2009 Reviews - Part 1

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14. Apr. 2009, 20:38

So first I would like to give little background for these reviews. I haven't made all these reviews at the same time. Instead I have made one review at the time and I'm just copy-pasteing these from the forums I have released these earlier in couple of forums.

Usually I choose to review pretty recent album and give it some promotion. There are still three different kind of albums I select. 1) I have expected the album for some time and would like to check it and also review it, 2) The album is made by some big name so it would seem unacceptable not to check it or 3) I pick the album randomly. I have made these reviews in english after september 2006 if I remember correctly and in finnish long before that.

So this is Part 1 of the year 2009. Not too much since January was pretty quiet. Next part coming up in the end of June / in the beginning of July.

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John Tejada - Fabric 44



01. Dave Hughes - Let's Do It
02. Pigon – Kamm
03. Namlook - Subharmonic Atoms
04. Donnacha Costello - Colorseries Olive B
05. WAX - WAX10001
06. Nekes – Cristal
07. Alex Cortez - Phlogiston EP
08. Palette All-Stars - Downtown Hotel
09. Palette All-Stars - After School Special
10. EQD - Equalized001
11. John Tejada & Justin Maxwell - Benus Boats
12. John Tejada & Arian Leviste - M Track 1
13. Orbital - Fahrenheit 303
14. John Tejada – Torque
15. M-Core - Be Gene
16. John Tejada & Arian Leviste - Forbidden Planet
17. Substance - Relish (Shed Remix)
18. Spooky – Candy
19. John Tejada - The Open
20. LJ Kruzer - Huba (Plaid's 15 Years Lost Remix)

Let's hear it


Silence is golden but the lack of new albums was somewhat annoying. As I have mentioned before, it almost felt like after Twice In A Blue Moon, everything 2008 had to offer was offered. But even as marginal genre as electronic music has to follow commercial market with it's releases. New albums released in december or in the beginning of january just won't sell. But now the ball is rolling again!

Fabric 44 is one of the first compilations of this year. This series is nowadays one of the best known series of undergroundish electronic music. Right with the level of Balance and Global Underground. This series named after the club in London already has 44th part and I have read how many great compilation belongs into those 44 records. I have to admit that I haven't gave enough attention to this series as much as it deserves. Not to mention John Tejada. I didn't have any clue who he is before this record. But anyway let's check what we got.

The first track is often important. It creates certain mood for the rest of the record and usually is the track which raises expectations. Here it works well. Let's Do It is nice Joris Voornish track with nice effects. After it Pigon's Kamm calms things a bit giving some kind of calm before the storm-feeling. After it things gets going again and by then, the style of album begins to be clear. I'm not expert with subgenres of techno so I can't say where exactly this belongs. But this album at least falls into that category. This is techno with certain elements from electro. Bit like Joris Voorn but bit more minimalish. And couple of tracks has nice bassline which gives nice funky feeling. And there is little piece of TB-303 with old Orbital-track. Right in the end things get more breakish but that's actually just nice variation.

But is it good then? Well sure in certain degree. Those who adore blindly melodic side of trance might not like this one because this lacks layers of melodies. But in my opinion it's not a problem. Techno works well without overdose of melodies. Just like this compilation shows, less is sometimes more. This has rhythm and it has effects with usually very simple melodies and it works. For sure I would like to listen this in the club. Maybe even more willingly than
Solarstone 's set I heard right before the christmas.

And folks, this has various good tracks. It was really hard to choose ace tracks, because there is about 6 really good tracks. Especially in the last half of the record. And when this record has more chilling parts and some variation, this 74 minutes was a pleasant journey. It seems that 2009 begun well enough.

8/10

Ace tracks:
Dave Hughes - Let's Do It
Donnacha Costello - Colorseries Olive B
Orbital - Fahrenheit 303

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Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself



1. The Birds
2. Your Mouth
3. M
4. Helen Of Troy
5. Mostly Translucent
6. Stay Away From Being Maybe
7. I Made A Tree On The Wold
8. Your Every Idol
9. You Are The Worst Thing In The World
10. Immolate Yourself

"I know that your the silence after the sun has gone away.."


Oh man. I didn't even meant to review this album. I was prepared to make next review about JOOF's Psy Trance Euphoria II and complain about it's length and not too inspiring full-on psy in third disc. But the fate decided otherwise. Today I read about death of Charlie Cooper, the other half of Telefon Tel Aviv. And only a week after the release of brand new album.

So in memory of Cooper I decided to go back to this CD. I already had listened this couple of times and decided it being "pretty good". But now I went backwards in time and put this record one once again. Immolate Yourself... The name is somewhat disturbing. I bet the events happened only couple days after the release weren't in their minds when Telefon Tel Aviv named their third album. Yes, third. This is follow-up for the albums called Fahrenheit Fair Enough and Map Of What Is Effortless.

I never gave Telefon Tel Aviv much attention earlier. Partly because I have been somehow bounded to trancescene even though I try to stay open-minded and partly because, well, I didn't know about them before Invol2ver and Sasha's rework of You Are The Worst Thing In The World. Still I decided to check this one when I heard this album was coming and already the first track showed the reason why I hadn't heard about Telefon Tel Aviv before. The Birds is a fantastic track with great sounds but really, some sort of synthpop and electro combination isn't usually the first thing you will hear, not to mention get interested in, when you are a fan of trance music.

Your Mouth continues the similar way. The beat is more clearly broken (okay, more electro-based) than in The Birds but overall, the track is very similar with the first track. But when it works, why not? M adds some vocals to background which are in my opinion a bit disturbing and the reason why this track isn't just as good as the first two ones. And unfortunately Helen Of Troy goes with the same way. Vocals just don't fit here. Those vocals aren't sang so well and that ooo-ooo-ooo line really makes me annoyed. But Mostly Translucent succeeded better. This track grows all the time from the very relaxing beginning to the part where these guys brought some strings in. And when that little part of vocals what is in this track stays in the background, this track brings quality back.

Stay Away From Being Maybe is once again one quality track. It is more clearly electro-influenced track than couple of previous ones but man is this one powerful? Of course this might not be powerful in the dancefloor but through the headphones it sounds f**king great. It might be just a good thing that I Made A Tree On The Wold is much calmer and relaxing track than the previous offering. It gives you time to breath or something. Hey, it's still a good track and it has more emotions than your average trance-tune would ever have. Your Idol follows the same pattern but for some reason, I feel something is wrong here. I think the drums are weird and sounds in background aren't quite synchronized with them. But either way it builds up for the next track which is mixed to it. You Are The Worst Thing In The World has much more than just a long name. Even though vocals haven't quite worked in this album (at least all the time) I like those here. All those who have heard Invol2ver knows what to expect here. TTA's version has of course the same ideas, it just is more pure synthpop. And that main melody is pure golden. And the track with the same name as the album ends this album fairly well.

In the beginning of this review I said that I thought this album is "pretty good". Now I would take it the word "pretty" away and stick with just "good". No. I take the word "good" away too and change it to "excellent". Because after one more listen this album sounds even better than before. The reason might be the adaption to overall sound of the album, finding the new things from it or just the appreciation for Charlie Cooper. Either way I would have given 7/10 already before this listen so it is a good album. And definately worthy of checking out because it is likely that this is the last album Telefon Tel Aviv will ever release. And if you liked M83 's Couleurs, then definately check this one.

9/10

Ace tracks:
The Birds
Your Mouth
You Are the Worst Thing in the World

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Armin van Buuren - Imagine The Remixes



CD1
01. Face To Face (Martin Roth Remix)
02. Unforgivable (First State Smooth Mix)
03. In And Out Of Love (The Blizzard Remix)
04. Never Say Never (Myon & Shane 54 Remix)
05. Rain (W&W Remix)
06. Fine Without You (Sied van Riel Remix)
07. What If (Ohmna Remix)
08. Hold On To Me (John O'Callaghan Remix)
09. Imagine (Paul Miller Remix)
10. Going Wrong (Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody van Eyden Remix)

CD2
01. Never Say Never (Omnia Remix)
02. What If (Arnej Remix)
03. Intricacy (Thomas Bronzwaer Remix)
04. Rain (Cosmic Gate Remix)
05. Unforgivable (Stoneface & Terminal Vocal Mix)
06. Going Wrong (Sean Tyas Remix)
07. In And Out Of Love (Richard Durand Remix)

What exactly should I imagine?


Oh god. Why am I even doing this? I must me ctazy or something. I guess there are two main reasons behind this pick. First one is that last two reviews have been about techno and synthpop so it is time to pick something from trance for a change. And the other reason is that Armin van Buuren is ridiculously big name in the EDM-scene and alongside with Tiësto gives the face for trance. And even "album" like this creates more discussion than Nicholas Bennison would even make.

Okay I'm honest here. I have no expectations for this one. In my opinion Imagine was "trance by numbers". That album sounds crystal clear but it is full of decent at best poptrance tracks without imagination (lol) with decent at best vocalists with one exception. In And Out Of Love was actually pretty catchy even though lyrics were pretty meaningless, but you must thank Sharon den Adel for that because she actually can sing. And the rest 3 tracks were generic uplifting-trance anyone could have released already in 2005. And even though I haven't gave much attention to tracklist, I have seen names like Cosmic Gate, John O'Callaghan and Sean Tyas making remixes for this remix-album. Wow that is something new... I admit, as a reviewer I should think every album is the best thing since the release of TB-303. But I just can't do it here and I'm reviewing this anyway. Live with it.

Hey what is this? The first track seems to actually work pretty well. Nice and deep Martin Roth-bassline added into that pianomelody from the track I can't remember (Face To Face) seems to work fairly well. Shame that melodies from the original track are so generic. Those work even here pretty well but different sounds could have made good track even better. "It ain't over till it's over". I really don't like vocals for Unforgivable. The message is bollocks and singing isn't catchy in my opinion. Also First State Remix lacks power (thank sidechaining for it) even though it has nice proggy sounds. In And Out Of Love has good vocals. I mentioned that before. And that is pretty much the only good thing in The Blizzard Remix. I have read much good about this guy, but I just can't find anything special in this track. It sounds like Coldharbour-stuff from two years ago! Myon & Shane 54 's (Who?) Remix for Never Say Never is boring. The vocals doesn't have any feeling and the main idea of the track seems to be using buzzing bassline for all the time while nothing really happens. W&W , where is the basskick? Forgot it somewhere? Actually the only good things in this track is the piano from the original track and actually those lyrics fits pretty well into this "electro"-bollocks.

Fine Without You is actually pretty nice. This track is full of mediocre sounds and guitar is far from new idea, but there is a pretty good part in the middle of this "rocktrance"-track. Sied van Riel seems to have succeeded fairly well. And Ohmna forgot to put basskick into his remix too. What is the idea with it really? In my opinion rhythm is one of the main things in trance and this has almost no rhythm! And the track doesn't have anything else interesting either. I never like vocals of What if and the track is pretty much vocals + Coldharbour bassline and I'm not excited with it. No wonder that John O'Callaghan Remix for Hold On To Me sounds fairly good when it actually has proper basskick. But that's about it. This track would work pretty well in the dancefloor but otherwise it's pretty generic poptrance-fluff. Easily listenable but it doesn't offer any real value. I have some hopes for Paul Miller 's Remix of Imagine. Title track was in my opinion the best thing from the original album with good intro and pretty catchy atmosphere. And the remix is very similar to the original track. Maybe bit more like Sean Tyas, but it works pretty well nevertheless. And the CD is finalized with Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody Van Eyden Remix of Going Wrong (I don't write that one again!). The original track was just one stupid poptrance-s*it, but actually... I like this uplifting version. Actually this remix makes justice for those vocals. This is still not the most profound track you can imagine (lol) but at least it is listenable and might work in the club.

And the second disc begins with... Never Say Never, again. Well maybe this one is better than Myon & Shane54's pathetic effort. Well this track doesn't use vocals too well and it sounds like it's made by some Andy Moor-wannabe, who doesn't get it right. What? Ohmna? AGAIN!? Arnej Remix of What If, I have actually somewhat enjoyed couple Arnej-tracks so this one has hope. But actually this is mostly just yet another uplifting-track with FAR TOO LONG breakdown. Also this remix lacks memorability when nothing really stands out. Intricacy gets treatment from Thomas Branzwear. While the original track was pretty generic uplifting trance, this is too. This track then again has some catchyness which makes both original track and this remix pretty pleasant experience. Cosmic Gate Remix of Rain is exactly what you expect. If you like Cosmic Gate, you like this one too. In my opinion this style is bit boring and this buzzing bassline doesn't appeal to me. Hmm what's this? Pretty catchy remix of Unforgivable? All these elements have been used thousand times in uplifting trance but this actually works pretty well. So it's Stoneface & Terminal Remix, those guys have actually made some good uplifting trance even pretty recently and I guess I should have expected good remix from them. "It ain't over till it's over" still sounds stupid though. Can lightning hit the same place twice and can Going Wrong have two good remixes? This must be Sean Tyas Remix (it was... surprise). I like piano in this track but I don't like how the vocals are used there. Otherwise the track is exactly what you would expect from Sean Tyas. If it's good or bad thing, it's up to you. Oh god. The album ends with Richard Durand . I have hated this guy with passion ever since his generic as h*ll remix of The Fall and Madagascar (which didn't use anything from original mix actually). I have always thought he makes the most boring techtrance in existence and this isn't exception. This is one irritating techtrancer full of annoying sounds and vocals are transformed into unbearable condition and this goes on for almost 8 minutes. Go away from my headphones!

I don't actually like the idea of remix-albums. In my opinion albums should sound like albums and have some idea, the red line which follows all the way through. Remix-albums are just like it sounds. Bunch of different tracks in random order. It doesn't really matter who remixes those, these won't have real idea. This album has some good parts too, especially first CD has couple of good tracks but most of the tracks are just generic prog and uplifting bollocks from artists Armin has played over and over again in ASOT. The result could be worse since my ears didn't begun to bleed while listening to this album but I still won't listen this one again. Couple of remixes maybe, but that's about it.

This leaves me to do one more thing. Unfortunately I don't have this on CD. I could have done something fun with it. Like throw it out of window and check how long it takes before someone grabs it. Or stab it with my knife. But since this is just data in my hard drive, it makes me to do only one thing. *pushes delete-button*

4/10

Ace tracks:
Face To Face (Martin Roth Remix)
Imagine (Paul Miller Remix)
Going Wrong (Alex M.O.R.P.H. B2B Woody van Eyden Remix)

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The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die



1. Invaders must die
2. Omen
3. Thunder
4. Colours
5. Take me to the hospital
6. Warrior´s dance
7. Run with the wolves
8. Omen reprise
9. World´s on fire
10. Piranha
11. Stand up

Experience?


If we talk about big names in EDM-scene, The Prodigy is usually one of the first to be mentioned. It all begun in the last days of rave when Liam Howlett begun to produce music and tracks like Charly, Everybody In The Plavce and Out of Space became hits. The first album Experience had the similar sound as those tracks had. Nowadays those sounds more like tracks made just for fun for the ravers. Experience sounds really outdated nowadays when only couple of tracks sounds good nowadays but then something unexpected happened.

Together with Leftfield and The Chemical Brothers The Prodigy suddenly got into big festivals and electronic music (well... breakbeat to be precise) became somehow accepted. During this time one of the most acclaimed EDM-albums of all time, Music for the Jilted Generationwas released. Surely most of us knows tracks like No Good (Start the Dance), Voodoo People and Poison alongside with other tracks from the album. If nothing else, Jilted Generation was step forward for more mature music and I still regard Jilted Genearation as very solid album. And then came the year 1996 and two huge hits which both had Keith Flint's vocals and other one had memorable guitar riff. Firestarter and Breathe were ridiculously big hits at the time and The Fat of the Land-album was too. The album marked the peak of the popularity of bigbeat and because of influences taken from rock, the album was widely accepted outside the EDM scene too. The Fat Of The Land is also a very good album with tracks like Smack My Bitch Up, Narayan and Climbatize. And then we begun to wait for the next album. And we waited, waited for some more time, forget everything about The Prodigy and then in the year 2004 we got bulls**t called Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned. And now we have a new The Prodigy-album (which is nr. 1 in UK and top 5 in Germany...) which hopefully is better than the previous effort.

Have you heard Invaders Must Die or Omen yet? Those two tracks have been out to promote this album. Opening track Invaders Must Die was released as a free track around 2 months before this album was released and Omen was released as a single. If you have heard even another one of those, you know what to expect from the album. Those two tracks aren't necessary the best tracks from the album but those describes the album pretty well. Style is some kind of combination of melodies which are pretending to be rave-melodies of the 90's, The Qemists / Pendulum kind of stuff and influences from rock music and the old Liam Howlett. So what do I think about those two? Well, Invaders Must Die actually has some nice melodies and I like the sounds here but it lacks power. Omen then again has some good ideas but it also lacks something which isn't more cowbells. But at least Omen would sound powerful in the club unlike Invaders Must Die.

So then we will get to the unreleased stuff. Thunder is a weird one. It has some odd reggae vocals every now and then and in my opinion those doesn't really fit here. But otherwise this track is really solid breakbeat which you don't hear much nowadays and this sounds probably most like The Fat Of The Land in this album. Colours is then again more like the worse tracks of the previous album. Okay this one succeeded better than The Way it Is and other bollocks but this still isn't too good even though bassline is very strong. Take Me To The Hospital is one step into better direction. Some kind of AONO-feeling comes sometimes but mostly this is tasty with the melody which reminds about the sounds of the beginning of the 90's. And when the breakbeat-track has power like this has, it can't be bad can it? One sidenote here, this track has sample from Pepe Deluxe - Salami Fever which is a finnish band. Like anyone would have though in the 90's that The Prodigy would one day take sample from finnish music. Either way the next track is the highlight of the album. Warrior's Dance was first seen in awful quality youtube-clip last year but you could hear the potential already back then and when this is in good quality, it shows that it used the potential. The vocal sample taken from Cut With True Faith - Take Me Away added into very powerful breakbeat sounds awesome. This is probably not in the same level than Narayan was in The Fat Of The Land but Warrior's Dance is the best track from this new album.

Run With The Wolves has familiar vocalist. Flint is shouting some random bollocks while the background is pretending to be powerful while it is pretty weak breakbeat. And when the vocals are... well just bollocks this track isn't anywhere near the ace tracks. And I don't know why Omen Reprise is here. It is basically two minutes of random sounds with some vocals from Omen. And the idea of having this in the middle of album is exactly what? As a intro this would be great but here it is mostly just disturbing. Luckily the next track World's On Fire is better. Keith Flint and Maxim are shouting something here again but this time it doesn't sound that disturbing when the background is in full fit. Beats are powerful and the track has some catchy melodies. Piranha is a track with Maxim's vocals and those works pretty well in this contrast. The track itself sounds like it's made just for fun and is full of raveish melodies and like that it works fairly good. Stand Up is then again odd track. It sounds completely different from the rest of the album being pretty slow track (and apparently having real drums) and having acid-synths in the middle. This track isn't actually that bad but it doesn't sound like The Prodigy and most of all, it sounds out of place when compared to the sound of the rest of the album.

So is this album good one? Not really. The album doesn't have real highlights except for Warrior's Dance. Also this album lacks new ideas and memorability. Nothing is catchy enough or interesting enough for being absolutely mindblowing. So is this album bad one then? Not really either. This album is pretty solid all the way. It has a clear sound and it doesn't jump from the side to another (except for two exceptions) and this doesn't have as annoying tracks as half of Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunner had. Standard here is pretty high especially compared to some other albums released recently. So is this worthy of buying then? Well listen to Omen. If you absolutely love it, then go to the nearest recordstore and grab this. After all this is pretty solid album and for sure clearly better than the previous effort. But don't expect Jilted Generation or The Fat Of The Land. Those days are long gone.

7/10

Ace tracks:
Take Me to the Hospital
Warrior's Dance
World's on Fire

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Markus Schulz - Toronto'09



Disc 1
1. Dino - Queensquay And Jarvis 1
2. Thomas Sagstad - Backfire
3. ClAud9 - Rain (Coldharbour Rework)
4. Karnak vs. Dymos - Travail
5. Tritonal feat. Cristina Soto - Crash Into Reason (Moonbeam Remix)
6. Rex Mundi - Scorpion
7. Arnej - Tomorrow Never Comes
8. Tenishia - Everything (Tim Grube Dub Remix)
9. Skytech - Cardboard Box
10. Mr. Pit - The Cube
11. Rex Mundi feat. Susan - Nothing At All
12. Max Gueli - Remember The Silence
13. Adiva feat. Vicky Fee - How Does It Feel
14. Omnia - Stick In Monday

Disc 2
1. Dakota - Koolhaus
2. Umek & Beltek - Is It? (Wippenberg Remix)
3. Dakota - Sin City
4. Rowald Steyn - Hold Control
5. Mike Foyle - Bittersweet Nightshade (Markus Schulz Return to Coldharbour Remix)
6. Mr. Pit - Besides Words
7. Danilo Ercole - Harbour
8. Dance 2 Trance - Power of American Natives (Markus Schulz Return to Coldharbour Remix)
9. Project MC - Bromley Ave
10. Michael Calderone & Christopher Reddick - Sound Of Flight
11. Khaz & Boris M.D. - Eliana
12. Element One - South Haven
13. Barnes & Heatcliff - Pyjamaparty
14. Arnej - Dust In The Wind

Even flow



This has almost become annual tradition. When Markus Schulz releases his new compilation during the turn of winter and spring, I also start making review. Okay 2007 was the year of "Progression" but during that year, Schulz didn't release compilation. Anyway I made the decision to review this compilation already in friday and during the last couple of days, I began to think why I am really doing this once again. I eventually figured out three reasons. First one is simple. Amount of trance-releases this time of the year is relatively small. Kuffdam released artist album and then we have couple of "random trance-compilations" around but that's about it. Most of the major trance-releases are still on the way and will be still for a while. Second reason is the name. Markus Schulz is one of the biggest names of the trancescene and that fact doesn't probably change even in the years to come. And third one is the fact, that it is easy to write about Schulz. He is well known, I have listened his previous releases, I know his radioshow and his style and so on. So it is easy to grab pencil and start writing about Schulz.

So this is the third time in a row when I review this compilation (second at t.nu) and before writing about this compilation. Let's look at the past shall we. IBIZA'06... da*n I was too harsh with that one if I remember right. Archives are incomplete and I don't know where I could even read that review but if I remember right, I gave something like 4/10 as rating and said it was bland, boring and unmemorable. But during that time, I got somewhat bored for both regular uplifting trance and what some people call mcprog but at the same time didn't know what else I should look for. So I ended up listening the same ideas all over again and got overdose of trance and that was why I was somewhat bitter and I was overly harsh with Ibiza. I guess I would give better rating if I would review that record now. Then I wrote that Amsterdam'08 was not bad but... That is one opinion I can still keep. IMO Amsterdam 08 was pretty nice compilation but it lacked memorability and only couple of Glenn Morrison-tracks were gems. And now the new year has arrived and we have moved into Canada and Toronto.

I pretty much knew what to expect from this record. I admit that I haven't checked Schulz's work so closely recently and I have listened only couple of Global DJ Broadcast's in the last two years and I didn't check Schulz when he was in Finland. But still I know that he plays "modern version" of progressive trance, mcprog as some might say. That means basically slow (around 130 BPM) trance with relatively low amount of energy and which tries to create some kind of mood made by melodies. But usually at least my musical experience is bit distant and I often just say that "it's pretty nice but nothing more". And you know what, my expectations were pretty right with the first disc! Basically first CD is full of usual mcprog-stuff with pretty warm atmosphere. It works pretty well and the mix goes forward nicely. What is missing here is once again the certain memorability. Couple of tracks like Glenn Morrison-tracks last year here and first disc would go from above average to excellent. Now this record is once again just "pretty nice", full of stuff where someone has forgotten to put power to basskick. But then again even though the end has some average vocal-tracks it builds nicely up to the point where the last track kicks in and that works very well.

Guess what, second disc continues pretty much same pattern. There are little differences and the biggest one is probably the slight change at the mood. While the first disc was pretty warm and bright, second one is slightly more darker and colder. Second disc shares the similar problem with the first disc. Even though it flows fairly well, it is almost totally unmemorable. Couple of tracks stands out in this disc but mostly the tracks goes from one ear to another. Especially Markus Schulz's own production seems to be so decent that you don't remember anything two seconds after the track is finished. Of course there is an exception with totally unnecessary remix for old Dance 2 Trance-track (Power of American Natives). I don't think the original track was that special or even close to the best track Dance 2 Trance has made but this rework doesn't add anything and mostly it just annoys me. But after that track, the compilation gains some speed and tracks are actually pretty good, even though ideas used in those tracks aren't exactly new ones. So overall, second disc succeeded pretty well.

So my final conclusion is this: It is fairly good compilation. Yes that is right, it is pretty good. If we ignore Power of American Natives, this compilation works surprisingly well, moving forward all the time and even adds some tempo in the end. Overall quality is above average here and even though both CD's lack memorability like I have said couple of times already, this is actually pretty pleasant musical experience where second disc is slighlty better than the first one. But the both discs are similar enough so I recommend you to consider listening only one disc at the time. I don't know what you might think about this, but when I listened this thing straight through, I thought that it could end already even though the quality was actually pretty good. But anyway, this is better than Amsterdam 08 and the rating must be better too.

7/10

Omnia - Stick In Monday
Umek & Beltek - Is It? (Wippenberg Remix)
Omnia - Dust In The Wind

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Röyksopp - Junior



1. Happy Up Here
2. The Girl And The Robot
3. Vision One
4. This Must Be It
5. Röyksopp Forever
6. Miss It So Much
7. Tricky Tricky
8. You Don't Have A Clue
9. Silver Cruiser
10. True To Life
11. It's What I Want

Not Alpha Males anymore


Those who have been interested in this album have probably checked this one already, but that doesn't stop me making this review. If nothing else, you can compare your opinion with mine and maybe I will make someone else interested in this album. Anyway Junior was (is?) easily available as free listen in Röyksopp's own website or in Spotify, where I found it. Immediately some people begun to state that album is a big disappointment, not good, way worse than anything Röyksopp has done before or something similar. But that is expectable after so long waiting. And what is my opinion? Despite it flaws and the change of style, I don't actually think that this is that bad album.

For those who don't know, Röyksopp is norwegian duo including Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge. As a finn, I know music from Nordic countries better than those who aren't from this area and Röyksopp is still pretty well known name. It all begun in 2001 and that track with almost nothing else than beeping sounds. Eple sounds like it's from car commercial but it was catchy. Poor Leno and Remind Me were another singles from debut album Melody A.M. but both failed to reflect the sound of first album. Singles were more upbeat than the chilling album. Melody A.M. isn't the most profound or revolutionary album, but it flows incredibly well and it has couple of great tracks. Only This Moment (obviously cousin of Eple) and What Else Is There? presented second album The Understanding better. Both tracks were pretty chilling and more based on vocals than the first album was. The Understanding in my opinion didn't reach as high as Melody A.M. but it was still pretty good album with a clear red line. And it had Alpha Male! And after 4 years, we have Junior.

Happy Up Here isn't maybe the best opening track. It sounds like Röyksopp is trying to use Eple/Only This Moment concept once again but failed. The same idea can't work year after year. This "Eple Part 3" isn't that bad actually when you have heard it couple of times, but isn't spectacular either. With The Girl And The Robot Röyksopp uses another nordic artist, Robyn for vocal parts. The vocals aren't bad but the background is pretty boring except for the strings in the end. Vision One is listenable track. Background is electroish and it has vocals but overall it works pretty well. Hey, next one has that What Else Is There?-vocalist. Her voice is... different. It is purely based on your opinion if you like her vocals or not. If you do, This Must Be It is a good one, if not... The background is pretty uptempo for Röyksopp but it fits into vocals. And then Röyksopp Forever.... Every Röyksopp album has that special-track. Röyksopp's Night Out was in Melody A.M. and Alpha Male was in The Understanding. Junior has Röyksopp Forever. It is that pretty long track which begins quietly and which grows little by little to the epic point where you can't say anything else than WOW! Strings, drums, guitar and melodies all works perfectly with this track and I honestly think this is one of the best tracks of this year so far.

Miss It So Much continues with the similar stylish sounds but adds Lykke Li's vocals and those vocals works well. Those vocals sounds like it's sang by very shy girl but hey, it works! Tricky, Tricky is meaningless filler track in my eyes. Couple of nice sounds isn't enough when vocals doesn't work. You Don't Have A Clue is a memory from a past. It sounds pretty much like The Understanding and it is a good thing. Good vocals in this peaceful background works well. With Silver Cruiser it seems that Junior finally is going into the old ways and gets more relaxing. The track isn't anything special but it's nice and nothing else. It would have been nice way to end the album, but it goes on for a little longer. True To Life sounds complete filler and I don't know why it is a faster track than Silver Cruiser. And pretty much same goes to It's What I Want. It is pretty nice track but that's about it.

I know I didn't say much about how this sounds. I will do it here instead. It isn't exactly the easiest thing to describe how this sounds. For sure don't expect similar album with Melody A.M. and The Understanding. If previous efforts were chilling and very stylish, this is much more faster and uses even more vocals. Other sounds has taken also significant step towards to M83 and such. This is probably some kind of hybrid of synthpop, old Röyksopp and electro-sounds. So no wonder that some fans didn't accept this one. Overall album isn't as good as previous albums either but it isn't that bad disappointment either. Give it a second, third or even fourth listen and after the shock has gone away, make you final judgement only then. I would give Melody A.M. 9 and The Understanding 8, so this one follows the same pattern.

7/10

Ace tracks:
Röyksopp Forever
Miss It So Much
You Don't Have a Clue

Kommentare

  • Dekkul

    Really nice review of AvB's Imagine, but I must admit you ranked it too high for the crappish tracks in it. About that Prodigy stuff, I consider Omen as being the one and only good track on the album. And 7 is also a great mark, I would have given it a 5 or a 6.

    11. Nov. 2009, 2:04
  • goldspot7

    invaders must die is a more fiercer side of the prodigy and is completely different from the fat of the land and music for the jilted generation

    29. Jan. 2010, 17:22
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