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Trance - Single Reviews - 596

Singles - Trance - Issue 596

Neptune Project

A Sign From Above

Mythology

9.0
‘Sign’ has Jules Neptune singing on it; his first vocal venture since 2014’s ‘Lost All My Tears’, and singularly my favourite use of the male vocal chords ever since. So, personally, it's already up on the expectation petard. It slaloms that trap brilliantly by sharing enough DNA with ‘Lost’ (feel, vibe, titular theme), crucially without feeling like it's format replicating. Receptors open, you’re free to enjoy the elevating brilliance that unfolds.

Cosmic Gate

'Come With Me'

Wake Your Mind Records

8.5
‘Come With Me’ feels like it might be purpose built to challenge ‘Fire Wire’ and ‘Be Your Sound’s dead-heat positions as CG’s best-known-for. Bleepy note inflections herald string grandeur, which in turn presages that most Cosmic Gate-ian of signatures, the bleached sub synths. Add a chant that at once name-checks the group and meta-references their first ever release, and you can mark this down as a contender.

Maor Levi

'Disconnect/Take Your Love'

Anjunabeats

8.5
More Maor eminence rising to this month’s top. Heartfelt throughout, ‘Disconnect’ finds the spot between the near-infinite melancholy of its vocal and Maor’s production countermeasures. The end of its break rocks satisfyingly dirty too. ‘Take Your Love’ has more of a trance ripple up top, a grooving production below and a house-tipped vocal chorus. Of the pair, ‘Disconnect’ comes in first, but only by a nose.

Jase Thirlwall Feat Victoriya

'Dust'

Who's Afraid Of 138?!

8.5
‘Worthy of Above & Beyond’ is probably the peak accolade you could bestow on a trance vocal. And bestow we do! Complex, nuanced and precise, ‘I’ll Still Have You’, Jase & Victoriya's first outing, was more than promising. ‘Dust’ is all that, x 10. Affecting and at times near painfully touching to listen to, Victoriya articulates each word with exacting crystalline care. Extra marks for Thirlwall’s studio handling of the vox too, which takes it higher still.

Forerunners

'For You/Gemini'

Pure Progressive

7.5
Dropping it down a gear or five this month, Australia’s Forerunners serve two more glacially paced and themed numbers. With its moving ebb and flow and chime-layered-on-chime appeal, ‘For You’s pretty irresistible — latterly pressing its advantage with choral harmonics. A touch darker, with fractionally moodier FX, ‘Gemini’ generates a more subterranean feel, but maintains a good chunky groove throughout.

Daniel Kandi

'JP8080 Paradise'

Future Sound Of Egypt

8.0
Although my vintage synth knowledge ain't all that, the ‘Paradise’ in Kandi’s ‘JP8080’ is likely courtesy of Roland. Running the melodic/euphoric arc, the track pulses with unforced energy, while boasting strong composition. Crucially, though, it has the extra ace to play. Its midsection/drop heralds an unusual, whistling Oxygène-era-like sequence. Never my favourite musical reference point, but it's rarely been done better and within the confines here, engages superbly.

Golden Girls

'Kinetic (Gai Barone Patternized Bootleg Mix)'

Patternized

8.0
It’s no longer enough to retro-remix well. You’ve got to dig in the crates too. Given its classic credentials and proto trance sensibilities, it’s a surprise that ‘Kinetic’s had so few reworks. Shunning the obvious remix beats, Gai tempers the radiance of the mainline while lowering its tempo and effectively transferring the heat to the bass. Percussion, FX and other background elements jump sharply into focus, providing a treatment both canny and stimulating.

Shugz

'The Darkside '

Afterdark

7.5
Continuing his grand tour of trance’s harder-faster imprints, Shugz debuts on Afterdark. Scudding bass and drum get a swift boost from 'The Darkside's all-directions-flying vocal and FX triggers, while Shugz's mod-wheel finger is as twitchy as ever. Psy speculations see it into the drop, where a fairly standard spoken vocal ominously intones about the “real bad” perils of “the darkside”. Just when all seems lost, an almost impossibly cheery riff-uplifter swings in, efficiently delivering the floor its salvation.

Misja Helsloot & Dirkie Coetzee featuring Diana Leah

'Won't Stop Searching (Sied Van Riel Remix) '

Subculture Recordings

8.0
Sied gets around to reworking the Rielism-released ‘Won't Stop Searching’ — a track that admittedly did an inbox flyby on its 2015 release. To say his mix is more considered than Misja & Dirkie’s version wouldn’t do the original justice. It does, however, allow Diana’s vocal to play an even more central role. Add ear-catching, atypical arrangement touches, cool, nonchalantly developed melodies, some at times deep-trance ethics and subtle acid (never a given), and this mix starts to make a lot of sense.