REVIEWS - Albums

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(October - December 2005)

OTHER MONTHS:

June - September
January - May



Title: Point Of No Return - reviewed on 10/22/05
Artist: SYSTEMS IN BLUE
Label: 2005 Spectre Media (Germany)
Style: EURO DISCO
Index #: 1075065
Review:

SYSTEMS IN BLUE - Point Of No Return To say that the renaissance of orchestral or ‘GLAMOUR DISCO’ is back in style would be an understatement. In 1998, we saw a short return with several artists in the genre recording ‘not so good’ remixes with newly added rap sections that at times were atrocious. It did spawn a new albums by BAD BOYS BLUE (3), FANCY (1), and of course MODERN TALKING’s short lived ‘back for good’ phenomena of several albums and singles. Alas the ‘back for good’ did not last and the fans ultimately demanded a new generation of EURO DISCO music. Yes, I like it better than EURO, HiNRG or TRANCE – even though they all share several of the same characteristics. SYSTEMS IN BLUE was formed last year featuring the original back up vocalists from MODERN TALKING and BLUE SYSTEM who seriously mimic the wonderfully gruff vocals of DIETER BOHLEN on this, their first album. The hits have been flowing out already with two #1 hits, “Magic Mystery” and then, “Winner” (later in the album). Those two have already peaked on the chart in the last year, and slamming up the charts is the single “Point Of No Return” which I expect to follow. The next single is “A Thousand And One Nights (1001 Nights)” which then follows with an even more brightly EURO DISCO production with many Middle Eastern styled synth riffs and instruments that make it sound much like a song taken from SARAH BRIGHTMAN’s last album “Harem” – this time with throbbing dance percussion. Totally smashing and I expect it to be huge when the remixes are released to international DJ’s that cater to a more cultured dance floor style. “Avalon (And She’s Gone)” is quite similar to my personal favorite album’s tracks by BLUE SYSTEM, “Seeds Of Heaven”; arguably the most treasured album from the group’s discography. The music is incredibly beautiful, with haunting chording and melodies over a melancholy lyric that is as surreal as it is beautiful to the ear. By now, I am shivering with anticipation for the notes from the next song. The potent “Every Little Thing” does not disappoint at all, and brings back the moderately tempo NRG style that is so, so elegant. The choir is quite well suited to this stunner of a track, and really reminds me of a day when dance music was not disposable, but a treasured thing to possess when you found a song like this one. The production is crafted so well around the vocals it’s like velvet to your ears. The next track is a hot EURO DISCO based single that reminds me of the “Berlin Mix” of ROSE LAURENS’ massive early 90s remix of “Africa” or BAD BOYS BLUE’s “Jungle In My Heart” - called “Voodoo Queen”. The lyrics are saturated with strong melodies and a dash of supersticious elements and jungle vibes and effects. As I am Scottish, I found the dreamy bag-pipe synths in “The Story Of Lara Layne” quite touching, and draped in emotions. This is a sleaze-NRG track similar to a song I fell in love with years ago by the incomparable ERROL BROWN, called “Emmalene”. Sparkling piano and symphonic arrangements brought a tear to my eye, and touched my heart. If you’ve ever longed for a lost love, this will make you feel just a little less alone. Vocals are still rugged, but slightly more in the vein of CHRIS NORMAN at times. Pass the tissues, I wasn’t ready for that one loud on the speakers. At 4:52 it actually to me could be called a club mix, so that was a wonderful surprise as well. It seems he’s over Lara on the next song, “Calling Lady Loraine"– or is the same person? If only I could do that!!! The EURO DISCO glitter is sparkling on this one with incredible chimes and strings to a pounding EURO bass line. This album I will add, is one of those examples of the fact dance music does NOT have to be all percussion and it’s mid-tempo style is as refreshing as it is beautiful, and the orchestra makes it every bit as danceable. The calypso style of several BLUE SYSTEM songs gives a lovely passion to the album on the steel guitar driven “Sarah’s Dream”. The melody line is quite lovely, and at this point in the review I thank God for this album. The strongest track I feel for the next single is easily “Le vent m’a dit”. The music is in your face European and absolutely flawless. The chorus’ are drenched in French vocal, and the (believe it or not!) accordion and violins are so beautiful I can’t think of the words too best describe it’s sparkle. Think “Déjà vu” or “Romeo & Juliet” by BLUE SYSTEM, and update the clarity of the recording with a newly penned song – and there you’d have it. This is to me “real music, that is dance club worthy”, and collectable to boot. A very modern vocoder effect is utilized on the passionate song, “Can’t Stand The Rain”. The group again flowers with a gracefully executed EURO DISCO stomper. The homage to DIETER BOHLEN’s magnificent “Magic Symphony” is shown on the wonderful #1 hit, “Magic Mystery”. I feel the comparisons in this review were as expected as they were planned, and that is a gift from the heavens to legions of fans and younger pundits who are demanding just a little more from their dance music than what amounts to a weekend hobby it seems for many producers today. Finishing up this album is done with elegance, on the polished acoustic love song “Only 4 U”. I have not heard anything this lovely in many years, and it is wrought with raw emotions and passion. The vocals are masculine and heartfelt, and I couldn’t dream of a more glorious ending to what I feel is the #1 album of 2005. If you buy any album this year, this should be it… if you are not aware of EURO DISCO's beauty – buy this one. It’s only with this kind of release that we can keep the timeless beauty in dance music that has been sorely missing in the mainstream club world the last few years. To end, this is most collectable with it’s beautiful artwork and sleeve, that says ‘class’ all the way.

Reviewed by JASON DAVIS, the HEAD EDITOR of our EURONRG Section

As usually review is accompanied by the sound sampler with 8 tunes taken from this album. Enjoy the sound and support the artists by buying their music.

for more information about SYSTEMS IN BLUE , please visit their website at www.systems-in-blue.de

Album will soon be available from Europemusic.com

01. Point Of No Return - 3:27 (1)
02. Winner - 3:58 (3)
03. A Thousand Abd One Night - 3:51 (4)
04. Avalon (And She's Gone) - 4:35
05. Every Little Thing - 3:59 (7)
06. Voodoo Queen - 4:20 (5)
07. The Story Of Lara Layne - 4:52
08. Calling Lady Loraine - 3:24 (6)
09. Sarah's Dream - 3:14
10. Le vent m'a dir - 4:17 (8)
11. Can't Stand The Pain - 3:30
12. Magic Mystery - 3:57 (2)
13. Only 4 U - 4:26

( ) - number in parenthesis indicates the order in sound sampler from this album


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Title: Tonight - reviewed on 10/22/05
Artist: FRESH FOX
Label: 2005 Happy Vibes Records (Germany)
Style: EURO DISCO
Index #: 4 028451 000703
Review:

FRESH FOX - Tonight This is the second proud offspring of the German duo FRESH FOX, following the very successful release of their CD "Sexy" last year. With a heavy nod to their musical heroes MODERN TALKING, band mates Ronny Jentzsch (27 years old) and Chris van Beorg (29) present the EURODANCE world with 15 brand new songs on "Tonight". In addition to being primarily influenced by MODERN TALKING, other German influences can easily be heard throughout the album. Established EURODANCE bands like BAD BOYS BLUE, THE TWINS, SILENT CIRCLE, FANCY, CHYP-NOTIC and E-ROTIC have obviously slanted FRESH FOX's creative drive (thankfully!). Brilliant song offerings are many on this new CD, making it easily one of the very best albums of the genre released this year. "Never Say Never" instantly comes to mind, with its heavy John McIrney/BAB BOYS BLUE edge combined with the crisp production values from E-ROTIC. I love the magical male/female interchange going on here! Next comes the perfectly titled for EURO "From Heaven To Hell". A female vocalist is primarily used, making me think back to E-ROTIC's work on their fab "Missing You" CD from 1999. This is EURODANCE ear candy at its best people. I absolutely love "Moscow Party Girl" (wish I was her!) with its abundance of percolating percussion, excellent bridgework, and once again, a strong BAD BOYS BLUE sound. Get out your razor blades for "The Tears Of Love" because after the first spin, you just want to happily end it all in the very best way. Lyrically and musically, this track is easily inspired by FANCY's megahit "Flames Of Love". The track stands out as one of THE very best offerings from "Tonight". Check out some of the song's lyrical snippets: "... baby come home ...", "... it's to late to try a start ...", "... save my heart ...", and "... don't leave me here alone ...". 911! To add to the pain, lots of natural element sounds can be heard in the background like fire, rain, and storms, which only the very best Cadillac Euro bands have learned works extremely well. Another five star beauty is track 10, "When the Angels Cry". Heck, anyone who knows my all-time EURODANCE musical top 10 well enough knows that any lush spin with the name 'angels' in it instantly grabs me, and this song is no exception. Extremely contemporary EURO synthwork is heard from the onset along with a lead male vocal. If that weren't enough, an angelic female vocal is heard during the chorus background as an echoing radio effect. After the song's second chorus, FRESH FOX placed the female vocalist right beside her male counterpart bringing the track right up to heavenly heights. Yup, went through a box of tissues during this gem! There is more outstanding material offered on "Tonight" which I strongly urge everyone to check out by adding this album to your collection. FRESH FOX have truly outdone themselves on this brilliant CD.

Reviewed by TROY MATTHEWS , REVIEWER of our EURONRG Section


This Troy's review is accompanied by the mix of 8 tunes taken from this extraordinary album. This sampler serves as an appetizer only. I hope you will gen an idea what music you are being offered. For now enjoy the sound and run to get this album before it is gone forever.

for more information about FRESH FOX , please visit their website at
www.fresh-fox.de

Album will soon be available from Europemusic.com

01. Tonight - 3:36
02. Never Say Never - 3:58 (1)
03. From Heaven To Hell - 3:32
04. Call Me - 3:29 (2)
05. Ballerina Girl (vs. TOM REICHEL) - 5:11
06. Fly With Me To Wonderland (vs. TOM REICHEL) - 3:19 (3)
07. Moscow Party Girl - 3:46 (4)
08. The Tears Of Love - 3:33
09. Queen Of The Night (Radio Mix) - 3:53 (6)
10. When The Angels Cry - 3:35 (5)
11. Summertime - 4:13
12. Sweet Taboo - 3:42
13. Taxi To Babylon - 3:36
14. Back To Eternity - 3:05 (8)
15. Tonight (Sexy Mix) - 4:17 (7)

( ) - number in parenthesis indicates the order in sound sampler from this album


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Title: A State Of Trance 2005 - reviewed on 10/14/05
Artist: ARMIN VAN BUUREN
Label: 2005 Armada Music (Holland)
Style: TRANCE
Index #: SSMCD/002
Review:

ARMIN VAN BUUREN - A State Of Trance 2005 ARMIN VAN BUUREN is one of the leading TRANCE DJs worldwide. Very well accomplished and I am sure does not need intoduction. In August 2005 he released his own album "Shivers" that I will soon review. However, today let me present his annual "A State Of Trance 2005" double CD album compilation released back in March 2005. Some of you might be familiar with his radio weekly show under the same name. The show is very popular and ARMIN presents there newest TRANCE releases. Presented double CD features 32 tunes on both CDs. First CD subtitled LIGHT starts with "I Found You" by INTERSTATE. You probably guessed that this particular CD will be on lighter TRANCE side. In fact in most cases it is true. This opening tune is well crafted VOCAL TRANCE that became a huge 2005 summer club hit. Many interesting fares on this CD makes this offering an eclectic journey to electronica. For instance tune from new commer MARKUS SCHULZ - "First Time" brings a magnificent TRANCE with haunting vocals by ANITA KELSEY (new JAN JOHNSTON?). If you enjoy this tune, you should check his just released debut album "Without You Near". Another TRANCE breathtaking experience is delivered by such monsters as "Space Guitar" by MIKE FOYLE pres. STATICA, "Ocean Rain" by ELEVATION, ARMIN's very own "Shivers", "Call Of Tomorrow" by one of the most talented british DJ SOPHIE SUGAR. The first CD closes "Mood Swing" by JOHN ASKEW. The second CD is subtitled DARK. As you might expect this is journey to more dark, HARD TRANCE. This is sound of the underground, more progressive and really much more than the mainstream chart type of sound. "Simply Blue" by PETER MARTIN is a starter. A clear example how TRANCE evolves. You will find this one as a pot of variety elements from different styles melted into one pot of synth pandemonium. Cool stuff. I am sure that more savvy listeners will find this particular CD of more interest, while the more "happy" campers will enjoy the first one. No matter who you are, if you like TRANCE, this one is for you. For now enjoy sound sampler with mix of 12 tunes taken from both CDs and as usually no original mixing was retained. I simply picked certain tracks I found interesting for me, but you might find other in this album more interesting for you. Well... you just have to get this one after all.

for more information about ARMIN VAN BUUREN , please visit his website at www.arminvanbuuren.com


CD 1
01. INTERSTATE - I Found You (1)
02. HIDDEN LOGIC pres. LUMINARY - Wasting
03. MARKUS SCHULZ - First Time (2)
04. MAX GRAHAM feat. JESSICA JACOBS - I Know You're Gone
05. MIKE FOYLE pres. STATICA - Space Guitar (3)
06. AVE MEA - In The End
07. ELEVATION - Ocean Rain (4)
08. LOCUST - Aerospace (Probspot Remix)
09. ARMIN VAN BUUREN - Shivers (5)
10. ENMASS - Beyond Horizon
11. KYAU vs. ALBERT - Falling Anywhere (Rework)
12. FRAGILE feat. ALEX LEMON - Inertia (Armin Van Buuren Remix) (6)
13. SOPHIE SUGAR - Call Of Tomorrow (John O'Callaghan Remix) (8)
14. MARCOS - Cosmicstring (7)
15. JOHN ASKEW - Mood Swing
CD 2
01. PETER MARTIN pres. ANTHANASIA - Simply Blue
02. NU FREQUENCY - 808
03. ANDY MOOR - Halcyon
04. AHMET ERTENU - Why (Derek Howell Mix)
05. OLIVER LIEB vs. PREACH - Papel (Preach Remix)
06. REMY - Crackdown
07. GABRIEL & DRESDEN - Arcadia
08. TILT - Twelve (Max Graham Remix)
09. MATTHEW DEKAY vs. PROLUCTORS - The Deep Show (9)
10. RECLUSE - Emotional Void
11. ADAM WHITE feat. MARTIN GRECH - Ballerina (10)
12. BLANK & JONES - Perfect Silence (E-Craig 212 Vocal Mix)
13. KYAU vs. ALBERT - Made Of Sun (Kyau vs Albert Hard Dub - Armin Van Buuren Edit)
14. M.I.K.E. - Massive Motion
15. EYE WALL - Bad Deal
16. HAMMER & BENNETT - Language (Santiago Nino Dub Tech Mix) (11)
17. LIQUID OVERDOSE - Ancient Space (Fred Baker Remix) (12)
( ) - number in parenthesis indicates the order in sound sampler from this compilation
Buy this album from amazon.com

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Title: For You - reviewed on 10/13/05
Artist: JOHAN GIELEN
Label: 2005 Moist Music (US)
Style: TRANCE
Index #: MM 1154-2
Review:

JOHAN GIELEN - For You I am excited that more and more US labels starting pick up the quality club music originated from Europe. Interestingly enough brand new album "For You" by one of the leading Dutch TRANCE DJs JOHAN GIELEN was launch in States by New York-based MOIST MUSIC label and produced by US DJs VICIOUS VIC and DJ CER. JOHAN GIELEN does not need an introduction. He is a resident DJ at all major Dutch TRANCE events such TRANCE ENERGY, SENSATION, DANCE VALLEY etc and major clubs all over the world. This album (or maybe I should call it a compilation) features set of 12 tunes and two of them are authored by GIELEN himself ("Dreamchild" and "Flash"). This is very personal set from him. Here is what GIELEN says in the insert for this CD: "This compilation means a lot to me as it allows me take the people on journey through my world of music. Most of the people out there only get to hear a small part of what I am about, with this CD I can actually show them what is that I am really about". Indeed this personal set of wonderful tracks mixed to perfection going to give you a glimse of GIELEN's world. Beautiful DREAM/TRANCE fare "Dreamchild" is a pleasant and majestic opening. Very down beat at the beginning filled with sound of nature, waterfalls and mystery that rapidly transforms to a uptempo full-blown TRANCE firework. Interestingly GIELEN have chosen several "exotic" tunes from rather less known TRANCE territory. For isntance you will find tunes from Finnland like "Gravity" by P.O.S. done in smooth TRANCE almost CHILL-OUT atmosphere, or "Alt F4" by ALT F4 that is also done in the similar style like classic TRANCE fare "Beachball" by NALIN & KANE few years back. He also included Russian TRANCE sound in "Mission 7" by VADIK. I have to admit that my exposure to Russian TRANCE is minimal, but I like what I hear. Very aggressive tune, instant show mover. Obviously there are many other highlights in this album. It is truly very well done and I am sure you will enjoy every minute of it. I guarantee once you will put it to your CD player, you will keep it for a while. I highly recommend this release. Please listen to a sound sampler containing 8 tunes taken from this release. Original mixing was not retained, but it is seamless ir original. This 70 mins set will keep you running. Enjoy the music and support this wounderful DJ by buying this album.

for more information about JOHAN GIELEN , please visit his website at www.johangielen.com

Buy this album from amazon.com

01. JOHAN GIELEN - Dreamchild (1)
02. RIDGEWALKERS - Find (Andy Moor Mix) (2)
03. P.O.S. - Gravity (7)
04. ALT+F4 - Alt+F4 (8)
05. KOBBE & AUSTIN LEEDS pres. THE PRESSURE - Daze (M.I.K.E. Remix)
06. PEDRO DELGARDO - Metropolis (Max Walder Remix) (6)
07. JOHAN GIELEN - Flash
08. MILLER & FIJNEMAN - San Andreas
09. VADIK - Mission 7 (Vadim Zhukov Mix) (5)
10. RE:LOCATE - Absoluum (3)
11. AIRSCAPE - Sosei (F&W Remix) (4)
12. SOLID GLOBE - Malgosia (Solid Globe Dub Rub)

( ) - number in parenthesis indicates the order in sound sampler from this album


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