The Unexamined/The Hall Of Records
Wake Your Mind Records
‘The Unexamined’ is one of those wonderful records that transcend any trance sub-bracket. Crucially it does it without being either mélange-like or ‘straining to be different’. It’s a collation of sounds hooked around a midrange tempo, which by turns are deep, techy, edgy, tough, ripping, but always compelling. ‘Deep’ describes the comparably impressive ‘The Hall Of Records’ too, with Brooke Tomlinson (both lyrically and vocally) brooding up a storm.
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
Having yahoo-‘d WAO138?! throughout last year, the label’s had more of a so-so start to 2018. There's been some stylistic bleed-through with A State Of Trance, which has loosened its definition maybe. This month, however, sees it right back on form. RAM uses Jim Ingram’s “it began in Africa” hook to lynchpin his latest. Boasting barreling beats and cogent sub-riffs, with just the right dose of pitch-bend, this is as peak-time equipped as any this month.
After January’s mainstream-but-ok ‘Light Me Up’, Purple Haze relocates to ‘Neiloj’ territory, and on Armin’s Armind imprint to boot. Hard-grooving bass, ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’-esque robo vocals and beautifully unfolding harmonies set ‘Bergen’s bleepily angular mainline up a storm. Delivered with exactly the right amount of primetime sating chutzpah, this is Purple Haze right on form.
Mark Sherry & Marcella Woods
'Can’t Live Without Your Love '
Mark Sherry’s having a bit of a Wood-sy moment this month. Having remixed brother Michael’s ‘Warrior’, he’s coaxed sister Marcella back into the trance domain (for the first time in a dozen years) for Outburst’s 100th. ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’s production certainly plays to her strengths, but tonally is perhaps more of a middle-of-the-road uplifter than you’d expect from Outburst. Fine track nonetheless.The SoundCloud content at https://soundcloud.com/marksherry/marcella-woods-cant-live-without-your-love-outburst-vocal-mix-outburst-records-final-master is not available, or it is set to private.
M.I.K.E. Push Presents Cosmo Kid
Black Hole Recordings
M.I.K.E. Push is the last person you need a new style from… until suddenly you do. That’s how I’ve been feeling of late, and intuitively here comes that freshening reset. ‘Freysa’ feels tempo-slow, considered, highly detailed, and in its musical composition, accomplished. It’s filmic and vaguely Vangelis-like, without aping. Beautifully evolved throughout, this should not be missed.
'La Tormenta '
Third for Statement! from the talented Finnish pairing of Joonas Hahmo and Kimmo Kauppinen. Saying Lumïsade make ‘Balearic Trance’ is akin to saying Bruno Mars makes pop: way too sweeping a generality. Up top, ‘La Tormenta’ is beautiful in the extreme. That’s a given. From the second listen on though, it woos you into picking up on its sub-surface layers, complexities and painstaking studio detailing. And there lies its true magic.
The Stupid Experts
'Night & Day'
‘Night & Day’ is dystopian as hell, but would we really have it any other way? Over eight minutes, The Stupid Experts bend synths and sound effects to their doomy whim. Missing no opportunity to reverberate, its tension apex is reached through some surly bass and faintly ominous piano twinkling incessancy. You’re looking at a 97% Darkness rating here, which you’ll either wholly embrace, or back slowly towards the door.
The first haul from his ‘Timelapse’ EPs sees new adaptations of three of Mr V’s biggest. Cristian Ketelaars gets the easy job, remixing my favourite original, ‘More Than A Life Away’. He stresses the tough and primal, but doesn’t scrimp when airing its excellent vocal. Surprisingly close runner-up ‘Second Bite’ gets a wickedly tranced-out interpretation from Adam Ellis, while Dan Thompson pulls an uplifting fast one on ‘Unprepared’.
'Travelling (Mike St Jules Interstellar Mix)'
Pure Trance Recordings
Such an excellent record as it is, we’re compelled to give ‘Travelling’ another airing here. Who better really than Mike St Jules to teleport Vadim's subtle-yet-irresistible mainline to clubbier pastures? Don’t miss.
'Warrior (Mark Sherry Remix)'
Who's Afraid Of 138?!
Like last month’s Spoiled & Zigo bring-back, ‘Warrior’s another once-significant record rarely troubled by remix attention. Unlike ‘More & More’, ‘Warrior’s offbeat lyrics, bluesy delivery, too-heavy drums and ponderous piano, I didn’t much like. That’s not to say it wasn’t a brilliant record, something Mark Sherry underlines through his remix. Ironing out some 20 year-old studio shortcomings, it’s faithful to the break, before sealing its deal with an ass-whacking new mainline.