Optic Wave - Fiber Divitions

Label: EQnation Records
Format: CD, Album
Country: Greece
Release Date: Jan 2009
Genre: Electronic
Style: Psy-Trance, Progressive Trance

    Track List:
  1. Dreamer
  2. Leaving Paradise
  3. Spectral Vision (Remix)
  4. Subie Trust
  5. Vocomondo
  6. Lizard
  7. Ravages of Life (Remix)
  8. Winterized

Reviewing the latest releases on the standard internet shops that I'm visiting every day, I encountered an interesting cover that attracted me to click on it and check out the release. This was the first time I stumbled upon this project. According to samples, I found out that it is some kind of progressive trance with techno beats. As soon as I got CD I started listening.

It begins with a standard progressive trance rhythm, but at first I was attracted by the dance rhythmics, while other elements are expressed in ambient forms and somehow float above the beat. Mystical and calm. Totally different entities with compact elements. I like, from time to time, to hear more raw production. I'm not into generated and stereotype sound that much. I like it when artists take a bit of freedom, so that adds a livelier note to the music that here. The album contains a variety of styles, from very minimal trance with very minimal beat to softer progressive trance with lots of pads and leads. There are also some introductory housey rhythms that can be found in a lot of the tracks on the album, so some of the tracks can easily fit in progressive sets, not just in trance or, as I already said, in techno.

Especially interesting for me was the fact that this album, in a couple of moments, takes me back to the 90s, when you could often find this kind of sound and production. I don't know how the younger generations feel about electronic music from the last millennium, but I certainly can say that I adore the so called "old school" production. Of course, in other moments, the pads and leads bring back the tracks to the new sound and production. For me the favourite, without equal, is Subie Trust (T4) because I really enjoy deep and minimal sound with stronger dynamics and energy on the beats. That track is very special. As far as marking the old and not so old, good times, I'm connected to Lizard (T6). Really great composition.

Recomendation: Past-present-future, a great combination in music. Lovers of what people call, "galloping" or "rolling" bass lines, will not be disappointed. This album offers a good concept of progressive music with a whiff of the past inside. I think that I will not miss Optic Wave at the coming Aurora festival. I'm very curious how this music will sound live on a stronger sound system. And as party people say at the end: Stay progressive!!!


VA Permutations 2

Label: Zenon Records
Format: CD, Compilation
Country: Australia
Release Date: Jun 2009
Genre: Electronic
Style: Psy-Trance, Minimal, Progressive Trance

    Track List:
  1. Grouch - Mayan Toolkit
  2. Shadow Fx - Minimal Technician
  3. One Tasty Morsel - Get Your Wide On
  4. Psypox - Boon Moots
  5. Autonomech - Bit Generation
  6. Sensient - Chambers
  7. Sensient - Madmans Playroom (Tetrameth Remix)
  8. Tristan Boyle - Into My Spiral Arms
  9. Meat Axe - Two Whiffs And Your Greedy
  10. Vacuum Stalkers - Ironman

When you say Zenon, for me, it is a synonym for the deep night. Under the name Permutations in the second episode, we get some still unknown artists, but on the other hand some well known ones, great producers that have justified their status on the scene many times. The most interesting thing is when a newcomer also does a real great job. This puts this compilation on a list of the very successful ones. Everyone who likes deeper and darker sound with lots of technoish elements in the rhythms will not be disappointed. Right from the intro of the first track, the great emphasis placed on the seriousness of sound quality is evident, and that goes on till the very last minute. Sub basses of very low frequency and unequal midi files, complemented with fat kicks, literally meet every angle of your hearing receptors. It’s full and extremely powerful sound pronounced with fantastic production, and higher frequency tones are expressed trough the background effects.

What I find very unusual here is the fact that there are no rules about how the sounds appear and combine. This makes this release unpredictable, something I highly appreciate. I also find fascinating the fact that in most of the track the themes of the tracks are expressed by sound effects rather then leads or pads, as is usually the case, and even though most tracks don’t use any melodies, it is clear and easy to explain what they are about. This makes the compositions interesting. You can find here samples of instruments such as a saxophone, a broken piano, a trumpet, violins, etc. all of them perfectly combine with the rest of the electronic composition. There are also noticeable funky influences manifested in the use of instruments and the excellently arranged bass lines. Even vocals do the job here, not for more then a second or two. Totally trippy. There is also a presence of glitchy element. I’m not a big fan of these, personally, but when moderately used, like here, they fit in well. This whole use of samples makes it easy to creates a 3D visual picture of the music. You can then chase some of the samples through the tracks.

I will mention few tracks that I really appreciate after a few times of listening. Right from the start I knew that Sensient will be among these, because it is the minimal psychedelic sound that I have expected, and as his style of production always pleasantly surprises me- strong energy and a lenitive beat, a proof that it’s not all about heavy kick! Shadow FX brings incredible depth and fat accompanying effects in Minimal Technician (T2). Very deep sound. Autonomech’s Bit Generation (T5), with the oscillation of bass line is the best of all tracks here for me- galloping parts, funky scaling, and the rolling moments. Amazing!

Recomendation: All and all- you find here extraordinary quality and surprising character of night progressive trance. This whole release is very good, and though I mentioned only a few favorites, in essence, buying this CD is the merit of all artists present here. Volume up!!!
Favorite tracks: All, but standing out: 2, 5, 6, 7