Archives for posts with tag: Sied van Riel

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.


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.

So after a mere ten days of recovery from Ibiza, we headed off to City airport for the short hop across the North Sea to Amsterdam for the weekend I’d been looking forward to all summer. It was our first opportunity to go to Luminosity Beach Festival as until this year it’s always been held in June, when we are in Australia. But a date change to August had us snapping up the early bird tickets and making plans to get to Amsterdam. And when the Future Sound Of Egypt 300 celebration free party was announced for the day before, I was sure that it would be a weekend to remember.

We got to Escape nightclub in central Amsterdam early, as we had been advised, and went straight to the second room to catch sets by Matt Bukovski and Ahmed Romel, bumping into friends and realising that despite the early hour, the place was absolutely buzzing and the trance was already at an uplifting 138+ bpm. The room was also very hot but the happy vibe generated by trance fans from around the globe meant that no-one seemed too fussed by this.

We heard rumours that Sied van Riel had started really well in the main room downstairs, so we decided to see for ourselves. I’ve never really been a huge fan of Sied’s music, although he seems a great guy and we’d had a big laugh with him backstage at the Subculture show in Sydney in February. (I didn’t write about this event, because we got there late, after Jeff and my birthday party, and spent most of the time backstage chatting to the DJs, rather than out on the dancefloor.) And what a fantastic set Sied played tonight – easily the tranciest and the best I’ve ever heard from him. Someone said that Sied wants to move more in this direction – if so, it’s a move to be welcomed with open arms!

Back upstairs to hear Simon O’Shine, and then Sneijder. I’ve been a big fan of Sneijder since seeing him on the Driftwood boat in Ibiza last year, supporting John O’Callaghan. We’d missed him in Sydney, because we were backstage at the Subculture event I just mentioned, but I was looking forward to hearing him, even though I knew the last 20 minutes of his set clashed with Fadi’s downstairs. Sure enough, he was great and it was a very difficult decision to leave early and perhaps, with hindsight, one we got wrong. But I knew that we’d be seeing him again the next evening at Luminosity.

I’d been hoping that Aly & Fila would play an uplifting remix of Laily, as Fadi had mentioned in Ibiza that he was intending to work on it in Cairo with a view to dropping it in Amsterdam. But I guess it wasn’t ready, or he wasn’t happy with it as it didn’t make the cut. I didn’t recognise most of the early tunes until he surprised me by dropping Oceanlab – Satellite after about half an hour.

He also played Aly & Fila – We Control The Sunlight, Arctic Moon – Starships Over Alice and Aly & Fila feat. Susana – Without You. The production inside Escape was amazing – really impressive lights and lasers and the stage set up like a pyramid gave a real sense of occasion to the event. The sound system was pretty good too. But although I did really enjoy it, I felt this was not one of the very best sets I’ve heard Fadi play – certainly nowhere near as good as his set at Home nightclub in Sydney last year, or the set on the Driftwood boat in Ibiza less than a fortnight earlier. Still, it was a wonderful 90 minutes of great music.

Fadi handed over to John O’Callaghan and although it took me a while to get into what he was playing, by the time he dropped his own remix of Paul van Dyk feat. Plumb – I Don’t Deserve You and a mash-up including his own tune – Out Of Nowhere, I was really enjoying the set. And he finished with his classic tune feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky (I’m not sure which remix).

The night was drawing to a close now and the last DJ, RAM opened with a mash up of Dash Berlin – Man On The Run and his own tune – RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven remix). I really like the JvD mix of this tune, but wasn’t impressed with it being mashed up, so we decided to call it a night as we had a big two days ahead of us.

This was really an amazing party – especially as it was a free event. The crowd was really into their uplifting trance, the music in both rooms was fantastic and the sound and production was really impressive. Perhaps the only downer was the 50c charge to use the toilet. Holland must be the only place where you have to pay to go to the loo. I’m sure this is counterproductive on the part of the bars, as my reaction and I guess others’ too is to drink less, so that I need the loo less. How do they gain from that? But that shouldn’t detract from a really enjoyable night, seeing friends from around the world and dancing to the kind of music I like best.

After an early night on Saturday (bed at 3am), we were back in party mode for Sunday and back at Eden, hoping for a better night than we’d had on Friday (see below). A somewhat curious line-up, with what was, for us, the unknown quantity of Showtek on the bill with Sied van Riel, Ferry Corsten himself and my favourite DJ, Fadi from Aly & Fila.

We arrived just as Sied van Riel was finishing his set, with Aly & Fila feat. Jwaydan – We Control The Sunlight. The club was a bit fuller than it had been on Friday, but was a very long way from being packed. We’d been able to acquire wristbands giving entry before 1.30am for free and this had tempted us in at 1.20am, rather than forking out €35 each and arrive at 3.00am, as we’d originally intended.

So now we were set for 90 minutes from Showtek. The two Dutch brothers are not known for playing trance in any of its varieties, and I thought they were a hard dance act. I knew they’d worked with Tiësto on the Allure album, Kiss From The Past, but had no idea whether they would play music in that style or not (they didn’t). My knowledge of musical genres is not good enough to tell you what style they were playing, but it did nothing for me and I could only reflect that it least it wasn’t as horrible as Danny Howard and Judge Jules had been on Friday. Curiously, while one brother did all the DJ’ing, the other just stood around, occasionally fist-pumping the air, or grabbing the mic for a bit of ad-lib MC’ing.

For their last 15 minutes behind the decks they were joined by Ferry Corsten – the way the Full On concept works is that Ferry plays back to back with the DJ who precedes him and then after his own set, back-to-back with the DJ who follows him. But with only 15 minutes allowed for these overlaps, you don’t get much time to assess how well they feed off each other. I’d say it’s a gimmick that doesn’t really work.

Ferry started with the type of trousey tunes that he’s been playing lately, but was soon playing a set full of his classics. We heard Rock Your Body Rock, Punk, a mash-up of Cosmic Gate’s cover of Jurgen Vries – The Theme and System F – Out Of The Blue, Veracoccha – Carte Blanche, Gouryella – Gouryella and Ferry Corsten & Markus Schulz – Loops N Tings. We also heard one of my favourite Markus Schulz tracks – The New World.

The set just got better and better and I thought it was easily the best I’d seen from him since he played at Home nightclub in Sydney in January 2009. But I was most excited about the imminent arrival of Fadi – Aly & Fila. And what a way to open, with Binary Finary – 1998. And as usual, Fadi wowed and delighted me with his choice of tunes: Push – Universal Nation, Aly & Fila feat. Susana – Without You, Matt Bowdidge – Still By Your Side, Aly & Fila feat. Sue McLaren – Mysteries Unfold, Chakra – Home (Above & Beyond Remix) and Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet. Brilliantly mixed, he took us on the perfect trance journey and, as always, I didn’t want it to end. But I was consoled by the fact that we would be seeing Fadi again the next day, on the Driftwood boat party.

Overall it was a night in two parts – the early part, with Showtek and the beginning of Ferry Corsten’s set was pretty mediocre and only felt even that good by comparison with the horrors of Friday. But the second part, from when Ferry started getting trancey, to the close of Aly & Fila, was simply brilliant. My only reservation was that I found the sound system too bass heavy, which tended to obscure the midrange and thus dulled the melodies a little.

Oh what an amazing night it was at Dream nightclub for Global Connection! Has there ever been two such incredible sets in the same night as we enjoyed last night? If so, I don’t remember it.

Of course, Aly & Fila and Giuseppe Ottaviani are two of my very favourite DJs. But this made my expectations of the night sky high … and so often this leads to a slight disappointment when the DJs play well but don’t reach the heights you know they can. I’m happy to say that this was not the case on this occasion.

We arrived in good time for Sied van Riel‘s warm up. Sied played a really good warm up, getting everyone in the groove while also allowing people to catch up and chat before the serious dancing begins. At 1am, Aly & Fila – or rather, Fadi, took over from Sied and it didn’t take him long to up the pace.

He started with Perfect Love, and it wasn’t long before he dropped a new (to me) remix of We Control The Sunlight. Fadi peppered his sets with fantastic tunes – Simulated, I Don’t Deserve You, Satellite, Fireisland, Born Slippy, Rosaires, Why?, Strange World, Circa Forever… one classic tune after another. Such a great set … the only consolation when he finished, with Sneijder’s remix of Fall With Me, was that he was handing over to Giuseppe Ottaviani.

Giuseppe started his set with Lost For Words, with the vocals sung live by Amba Shepherd. And he continued in trademark style, mixing his own tunes with his own take on classics and playing the keyboard live over the top. And when he dropped No More Alone, who should rush to the dancefloor to join in the dancing mayhem, than Paul van Dyk himself?

Tiesto’s Adagio For Strings, PVD’s One More Time, Ottaviani’s collaboration with Solarstone – Falcons – were all highlights of the rest of the set, which he concluded with the mash-up of his collaboration with John O’Callaghan, Ride The Wave, and Armin van Buuren’s Burned With Desire.

It was such a sensational night – one of the very best I can remember. Two great DJs, on top of their form, in an intimate setting, amongst friends. It’s going to be hard for another day/night here in Miami to top this one.