You can find yourself in a club, surrounded by a multitude of people yet you feel utterly alone. And it’s not loneliness that you feel, it’s a lack of association. But when the DJ plays that one track, that one concept of sound, you look to the people next to you and there is a connection, an all too familiar understanding that is found in that piece of music. It is in that moment you realise music has the power to cure isolation, that it can become a substitute for disassociation. At least for a fleeting moment in time.
So, if one track has the power to create such feelings, imagine what happens when you listen to something as majestic as ‘Baroque in Session’ mixed by Innate. This is a compilation that will not only make you forget where you are and what you are doing but it will almost make you glide through the day. If anything else, it will keep you smiling. And that’s a power very few compilations have these days. I’ve actually had this CD for well over a month but every time I’ve tried to work on this review, I found myself sidetracked by the music. I found myself closing my eyes and wondering what it would be like to hear every single track in a club. I found myself lost in each track.
Mick Park, who is the other half of Parks & Wilson aka Tilt and Keith McDonnell, who also creates music and has mixed the first part of this compilation under the name of Innate, created Baroque Records in January 2000 in an endeavour to release quality underground music. Since its inception, the number of superior tracks that have been released by the label has been abundant. These include the now classic “Moments of Space” by Odessi, “Changes” by Innate and the wondrous “No More” by Andy Moor featuring the vocals of Lilianne Brooksen. All of which are included on this double CD and many more.
“Baroque in Session” mixed by Innate opens with the seminal trip hop beats of the TVR Reprise of Louis Strange’s “Spectre” with the tempo increasing gradually with the Tarentella & Redanka Remix of the same track. From here the mix glides expertly through such melodious gems as Xzique’s “Your Mind” and Minilogue’s “In a Deeper Motion”. We finally reach the opening riffs of what has to be one of the most beautiful examples of the progressive genre that I’ve had the pleasure to hear, that being Andy Moor’s “No More” featuring the stunning vocals of Lilianne Brooksen. From the moment I heard the track’s galloping beats and piano riff, I was hooked. Ms Brooksen’s dense, throaty vocals only added to my addiction. If I could hear music like this everyday, I would easily die a happy death. Andy Moor is an exception talent that needs to be encouraged. If I could create music, I would want it to be like this. Such a stunning track and each time I hear it, I feel as if a part of me has been lost.
From here we move to the deeper beats of the Directors Cut of “PHB” by Sleepfreaks and then onto the peaktime of Innate’s “Changes” which deviates into a melodic masterpiece. Thus far, the tempo has been maintained at an even balance. It’s the kind of music that will get you on the dancefloor and keep you there. This apex is sustained with the Parks & Wilson Remix of Tilt’s “Headstrong” and then taken to a slightly higher level with the percussive Brancaccio & Aisher Remix of Manticore’s “Slaves”. Then it’s onto the deeper tones that is the Satoshi Tomiie Dub of Interflow’s “Storyreel” followed by the peaktime storm that is Satoshi’s vocal remix of the same track. This is a musical journey that finds you on the outer regions of a dancefloor at the beginning of the dub remix and by the end of the vocal remix you’re right up the front, screaming in pleasure with your hands firmly in the air. The mix ends with the serene calm that is Innate’s “Outro”, which heavily samples his “Changes”.
A bonus feature with this compilation is the second unmixed CD. Very much a DJ friendly selection with each track being a stunning addition to any dance music lovers collection. While each track is quite special in terms of atmosphere and melody, my personal favourites would have to be “Dark Amendments” by Andy Moor presents SWORN, “Four Horsemen (Tilt Remix)” by Jay Welsh and the classic “Moments of Space” by Odessi in all its twelve minute glory.
Overall this compilation is a beautiful deluge of near perfect melodies and beats. From my perspective, the programming is consummate as each track is placed perfectly to compliment the before and after track. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the mixed or unmixed CD. The general soundscape leans more towards quality progressive trance rather than progressive house yet it never once feels insipid or overly uplifting. Each track has a certain strength and depth that is sometimes missing from some tunes. However, they never feel overpowering and maintain a certain fragility, which is intrinsic to each distinct melody. This is intelligent music without losing itself because it manages to maintain a certain sense of fun without being comical. More than anything else, each track has the ability to get your rump shaking and your lips smiling.
This compilation’s inherent charm lies in Baroque’s ability to continually create timeless music, which is more than abundant within this collection of tunes. Lately I feel I’ve become too accustomed to ‘youthful’ progressive tracks, so it was after a few listens of this CD that I began to appreciate the levels of musical maturity that each track delivers. In some respect, I’m reminded of the “Northern Exposure” series but not for the obvious reasons. While I’ve never been a fan of that series (yes, I have no doubt that my seat in hell is already reserved), mainly because I could never understand what all the fuss was about, I can however appreciate the classic nature of certain tracks. And it’s not so much that I have no respect for the classic tracks or mixes, because I really do, it’s just that I don’t dwell on them so intently, so psychotically as some people do. I’m much more concerned with the current state of electronic dance music and what it has to offer me now and what it could possibly offer me in the future.
“Baroque in Session” mixed by Innate is my “Northern Exposure”. While it may not be the soundtrack to my life, it is, however, the script to my emotions and thoughts and I love it.
1. Louis Strange – Spectre (TVR Reprise)
2. Louis Strange – Spectre (Tarentella & Redanka Remix)
3. Xzique – Your Mind
4. Minilogue – In a Deeper Motion
5. Andy Moor featuring Lilianne Brooksen – No More
6. Sleepfreaks – PHB (Directors Cut)
7. Innate – Changes
8. Tilt – Headstrong (Parks & Wilson Remix)
9. Manticore – Slaves (Brancaccio & Aisher Remix)
10. Interflow – Storyreel (Satoshi Tomiie Dub)
11. Interflow featuring Anna Robinson – Storyreel (Satoshi Tomiie Vocal)
12. Innate – Outro
1. Quivver – BozBoz
2. Neil Himmons – Play
3. 2 Boys 1 Girl – Twisted
4. Andy Moor presents SWORN – Dark Amendments
5. Kybosh – Playing With My Mind (Sleepfreaks Mix)
6. Innate – Roots Rock
7. Jay Welsh – Four Horsemen (Tilt Remix)
8. Odessi – Moments of Space