Diario

  • 2008 in Retrospect - Albums and Trance Singles

    Feb 8 2009, 22:38

    The year 2008 threw up a wonderful plethora of some great electronic music albums
    and I, as a trance and ambient lover, didn't miss out on the pleasure of listening to quite a lot of what the genres had to offer last year. Excepting a few disappointments, most of these albums provided me countless hours of joy. Highlights of the year for me weren't only progressive psytrance, chillout or progressive trance albums, but also some excellent, high quality lush techno, dub techno and dance-pop/pop-ambient releases. And on this note, I must add that since 2007, I'm finding myself increasingly drawn towards good EDM albums not just in my usual favourite styles of progressive trance, uplifting trance or ambient, but also in a few other related styles, like techno, idm and minimal, for example. Considering the rather large number (especially compared to previous years) of electronic albums I heard last year (around 80 or so), I've decided to write this journal about my favourite albums of 2008. However, as I barely find time to write journals these days, I decided to integrate my annual top trance singles journal too with this one.

    Making the list of albums was easy, but ranking them was not. A lot of thought and
    deliberations went by in selecting the criteria alone by which the rankings were made. In the end I opted for entertainment factor, innovativeness, emotional appeal, subtlety and durability as the five major criteria governing the selections and rankings of the albums in my top twenty. Entertainment factor is a major criterion governing our listening habits. One can't be bothered to put an album on his/her "best of" list on critical acclaim alone if he/she didn't even remotely enjoyed the album in the first place. Innovativeness is important from the perspective of evolution of music. Creativity is certainly laudable when it is done in a smart way without sacrificing other elements like entertainment factor and emotional appeal. Speaking of emotional appeal, this is a very subjective and personal factor. It could be a beautiful melody, the atmosphere, or even events in one's personal life associated with the music. As such, this is the criterion which is open to the maximum number of interpretations. Subtlety is another important but often neglected element in a music. This is something associated with depth and intelligence inherent in a piece of music, which isn't quite apparent at first listen, but reveals itself on subsequent listens. Music open to multiple interpretations and which appeals on multiple levels would fall under this category. And this brings to the final, but no less important criterion - durability (or longevity). All good albums may not age like old wine, but they
    should certainly last longer than at least three listens. Needless to say, but this is related to the entertainment factor mentioned earlier. One wouldn't listen to an album multiple times if he/she doesn't enjoy it much. That said, the best albums
    must have a good balance of all these elements in them. Now, over to my top twenty.


    20. Distant System - Spiral Empire [Celestial Dragon Records] (22 Feb 2008) (Downtempo, Ambient, Psybient):



    - I start off with this dreamlike psybient album which has been one of the highlights of the genre from the first half of 2008. Distant System is a new project by American psytrance/psydub producer Tyler "Quasga" Smith (aka Androcell) began in 2006, mainly focusing on psychedelic ambient, downtempo and mild electronica. Stylistically, 'Spiral Empire' resembles a lot like an Ultimae Records release, with it's subtle trancey grooves amidst spacey pads and subtle melodies. This album should be experienced in a darkened room with eyes closed for best enjoyment.

    Entertainment Factor: 15/20
    Innovativeness: 11/20
    Emotional Appeal: 10/20
    Subtlety: 14/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 65/100.


    19. Colourform - Visions Of Surya [Virtual Musical Reality] (Apr 2008) (Experimental, Ambient):



    - An extremely blissful space ambient album, this takes you on a sonic journey
    through the subconscious mind, exploring subtle soundscapes in the process.
    Produced by British producers Jake Stephenson and Matthew Hillier between 2002 and 2004 (the Colourform project was first initiated in 1995 though), this got released only in 2008. With it's calm, relaxing, spacey, subtle and mysterious soundscapes, this is an essential album for any lover of high quality space ambient music.

    Entertainment Factor: 14/20
    Innovativeness: 10/20
    Emotional Appeal: 14/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 66/100.


    18. Kuba - How The Future Sounded [Chillcode Music] (13 Jun 2008) (Dub, Downtempo, Ambient):



    - The third album of British psydub producer Laurence Harvey takes us on a more
    experimental journey through psychedelic dub soundscapes than his previous works. The tracks feature refreshing use of subtle vocals, guitar, percussions and
    mandolin, amidst relaxed psydub grooves, resulting in a kaleidoscopic array of vivid soundscapes. Definitely one of the best psydub albums of 2008.

    Entertainment Factor: 14/20
    Innovativeness: 12/20
    Emotional Appeal: 13/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 67/100.


    17. Subheim - Approach [Tympanik Audio] (17 Mar 2008) (IDM, Downtempo, Ambient):



    - This is a very interesting album with a beautiful, cinematic atmosphere. The overall tone is melancholic, with haunting piano and violin melodies and a soft, minimal techno like bassline which often dissolves into the organic textures and spacey pads. The debut album of Greek producer Kostas K, 'Approach' explores the darker side of modern electronic experimental music and in the process creates the perfect soundtrack for broken lives and urban isolation. With pianos, cellos, lovely synthworks and subtle use of beautiful vocals of female vocalist Katjia, Subheim has crafted an album of exquisite beauty and emotion. A gem of an album from the idm/downtempo releases of 2008.

    Entertainment Factor: 14/20
    Innovativeness: 10/20
    Emotional Appeal: 17/20
    Subtlety: 12/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 68/100.


    16. Cell - Ketama Live [World Club Music] (17 Jul 2008) (Downtempo, Ambient):



    - This outstanding album, by French ambient/downbeat producer Alexandre Scheffer
    deserves to be heard on a good sound system for maximum effect. Amazing sounds and atmospheres here in all the tracks. Definitely one of the best ambient/psybient
    mix-set of 2008, performed live at KETAMA, lounge place in the Center of Moscow.
    From spacey ambience to complex psybient soundscapes, the tracks flow seamlessly into each other to take us on a dreamlike atmospheric glide through the vast recesses of ambient electronica.

    Entertainment Factor: 15/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 14/20
    Subtlety: 12/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 69/100.


    15. Ferry Tayle - Carnet De Vol [Camouflage] (18 Nov 2008) (Trance, Ambient):



    - French trance producer and DJ Ludovic Meyer forms half of the progressive trance
    project Cape Town along with Laurent Véronnez and one fourth of the vocal trance
    project Everest. With Cape Town, he was responsible for co-producing one of my
    all-time favourite progressive trance track - 'Proglifter', in 2006. He is, perhaps best known for the 2006 hit 'Vol de Nuit', under his Ferry Tayle alias, co-produced with Tonks. In November 2008, his debut album 'Carnet de Vol' was released. Containing 15 tracks, including two beautiful chillout tracks, one can recognize Cape Town influences in many of the tracks and yet find something new. Most of the tracks are long and take time to buildup. Stylistically it's a classic trance album, with early to mid 90s trance motifs apparent in most of the tracks. But Ferry infuses the tracks with more modern, uplifting and progressive motifs, often within the same track. The result is something unique and makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. Featuring collaborations with Kym, Stephan R., Manuel le Saux and Lolo in five of the tracks, there's ample variety here to satisfy lovers of classic, progressive as well as uplifting trance. Oozing with quality, this is one of the better trance albums the year had to offer. Certainly well worth checking out for all trance fans.

    Entertainment Factor: 17/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 13/20
    Subtlety: 12/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 70/100.


    14. Mirco De Govia - Iconic Path [Euphonic] (25 Apr 2008) (Trance, Breaks, Downtempo, Progressive Trance):



    - After burning the dancefloors with his brilliant debut album, Chronoscale, in 2003, German trance producer and DJ Mirko Zettl is back with his second album on euphonic, titled 'Iconic Path'. This time, he takes a more breaks and downtempo
    oriented approach, as opposed to the clubbier trance flavour of his earlier album.
    Starting with the serene 'Sleeping Beauty', Iconic Path takes us on a relaxed journey with melodic, groovy gems like 'Quantum Reign' and 'Catching Light', two of the best melodic, uptempo chillout tracks of 2008 in my opinion. A collaboration with German progressive trance outfit Cressida results in the nice prog-trancer 'Fragile Symmetry'. After this rather chilled-out opening, the album takes on a more club-friendly vibe with the uplifting, 2006 trancer, Vital Spark. But the atmosphere changes sharply with the next two dark, techy tracks, Evolution Parts 1 and 2. The first Evolution track is a dark downbeat moodsetter for the brilliant dark prog-trancer Evolution Part 2. These two are then followed by another uplifting trancer, Asarja, produced in collaboration with German trance producer and DJ Ronski Speed back in 2005. After this, the album takes a downtempo route to the finish with the final five tracks. Overall, this is an excellent breaks/chillout album with some great melodic gems, and a refreshing diversity of styles that doesn't let the audience get bored easily. A worthwhile addition to the collection of all breaks/chillout lovers, especially those who also enjoy trance
    and progressive.

    Entertainment Factor: 17/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 14/20
    Subtlety: 12/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 71/100.


    13. Wizzy Noise - Renaissance [Harmonia Records] (Sep 2008) (Psy-Trance):



    - The Greek psytrance duo Mickey Noise and Dimitris Pantelides are back with the
    seventh album under their Wizzy Noise project, titled 'Renaissance'. This time we are treated with nine tracks in their trademark electro-tinged full-on psytrance style (including one remix). But where Renaissance scores over their previous works is in it's high production quality and superb lead melodies in almost all the tracks. Special mention ought to be made of the brilliant opening track 'Lost Atlantis' and the haunting eighth track 'Sea Song', arguably, two of the best psytrance tracks from the last two-three years. With it's powerful, energetic and melodic tracks, 'Renaissance' is designed for the dance-floors and is definitely a must-have album for all psytrance fans.

    Entertainment Factor: 17/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 14/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 72/100.


    12. Irezumi - Endurance [Snowblood] (20 Feb 2008) (Ambient):



    - The debut album of the young French ambient producer Manuel Mesdag is inspired by Ernest Shackleton's tragic Antarctic expedition, and as such is a highly emotional album with a soundtrack-like feel. The ten untitled tracks takes us through the cold, desolate Antarctic landscape with it's haunting atmospheric aural ambience and also manages to portray the endurance of Shackleton and his crew with it's subtle, sad melodies and emotional vocal samples. Also noteworthy is the packaging of the album containing exquisite black and white photos in a beautiful 6-paneled digipak. Great work there by the young Eurasian label Snowblood! Stylistically reminiscent of works by Biosphere, Aphex Twin and Jochem Paap, this is a pure ambient masterpiece comparable with their best works. Certainly the best pure ambient album of 2008.

    Entertainment Factor: 16/20
    Innovativeness: 12/20
    Emotional Appeal: 17/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 73/100.


    11. Human Blue - Base Basket Buffet [Transient Records] (08 Feb 2008) (Psy-Trance, Progressive Psytrance):



    - I like this album for its great sound effects and atmosphere. Swedish psytrance
    producer/DJ Dag Wallins (Human Blue) is a wizard of sound. Almost all his tracks are notable for their amazing depth, complexity and subtle sound effects. Here, the
    legendary Swedish psyprog master is out with his sixth artist album. Featuring eight tracks in his inimitable complex hard-edged progressive style, this album is designed for the dance floors. All the tracks have the raw power and atmosphere of
    the Israeli psyprog sound but also carry the complex layers of subtle melodies found in the Swedish minimal psyprog style. The way all the little melodic elements come into a track and builds up along with multiple FXs across a powerful bassline borders on genius. Special mention must be made of the opening track 'Lone Ranger' and the fourth track 'Dragonflingz', two of the best psyprog tracks of the last two or three years. The second half of the album is more full-on in style, but infused
    with lots of subtle melodies which distinguishes it from other contemporary full-on
    tracks. Groovy and energetic, this is a gem of an album for all psytrance fans, be they full-on or prog lovers.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 14/20
    Emotional Appeal: 13/20
    Subtlety: 14/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 74/100.


    10. DJ Orkidea - Metaverse [AVA Recordings] (05 Mar 2008) (Trance, Progressive Trance):



    - Another memorable release from this year, this outstanding album has some stellar tracks which are pacy, refreshing and highly melodic. One of the leading lights of the Scandinavian trance scene, Finnish DJ and producer Tapio Hakanen's third artist album after a gap of three years was greeted with great anticipation from all trance fans. And he didn't disappoint. The ten tracks in this album (including two
    excellent remixes) are all above average stuff. Orkidea has managed to implement
    his signature melodic uplifting style in a new way here with innovative lead melodies, intelligent use of breakbeats with old-school trance influences as well as elements of modern day progressive trance. The latter is evident in the two collaborations with progressive trance masters Andy Moor and David West, apart from the opening track 'Metaverse'. The other tracks are mostly driving, exhilarating
    melodic uplifting trancers, including the collaborations with Solarstone and Lowland, and ending with the stunning 12:07 minute long remix of Nightwish's 'Bye Bye Beautiful'. Summing up, this is a must have album for all lovers of melodic trance.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 12/20
    Durability: 17/20

    Total Score: 75/100.


    09. In Progress - The Album [Trancemissio] (05 Sep 2008) (Trance / Progressive House):



    - The debut album of Russian trance producer and DJ Pavel Leonidovich Radko almost went unnoticed even amongst the trance communities, which is a shame really, as this is an exceptionally well made album of great melodies, vocals, atmosphere, innovative sonic structures and diversity. Starting with a beautiful piano intro, it's a breathtaking journey to trance paradise through some great progressive tunes in the first half, with subtle vocals, blissful yet groovy atmosphere to some
    highly melodic trancers in the middle. Towards the end it gets pretty uplifting and even a bit techy, but doesn't sound heavy-handed. Overall, it's a finely crafted album of great diversity of sounds and motifs, with a lush, romantic, dreamlike first half, to more club-friendly in the second half. Almost all the 11 tracks in this album are outstanding. With top-notch production quality and mixing, this is certainly one of the best trance albums of 2008, an album which can be enjoyed for a long time.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 13/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 17/20

    Total Score: 76/100.


    08. Hol Baumann - Human [Ultimae Records] (21 Feb 2008) (IDM, Downtempo, Ambient, Psychill):



    - This was perhaps the first, truly great electronic release of the year. French psychill producer Olivier Orand has contributed some excellent tracks in various compilations since 2001, most notably in the Fahrenheit Project compilations of Ultimae Records. So it is only natural that his long-awaited debut album was released on that label. 'Human' features ten well-crafted psychill tracks (including a bonus track), which includes some of his older works along with some new ones. Most of the tracks blend Indian samples with intelligent sonic structures, atmosphere and wonderfully complex melodic textures. With it's rich, multi-layered sounds and complex, glitchy acoustics, this is, arguably, the finest psychill album of 2008.

    Entertainment Factor: 16/20
    Innovativeness: 16/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 15/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 77/100.


    07. Aurosonic - Always Together [Radio Record] (16 Jun 2008) (Trance):



    - This is a brilliant, above-average melodic trance album. Aurosonic, comprising Russian trance producers and DJs Evgeniy Smirnov and Sergey Klimov are masters in combining many different melodic motifs within one track, without sounding too
    heavy-handed or disharmonic. They first stormed into the trance scene in 2006 with
    the stunning 'Starfall' and the hauntingly beautiful 'Missing You', along with a host of other stellar tracks and remixes. 'Always Together', therefore, was a highly anticipated debut album, which got finally released in June 2008 under the Russian label Radio Record. And the album more than lived upto the high expectations of most trance fans. From the beautiful piano-laden intro to some banging uplifting trancers, the album is full of colourful melodies, vocals and atmosphere. The style is mostly progressive trance, but very driving and energetic, with intelligent usage of vocals, pianos and synthesizers, often within the same track. Almost all the 15 tracks in this album are excellent, with a great diversity of sonic motifs. Definitely a must-have album for all lovers of melodic trance.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 15/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 17/20

    Total Score: 78/100.


    06. Ferry Corsten - Twice In A Blue Moon [PIAS Holland] (01 Nov 2008) (Trance, Downtempo):



    - I wasn't too excited initially over the release of Ferry Corsten's third artist album under his own name, as I found his previous album L.E.F. somewhat disappointing. But considering the role he played in the development of the Dutch trance style, and as I still am a fan of most of his other works pre-L.E.F. (especially System F and
    Gouryella), I couldn't ignore 'Twice in a Blue Moon'. The electro-techy start of the opening track 'Shelter Me' did nothing to alleviate my fears of this being another electro-overkill album, though. However, as the track progressed I kinda liked it and overall I found it to be a decent intro to the album, nothing special, but just nice. The next track 'Black Velvet' is halfway between dance-pop and trance, but is a good one. Things start to get better from the third track 'We Belong', with it's cool 80s italo-disco motif amidst beautiful vocals of Maria Nayler. Thereafter the album gets better and better with one great track after another. What I found pleasantly surprising is how sophisticated and subdued the electro sound has become here, and how the tracks sound like no other. The album has a retro-futuristic feel, with influences from old-school trance, 80s italo-disco, modern day electro-trance and uplifting trance. Add to that, some excellent vocals and a great flow, subtle and innovative sound structures, great diversity of styles and motifs and an overall refreshing feel, and you have an album that is very exceptional, something that comes not twice, but only once in a blue moon. This is a step forward for modern trance, and hence ought to be experienced by all trancers.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 16/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 13/20
    Durability: 17/20

    Total Score: 79/100.


    05. The Black Dog - Radio Scarecrow [Soma Quality Recordings] (31 Mar 2008) (IDM, Techno):



    - The Black Dog is a British techno/idm group founded by Ken Downie, Ed Handley and Andy Turner in 1989. Their first album, Bytes, released in 1993, is an
    acknowledged idm masterpiece. Since then, they have released several critically
    acclaimed albums despite the lineup changing over time. Ed and Andy left the group
    in 1994 to focus on Plaid, leaving Ken to work on the group on his own for a while. He was, however, soon joined by Steve Ash and Ross Knight and together they worked upto 2000. In 2001, Ken teamed up with Richard and Martin Dust, owners of the label "Dust Science Recordings". It is with this lineup, that their latest album 'Radio Scarecrow' was produced. Three years since the release of their last album,
    Silenced, this was an album which was expected to be very different in style from
    their last album. And so it is. Radio Scarecrow sees them going back to their techno roots, but infusing that old sound with new ideas. The seventeen, mostly short tracks in this album flow into each other seamlessly, with diverse sounds, broken melodies, ethereal ambient drones and innovative beat structures. Influences from Detroit techno and early 90s electronica are apparent in the lush first half. Thereafter the album flows through a landscape of sparkling melodies and other interesting sonic interludes, amidst a resonant techno bassline. Overall, the music is subtle and sublime, hinting at multiple interpretations. Simultaneously dreamlike and engaging, this is, without a doubt, one of the best idm albums of the past two or three years.

    Entertainment Factor: 17/20
    Innovativeness: 17/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 16/20
    Durability: 15/20

    Total Score: 80/100.


    04. Affective - Unable Dreams [Tranceport Recordings] (16 Jun 2008) (Trance, Breaks):



    - This is yet another highly enjoyable melodic trance album by a Russian producer
    released in 2008. Alexei Kindikov is a 20 year old trance producer and DJ based in
    Nizhnevartovsk, Russia. Since 2007, he has had several high-quality releases under
    the Russian label, Tranceport Recordings, with his Affective moniker. On 16th June,
    2008, his debut album, titled 'Unable Dreams' was released under that label. As
    someone who loves the melodic Russian style of trance since the days of PPK, I
    didn't hesitate to give this one a shot. And after going through the eleven tracks in this album, my belief that the future of modern melodic trance belongs to Russia was reaffirmed. This is one of those rare trance albums whose each and every track
    is above-average. From the beautiful, lush progressive beginning of 'Watchin' on
    Sunset' to some great club-friendly uplifting trancers, often infused with breakbeats, this is one solid trip through a myriad of melodies that can be enjoyed again and again. Special mention must be made for the beautiful opening and closing tracks where a dreamy, chillout intro is developed wonderfully to a dance floor friendly crescendo. Between them, the album flows through one melodic gem after another. Having not a single dull moment, this rich, colourful and truly remarkable album should be an essential addition to the collection of every lover of high quality melodic trance.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 15/20
    Emotional Appeal: 16/20
    Subtlety: 14/20
    Durability: 18/20

    Total Score: 81/100.


    03. Vibrasphere - Lungs of life [Tribal Vision] (Dec 2008) (Tech House, Downtempo, Progressive Trance, Minimal):



    - Swedish progressive psytrance act Vibrasphere are one of the most influential acts in the progressive scene, having been one of the early pioneers of the genre along with fellow Swedes Son Kite and Noma in the late 90s. For almost a decade, Rickard Berglöf and Robert Elster have consistently evolved their sound and in the
    process helped shape the sound of today's minimal psyprog style. Their first album,
    Echo, established their own unique sound back in 2001. Emerging from the roots of
    Goa trance and acid techno, their's was a new style of trance - a stripped down,
    FX-laden minimalist progressive sound. Side by side, they also composed some
    beautiful dubby chillout pieces. Their second album, Lime Structure, released in 2003 reaffirmed their place on the top of the progressive psytrance scene. This was
    the height of their early style. Their third album, Archipelago, released in 2006, saw them moving away from their early minimalist psyprog style to more trancier territories. This is where they began to blur the lines between progressive psytrance and progressive trance for the first time. This led to the release of their fourth artist album, Exploring the Tributaries, in 2007. This is where they merged the boundaries between modern progressive trance, house, minimal and ambient, resulting in an album which is as innovative as it is beautiful - a masterpiece of modern electronic music. After such a great album, expectations were naturally pretty high over the release of their fifth artist album, Lungs of Life. I was pretty curious to know in what direction they would go after exploring the various tributaries of modern progressive EDM. Starting with the majestic ambience of the opening track 'Decade', the album flows through the beautiful guitar-laden chillout track 'Breathing Place' to reach a warm, progressive trance version of their 2007 chillout gem 'Ensueño'. Things start to get more upbeat thereafter with the acidic tech house stunner 'Waveguide', followed by the 303 acid driven 'Analog Marinade', which is sort of a homage to early 90s acid techno tracks. I like the way the initial randomness of the acid synth line morphs into the main melody. Brilliant work there! 'Follow Me' blurs the line between tech house and progressive trance featuring subtle vocals and a hypnotic energetic rhythm. Thereafter the album gets an electro flavour with the collaboration with Ticon, Dewdrops. Two remixes conclude the album in an upbeat fashion. The Erosion Remix, by Canadian prog-house/trance producers/DJs Glenn Morrison and Bruce Aisher trades the subtlety and grace of the original for a more club-friendly vibe. A weaker track compared to the original, but still is a fine remix by any standards. The final track of the album is a remix of their 2007 track '102 Miles from Here' by French tech-house duo Solead. This is an above-average dance-floor friendly tech house version of the original with excellent use of the melodies. Overall, the album could have got better by keeping the remixes separate and adding a few more original tracks. But what we got here is a fine blend of their rich past, the present sound and an indication of the direction they would take in the near future. With a wide range of styles and sounds, and high production quality, this is an album which can be enjoyed for a long time. While not being a masterpiece, this still is a highly enjoyable album brimming with life and optimism and doesn't have a single average track.

    Entertainment Factor: 19/20
    Innovativeness: 15/20
    Emotional Appeal: 17/20
    Subtlety: 14/20
    Durability: 18/20

    Total Score: 83/100.


    02. Evan Marc + Steve Hillage - Dreamtime Submersible [Somnia] (2008) (Dub Techno, Ambient):



    - Evan Marc is the name used by American electronic music producer Evan Mark
    Bartholomew (better known as Bluetech) for his techno/tech house project. Under this alias, he has released several EPs and an album titled 'Emotional Ecology',
    which was released under the San Francisco, USA based label 'PsyBooty' in July
    2007. The year 2008 saw him team up with UK-based guitarist Stephen Simpson
    Hillage, who is best known for his work as half of ambient/techno duo System 7 and
    as a frequent collaborator with The Orb. Dreamtime Submersible is the fruit of this
    collaboration, and the fourth release under Evan's own label, Somnia. The new album takes us on a sonic voyage far removed from the deep house and tech house terrains of his previous album. This time we flow through the ambience of a lush, dub techno-esque aquatic dreamscape, through seven stages of sub-conscious aural realms. Starting with the nearly 11 minute long opening dub techno sedative,
    Intention Craft, we explore the sonic imagery of various semi-awakened states of
    sleep through deep reverbs, subtle sound quirks amidst a flowing bassline and
    sparse but sublime melodies. My favourite part comes in the middle - Theta Phase.
    This is where the relaxed and reflecting deep techno reverberations of Alpha Phase
    begin to take on a psybient character. The hypnotic, trance-like psybient groove of
    Theta Phase and the quirky sounds amidst a flowing, pulsating, subdued bassline
    creates a drowsy, dreamlike feeling. Absolutely stunning! Thereafter we enter the
    slow wave sleep state of the Delta Phase and the album flows into more ambient
    realms thereafter. Needless to say, this is an album best enjoyed in a semi-alert,
    relaxed state of mind, with closed eyes. One of the most subtle and dreamlike
    albums I've ever heard, this novel take on the dub techno paradigm is undoubtedly
    the best album of it's kind.

    Entertainment Factor: 18/20
    Innovativeness: 17/20
    Emotional Appeal: 15/20
    Subtlety: 18/20
    Durability: 17/20

    Total Score: 85/100.


    01. Schiller - Sehnsucht (Limited Super Deluxe Edition) [Universal Music Domestic Division] (22 Feb 2008) (Trance, Downtempo, Ambient, Pop):



    - Starting out as a two-member German dream trance project of Christopher von
    Deylen and Mirko von Schlieffen's in 1998, the sound of Schiller have moved beyond
    the Enigma-like grooves and beats with oldschool German trance flavours of their
    Zeitgeist days to evolve into a sonic language of their own. Weltreise in 2001 developed and perfected this early style further with it's fine blend of trance and new age elements with haunting melodies and vocals. After parting ways with Mirko von Schlieffen post Weltreise, Schiller became Christopher von Deylen's solo project. His third album, Leben, released in 2003, featured more guest vocalists than his earlier albums. With great, memorable songs and it's fine blend of electronic, symphonic and club-friendly trance/house elements, Leben established the modern sound of Schiller - a style like no other. Following in the same vein, his fourth album, Tag und Nacht, released in 2005, enriched this unique Schiller sound with even more grandeur. With cinematic soundscapes, great instrumentations, excellent vocals and haunting melodies, it was one of the better electronic pop/instrumental albums in years. So it is with great anticipation, that we Schiller fans awaited the release of his latest album, Sehnsucht. The 'Limited Super Deluxe Edition' came in two CDs and a DVD containing videos of some of the tracks of the album, his Berlin to Calcutta road trip, an interview and a live recording of his performance in Kiew (apart from the booklet). The two CDs contain 31 compositions, all but one new. This time, the vocals are provided by German actress Anna Maria Mühe, Xavier Naidoo, Ben Becker, Kim Sanders, Jette von Roth, Jaël, Isis Gee, Ana Torroja, Helen Boulding, Stephenie Coker, September, Despina Vandi and Damae. Besides the rich diversity of vocal styles on offer here, the instrumentations are also quite innovative and fascinating. The haunting cello solo of Christian Kretschmar in 'Denn Wer Liebt' and the cinematic orchestral score of Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg in 'In Der Weite' provide perfect counterpoints to Anna Maria Mühe's haunting voice. In both the CDs, downtempo and uptempo tracks intertwine which robs the album of a coherent flow, but makes up for it with a fantastic richness of sounds, vocals and instrumentation that is extremely rare these days. Schiller complements the excellent vocals with music that is subtle, unforced, harmonic and haunting. Special mention must be made of the dreamlike 'Lichtung', with it's blend of dance grooves and an ethereal atmosphere over the haunting vocals (a re-interpretation of 'The Willow's Song' from 'The Wicker Man'). In CD2 we also find his collaboration with one of electronic music's pioneer Klaus Schulze - the nearly 13 minute long hypnotic composition 'Zenit (Ausschnitt)'. Overall, this album is like a breath of fresh air in the commercial world of today's electronic pop music. With it's high production quality, classy songs, rich instrumentation, innovative electronic styling and wonderful diversity, this is an album which is not easy to get bored of despite several listens, and hence deserves it's place as no less than numero uno in my list.

    Entertainment Factor: 19/20
    Innovativeness: 17/20
    Emotional Appeal: 17/20
    Subtlety: 16/20
    Durability: 18/20

    Total Score: 87/100.


    Honourable mentions:

    21. Kettel - Myam James Part 1 [Sending Orbs] (15 Apr 2008) (IDM, Downtempo, Acid)
    22. Liquid Soul - Love In Stereo [Iboga Records] (Psy-Trance, Progressive Trance, Ambient)
    23. Perfect Stranger - Free Cloud [Iboga Records] (Progressive Trance, Minimal)
    24. SCSI-9 - Easy As Down [Kompakt] (Deep House, Tech House, Minimal)
    25. Ott - Skylon [Twisted records] (Dub, Experimental, Ambient)
    26. Atmos - Tour de Trance [Spiral Trax] (Progressive Trance)
    27. Minilogue - Animals [cocoon recordings] (Minimal, Tech House, Ambient)
    28. ISAAK HYPNOTIZER - 1 Freedom [Space Tepee Music] (Downtempo, Ambient)
    29. M-Sphere - Floating [Yellow Sunshine Explosion] (Downtempo, Ambient)
    30. Oceanlab - Sirens of the Sea [Anjunabeats] (Progressive House, Trance, Downtempo, Progressive Trance).


    Top 10 Pure Trance Albums:

    10. Perfect Stranger - Free Cloud [Iboga Records]
    09. Liquid Soul - Love in Stereo [Iboga Records]
    08. Ferry Tayle - Carnet de Vol [Camouflage]
    07. Wizzy Noise - Renaissance [Harmonia Records]
    06. Human Blue - Base Basket Buffet [Transient Records]
    05. DJ Orkidea - Metaverse [AVA Recordings]
    04. In Progress - The Album [Trancemissio]
    03. Aurosonic - Always Together [Radio Record]
    02. Ferry Corsten - Twice in a Blue Moon [PIAS Holland]
    01. Affective - Unable Dreams [Tranceport Recordings].


    Electronic producer of the year 2008: Christopher von Deylen (Schiller).


    Release of the year:

    Gas - Nah und Fern
    [Kompakt] (05 Jun 2008) (Techno, Minimal, Ambient):

    - Collection of four classic Gas albums previously released on Mille Plateaux
    between 1996 and 2000. These seminal works of German techno/minimal artist Wolfgang Voigt are now available as a 4 CD box set. Bridging the boundaries between lush techno and minimal ambient, these masterpieces are a worthy collection to any lover of the minimal techno/ambient genre of electronic music.


    ******************************************************************************************


    My favourite 50 trance tunes of 2008:


    50. In Progress & Omnia - Air Flower (Original Mix) [Fraction Zero]

    49. Tempo Giusto - One Among Others (Original Mix) [Echelon Records]

    48. Wizzy Noise - Sea Song [Harmonia Records]

    47. Cramp - Out Of Your System (Original Mix) [Conspiracy Limited]

    46. Solesystem - Waxoil [Morphosis Records]

    45. Robert Vadney - A Day In Heaven (Rozza's Deeper Remix) [Emalodic]

    44. Andrelli & Blue feat. Hila - Imagine (Mike Nichol Remix) [Infrasonic Recordings]

    43. Sindre Eide - Only When I Sleep (Original Mix) [Enhanced Recordings]

    42. Sphinx vs. Plexland - Milenia (Aurosonic Remix)

    41. Mr. Pit feat. Vicky Fee - Back For More (Funabashi Remix Dub) [Coldharbour Holland]

    40. Tenthu - Purple Sands (Original Mix) [Moonrising Records]

    39. Algarve vs. Cold Blue - Sakura (Jonathan Martin Remix) [Tranceflo Records]

    38. Michael Badal - Silk Road (Allende Remix) [Sedna Recordings]

    37. Andy Moor feat. Carrie Skipper - So Much More (Original Mix) [AVA Recordings]

    36. Stowers & Young - The Second Coming (Gareth Emery Remix) [Insight Recordings]

    35. Andy Moor - Fake Awake (The Blizzard Remix) [Anjunabeats]

    34. Ben Gold - Life (Sean Tyas Remix) [Discover]

    33. Simon Patterson - Us (Original Mix) [Reset Records (Spinnin')]

    32. Hawk pres. Air Breeze - Butterfly (Ljungqvist Remix) [Enhanced Progressive]

    31. Robert Vadney - Lullaby For A Ghost [Perfecto Digital]

    30. Black Pearl - Java [armada music]

    29. Leon Bolier - Offshore [2 Play Records]

    28. Julian Vincent feat. Cathy Burton - Certainty (Mark Otten Dub) [Armind]

    27. Manvel Ter-Pogosyan - Tears of Armenia (Original Mix) [Deepblue Digital]

    26. Sasha - Xpander (David Newsum Remix)

    25. Tritonal feat. Christina Soto - Walk With Me (Original Mix) [Coldharbour Recordings]

    24. Mr. Pit- Shana (Plastic Angel vs. Duderstadt Vocal Remix) [Coldharbour Recordings]

    23. Klems - The Cube [Club Elite]

    22. Jonathan Martin - Illuminous [Coldharbour Recordings]

    21. Cold Blue - Oasis (Sequentia Remix) [DJ Shah Music]

    20. Marninx pres. Monogato - Calling You [Ava Blue]

    19. Rapha - Pandora (Daniel Kandi's Emotional Mix) [Sensate Recordings]

    18. Mike Mikhjian - Air Chords (Beetseekers Remix) [Real Deep]

    17. Der Mystik & Alex Reliic pres. Perplexity - Bahia [armada music]

    16. Headstrong Feat. Shelley Harland - Helpless (Paul Miller Remix) [Sola Records]

    15. C-Systems - Close My Eyes (Lemon & Einar K remix) [Apocalypse]

    14. Push - Strange World (Astral Projection Remix) [Bonzai Music]

    13. Airbase feat. Floria Ambra - Denial (Airbase Remix) [In Trance We Trust]

    12. Sensitize - If only we could try [Fraction Zero]

    11. Dj Tatana - Spring Breeze (Martin Roth SummerStyle Remix) [Sirup Records]

    10. Anton Sonin & Amx feat. Sari - Undone (Original Mix) [High Contrast Nubreed Holland]

    09. Orjan - Soulflayer [Intuition Recordings]

    08. Lemon & Einar K - Anticipation [Flashover Recordings]

    07. Adam Nickey - Shift (Tom Cloud Remix) [Anjunabeats]

    06. Luke Terry & Kopi Luwak feat. Tiff Lacey - Fall Into The Moon (Original Mix) [Alter Ego Pure]

    05. Airbase - Tangerine [Intuition Recordings]

    04. Allende - Tricky Waters [AVA Blue Recordings]

    03. Purple Mood - Chinese Theatre (DJ Shah & DJ Cosmo's Original Mix) [Shah-Music Digital]

    02. Mental Infusion - Mind Prison [DeepBlue Records]

    01. Vibrasphere - Autumn Lights (Jay Selway & Magnus Remix) [JOOF Recordings].


    *********************************************************************************************



    1) Best Trance Producers of 2008:

    3. Tobias Schuh (Cold Blue)
    2. Jezper Söderlund (Airbase)
    1. Roger Pierre Shah (as part of Purple Mood and Black Pearl).


    2) Best Newcomer of 2008: Alexei Kindikov (Алексей Киндиков) (Affective).


    3) Best Remixers of 2008:

    3. Martin Roth
    2. Tom Cloud
    1. Jay Selway & Magnus.


    4) Best Trance Labels of 2008:

    3. Intuition Recordings
    2. AVA Blue Recordings
    1. Coldharbour Recordings.


    5) Label to watch out for in the future: JOOF Recordings.


    6) Best Trance Compilations of 2008:

    3. Roger Shah - Magic Island, Music For Balearic People [Armada Digital]
    2. Abbott & Chambers - Alter Ego Sessions Volume 02 [Alter Ego Records]
    1. Armin van Buuren - A State of Trance 2008 [armada music].


    ********************************************************************************************


    10 Non-trance gems of 2008:



    10. SCSI-9 - Together [Kompakt]

    09. Mirco De Govia - Catching Light [Euphonic]

    08. Mirco De Govia - Quantum Reign [Euphonic]

    07. Schiller - Lichtung [Universal Music Domestic Division]

    06. Evan Marc & Steve Hillage - Theta Phase [Somnia]

    05. Subheim - Away [Tympanik Audio]

    04. Signalrunners - Meet Me In Montauk (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    03. Style Clash - Lullaby (Reprise Mix) [FeralCode Records]

    02. Carbon Based Lifeforms - Endospore [Spiral Trax]

    01. Vibrasphere feat. Irina Mikhailova - Meander [Spiral Trax].


    And with that, another excellent year of music ends. Overall, I found a certain decline in quality in the trance productions in comparison to previous few years. There were many good tracks, but no masterpieces. However, the albums I mentioned in this journal more than made up for it with some truly memorable, colourful music which I thoroughly enjoyed. Here's then, looking forward to 2009!
  • Selections from 2007 - Trance & Progressive

    Gen 24 2008, 21:04

    My selections from 2007 - trance and progressive:

    After spending a lot of time and effort sorting out the best from the rest, I finally came up with the following tracks as my favourite tunes of 2007 in trance/progressive:

    50. M Waering & Expanded - Remember This [JOOF]: This is a beautiful prog-trancer from the Swedish team. Deep layers of melody amidst some sparkling percussions and synth pads elevate it to something out of the ordinary.

    49. Jav D feat. Mat Zo - Silver Lining [AVA Recordings]: A beautiful, melodious prog-trancer by the Anglo-American production team of Jawad Dar and the young Matan Zohar.

    48. JPL & Serp - Distant (Acues & Elitist Remix) [KYR Records]: I prefer this remix by the Spanish duo to the original. A brilliant, colourful, melodic uplifting trancer!

    47. Miika Kuisma & Ollis - Take Another Look (Original Mix) [Subtraxx Digital]: Another beautiful melodic prog-trancer. This one by the Finnish duo Miika Kuisma and Olli Sovijärvi, has a very cheerful, sparkling vibe.

    46. Emotional Horizons & Xplorations - Emotia (Original Mix) [Deepblue Records]: From Hungarian trance producers Peter Safranyos and Adam Szabo comes this stunning uplifting trancer with a beautiful guitar melody. An energetic, powerful, melodic gem.

    45. Offdate - Southern Sun [Abstraction Deep]: The debut release of young Kazakhstani electronic music producer Tigran Sarkisovich/Papazyan is a melodic electro-progressive trancer. This original, highly melodic, sparkling little gem sends a chill down my spine everytime I hear it.

    44. Andy Blueman - Nyctalopia (Original Mix) [Perceptive Recordings]: From Slovenian trance producer Andrej Komatovic comes this amazing uplifting trancer. The orchestral melody in the break renders this track a very special epic feel. Brilliant!

    43. Steve Allen & Northern Project - Salvation (Original Mix) [Diverted Recordings]: A high quality uplifting trancer from the UK team, which is definitely one of the very best uplifting trancers I've heard in 2007. This is simply mind-blowing!

    42. Serve Chilled - Coruba (Shah & Ralph Fritsch Original Mix): A new project from German trance producers/DJs Roger P. Shah (DJ Shah) and Ralph Fritsch, this is a superb uplifting trancer which is still unreleased.

    41. Whirloop - Cirrus Station [Intuition]: From Swedish trance producer Daniel Swahn comes this amazing tech psytrance track. Highly original and spine tingling!

    40. Alex Kunnari - Lifter (Original Mix) [In Trance We Trust]: This electro-progressive trancer from the Finnish producer has a wonderful piano melody.

    39. David West - True Love (Original Mix) [Captured Music]: Made in 2006 by the great Swedish EDM producer, this is a lively, melodic prog-trancer with some cool 80s influences. Also, a very special track for me. ;)

    38. Hawk feat. Sasja - Emerald Mine (Hawk Remix) [Real Deep]: This collaboration between Norwegian trance producer/DJ Håkon Lofthus and Danish vocalist Sasja Borjeson is a delightful melodic progressive vocal trancer. This remix has a harder electro-tinged bassline which complements nicely with the heavenly vocals (sung in a somewhat Indian style).

    37. Onova - Platitude (Original Mix) [Monster Tunes]: This massive uplifting trancer by Swedish trance producer/DJ Christian Lejon has a very streamlined, crystal-clear feel to it. Tight production quality, and a refined sound raises this one towards the top of the best uplifting trancers of 2007.

    36. Joni - Things I Never Tell You (Original Mix) [Alter Ego Digital]: A fantastic driving progressive trancer from Swedish trance producer/DJ Joni Ljungqvist, this one is extremely groovy and has a lovely melody. Very enjoyable!

    35. Mike Mikhjian & Mike Saint-Jules - Bay Breeze [AVA Blue]: 2007 Was a great year for quality progressive trance. This production by the American duo bears yet another testimony to that. A melodic masterpiece with some subtle piano play, this is something very special. Magical!

    34. Adam White feat. Stacey Kitson - Piece Of Mind (Vocal Mix) [Emalodic]: This one is a brilliant vocal trancer from the UK team. Melodic, energetic, highly enjoyable!

    33. Lamb - Gorecki (Mike EFEX Remix) [Coldharbour]: A stunning remix of this beautiful song. Deep, dark, emotional and utterly haunting!

    32. Santiago Nino & Damien Heck feat. Antonia Lucas - Redsky (Santiago Nino Dub Mix) [Vandit Records]: This prog-trancer by the Colombian/Canadian team has a chilled-out balearic flavour with a lovely guitar melody. The dub mix is definitely much better than the vocal version.

    31. Kyau & Albert - Always A Fool (Album Extended Mix) [Euphonic]: This vocal trancer by the German duo of Ralph Kyau and Steven Moebius Albert was part of their 2006 album 'Worldvibe', but was released as a single only in 2007. I prefer the 'album extended mix' to other versions, as it brings out the best from Berlin singer Viola Manigk's lovely voice.

    30. Boom Jinx feat. Thomas J. Bergersen - Remember September (Duderstadt Remix) [Anjunadeep]: This is a fantastic melodic progressive production from Norwegian producer Øistein Johan Eide. While the original is a bit housey (albeit great), this remix by the German brothers Dirk and Marco Duderstadt makes this a more clubbier, trancier tune with a deep, heavy bassline while retaining the beautiful melody (by Norwegian composer Thomas Jacobsen Bergersen) of the original.

    29. Sonic Division - Painting the Silence (Original Sonic Division & Spychool Mix) [Deepblue Digital]: I just can't get enough of this prog-trancer! Made by the Polish electro/prog/trance duo Damian Politanski & Maciej Gapys, this generates a lively happy vibe with it's beautiful melodic and subtle electro elements over a driving, groovy bassline. Cheerful, sunny, happy trance at it's best.

    28. Duderstadt & Anita Kelsey - Smile (Duderstadt Uplifting Dub Mix) [Afterglow]: It was a toss-up between the Duende dub and this one, but I chose this remix as the melody here is more brilliant. A superb uplifting trancer from the German brothers!

    27. Rex Mundi - Desillusion [Cyber Records]: A beautiful melody over a heavy bassline, this is a gem of a prog-trancer by the Dutch trance producer/DJ Boy Hagemann. Soulful and very emotional!

    26. The Doppler Effect - Beauty Hides in the Deep (John O'Callaghan Remix) [Cloud 9 Music BV]: This has been played a lot in the last three months of 2007, so couldn't ignore. Absolutely brilliant remix of this song by the Irish trance producer/DJ giving it a much needed kick and power without destroying Carol Lee's haunting vocals. Definitely one of the best vocal trancers of 2007.

    25. Super8 & Tab - Suru (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]: This release by the great Finnish duo Miika Eloranta (Super8) and Janne Mansnerus (DJ Tab) combines subtle but beautiful vocals and a moving piano riff to great effect. Streamlined production quality with a superb breakdown, this is classy uplifting trance.

    24. Dave202 - Torrent (Original Mix) [Captivating Sounds]: A massive high-energy uplifting trancer from the Swiss team of Davide Tropeano and Sean Tyas along with David Kolodziej. A superb melody bedded in a tough bassline creates a tremendous euphoric feeling. Brilliant!

    23. Global Illumination - Tremble (Original Mix) [Armind]: This is a very beautiful prog-trancer made by the Dutch team of Freek Geuze and Johan Vermeulen. Melodic, emotional and very addictive!

    22. John O'Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher - Big Sky (Agnelli & Nelson Remix) [Armind]: The biggest tune of the year coming from the Irish team is reminiscent of the 2003 hit 'Holding on to Nothing' by Agnelli & Nelson with the same vocalist. This one is almost as good, if not better, and as enjoyable. An energetic, pacy and exhilerating vocal trancer.

    21. Miikka Leinonen - Washed Away By Rain [Five AM]: This is a brilliant melodic prog-trancer from the Finnish producer. Sparkling, vibrant, colourful!

    20. Dave202 - Rain Against Her (Original Mix) [Captivating Sounds]: Another massive trancer from the same Swiss team that brought 'Torrent'. This is energetic, powerful, melodic uplifting trance at it's finest.

    19. Glenn Morrison - Blue Skies With Linda [Little Mountain Recordings]: This is a lovely prog-trancer from the Canadian producer/DJ. The haunting melody gives this a very soulful feel. Very emotional!

    18. Tom Cloud - Million Miles Away [In Trance We Trust]: A very enjoyable prog-trancer from the German producer/DJ. This has a melody which generates a very happy vibe everytime I hear it. A lively, cheerful piece of dance music.

    17. Sequentia vs. Amphiby - Kaleidoscope (Original Mix) [Cellection Music]: The Dutch-German duo of Mark Hoogkamer and Daniel Garczyk teams up with another Dutch producer/DJ Maarten van Bergen for this stunning uplifting trancer. Originally made in 2004 but is reworked a bit since, this packs in a punch with it's infectious melody over a powerful bassline. Massive tune!

    16. Dash Berlin - Till The Sky Falls Down (Vocal Mix) [Captivating Sounds]: From the Dutch duo Eelke Kalberg and Sebastiaan Molijn comes this highly emotional prog-trancer which has been very popular in 2007 within the trance communities. The lyrics and the lovely vocals of singer Vera adds another dimension to the haunting music. This is also one of those rare tracks to have brought tears in my eyes the first time I heard it. Melancholic, soulful, unforgettable.

    15. Miikka Leinonen - Shadow Hearts (Original Mix) [Alter Ego Digital]: This is a stunning uplifting trancer from the Finnish producer/DJ. A pacy and enegetic start leads to the first breakdown wherein the lively lead melody is introduced and intensified further with the accompaniment of breakbeats. A very exciting, sparling and powerful trancer!

    14. Michael Cassette - David (Allende Remix) [Anjunadeep]: This is a very beautiful progressive vocal trancer from Finnish producers Matti Heininen and Erkka Lempiäinen. I prefer this remix by another Finnish producer/DJ Anssi Hohti, who adds some groove and melody making it more trancy while retaining the soulful nature of the original. A sweet, melancholic, melodic gem!

    13. Boom Jinx feat. Key - Eternal Reminiscence [Anjunadeep]: Another new production from Norwegian producer Øistein Johan Eide, this is still unreleased but has been played around a bit in the last three months of '07. This prog-trancer has a very chilled-out Balearic vibe to it, with subtle use of vocals and a great melody which makes you wanna fly. Superb!

    12. David West - Stuck in Friendsville (Allende Remix) [AVA Recordings]: The original was made in 2004 by the great Swedish producer/DJ David Westerlund, and was known as 'Demo No. One'. Finnish producer Anssi Hohti (Allende) remixed it in early 2006 and the final package was released in 2007. As much as I love the original, I had to go for this remix as it adds a darker, harder, more atmospheric edge, using some cool FXs and spacey pads while retaining the highly melodic elements of the original. Definitely one of the best melodic prog-trancers of '07.

    11. El Cortez - Desert Rose Intuition]: This production, by the German duo of Roger P. Shah (DJ Shah) and Thomas Godel (DJ Cosmo) is a melodic prog-trancer with one of the most beautiful and catchy melodies ever. The bassline, however, reminds me of Galen Behr's mix of his and Robert Burn's 2006 production 'Till We Meet Again'.

    10. DJ Shah feat. Adrina Thorpe - Who Will Find Me (Main Mix) [A State of Trance]: German producer Roger P. Shah teams up with American vocalist Adrina Thorpe in this mesmerizing progressive vocal trancer which ought to rank amongst the very best vocal trancers ever made. It was a toss-up regarding choice of this mix over the original, but I picked this one in the end as it has more punch and a clubbier feel. Amazing vocals and a warm bassline alongwith some beautiful melodies create a very chilled-out, summery feeling. With thoughtful, heartfelt lyrics and enchanting vocals, this is, without doubt the best vocal trancer of 2007. Deep, moving, haunting, hypnotic!

    09. Purple Mood - One Night in Tokyo (DJ Shah's Savannah Remix) [Anjunabeats]: This is yet another production from the German team of Roger P. Shah (DJ Shah) and Thomas Godel (DJ Cosmo). A warm bassline, floating synths and some magical piano samples create a dreamy, hypnotic effect. This prog-trancer astonishes in it's apparent simplicity of style, while still managing to create a dreamy, nocturnal, oriental ambience. The subtle use of pianos and Japanese vocals add sparkle to the classic trance synths and makes it magical. I prefer this mix as the piano sounds are more prominent here. Quality stuff!

    08. Cape Town - Metaphorique (Ferry Tayle Neverending Story Mix) [Camouflage]: An amazing production by the Franco-Belgian team of Laurent Véronnez & Ludovic Meyer. I prefer this almost 13-min. long remix by French producer/DJ Ludovic Meyer (Ferry Tayle), as it's more uplifting and brilliant. This starts off slowly, with a beautiful, chilled-out 3-min. intro. Then it slowly builds up with some typical trance synths leading to a small break wherein some vocal samples are used and the track gains momentum with the introduction of beats. This leads to the second, bigger break from where the second, siren-like synth melody is introduced and the track builds up to a crescendo. An amazing production, with chillout, progressive and uplifting motifs blended seamlessly within one track.

    07. The Blizzard - Kalopsia (Original Club Mix) [Armind]: This is a prog-trancer by Norwegian producers/DJs Lars-Christian Nyheim and Tore Vatle Jensen which was a big hit of 2007 amongst trance communities. The track builds up with percussion, FXs and some synths, which leads to the break wherein a haunting and melancholic vocal is introduced. Thereafter the track progresses with bubbly, sparkling melodic arps and plucks lending it a very colourful character. A stunning work of art in the field of melodic progressive trance. Haunting!

    06. Markus Schulz vs. Andy Moor - Daydream (12" Mix) [Armada Music]: When two giants of progressive trance music come together for production, the result can't be cheese. This is exactly so for this prog-trancer by the Anglo-American team, who uses the lovely vocals of Carrie Skipper in an imaginative way to conjure something deeply haunting and dreamlike. The broken, chopped-up, re-arranged vocals and the warm bassline create a very chilled-out and blissfully enchanting atmosphere. This is a hypnotic, fairytale-like piece of art.

    05. Mat Zo - Synthectic: This is a driving, melodic prog-trancer from the young UK producer Matan Zohar. Starts off with a lively, rolling bassline along with some sparkling melodies which lead on to the break. Here the track gains energy with FXs, wash-effects, floaty synth pads and the introduction of the second, more prominent synth sample. This crazy synth melody is then driven forwards with the energetic bassline and chorus. An ingenious production, very uplifting for a prog-trancer. Perhaps the most colourful, vibrant and lively trancer of 2007. This brilliant track is still unreleased, unfortunately.

    04. Visior & Dark Moon - Beautiful People (Kay Stone Remix) [Breeze Records]: This is a beautiful trancer by the German team of André Balser, Tino Hufeld & Christian Stein. I prefer this remix by German producer/DJ Karsten Loos, as it's one of the most immaculately crafted piece of sonic art I've heard in 2007. This progressive version of the original starts off with a beautiful atmospheric intro alongwith the chopped-up vocals from the original. This then is carried forward with twinkling melodies and breakbeats, giving it a dreamy ambience. This leads on to the break wherein a Hammer & Funabashi style synth melody is introduced and then carried forward alongwith the other sonic elements to a harmonious conclusion. Dark, dreamy, haunting!

    03. Afterbyte - Sun Republic [JOOF]: A stunningly original piece of work from the Hungarian producer, this is a driving, melodic morning trancer. Starts off with a Whirloop style intro which is soon followed by several bubbly melodic loops. A typical melodic psytrance style electro bassline is then introduced. This, along with the melodies and a vocal sample carries forward the track in a brisk pace, with small interludes wherein those sparkling, bubbly melodies are playfully accentuated with atmospheric pads. Refreshing, pacy, exhilerating, futuristic morning trance at it's best.

    02. Myon - Albion (Original Mix) [In Trance We Trust]: This is an exquisitely crafted prog-trancer from Hungarian producer Márió Égető who used reversed and chopped-up vocals of Andain's 2003 hit 'Beautiful Things' to great effect. A groovy bassline leads onto the first break wherein the reversed vocals are introduced. This creates a dreamy ambience which is then carried forward with the energetic bassline leading to a second small break where a different part of the reversed vocals is played. It's quite astonishing to note how well everything is arranged around those heavenly vocals. Overall, a dreamy, emotional, fairytale-like piece of sonic art.

    01. Autio & Maattala - Tuuli [Neuroscience Deep]: It's not often when we get to hear a certain piece of music which manages to convey more emotion than a thousand words. This heavenly prog-trancer, by Finnish producers/DJs Joni Autio and Sami Määttälä (who are better known as 'Valve'), manages to do just that. It starts off slowly with a deep, but soft bassline, warm percussions and hints of the main melody. This leads onto the break, wherein a wind and sea sample is introduced which creates a haunting, dreamy ambience. This is then carried forward with the melancholic melody and the warm, soft bassline leading to the second small break wherein a typical trance synth is introduced. All these motifs combine seamlessly thereafter leading to a harmonious conclusion. This is a track with a soul, more emotional, atmospheric and melancholic than any other track I've heard in 2007, and is best enjoyed alone. A very special, heartfelt, haunting and melancholic beauty, comparable with Aurosonic's 2006 production 'Missing You' on an emotional level. Outstanding!

    Those, then, were 50 of my favourite trancers of 2007. There were many great tracks in '07, but unlike 2006, no masterpieces.

    *****************************************************************************************************************************

    Inferences:

    I) Best trance producers of 2007:

    3. Miikka Leinonen
    2. Thomas Godel (DJ Cosmo)
    1. Roger P. Shah (DJ Shah).

    II) Best newcomer: Matan Zohar (Mat Zo).

    III) Best remixers of 2007:

    3. Kay Stone
    2. Duderstadt
    1. Anssi Hohti (Allende).

    IV) Best trance labels of 2007:

    3. Captivating Sounds
    2. In Trance We Trust
    1. AnjunaDeep.

    V) Label to watch out for in the future: Neuroscience Deep.
  • Trance 2006 - My Favourites

    Gen 1 2007, 17:51

    As a trance lover, I find it fascinating to observe what a great year for trance music 2006 has been. This is exemplified by the enormous difficulty I faced when choosing my own favourite 20 trance tracks of 2006. At random, I could pick out at least 100 tracks which I enjoyed very much (and still do). So, narrowing down the list to just 20 proved to be a huge ordeal, and I had to leave out a lot of good tracks which I love very much. But still, after some prolonged soul-searching, I came up with my final list of my 20 favourite trance tracks of 2006. Without further ado, here is the list:

    20. Looking too Deep (Lange Mix) Cold Harbour:

    - UK trance producer and DJ Stuart Langelaan teams up with US based DJ and progressive trance/house producer Jawad Dar for this superb uplifting trancer, which also marks the return of Lange's successful 'Firewall' project.

    19. Beyond Doubt (Sean Tyas Remix) Conspiracy:

    - This peak time euphoric trance anthem from Polish trance producer and DJ Sebastian Wichary is very uplifting in nature. The remix from Switzerland based trance producer and DJ Sean Tyas is typically energetic, and the buildup after the breakdown is pure class.

    18. Open Your Eyes (Sean Tyas 'Got Piano' Remix) ATCR:

    - This new remix of the 2000 classic is very uplifting and energetic. It's fantastic to hear how well the light melodic piano sound of the original blends with the deep and hard driving bassline of Sean Tyas.

    17. Dream Makers (Original Mix) Vandit:

    - In this superb uplifting trancer, a cool soothing melody is brilliantly blended with a very energetic and hard riff. I like how smoothly the track progresses.

    16. Final Thoughts (Galen Behr Remix) A State Of Trance:

    - A beautiful melodious trancer from young Dutch trance producer and DJ Joris van der Straten. This remix, from another young Dutch trance producer and DJ Galen Behr, is a peak time progressive trancer which I slightly prefer over the original one (with breakbeats).

    15. Frantic (Sean Tyas Remix) enhanced:

    - A massive tune, and yet another superb remix by Sean Tyas, this is a perfect choice for peak time sets. Very energetic, and stunningly uplifting.

    14. Roundabout Coldharbour Recordings:

    - An amazing progressive trancer from Russian trance producer and DJ Alexey Monakhov. Beautiful, dark melody, with a superb breakdown.

    13. Divine (Original Mix) Somatic Sense:

    - This, the second production of the Swedish duo, is a class act. A superb uplifting trancer with a beautiful melody.

    12. Get Off (Original Mix) Anjunabeats:

    - This awesome uplifting trancer from Finnish trance maestro Miika Eloranta is a surefire floorfiller. It's blend of gripping bass and floaty piano sounds is simply amazing.

    11. Edge of Space (Whiteroom Remix) Mondo Records:

    - An exceptionally beautiful uplifting trancer from the UK female trance production/DJ duo. I prefer the Whiteroom remix wherein the beautiful aural samples of the original are nicely blended with some cool, floaty melodies.

    10. Starfall (Original Mix):

    - This is a beautiful progressive trancer from the new Russian group Aurosonic. The sound is somewhat inbetween progressive and uplifting. The track is made special by the beautiful guitar melody in the break. A truly original work of great beauty and emotion.

    09. Capoeira (Airbase pres. Scarab Remix) A State Of Trance:

    - This track, by the Swedish duo, has a light, summery vibe to it. I prefer this remix by Swedish trance producer and DJ Jezper Söderlund, who retains the melodic Balearic nature of the original, and yet gives an uplifting edge to it. Beautiful, happy trance!

    08. Cobra (Original Mix) In Trance We Trust:

    - This, the latest release from Dutch trance producer Ralph Barendse's 'Midway' project, is a mindblowing uplifting trancer with a melody which resembles the score of some Indian films. The Outback remix is very good too, with a progressive style, but I prefer the
    original version for it's energy and stunning uplifting quality.

    07. Arise (Hammer & Funabashi Remix) Skywarp Records:

    - The original, with vocals of Tiff Lacey, is a superb vocal trancer produced by the Swedish duo. But this remix, albeit a dub mix, manages to surpass the original in terms of sheer beauty. The darkly melodic progressive style of the German trio complements perfectly with the dubbed out vocals with some stunningly beautiful and haunting layers of melody that stay with you forever. Dreamy, hypnotic, intoxicating, and magical!

    06. Teddybear's Escape Bonzai Trance Progressive:

    - From Laurent Véronnez, Belgium's finest trance producer, comes this brilliant progressive trancer. The melody here is very emotional, and the breakdown is spine tingling. Pure class. This is made in heaven!

    05. Carabella (Galen Behr vs. Orjan Nilsen Remix) Yakuza:

    - The original mix of this is progressive in style, with a slow build-up. I prefer the remix, by Dutchman Galen Behr, and the Norwegian Orjan Nilsen, as it's more energetic and stunningly uplifting. In the remix, the minor theme of the original is introduced rather
    fast, and goes straight to the main break, scrapping the minor break and vocal samples of the original (introduced later in the main break in the original) altogether. In the main break, the bell samples are introduced first, and then the main theme enters. This main melody, and the way it's developed and grows to anthemic proportions sends shivers down my spine and always gives me goosebumps! After this massive climax, the track moves to the end in a straightforward fashion with the original bassline. Extraordinary craftsmanship!

    04. Prison Break Intuition:

    - This, from the B-side of Norwegian trance producer and DJ Orjan Nilsen's first release under his own name (after the success of Forest EP as DJ Governor), Arctic Globe/Prison Break, is slightly less popular than the other single on the A-side. However, I prefer this out of the two. It may be slightly less energetic than Arctic Globe, but the melody is very catchy and beautiful. This starts off with some percussions, which is soon joined by a xylophone sound that's present almost throughout the track. This percussion and xylophone sample is very reminiscent of Fable's 'Above'. After a while, these samples along with some FX leads us to the main break, where the lead synth melody is introduced (with a flanger-like effect). This is then developed along with the bassline and the xylophone sound. The melody itself and the way it builds up along with the bassline is very driving and energetic (although not as energetic as Arctic Globe). Excellent production!

    03. Missing you (original mix) Reflected Recordings:

    - This is a darkly emotional progressive trancer from the new Russian trance production outfit Aurosonic. It starts off with a small piano sample along with a 130 bpm bassline with occassional flanger effect. A few seconds later, one of the main themes is introduced for a few seconds. These little interplays between the piano and this new theme along with the bassline serves as a teaser and gives the track a mysterious feel to it. Slowly, we are introduced to the second main theme but it fades away soon as we arrive at the break. Here,
    the piano sample continues, and a violin portamento is introduced. Then as this grows, the first theme is brought back (which has served as a teaser all this while) and develops into a full-fledged haunting melody along with the portamento, this time with a synth sound which grows. Then the bassline returns and the way all the elements combine here, borders on genius. After this the track proceeds gently towards the end. This is one track which should be felt, rather than just listen. Soulful, dark, and haunting!

    02. Proglifter (Original Mix) Camouflage:

    - This, around 10 minutes long progressive trancer by the Belgian/French duo of Laurent Véronnez and Ferry Tayle, can only be termed as a masterpiece of modern progressive trance music. It starts off with a synth based cinematic intro which lasts for well over 2 minutes. The synth sound is multi-layered and often gated, which adds sparkle and creates a dreamlike sonic texture. At the 2:25 minute mark (approx.), the bassline is introduced, which is a rather soft one. Here the synths fade away as the bassline continues. Slowly the synths return and progresses smoothly along with the soft bassline. This continues for sometime until we arrive at the break at around the 5:20 minute mark (approx.). Here, the gated synth sounds are developed into a full-fledged melody which is haunting and melancholic. As the melody intensifies, the bassline returns and this combination continues for a long time as the track gently progresses towards the end. A very subtle and multi-layered synth composition of immense beauty which should be felt, and not just
    listen. The melody, and the way it progresses slowly over time, creates a hypnotic effect. The first time I heard this, I couldn't stop playing it for 5 hours continuous! The only trance composition (out of the 300 odd I heard this year) which managed to put me in a state of trance. Genius work!

    01. Arisen (Original Mix) Armind:

    - From British trance producer Laurence Rapaccioli, comes this uplifting trance masterpiece which should enter the trance classics hall of fame as one of the best trance compositions ever made. This, just a little above 9 minutes long track starts off with a dark
    atmospheric intro using samples of rain, thunder and delicate vocals creating an eerie effect. At approximately 1:18 minute mark, the bassline enters which is an industrial style sharp stabbing sound, and is accompanied by beats at around the 1:46 minute mark. This bassline (which is very non-standard btw) is then developed further with some FX, which then leads us to the first break at around the 2:55 minute mark. Here, the eerie vocal sample reappears, and then as the bassline returns, the main theme is introduced. This has two layers. The first is a rapidly progressing melody which serves as a base for the second layer of synth-based melody which is then developed in a cumulative manner. Here the track gains momentum, as we arrive at the main break at approximately the 4:45 minutes mark. Here, the main melody is slowly developed and enriched into a full-fledged beauty. As this grows, a lead riff appears at around the 6:28 minute mark, which then gathers momentum and works it's way to an astonishing climax accompanied by the rapidly moving base melody. As this progresses and slowly fades out (at around 7:50), bits of the main melody reappears (at approx. 7:24 minute mark) along with the killer bassline (at around the 7:54 minute mark). The bassline then gently proceeds to the end. This, by far is the most original sounding trance composition I've heard in 2006. Considering it's inventive structure, brilliant melody, and the stunning climax, I couldn't put any other trance track bar this at the number one spot. A work of a true genius!

    So, those were my 20 favourite trance tracks of 2006. Here are some of my favourites from other categories from the world of trance in 2006:

    1. Favourite DJ: Manuel Le Saux.

    2. Favourite producer: Laurent Véronnez.

    3. Favourite remixer: Sean Tyas.

    4. Favourite newcomer: Aurosonic.

    5. Favourite label: Anjunabeats.

    6. Favourite artist album: Trilogique.

    7. Favourite DJ Mix Compilation: Armin van Buuren - A State of Trance 2006.
  • A State of Trance - Classics: The Full Unmixed Versions

    Ago 21 2006, 14:54

    A STATE OF TRANCE CLASSICS [4CD]
    Label: Cloud 9

    Release Date: 08-12-2006
    Store Date: 08-18-2006

    Armin van Buuren has selected 36 classic trance tunes to appear on this fabulous set - all extended mixes, unmixed. This, almost 6 hours of music captures the crème de la crème of trance from 1996 to 2004, and thus provides an ideal trip to memory lane.

    Tracklist:

    CD 1

    01. Silence (Tiësto's in Search of Sunrise Mix) 11:35
    02. Seven Days And One Week 08:29
    03. Out of the Blue 06:41
    04. Communication Part One 09:37
    05. as the rush comes (sweeping strings mix) 10:40
    06. Carte Blanche 07:04
    07. Born Slippy 11:34
    08. Instant Moments 07:43
    09. Zombie Nation 06:06

    CD 2

    01. Gouryella 10:46
    02. Rapture (John Creamer & Stephane K remix) 09:53
    03. Voyage 06:25
    04. The Sound of Goodbye (Armin's Tribal Feel) 08:45
    05. The Silmarillia 07:18
    06. Cry 07:24
    07. Madagascar (Ferry Corsten Remix) 05:59
    08. Find (Andy Moor Remix) 08:48
    09. Finished Symphony 09:32

    CD 3

    01. Urban Train 10:24
    02. Blue Fear (Original 1996 Mix) 07:57
    03. Age Of Love (Jam & Spoon Watch Out For Stella Mix) 06:49
    04. Cloudwalking (Astral Mix) 10:02
    05. Janeiro (Armin van Buuren Mix) 09:38
    06. Sahara 08:03
    07. Endless Wave 06:06
    08. C-Sharp 07:38
    09. Synaesthesia 07:12

    CD 4

    01. Exhale 07:13
    02. Tenshi 08:34
    03. Massive 09:19
    04. Beautiful Things (Gabriel & Dresden's Unplugged Mix) 10:48
    05. Galaxia 05:38
    06. Viola (Armin Van Buuren Remix) 09:58
    07. Netherworld (Jules Vernes Mix) 08:31
    08. Arcadia 09:56
    09. Greece 2000 08:03.

    Although there are a lot of classic tunes in there, I still feel that the choice of tracks could have been better. Tracks like 'Kernkraft 400 - Zombie Nation', 'System F - Cry', and 'Gabriel & Dresden - Arcadia' could've been replaced with 'Solarstone - Seven Cities', 'Chicane feat. Maire Brennan - Saltwater', and 'Solarstone - Solarcoaster (Midway Remix)'. I also miss some of my other favourites like 'Rank 1 - Airwave (Original Mix)', 'Paul van Dyk - For an Angel (E-Werk Club Mix)', and 'Armin van Buuren feat. Ray Wilson - Yet Another Day'. What's your opinion on this set?.
  • Biggest Trance Hits of 2006 (so far)

    Lug 4 2006, 6:57

    The following 7 tracks were the biggest trance hits in the first half of 2006 (as inferred from plays in ASOTs, TATWs, and many other gigs of top DJs):

    01. Arisen (Original Mix) [Armind]

    02. White Sand (Original Mix) [Armada]

    03. 5 (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    04. North Pole (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    05. Second turn (Original Mix) [Intuition Recordings]

    06. Rogue (Original Mix) [Fundamental Recordings]

    07. Divine (Original Mix) [Somatic Sense].

    Armind is a subdivision of Armada Music of The Netherlands, specialising in trance, downtempo/chillout and house music. Some of their recent releases include Control Freak (trance), Arctic Quest - Renaissance/Femme Fatale (trance), and David Navo & Julio Navas pres. Paco Maroto - Electronic Electro (house).

    Laurence 'Arksun' Rapaccioli is a 28 year old British music producer, specialising in electronic synth based music ranging from mostly prog-trance style to ambient & downbeat. His biggest productions and remixes include My World (Arksun Mix) (2005), The Electro Illusion - Atlantis (Arksun Remix) (2006), and The Electro Illusion & Arksun - A Little Closer (Original Mix) (2006). 'Arisen' is his latest progressive trance offering (reminiscent of some BT productions) - a firm contender for the best trance track of 2006.

    Armada Music of Holland has always been in the forefronts of trance music since its inception in June 2003, and 2006 is no different. Tracks like Your Loving Arms (Markus Schulz & Elevation Intro Mix), Prometheus, and Niklas Harding - Ice Beach (Brandenburg Tech Mix) have been very popular recently in trance parties. But their biggest hit so far this year is, undoubtedly, White Sand.

    German DJ and producer Roger P. Shah (DJ Shah) has been big in the trance scene in the last few years. Some of Shah's recent big productions & remixes have been Laruso & Shah - Zanzibar (Original Remix), Yet Another Day (DJ Shah Remix), and Savannah - Savannah la Mar [Blackhole] (June 2006). However, White Sand has been his biggest hit this year so far. This is a balearic, lighter,lounge style trance track, reminiscent of some ATB productions. With the amount of airplay it has received from the top jocks, this looks like another contender for the best trance track of 2006.

    Anjunabeats is the leading UK-based trance and electronica label run by Above & Beyond. Some of their recent big releases have been Made in Bahrain, Black, and White. However, two of their biggest hits this year so far have been 5 (Original Mix) and North Pole (Original Mix).

    Aalto is a collaboration between Paavo Olavi Siljamaki from Above & Beyond and Miika Eloranta (Super8), both from Finland. Some of their biggest productions have been 'Resolution (Original Mix)' (2005), 'Resolution (Oliver Prime Mix)' (2005), and 'Taurine' (2004). '5' is their latest offering which has been a huge hit so far this year in trance parties.

    North Pole (Original Mix) has been the biggest trance hit from Anjunabeats in this year so far. Krzysztof Pretkiewicz (N2O) is the first Polish producer to Anjunabeats. 'North Pole' is an awesome, stunning, uplifting trancer which has virtually been part of almost every trance sets of top DJs this year ever since it came out. His other recent big hits have been 'Frozen Dreams' (2006), 'Waterfall' (2006), and Diving In The Sky (2006).

    Intuition Recordings is a trance label from Holland which was started in February 2005 by two young Dutch trance DJs and producers, Menno de Jong and Paul Moelands. Their first release was Jonas Steur - Castamara/Silent Waves (2005) - both these uplifting, melodic trancers have been huge hits ever since their release. Thereafter one big hit after another continued to roll out of their stable. These are Tundra (2005), Airbase - Escape/For the Fallen (2005), Fable - Above/Nightshift (2006), Orjan - Arctic Globe/Prison Break (2006), Jonas Steur - Second Turn/Sonrisa, and most recently, Rogue (2006).

    Belgian trance DJ and producer Jonas Steur (aka Estuera) is known for his melodic and uplifting style. Some of his biggest hits include 'Castamara' (2005), 'Silent Waves' (2005), and most recently, 'Sonrisa' (2006). However, his biggest hit this year (so far) has been 'Second Turn', which got featured on Tiesto's 'In Search of Sunrise 5'.

    Fundamental Recordings has been one of the strongest and most consistent Trance label to emerge from the Dutch scene in the last few years. Some of their biggest releases in recent times include Magma (2006), Black Wood (2005), and Days like these (2005).

    Re:Locate is Paul Moelands (aka Octagen, Palanya, and Scratch Bandicoot), a 23 year old Dutch trance DJ and producer/remixer. His productions and remixes since 2003 has seen him specialising in hard trance. Some of his biggest hits include 'Remorse (Original Mix)' (2006), 'Rolling Thunder (Original Mix)' (2006), and Atomic Outbreak (Re:Locate vs. Kimito Lopez Remix) (2005). The first Re:Locate album, titled 'Rogue' will be released in 17th July on Galactive label. This will come in a limited edition double sleeved vinyl with 1 vinyl and a special CD. There is some space left for the vinyl album samplers to make the whole package a nice collectors item. The vinyl contains two tracks: 'Rogue' and 'Sobre Saliente' - a collaboration with Jonas Steur. The CD contains 14 tracks, including unreleased material feat. Jonas Steur, Menno de Jong, Thomas Bronzwaer, M.I.D.O.R. and Kimito Lopez, and with the singers Susana (known from Armin's 'Shivers' and Ernesto vs. Bastian's 'Dark Side of the Moon') and Rebekka. His biggest hit this year (so far) has been, undoubtedly, 'Rogue' - which is the BIGGEST Trance record around at the moment with support from ALL the biggest DJs on the planet: Paul van Dyk, DJ Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten and Judge Jules are the main headliners.

    Somatic Sense Recordings was founded in July 2003 by Pascal van Eijk aka DJ Precision. They specialise in producing quality uplifting trance music. Some of their recent big releases include Waterfall (N2O Mix), Waterfall (Trance mix), and Solitude, to name a few. However, Divine is their most anticipated release in 2006.

    Selu Vibra are Ludvig Holm (19 years old) and Sebastian Brandt (17 years old), trance music producers from Sweden. They made a name for themselves after their first production 'Stargazing' became a big hit in various trance events around Europe earlier this year. But their second release 'Divine' has exceeded all expectations, being mentioned as one of THE tunes of the year 2006. (Quote: Armin van Buuren) THIS IS THE FAVORITE FUTURE FAVORITE @ A STATE OF TRANCE the 250th EPISODE.
  • Half-yearly Trance Update

    Lug 3 2006, 20:49

    This is a half-yearly update of the hottest tracks of 2006 so far in trance and other related genres.

    01. Kiksu (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    02. Transmigration (Original Mix) [A State of Trance]

    03. The way we are

    04. Feelings (Leon Bolier remix)

    05. Edge of Space (Whiteroom Remix) [Mondo]

    06. Renaissance (Original Mix) [Armind]

    07. Orange [Inov8 Recordings]

    08. White Sand (Original Mix) [Armada]

    09. Above (Original Mix) [Intuition Recordings]

    10. Shipwrecked (Mike Foyle Vs. John O'Callaghan Club Mix)

    11. Distant Planet (Menno De Jong Interpretation) [Selective Recordings]

    12. No Way Back (Original Mix)

    13. Your Loving Arms (Club Mix) [Armada Music]

    14. Harmonic (Original Mix) [A State of Trance]

    15. Dream makers (Shog's 2 Faces Remix) [Vandit]

    16. Allegoria

    17. Can't Sleep (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    18. World Gone Mad (Club Mix) [A State of Trance]

    19. Small step on The Other Side (Elevation Remix) [Anjunadeep]

    20. Rogue (Original Mix) [Fundamental Recordings]

    21. Made In Bahrain (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    22. Divine (Original Mix) [Somatic Sense]

    23. Told You So

    24. Buro pres. Rob B. - Pasar (Aerodrome Remix) [Sential]

    25. Through Your Eyes (Original Mix) [Vandit]

    26. Arisen (Original Mix) [Armind]

    27. This Way (Rank 1 Remix) [High Contrast Recordings]

    28. For you (original mix) [A State of Trance]

    29. DJ Governor pres. Orjan - Arctic Globe (Original Mix) [Intuition Recordings]

    30. Until Monday (Original Mix) [Vandit]

    31. Water Ripples (Mike Shiver's Catching Sun Mix) [Captured Music]

    32. 5 (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    33. Keep Going On (Shah Dub) [PSR]

    34. Second turn (Original Mix) [Intuition Recordings]

    35. Bolier & Coenraad - The Mighty Ducks (Original Mix)

    36. Into The Danger (Original Mix)

    37. Ilimitado (Stoneface & Terminal Remix)

    38. North Pole (Original Mix) [Anjunabeats]

    39. Scrambled eggs (Original Mix)

    40. Need To Feel Loved (Bart Claessen Playmore Bootleg)

    41. Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Rank 1 - Life Less Ordinary (Original Mix)

    42. Secretly (Dub)

    43. White crystal (Original Mix) [Deep Blue Recordings]

    44. Dilruba (Junkie XL Remix).
  • ASOT 253

    Giu 18 2006, 22:13

    The following tracks were played in ASOT 253:

    1) Transatlantic Flight (Mhc Dub): From 2006 Columbia Records - To be released on 17th July 2006 by Sony BMG - house track. 2nd Smashing single from Norwegian electro-pop act Lorraine. Links: http://www.lorrainemusic.co.uk/?makeframe&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lorrainemusic.co.uk%2Fnews%2Findex.php and www.lorrainemusic.co.uk/news. A lighter melodic house number to begin with.

    2) Bounty Island (DJ Shah's San Antonio Harbour Mix): Featured in ASOT 252 - Nice, mellow track.

    3) Secretly (Dub Mix): Tune of the Week for ASOT 252 - Featured in TATW with Above & Beyond #117 - vocal trance. One of my favourites from this set.

    4) TUNE OF THE WEEK: Alexey Selin - White Crystal (Deep Blue): A chillout kind of track - original mix featured in ASOT 251 - similar to some Solarstone productions. A stunningly melodic masterpiece of modern trance music. Premiered in Solarstone's Deep Blue Radioshow in May 2006. Link: http://update-project.promodj.ru/remixes/16112.html. Another one of my favourites.

    5) Leo G - Supersonic (Martin Roth's 'Girls love DJ's' mix) (Deep Blue): This trance track was featured in ASOT 251 - Also part of Paul van Dyk's set @ BBC Radio1 Live From Coloursfest, Glasgow, Scotland.

    6) Take Me Away (Purple Haze Remix): This particular mix of 'Take me Away' was released in May 2006 - Featured in ASOT 251 - Premiered in Sander van Doorn's Identity Mix May 2006. The original vocal trance track was released in April 2002. This could arguably be the best mix of that hit song.

    7) Breathe (Anjunabeats): From Anjunabeats Vol.4 mixed by - Above & Beyond Featured in ASOT 252 - Premiered in 2nd Hour - Above & Beyond live at Nocturnal, Miami, March 24 2006 - also in TATW 110 & 113 - one of the top trance tracks released so far in 2006.

    8) Mysteria: Featured in Giorgio Ponticelli's set from 21st May 2006 - Premiered in a Steve Allen set in April 24th 2006 - this is a hard trance number. Also part of Cor Fijneman- Outstanding Radio 045 on ETN.fm 2006-05-10.

    9) Beautiful (Flashover/Pias): From L.E.F. (Benelux Edition) - CD - 2006 - Vocals by Debra Andrews - Uptempo vocal trance number. Typical Ferry Corsten style electro-filled trance sound with vocal distortions and hard basslines. Uplifting, melodious and highly danceable. Featured in ASOT 251.

    10)
    This Way (Rank 1 Remix) (High Contrast): A new mix of Ronald van Gelderen's (a.k.a. Kid Vicious) 'This Way' - Premiered in ASOT 241 - Vocals by Ronald van Gelderen. Similar to Dogzilla. Grows on you. Released in June 2006 at Be Yourself Music. Part of Rank 1's set from ASOT 250. Also featured in ASOT episodes 248, 246, and 245. Vocal trance track with a tech-trance flavour. Didn't like it too much.

    11) No Need To Come Back (Club Mix) (Armada): The vocal mix was in ASOT 2006 CD1 - This is the club mix which was featured in ASOT 251 - Premiered at the end of Jonas Steur's set (and before M.I.K.E.'s set) in ASOT 250. Vocal trance track. My favourite from this set. A candidate for the best vocal trance track of 2006.

    12) Metropolitan (Monster Tunes): A new production from Paul Moelands (a.k.a. Re:Locate) and R.van Bostelen- This trance number was featured in ASOT 251. Link: http://www.djmidor.com/.

    13) Solar Express - Magma (Orjan & R-Lend Sequential Mix): This trance track was featured in ASOT 251 - Premiered in a DJ Governor (a.k.a. Orjan) set in March 2006 as Menno de Jong & Leon Bolier Pres. Solar Express - Magma (Orjan & R-Lend's Sequential mix) [Galactive]. This new mix of the hit 2006 trance anthem 'Magma' has good pace and energy and sounds better than the original.

    14) Arctic Globe (Intuition): Debut release on Intuition Recordings of Norwegian trance DJ/producer Orjan Nilsen - A powerful trancer - Played by Tiesto at his In Search Of Sunrise 5 release party in Heineken Music Hall as well as peaktime moments in many of his other sets. To be released in 19th June 2006. Featured in Hala Ludowa Wroclaw 2.05.2006 - Armin's concert in Poland. Uplifting trance. Also played by Marco V @ Piramida, Chorzow (May 26th, 2006). A special festival edit was premiered in Jonas Steur's set in ASOT 250. A future favourite in ASOT 246. Premiered in ASOT 245 as Dj Governor pres. Orjan - Arctic Globe. A candidate for the best trance track of 2006.

    15)
    Shift: To be out in July 3rd 2006 on NOYS Music - Taken from the forthcoming Mike Koglin artist album 'VS' - A progressive tech trance track. Featured in Smith & Pledger's set from Intuition 074.

    16) Your Loving Arms (Markus Schulz vs Elevation Intro Mix): Although not as popular as the club mix, this could well be the best mix of 'Your Loving Arms' - The vocal trance anthem of 2006. This particular mix was featured in ASOT 251. Part of almost every trance sets in 2006. A progressive electro trance version of the original song (which itself is a cover of an old Billie Ray Martinsong). Also has a progressive house kind of flavour. Played by Matt Darey in his Nocturnal show on June 10th 2006. Also featured in Elevation's set in Motor City Radio 026 on ETN.fm (02-06-2006). Another candidate for the best vocal trance track of 2006 (especially this mix).

    17) Divini and Warning - 4LB (Spinnin): This trance track was featured in ASOT 251 - Also part of Paul van Dyk's Essential Mix set from Coloursfest, Glasgow on 4th June 2006.

    18) Sonrisa (Intuition): Featured on Tiesto's In Search Of Sunrise 5 - Part of Menno de Jong's set from ASOT 250 - Also featured in Jonas Steur's set from ASOT 250. Part of almost every trance sets so far this year. Should feature amongst the 10 best trance tracks of 2006. Was played in ASOT 251. Link: http://www.myspace.com/jonassteur.

    19) Aerium - Dolphins (Moonrising): This amazing trance track was featured in Armin van Buuren's main mix in ASOT 250 and premiered in ASOT 249.

    20) Engage - A Beautiful Tomorrow (Remix): This trance number was featured in ASOT episodes 231 and 232 - Premiered in ASOT 231 - Part of Markus Schulz's set from his Global DJ Broadcast show on 5th January 2006. I like this one a lot.

    21) Split Decision: This trance track was featured in John O'Callaghan's Live Mix set @Vonyc.com on 6th May 2006 - Part of his April 2006 sets - Also featured in Hour 2 of John Askew's sets on Vonyc.com - show 14 – 01.06.06 and Show 11 – 11.05.06.

    22) Love Shines Through (Danjo & Styles Remix) (Armada): This massive mix of 'Love Shines Through' was premiered in ASOT 250 at the end of M.I.K.E.'s set and before John Askew's set - Tune of the Summer - Groovy, energetic, emotional. A firm contender for the best vocal trance track of 2006. Vocals by Kate Cameron. So far this is the best remix of Chakra's 1999 club hit 'Love Shines Through'. A perfect ending to a great set. Link: http://www.djdanjo.com/.

    This was definitely a better set than the last two ASOT episodes.
  • Three artists worth knowing about

    Giu 7 2006, 13:04

    Today I'd like to share with you three artists whose music deserves much wider recognition than they are now. Their music are very different from each other but shares the common element of originality and beauty. For those looking for some original and different kind of music, I request such people to give these artists a listen and send your feedbacks here.

    1) Metricks - an electronic musician from Portugal, he's making music since 1993. Primarily of ambient/IDM kind, his music also incorporates breakbeat, strange tunes, divergent beat strokes and vocal distortions to create an original sound. He's also collaborated with various artists to create a wide range of works, encompassing such genres as world fusion, dark ambient, ambient dub, jazz fusion, acid jazz, abstract, downtempo and deep house. You'll find his music in the following link: http://www.last.fm/music/Metricks.

    2) Sophie Nash - a young acoustic singer-songwriter from England, her music combines a beautiful voice with gentle acoustic guitar strokes to create music that is serene and soothing. Her songs accompanied by almost non-existent guitar strokes create a calming effect which is of much need in these stress-filled times. You'll find her here: http://www.last.fm/music/Sophie+Nash.

    3) Ananda Shankar - Indian fusionist composer/musician (1942-1999), he was a true world musician before the term 'world music' came into being. His works from the late 60's to the early 90's comprised of a diverse range of Indo-Western fusion music, noted for their originality and beauty. He combined Indian classical music with western trends of the times to create distinctive sounds of vibrant new age. Nephew of the great Pandit Ravi Shankar, he was far ahead of his time when he released his debut album on Reprise in 1970 - a groundbreaking work in Indian music, combining western psychedelic sounds with Indian instruments like sitar, tabla, mridangam, tansoori and flutes to create a unique sound. His later works also fused western Moog, electric guitars etc., with Indian tabla beats, sitar, ragas, flutes etc., often accompanied by Indian female voices and strings to create a futuristic yet exotic sound. Unfortunately, many of his early works are lost now and others are available only on vinyl LP's and EP's. You'll find some brief and extremely limited resources on his music at the following links: http://www.last.fm/music/Ananda+Shankar, and http://www.hipwax.com/music/india_as.html.

    Please check out their music and let me know what you think about them.

    P.S.: Here are some more links you can use to check the music of Metricks and Ananda Shankar:

    1)http://www.metricks.host.sk/ - Metricks
    2)http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=58794639 - Ananda Shankar
    3)http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=63660740 - Ananda Shankar
    4)http://www.funender.com/music/bands/67/ - Metricks.
  • ASOT 250 Playlist

    Mag 25 2006, 22:40

    Here's the line-up:
    1st hour - ASOT 250 Intro & Ableton mix
    2nd hour - Jonas Steur
    3rd hour - M.I.K.E.
    4th hour - John Askew
    5th hour - Armin van Buuren
    7th hour - Rank 1
    8th (last) hour - Menno de Jong.
    I missed the 1st hr., but managed to catch Jonas, Mike, John and a little bit of AVB (it was 4am, had to sleep). So, missed Rank and Menno :-(

    Armin Van Buuren Pres. A State Of Trance Episode 250 XXXX LIVE From Club ASTA In The Hague (Netherland)
    Here's the playlist (so far):

    1st Hour: 20:00 - 21:05 Classic Hour

    01. SolarStone - Seven Cities (Armin Van Buuren Remix)
    02. Chicane Feat Maire Brennan - Saltwater
    03. Ridgewalkers Feat. El - Find (Andy Moor Remix)
    04. SolarStone - Solarcoaster (Midway Remix)
    05. Yahel & Eyal Barkan - Voyage (Original Mix)
    06. Rank 1 - Airwave (Original Mix)
    07. Paul Van Dyk - For An Angel (E-Werk Club Mix)
    08. Chicane Feat. Maire Brennan - Autumn Tactics (The Thrillseekers Remix)
    09. Rapid Eye - Circa Forever (R.E. Remix)
    10. Above & Beyond Pres. OceanLab - Satellite
    11. Three Drives On A Vinyl - Greece 2000 (Original Mix)
    12. Delerium Feat. Sarah McLachlan - Silence (DJ Tiësto's In Search Of Sunrise Remix)
    13. Moogwai - Viola (Armin Van Buuren Remix)
    14. Way Out West - Killa (DJ Orkidea Remix)
    15. DJ Tiësto - Suburban Train (Original Mix)
    16. Sonic Inc - The Taste Of Summer (Fire & Ice Vital Remix)
    17. C-Sharp - The Quest
    18. Energy 52 - Café Del Mar (Three 'N' One Remix)
    19. Marco V - Simulated (Original Mix)
    20. Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera - Castamara (Original Mix)
    21. Veracocha - Carte Blance (Original Mix)
    22. Armin Van Buuren Feat. Perpetuous Dreamer - The Sound Of Goodbye (Armin Van Buure's Rising Star Vocal Mix)

    2nd Hour: 21:05 - 22:05 Jonas Steur Special ExclusiveGuest Mix

    01. Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera & Fabb'x Pres. Fable. Above (Original Mix)
    02. Estuera A.k.a. Jonas Steur VS. Mr. Sam Feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Split The South (Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera Revision Flow Bootleg Remix)
    03. Mr. Sam Feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw - Split (Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera Remix)
    04. T4L - Maximus
    05. Dawnseekers - Gothic Dream (John Johnson Remix)
    06. Rick Dees - Disco Duck (Sander van Doorn Remix)
    07. Kyau VS. Albert Wea - Kiksu (Club Mix)
    08. Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera - ID
    09. DJ Governor Pres. Orjan - Arctic Globe (Festival Mix)
    10. Re:Locate A.k.a. Octagen Feat. Menno De Jong - Spirit (Original Mix)
    11. Jonas Steur A.k.a. Estuera & Fabb'x Pres. Fable. Nightshift (Original Mix)

    Exclusive track: Leon Bolier & Elsa Hill - No Need To Come Back (Club Mix)

    3rd Hour: 22:05 - 23:05 M.I.K.E.

    01. Supermodels From Paris - Keep On (Komytea Remix)
    02. Oliver Huntemann - 37°
    03. Sied van Riel - Fearless (Miika Kuisma Remix)
    04. M.I.K.E. VS. Andrew Bennett - Into The Danger
    05. Nile - Isis (Cressida's Mother Of Sun Remix)
    06. Unknown Artist - Unknown Title
    07. M.I.K.E. - Strange World 2006 (Filterheadz "Love Distortion" Remix)
    08. M.I.K.E. - Voices From The Inside (M.I.K.E. Progressive Remix)
    09. Unknown Artist - Unknown Title

    Exclusive track: Chakra - Love Shines Through (DJ Danjo & Rob Styles 2006 Remix)

    4th Hour: 23:05 - 00:05 John Askew

    01. Mory Kante - Yeke Yeke (John Askew Remix)
    02. Sean Tyas - Lift (Original Mix)
    03. Giuseppe Ottaviani & Marc Van Linden - Until Monday (John Askew Remix)
    04. StoneFace & Terminal - Merkur (Original Mix)
    05. Sandra Flyn - Rocking (StoneFace & Terminal Remix)
    06. Tenthu - Stay Away
    07. Ronski Speed With Stoneface & Terminal - Incognition (Club Mix)
    08. Duende - Illmitado (StoneFace & Terminal Remix)
    09. John O'Callaghan & Thomas Bronzwaer A.k.a. Arizona - Lost World
    10. Unknown Artist - Unknown Title
    11. Unknown Artist - Unknown Title
    12. Unknown Artist - Unknown Title
    13. S.O. Project - Direct Dizko (Sander Van Doorn Remix)
    14 Basic Perspective - Small Step On The Other Side (Original Mix)

    5th Hour: 00:05 - 02:05 Armin Van Buuren

    01. Arksun - Arisen (Original Mix)
    02. DJ Shah Pres. Sunlounger - White Sand (DJ Shah's Original Mix)
    03. Jose Amnesia Feat Jennifer Rene - Louder (Original Vocal Mix)
    04. Karen overton - your loving arms (Markus Schulz Remix)
    05. Super8 VS. P.O.S. Pres. Aalto - 5 (Original Mix).

    Tune of the year:
    Selu Vibra - Divine.

    Gotta go to bed now (4:10am and still another awesome tune coming on!).

    Best trance night of my life! ASOT 250 rocks!!

    Continuation from above (AVB set) (edited next morning):

    06. Ferry Corsten - Control Freak (Sander van Doorn Remix)
    07. John O'Callaghan & Bryan Kearney - Exactly
    08. Dogzilla - Without You (John O'Callaghan Remix)
    09. Kyau Vs. Albert - Walk Down
    10. Nitrous Oxide - North Pole
    11. Racoon - Love You More (Armin van Buuren Remix)
    12. Aerium - Dolphins (Serenade Remix)
    13. Jonas Steur - Second Turn
    14. Armin van Buuren - Communication Part 3
    15. Re:Locate - Rogue
    16. Armin van Buuren Feat. Justine Suissa - Wall Of Sound (Parc Remix)
    17. Gareth Emery vs. Jon O'Bir - No Way Back
    18. Above & Beyond Pres. Oceanlab Feat. Justine Suissa - Sky Falls Down (Armin van Buuren Remix) [Favorite Future Favorite]
    19. Selu Vibra - Divine .

    02.00 - 03.00 Rank 1

    01. Rank 1 - Breathing (Airwave 2003) (Original/Breaks Dub)
    02. Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Rank 1 - Live Less Ordinary
    03. Marcel Woods - Advanced (Remix)
    04. Freddie Mercury - Love Kills (Rank 1 Remix)
    05. Assure - Scrambled Eggs
    06. Mr. Sam - Lyteo (Rank 1 Remix)
    07. Terry Bones - Forbidden Ways (George Hales Remix)
    08. Ronald van Gelderen - This Way (Rank 1 Remix)
    09. Rank 1 - Awakening
    10. Jochen Miller - Chromatic (Miller Dub)

    03.00 - 04.00 Menno De Jong

    01. Opus III - It's A Fine Day (Leon Bolier Remix)
    02. Marc Otten - So Serene (Menno De Jong's "Heading South" Dub Mix) Vs. Carrie Skipper ? Time Go's By (Bootleg)
    03. Governor Pres. Orjan - Prison Break
    04. Jonas Steur - Sonrisa
    05. Ralphie B - Massive
    06. Avalon - Circa (Main Mix)
    07. Hammer & Bennett - Language (Santiago Nino Dub Tech Mix)
    08. Reflekt - I Need To Feel Love (Bart Claessen Bootleg Mix)
    09. Kamaya Painters - Far From Over
    10. M.I.K.E - Sunrise At Palamos
    11. Tiesto Vs. Ton T.B. - Flight Machine
    12. BBE - Seven Days & ONe Week (Ferry Corsten Remix)
    13. Grooveyard - Mary Go Wild (Ron van den Beuken Remix)
    14. The Thrillseekers - Synaesthesia (Ferry Corsten Remix)
    15. Gouryella - Tenshi
    16. Paul Oakenfold - Southern Sun (Tiesto rmx)
    17. Billy Ray Martin - Honey (Chicane rmx).
  • Explorations in New Age/Ambient/Electronica

    Mag 22 2006, 8:51

    There are so many good artists in new age, chillout, ambient, lounge, electronica, world music and fusion categories whose music I like that it's virtually impossible to name all of them at one point. Some artists are quite famous, while some not so. Here are some of my favourites:

    1)Schiller - German duo Schiller's music combines dance with chill-out leading to an emotional dreamy kind of feel to it. Favourite albums are Zeitgeist (1999) and Weltreise (Voyage) (2001). Favourite tracks include Die Wirklichkeit, Das Glockenspiel, Die Nacht... Du Bist Nicht Allein, and many others.

    2) Secret Garden - Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry and Norwegian pianist/keyboardist Rolf Lovland's collaboration produced their debut album 'Songs from a Secret Garden' in 1995. Ever since I've become a big fan of their sweet, melancholic instrumental music. Nocturne is my favourite track (which btw also appears in Schiller's 'Voyage' album, with their own electronic touch).

    3)Enigma - Needs no introduction. One of my all time favourites. I like all their albums. 'The Cross of Changes' is my favourite and 'Voyageur' is my least favourite.

    4)Deep Forest - Another artist whose music I like very much. My favourite track is 'Marta's Song' from their 1995 album 'Boheme'.

    5)Ananda Shankar - His music combines Indian sitar, tabla and mridangam with Western Moog synthesizer and electric guitar seamlessly to create a unique raga-psychedelic sound. The music of this Indian composer is available on his self-titled 1970 release and 'Walking On' - released posthumously in 2000. My favourite tracks include 'The River', 'Mamata (Affection)', 'Snow Flower', 'Streets of Calcutta', and many others.

    6)Hemanta Mukherjee - Famous Bengali (a popular Indian language) singer, song-writer, composer who also sang some beautiful songs in Hindi (the national language of India) under the name 'Hemant Kumar'. I like almost all his songs. For more information on Bengali music, check out http://www.calcuttaweb.com/gaan/music.htm.

    7)Delerium - The Canadian duo's music combines shadowy, Enigma-like sounds with ethnic fusion and dreamy pop. Favourite albums are 'Karma' and 'Poem'.

    8)Paul Mauriat - The music of this French composer/conductor is distinguished by their sweeping, melodic strings and gently insistent contemporary rhythms. Favourite tracks include 'Chariot (I Will Follow Him)' and 'L'amour est Bleu (Love is Blue)', among many others.

    9)Ennio Morricone - This famous Italian composer/conductor needs no introduction. My favourite albums are the soundtracks of Sergio Leone's dollars trilogy.

    10)Jakatta - 'Visions', the 2002 released album of dance music maestro Dave Lee aka Joey Negro under the name 'Jakatta' combines lush, mellow house-beats with samples from popular movies, leading to a unique cinematic feel.

    There are many others whose music I like. I'll describe them later. Let me know what you think about the music of the artists mentioned above and if some of them are also among your favourites.