Archives for posts with tag: Liquid Soul

img_3249Back from an extended break in London, The Netherlands, Italy and Ibiza, it’s now time to get back into writing my reviews. But first things first, I need to catch up on what I did while I was away. Finding time to write up every event proved too much this year, and once I’d let it slip, I decided that the best thing would be to write up a single review covering every event of the summer in Europe.

img_3256First up, of course, was Luminosity Beach Festival, of which so much could be written. As always, it was the perfect blend of wonderful music, amazing sunsets, meeting old friends, making new friends and dancing to trance across three stages. So many highlights, as always, but there were a few that I have to mention.

  • The Thrillseekers, who opened with Sasha – Xpander (a bold move), and just got better and better, over three wonderful hours.
  • Orkidea, of course, who opened the new stage on the Saturday, warming us up perfectly for the day’s musical treats ahead.
  • Signum, who played another brilliant set and surprised me when he dropped the wonderful London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (Solarstone Remix).
  • Liquid Soul, whose deliciously melodic psy-trance was perfect for the time of day.
  • John O’Callaghan, playing possibly my favourite tune of the year so far: Ludovico Einaudi – Two Trees (John O’Callaghan Remix).
  • John 00 Fleming, ripping apart the new stage as only he can do.
  • Paul van Dyk on classics day as the sun set. How good it was to see him back in action!


The festival gets bigger and bigger each year, and perhaps as it does so it loses a little of its charm and intimacy. But it’s still streets ahead of anything else in the world for trance fans and next year’s tenth anniversary, with an extra day’s music to enjoy, has been put firmly into our diary (tickets and accommodation already secured).

Back in London we had the chance to catch the latest dance:love:hub night, at Brixton’s Club 414. Sadly, The Digital Blonde had to cancel, but we still had a great time dancing to some warm, melodic psy-trance, courtesy of Jon Cockle, Façade and others. These events are notable for the friendly vibe and the brilliant decorations of the intimate 414 really made for a special night.


Our annual pilgrimage to Ibiza took us to Amnesia for Cream and what a great night it was too! Without a doubt, Amnesia is my favourite club in the world, despite the ridiculous bar prices. Jordan Suckley played a really good warm-up set, which I probably enjoyed more than I would a peak hour set in his normal style. Paul Oakenfold relied a bit too much on EDM drops over old Perfecto classics in the first half of his set, but got it spot on in the last 45minutes – so much so that I forgave him for what had gone before!


Paul van Dyk
, in his element as the Cream resident, played even better than his Luminosity set and showed that his remarkable recovery from the life-threatening fall at ASOT750 is all but complete. And then Aly & Fila tore the roof down with a brilliant set that showed Fadi at his absolute best. What a moment when he dropped The Thrillseekers – Amber (ID Remix) and we got to hear the other contender for tune of the year on the sensational Amnesia sound system!


At the other end of our Ibiza trip we were hugely disappointed when the news came through that Solarstone had broken his ankle in Majorca and was unable to play either the Connect Boat Party or the Connect Pure Trance night at Es Paradis. Still, the show must go on, and Sied van Riel was flown in to cover. He played back-to-back with Alex Ryan on the sunset boat party, which is definitely one of the best things about Ibiza.

Version 2The Pure Trance night went ahead without Solarstone, and there was a disappointing turnout for what proved to be a night of superb trance. Orkidea opened with a wonderful 90-minute set, Sied van Riel played a wonderfully trancey set and John 00 Fleming played one of the best two hours I’ve ever heard from him, closing with Tiësto – Suburban Train and Brainbug – Nightmare. With plenty of room to dance, we had a brilliant night.


In between the big events that bookended our week on the white isle, we managed several trips to the wonderful Tropi bar, making friends and dancing to tunes played by DJ Ange, Nathia Kate, Amy Parnell, Paul Stone and others. There really is no other bar like it, anywhere in the world and we even left Eric Prydz at Café Mambo early just to get back to Tropi!


Back in the UK and there was time for an overnight trip up to Manchester for the last ever Majefa night, at Sound Control. The main room of the club was absolutely rammed and, with little ventilation, it was a real sweatbox. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed John 00 Fleming’s set – very different from the tunes he played three days earlier in Ibiza and I’d really love to know whose remix of Binary Finary – 1998 he dropped.


After J00F it was time for M.I.K.E. Push Live – and despite the heat and the short amount of time he had to play (55 minutes), what an incredible set he delivered, including Plastic Boy – Silver Bath, Push – The Legacy, Push – Strange World and finishing with an amazing live rendition of Push – Universal Nation.


We also caught a bit of Matt Darey’s set in the downstairs room and really enjoyed listening to Ryan Hamer in the bar, especially when he dropped Sean Tyas – Lift. The after-party was a bit of a let down, because instead of the billed 4-hour set by Akira Kayosa, he shared the DJ’ing with at least three others and it was such a mess that between them they managed to mix from one tune back into the tune they’d just played.

Our final event of the year before we flew back to Australia was Wax Format at the Magic Roundabout at Old Street roundabout in London. A mostly outdoor venue meant that the sound lacked a lot of punch, but it’s actually a great setting and has a bit of the feel of Sydney’s Greenwood, without the religious buildings! It was a good chance to see lots of our London trance family and friends for the last time this year and the only slight disappointment was that Richard Durand’s set, whilst full of classics, such as Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Armin van Buuren – Communication and Binary Finary – 1998 (Paul van Dyk Remix), didn’t really live up to its In Search Of Sunrise billing. After Richard Durand finished, Sam Mitcham played a really good set to call a close to our musical tour.

So that wraps up the last three months. Hopefully I’ll be getting things back to normal now, with a dedicated review of each event I attend.

Lucid-Dreams-Ivy-Courtyard
Having chatted with the guys from Genesis, the promoters, about this event beforehand, it was clear that there had been a lot of problems making it happen – especially when they had to abandon the idea of an outdoor setting in Parramatta, due to the number of conditions being imposed on them, which they felt were impossible to meet, and the very real prospect of it becoming yet another trance event closed down early.

But I’m so glad that they persevered and managed to make it happen, as Lucid Dreams was, in my opinion, a towering success and one of the best day time events I’ve attended in Australia.

Given the fact that the event had been relocated, perhaps I should start by talking about the venue – the Ivy Courtyard? This was a first visit for me and I was seriously impressed. It is really well laid out, with the dancefloor set deep in the canyon formed by the building rising on all four sides around it. And to the sides are plentiful bars, plus tables and seats for people wanting to take a break from the dancing.

The decor was tastefully stylish and the bright, warm weather contributed to the sense of the outdoors – even though this was not an outdoor setting in the style of the original Parramatta park location, or even a bush doof! Much more like an inner-city terrace or balcony rather than remote wooded scrubland! A $5 happy hour that ended (unhappily) at 2.45pm and free bottled water available throughout the day added to the sense that this was a great venue for a daytime party.

To complement the stylish venue was a friendly and diverse crowd, with psy-trance influenced tie-die and steampunk fashions dotted amongst more conventionally dressed partygoers. Everyone was out to enjoy themselves dancing to the music, rather than ‘see and be seen’ and the security staff seemed happy to take a back seat and were unobtrusive throughout.

IMG_2646Mention must also be made of the awesome sound system, pumping out a really good sound, whether in the main dancefloor area, which was open to the air, or in the side areas with their relatively low ceilings. Whoever is responsible for making this venue sound good has done a seriously good job managing the varying acoustics to produce sound as balanced and powerful as this.

Which brings me neatly to the reason we were all here in the first place – the music! We arrived only at the tail end of Freedom Fighters‘ set, to the news that the next DJ was running late. In these situations, there’s always wild rumours going around about what has happened, so it’s best not to speculate too much. But setting up, it did not appear that Day.Din was in any hurry to get going and he certainly gave the impression of someone who didn’t really want to be there at all. Eventually he got underway but (and I have to confess a complete ignorance of him or his style) I didn’t get into his music.


Having started late and seemingly unfussed, by the time he was due to hand over, he now appeared reluctant to give way, to the apparent annoyance of Liquid Soul who was due on next. Eventually he took his leave and with Liquid Soul now dropping the tunes, I really began to enjoy the music properly. Only twelve weeks had elapsed since his last set in Sydney (at Voodoo in November 2015) which I had enjoyed so much. And he was nearly as good this time around, with a set that seemed to have surprisingly few overlaps with last time around. We heard him play Paul van Dyk & Jordan Suckley – City Of Sound (Liquid Soul Remix), Liquid Soul – Crazy People, Liquid Soul & Captain Hook –  Liquid Hook, Liquid Soul & Zyce feat. Solar Kid – Science Fiction and Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Liquid Soul – The Journey.


Now it was time for Neelix. I have to be honest at the outset that, despite his status and popularity, I have never really got into his sound. This was the third time I’ve heard him play and I’ve always found his sets disjointed, partly due to the spoken vocal breakdowns, but also the feeling that it’s all stop-start at the point where he mixes from one tune into the next. So I’m not the person to ask how good his set was for his fans. I’ll just say that he managed to deliver the day’s most unexpected moment when he dropped a sample from Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven into his set, which also included many of his own productions, like Little Stevie and Expect What.


Next up was Jorn van Deynhoven and it didn’t take him long to get into a seriously uplifting trance groove. We were very fortunate a few years back to see him play a five-hour set at an Oxford Street nightclub, one that ranks among the very best I’ve ever heard live. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed his sets, but he’s never come close to repeating the magic. But this was easily the best I’ve heard him play since that afternoon at Nevermind. With just under an hour to play, he filled his set with a great selection of current and classic trance: The Thrillseekers – Synaethesia, Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Flynn & Denton and Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name, Ferry Corsten pres. Gouryella – Anahera, DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (John Askew Remix), Orkidea – Purity (Sneijder Remix) and Filo & Peri feat. Eric Lumiere – Anthem.


After van Deynhoven, it was the turn of the massively talented Jordan Suckley. I really enjoyed his set – these days he seems to be using his wizardry more judiciously and letting the music shine through. Taking the tempo up a notch, he mixed in several updated takes on old school tunes: Tiësto – Suburban Train (Jordan Suckley Remix), Jaycee – Escape (Indecent Noise Remix) and a version of Energy 52 – Café del Mar that was completely new to me.

Finally the day’s fun was brought to a climax by the one and only Sean Tyas. Over the years I have seen him play some truly outstanding sets, but also some very disappointing ones. However, it does seem that he is back on form and this was the perfect closing set, banging out some proper trance, much of it taken from his recently released artist album, Degeneration. He played Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix; Sean Tyas Rework), Sean Tyas –  Vagabond, Sean Tyas – Da Doo Da Dah (John Askew Remix), Sean Tyas – Now You See (Darren Porter Remix) and Sean Tyas – Unleash (Alex Di Stefano Remix).


Sadly the music had to stop at 8pm and the search for after parties began. An official after party with two or three of the days DJs showing what they could do after dark could have made it even better, but it was such a great day anyway that this didn’t really matter so much. After the various problems in making it happen, the Genesis team really deserve the plaudits for this and I hope it isn’t the last time we see a great trance line-up grace the Ivy Courtyard.

 

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The last time the sounds of psy-trance took over Voodoo, at the beginning of the year, Christopher Lawrence delivered a wonderful set to a transported group of clubbers and the only slight disappointment was that there weren’t a lot more people there to experience it. I’d been excited about seeing Liquid Soul, one of my favourite psy producers, but I guess I was a little bit concerned that not enough others would share my enthusiasm.


And although the Darling Harbour area was very busy, I put this down to the start of the party season, and I wasn’t really expecting the very long queue we found when we arrived at Home. So it was a real pleasure to find the club very busy and with a definite buzz in the air when we got inside and found Nick ArborSimon Lovell playing tunes somewhat outside their usual repertoire.


It turned out that Liquid Soul had been delayed at the airport and he eventually started his set about 40 minutes late. But it was well worth the wait as he took us on a delicious journey in his progressive psy-trance style. Dropping great tunes like Liquid Soul – I See The Spirit, Liquid Soul – Anjuna and The Overlords – God’s Eye On Goa (Liquid Soul Remix), his 90 minute set seemed to go by in no time at all.


Next up was Vini Vici, noted for their tune, The Tribe, which has featured in so many DJ’s sets this year, to the point of becoming a bit hackneyed. Anyway, their style is much less my cup of tea than Liquid Soul’s, so I wasn’t too surprised that I didn’t really take to this set and was happy to leave before the night ended.


With the usual fantastic sound and production at Home, this was a really good night of psy trance and any worries I had early on that the room was full of people who wouldn’t “get” psy-trance proved completed unfounded, so when we left just before 3am, the dance floor was still pretty busy.


Another excellent night put on by the Genesis/Voodoo team and an encouraging sign that they are willing to go outside the mainstream. Even better is that it seems that there is a good audience for music as good as this.

Anyone who thought trance was dead must surely have realised their mistake in 2014. Unless they’ve had their ears tuned in the wrong direction, they would have heard so many amazing tunes that narrowing it down to a top 5 or even top 10 is just too difficult; certainly it is for me.

And to top last year, when I listed my best 20 tunes of the year, this year I’m going one better … so here are my favourite 21 tunes of 2014, in alphabetical order – choosing just 21 tunes was hard enough; ranking them would be nigh on impossible.

Aly & FilaAltitude Compensation

From their third artist album, The Other Shore, which is simply fantastic. Too difficult to choose just one, so this is the first of five tracks from it that I’ve put in my top 21.

SilvermineFlying (Solarstone Pure Mix)

From Solarstone Presents Pure Trance V3. Another amazing compilation/mix from Solarstone, packed with great tunes, expertly mixed by Solarstone, with Bryan Kearney on mix duties for the second disc. And this is the first of six tunes from it in my 21.

Aly & Fila feat. Jaren For All Time

Another from The Other Shore, this is a great uplifting vocal trance tune in classic Aly & Fila style. I love it!

Aly & Fila vs. SneijderFull Throttle

The third tune from The Other Shore, this time in collaboration with the brilliant Sneijder. This is a great 140BPM tune that seems to be played by a lot of great DJs at the moment.

John O’Callaghan feat. Jennifer ReneGames (Standerwick Remix)

You can rely on John O’Callaghan to produce a number of great tunes each year, but it’s the Standerwick remix that really stands out for me. What a year it’s been for Standerwick – I’ve loved so many of his originals, collaborations and remixes. This is just one of five of his tunes that I’ve selected for my 21.

LyctumGreece 2000

This year I’ve really started to appreciate psy-trance, but I have to admit that I don’t know much about it, really. This is the first of three psy-trance tunes I’ve chosen and it’s a remake of the all-time classic from Three Drives On A Vinyl. It’s a bit different and I love it!

Liquid SoulI See The Spirit

More psy-trance, from one of the producers who I’ve really got into this year. Hearing John 00 Fleming drop this in the Cave was one of this year’s highlights.

Sied van Riel vs. StanderwickIn A Perfect World (Solarstone Pure Mix)

That man Standerwick again, this time in collaboration with Sied van Riel and given the magical Pure touch by Solarstone. This is simply wonderful!

The Thrillseekers & StanderwickLike They Used To

For months after Renee and I first heard this tune in the download of Standerwick’s set at ASOT650NL, it was just IDID and we were desperate to find out what it was, as we loved it so much. Then it was released in Aly & Fila’s Trance Nation compilation CD and we were delighted to learn who made it. I don’t think it’s had the recognition it deserves and hasn’t been played nearly enough. Another example of Standerwick as the emerging talent of the year!

Liquid Soul & DJ DreamLiquid Dream

More psy-trance and more Liquid Soul. It was great to hear Aly & Fila drop this at the Metro in October.

Gai BaroneMr. Slade (Solarstone Pure Mix)

This is a lovely tune, again from the wonderful Pure Trance V3. It’s one of those tunes that seem to get better every time you hear them.

Aly & Fila with Ferry TayleNubia

Aly & Fila’s album is full of wonderful tunes, but this one just might be my favourite. I’m a big fan of Ferry Tayle, who played great sets this year at Luminosity Beach Festival and at Digital Therapy in Sydney. I could listen to this tune again and again and again.

Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila Remix)

Aly & Fila worked their magic on this tune which was played seemingly everywhere earlier this year. It’s still really good, I reckon, and yet another A&F tune in my list, on top of all those taken from their album!

OrkideaPurity (Original Mix)

What a wonderful tune this is – probably Orkidea’s best since Unity; and I’m sure it will be considered a classic in due course. Hard to choose between the original and the Sneijder remix, but I’ve opted for the original. I almost put both in my list!

EcanoRun (Z2 vs Neptune Project LSD Remix)

Like Greece 2000, this is a very old tune, but it’s been given an acidic twist by Neptune Project and Solarstone included it in his Pure Trance compilation. It’s the perfect end to disc one.

No video for this one, but you can listen on Soundcloud here.

Aly & Fila with Skypatrol feat. Sue McLarenRunning

My final selection from The Other Shore and bringing together Standerwick and ReOrder (Skypatrol), Aly & Fila and the vocals of Sue McLaren. Such a great tune.

Pink FloydShine On The Dark Side Of The Moon (Neptune Project’s Out There With Pluto Mix)

Is this by Pink Floyd or is it by Neptune Project? Probably the latter, really. I usually loathe trance remixes of rock tracks, but maybe Pink Floyd’s music is more appropriate to the trance treatment than, say, Coldplay? Or maybe Pink Floyd is just much better than Coldplay in the first instance? Either way, this tune blew me away when I first heard it and it was also great to hear it played through the sound system at Space in Ibiza. This might be my favourite tune of 2014.

Standerwick & ReOrder pres. SkypatrolSkyres

Skypatrol first came to everyone’s attention last year with the awesome tune Folding Your Universe. And although this isn’t the next tune off the rank, it’s definitely the next one of the same calibre. I’m really looking forward to hearing this live … maybe we’ll get a Skypatrol tour of Australia in 2015? Here’s hoping!

Solarstone & OrkideaSlowmotion III (Solarstone Remix)

The third in this series of collaborations between the original Pure Trance collaborators is, in my humble opinion, the best so far. There are three versions: the original mix plus remixes by Orkidea and by Solarstone. They’re all fantastic and the Orkidea remix is an epic that clocks in at 13 minutes 22 seconds. The Solarstone version isn’t as long, but just edges it for me as the best of the three. But they’re all gold.

Ferry Tayle feat. PoppyThe Way Back Home (Dan Stone Remix)

France hasn’t been noted for its contribution to the trance music scene, but Ferry Tayle is right up there for me as a great producer and DJ. As noted above, he played wonderfully both times I saw him this year, and I love this track. There’s also a good remix by Matt Bowdidge and the original mix on Ferry Tayle’s album, The Wizard, is good too, but I’ve chosen the Dan Stone remix for my list.

Will Atkinson Victims

This is probably many people’s choice of tune of the year, and I’m sure it’s one that we’ll keep hearing for some time yet. It’s archetypal uplifting trance and the kind of tune that you can’t help loving if you’re a fan of the genre. Sadly I missed out on the chance to see Will Atkinson this year, but hopefully we can put that right in 2015.