M.I.K.E. Push Studios
‘Dimensions’ sounds like Jules finally getting around to finishing an old Hi-Gate work-in-progress. To say this makes me happy is an understatement. Exaggerated reverb, tribal drummage, cloppy percussion loops and masses of bassline charge make this tick from the off. Two purposefully demented riffs vie for the mainline job. Sharp, yet curiously emotive both, it’s actually the first you hear that wins out.
'Ayla (Ben Nicky & Luke Bond Remix)'
In Trance We Trust
For one reason or another this ascribed classic seems to have flown largely under the remix-radar for 20-odd years. German producer Tandu’s bleeping beauty sleeps no more though, as Ben Nicky & Luke Bond have roused it from its slumber. A respectable-as-it-is-respectful overhaul, tech is the prevailing sub-style, something to which ‘Ayla’s bleepy, beamed-from-the-heavens mainline is eminently suited.
Pure Trance Progressive
After something of a drought, there now seems to be a wave of Three Drives material doing the rounds. ‘Paradise Inc.’ on ITWT is well worth a look, but it’s PTR’s ‘Barracuda’ that beguiles faster. That said there’s nothing particularly overt about it. It’s more the meticulous blending, collaging and reordering of four or more minor/sub-melodies — all of which ride atop its cruising bass, that creates its magic.
'Dr. Evil’s Revenge'
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
Aside from nailing comedy title of the month, Signum’s latest sports further less regular aspects. The roll of its drums and bass will weaken the knees, while figurative and actual clock-ticking tension amps suspense no end in the drop. That’s all before Dr. Evil himself (we presume) puts in an appearance to deliver not a vocal per se, but an ominously intoned riddle. As attention-grabbing elements go, I’ve heard a lot worse.
'Leave A Message'
Where to start with ‘Leave A Message’!? Well, a cheerful acknowledgement that it’s trying to wind up as many people as it entertains could be one. Long pitch short: if your phone’s made a squeak in the last three years, odds on that noise well be in here somewhere. Alongside are scurrying bass, a cheeky Misjah/Tim ‘Access’ 303-nod and a procession of other hard trance goods and greats. This is as Marmite as it gets, but — if nothing else — it’ll give you a chuckle.
Above & Beyond feat Richard Bedford
A&B do a fair few studio aspects better than anyone else, but we’re calling ‘Northern Soul’s mainline out. They’ve done far fresher. Whether there’s been a track that’s featured more creative lyrics though, well that’s a tougher call. Not a trope, rhythm, cookie-cut, button push or cliché in earshot. If Richard Bedford doesn’t have you with his intriguing first line, there’s a dozen more racing up behind to grab you.
'One Last Look'
Broadly speaking, ‘One Last Look’ traverses from being melodically oriented to Psy. Don’t think we’ve heard that before! Although all too brief for my liking, the former strata is formed with authentically sincere note arrangements. Ably supported by Lostly’s FX banks, 303 forms the basis for the latter. The gearshift dynamic between the two does take a couple of spins to fully digest, but you can picture it working brilliantly out on the floor.
'Stars Collide (Thomas Datt Mix)'
Black Hole Recordings
Certainly an impressive and original talent, Farish’s output does often require a remix helping hand, and most notably where trance-floors are concerned. Taken from his inventive ‘Primary Colors’ album, Thomas Datt’s mix initially focuses on ‘Collide’s highly promising melodic seam. Lowering the bass frequencies, quickening the tempo and giving the FX something of an '80s ref-point, he then fuels more mellow drama with the mix’s big midpoint synth stabs.
In its run to the drop (and in completely ad-hoc fashion) ‘Triangles’ alternates the render of its mainline between super lo-fi analogue and dazzlingly, gleaming high fidelity. A genuinely novel twist to an already impressive tune, at the top of the drop, the contrasting effect is everything you’d hope for.
‘Trust’ has that old-skool ‘groove-thing’ dynamic going. The type of lesser-seen-these-days number, that right-or-wrong believes its riff is so big, so catchy and irresistible, that it wears it near enough from first beat to last. Along the way it freshens proceedings with a myriad of filters, phases, fades, key changes, etc, but does ‘Trust’s totem line stand up? It’s been playing on-loop in my head for a week now, so I rather suspect it does.