With every genre of dance music, there is always one DJ that becomes a symbol of it. It’s easy to see why progressive is represented by Sasha, breaks is represented by The Plump DJs and techno is represented by Sven Vath. The DJ that has become the personification of trance is without argument DJ Tiesto. He is a man that really needs no introduction. After many years of diligent work and releasing some of the most revered trance compilations, Tiesto’s talent, hard work and enthusiasm for the music that he loves so much, pinnacled when he was voted to the top of DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ’s list for 2002. Who would have thought that a trance DJ could have the ability to surpass the likes of uber DJ Sasha or even John Digweed. But that’s exactly what happened and with this, Tiesto brought with him a resurgence in trance’s popularity.
Many a trance lover will no doubt be familiar with Tiesto’s now defunct ‘Magik’ series and the ‘In Search of Sunrise’ series. If you aren’t, I suggest you start now. Having been a huge fan of his ‘Magik’ series, I was curious, and somewhat dubious, as to which direction Tiesto would now take. After spending the last few days listening to ‘Nyana’, there is only one word I can use to describe this compilation: class! To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect. Worst case scenario, it would be something nice and pleasant, but predictable. Instead I found myself listening to a mix that is refreshing, has been well thought out, that has a deeper, much more mature sound but has not lost any of the euphoric, uplifting sound that Tiesto is known for best.
But there is so much more to this than just using ‘trance’ as a description. Influences from the progressive and techno genres are abundant throughout this compilation. This really is something that is on another level, which will force you to sit up and pay attention. I have always believed that Tiesto’s strengths lie in releasing the sort of compilations that not only contain fantastic music but tug at your heartstrings, your emotions, your feelings. This CD cements my beliefs.
CD 1 begins in what I now realise is typical Tiesto style, atmospherically, with the opening tracks of Catcher’s ‘Destiny Sunrise’ and Filterheadz present Orange 3’s ‘In Your Eyes (Blue Mix)’. This continues perfectly with Andain’s ‘Beautiful Things’. This particular remix by Gabriel and Dresden just proves why these guys are going to be a constant presence in dance music for many years to come. If ‘Beautiful Things’ isn’t one of this year’s stand out tracks, then I don’t know what! This is definitely the first highlight of this compilation. Tiesto continues to build momentum with tracks such as Holden & Thompsons’s ‘Nothing (93 Returning Mix)’, Mr Sam vs Fred Baker Present As One’s ‘Forever Waiting’ and The Roc Project featuring Tina Arena’s ‘Never (DJ Tiesto Remix vs Filterheadz Remix)’. Just when I thought I knew what to expect, I found myself immersed in Smart System’s ‘Morgentau (Spring Mix)’ and I’m transported to another plateau. If I was to use one word to describe the next four tracks, in particular Leama’s ‘Requiem For A Dream (Leama’s Dream Mix)’, it would have to be ‘angelic’. To feel as though I was being elevated off the ground, that is how I felt with the music I was hearing. P.O.S’s ‘Remember (Summer Sun) and the final track of CD 1, Solid Globe’s ‘North Pole’, further encompassed this feeling. This CD is aptly titled ‘Indoor’ and as such, I can only wonder what it would be like to hear this selection in an intimate environment.
Normally, where trance compilations of two CD’s are concerned, the first will be the euphoric, uplifting mix while the second will lean towards the harder style of trance. In the end, the overall result is lacklustre and more often than not, could have been condensed to one CD more effectively. What Tiesto has done is something that has surprised me. CD 2 starts off not with hard trance but, instead, with the first few tracks being of the chunky techno inspired variety. He only touched on this genre with Magik 7 but with CD 2 he opens with M Mayer’s ‘Love Is Stronger Than Pride’ which is only a small indication of things to come. This blends wonderfully into Tom Mangan’s ‘Chutney (Size 9 Reinterpretation)’. This particular track is another standout with its heavy techno influence! Tiesto continues this techno feel with The Ambush’s ‘Acapulco’ and Frank Biazzi’s remix of Tiesto vs Junkie XL’s ‘Obsession’ until you start to hear Planisphere’s ‘Totem’. With this track, he takes the direction of this mix back to a more trance element. From here on end, Tiesto takes the listener on a journey through the tougher side of trance. Personally, I never thought trance could be described as ‘tough’, only ‘hard’ or ‘harder’. But here it is! This is further developed with such gems as Midway’s ‘Inca’ until you reach his own newly produced track, ‘Nyana’. An absolutely awesome track! This has to be the most polished, most gorgeous piece of music he has ever created. I think if this track was to be played on crystal clear sound system, it would reduce any club to a quivering mess. Big call but I have no doubt that it will happen. Having set the pace with ‘Nyana’, Tiesto continues to maintain this level with the next few tracks which includes DJ Cor Fijneman Featuring Jan Johnston’s ‘Venus (Meant To Be Your Lover) (Tiesto Remix). Being a fan of Jan Johnston, I was more than happy to find a track with her vocals included on this release. From here, Tiesto increases the pace slightly with DJ Ton T B’s ‘Electronic Malfunction’ and continues with this until GTR’s ‘Mistral’. And then, just when I wanted more, it was all over. CD 2 is perfectly titled ‘Outdoor’ and is meant to represent the kind of sets Tiesto would play at larger events and festivals. With this particular collection of tracks, he has succeeded in showing that there are other, better alternatives to hard trance.
There are those who continue to say that trance does not, or for that matter can not, take you on a journey. Rubbish! The first CD begins calmly, quietly. You find yourself sitting on a couch, relaxing, tapping your toes to the beats. But by the end of CD 2, you feel as though you’ve reached the top of Everest, your dancing around on your couch, dancing like no one is watching… much to the bewilderment of your cat! Well, mine anyway…
For those who still yearn for the sound of 1999, after having listened to ‘Nyana’, I can only say one thing: you can keep it! Where trance is concerned, this is the sound of 2003! This is the trance that needs to be heard and played! Not remixes of relics that are better left as a pleasant memory, played by DJs who continue to live in the past instead of looking to the future. For me, music has become a much loved and very addictive passion. It is something that I can not live without. It gets me through the bad days and makes the best days even better. If there is only one trance compilation that I would recommend this year, this is the one! At the end of it all, I can use every positive word in the Macquarie Dictionary but none can truly describe how pleasurable it was to listen to this collection of tracks. There are no tricks, there are no gimmicks, just music presented in the best possible way. On their own, each are wonderful but mixed together by Tiesto, they are brilliant! As a DJ and producer, Tiesto continues to astound me.
CD 1 – Indoor
1. Catcher – Destiny Sunrise
2. Filterheadz presents Orange 3 – In Your Eyes (Blue Mix)
3. Andain – Beautiful Things (Gabriel & Dresden Remix)
4. Solarstone vs Sirocco – Destination
5. Young Parisians – U Write The Rules (Solarstone Remix)
6. Holden & Thompson – Nothing (93 Returning Mix)
7. Mr Sam vs Fred Baker present as One – Forever Waiting
8. Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes (Exclusive Demo Mix)
9. The Roc Project featuring Tina Arena – Never (DJ Tiesto vs Filterheadz Remix)
10. Smart System – Morgentau (Spring Mix)
11. Leama – Requiem For A Dream ( Leama’s Dream Mix)
12. P.O.S. – Remember (Summer Sun)
13. Solid Globe – North Pole
CD 2 – Outdoor
1. M Mayer – Love Is Stronger Than Pride
2. Tom Mangan – Chutney (Size 9 Reinterpretation)
3. The Ambush – Acapulco
4. Tiesto vs Junkie XL – Obsession (Frank Biazzi Remix)
5. Planisphere – Totem
6. Darren Tate vs Jono Grant – Let The Light Shine In
7. Midway – Inca
8. Tiesto – Nyana
9. DJ Cor Fijneman featuring Jan Johnston – Venus (Meant To Be Your Lover) (Tiesto Remix)
10. Conjure One featuring Sinead O’Connor – Tears From The Moon (Tiesto In Search Of Sunrise Remix)
11. DJ Ton T B – Electronic Malfunction
12. The Gift – Love Angel
13. Solar Factor – Urban Shakedown (Original Mix)
14. GTR – Mistral
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