piece of full-blown production Voolgarity from the Italian duo. The former’s presence can be firmly sensed in the BXR-ish reverberation of ‘Red Moon’s bass. There’s far more to the track than that though. Godlike use of piano, edgy, nifty sub-riffs and a real sense of measure and anticipation to its build all mark this out as a cut above.
The Space Brothers
'Shine (Jorn van Deynhoven Extended Remix)'
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
Seasoned trance watchers will recognise this as a remix of ‘Shine’ within its first four bars. Which is another way of saying it doesn’t skimp on the track’s key features. Intro cleared, van Deynhoven bangs proceedings up considerably, with rocketing pitch bends, Scot Project-esque acid belch and mercenary bass. Plenty of ear service gets paid to ‘Shine’s vocal in the break, before it doubles down for a euphorically aerated conclusion.
'The Gatekeeper / The Keymaster'
Ghostbusting refs remain purely titular (so far as we can fathom) on Penner’s latest JOOF deuce. ‘The Gatekeeper’ is a sleek, cruising piece of prog-trance that’s glacier cool in feel and isn’t averse to pipetting some techno gene into its genre pool. It’s positively breezy compared to ‘The Keymaster’ though, which serves ominous pads, scudding drums and a sinister looping organ synth that modulates upwards for three strangely gripping minutes.