Iceferno

Dosem - Stay True EP as reviewed by Iceferno

12. November 2019
I never expected to enjoy an Anjunadeep release again, but the sound in this EP should be a more typical representation of the label than it is. It harks back to the original ambient Progressive Trance signings of 2005, while blending a more traditional Deep House sound, full of heavenly pads, moody atmosphere, and a summery city vibe. "Stay True" is the highlight of the package, and is advice that should be taken by more modern electronic producers who go down the mass-produced "EDM" route.
Iceferno

Kenny Hayes as reviewed by Iceferno

9. November 2019
I initially discovered Kenny Hayes via his Clubstar Remix of Scooter - The Logical Song. A futuristic, melancholic, and highly memorable take on the single. He would pop up now and again on compilations and singles I bought in the mid 00s. I was incredibly impressed that he secured the talent of Airbase to remix his 2005 single "Daybreaker".

Kenny has employed a production of Trance that would become his signature sound for most of an entire decade, from early KH, Clubstar, and Lockout remixes in 2000/01 right up to the more recent 'Blue Sphere' mixes, which offer a more modern take on the genre. I think it was around 2003 that he perfected his Trance sound, which would come to be used hundreds of times through remixes of commercial singles, often better than the originals themselves.

His talents also lied in other genres, particularly House through his 'Sunshine Funk' mixes, and alias Discode, which would vary in sound from commercial to deep and funky. A personal favourite includes his remix of Eight - Supernatural.

Kenny Hayes helped blur the line between commercial and underground dance for a time, getting onto commercial and often terrible singles with an unencumbered production quality. He was one of the best artists on the All Around The World label alongside German exports CJ Stone and Voodoo & Serano. For the Discogs collector, you'll have a pretty tough time gathering his insane back-catalogue, but if you take practically any remix from 2003/04, you'll find plenty more like it.
Iceferno

N-Trance / 2 Funky 2 - Bootleg Remixes 2001 Iceferno

2. November 2019
Thanks for clearing up that two distinct mixes exist. I thought maybe it was mislabeling, and both the Lockout and Clubstar mixes were the same. I just got the Lockout Remix on 96.6 TFM: Live For The Weekend, but would be curious to hear the Clubstar Remix, as I'm a big Kenny Hayes fan.
Iceferno

Nitrous Oxide (2) Iceferno

27. Oktober 2019
He seems to be returning to form somewhat with recent productions this year. Take the collaboration with Paul Miller on "Stay" and N2O's remix of Mitiska & Profetik - Blue, for example. I used to follow the dude's work a lot more closely, but I hope this could be the start of a revival. Breakfast made a comeback last year and has been putting out solid work again.
Iceferno

Armin van Buuren vs Inner City - It Could Be as reviewed by Iceferno

21. September 2019
A pleasant surprise to see such names together and the influence from the latter is clearly present on the track. I hope this sound catches on, as the current climate of EDM is so uninspired and has been going on for far too long. I welcome a bit of Detroit and 90s, which could affect the mainstream in a more positive way.
Iceferno

Scooter - The Stadium Techno Experience as reviewed by Iceferno

13. September 2019
I still remember buying the original edition brand new, all the way back in 2003, and believe The Stadium Techno Experience has aged well, as with most Scooter albums in the second/third chapter era, which have always sounded ahead of their time. Now, on to this remaster:

CD1: The album has been altered from the 2003 original, which I wasn't really expecting. Aside from "Ignition" linking to "Maria (I Like It Loud)", there are more fade-outs, which were originally limited to separating the vocal and instrumental productions. Clipping can be heard in calmer sections of several tracks (mostly the outros). The increase in fade-outs sort of breaks the immersion of the albums overall theme; a hypothetical live performance. "Roll Baby Roll" has also been renamed to "Swinging In The Jungle" with an entirely different bagpipe and chorus section.

Bonus CDs: These were the reason I got the album, as the extra discs merge several of my favourite singles into a convenient package. A personal gripe I have with these are that the endings of two Club Mixes have been trimmed ("Nessaja" and "The Night"). Nessaja has a quicker fade, whereas The Night cuts before the sound can completely finish. Extended Mixes weren't included, and both the Extended and Club Mixes of Maria are missing, which I don't mind too much since the incredible "Giants Causeway" is present on CD3, rounding off the package nicely.

In summary: I'd recommend this for the bonus discs, but if you don't own the original 2003 album, then you may want to consider grabbing that too, as it's the definitive way to hear the album. The remaster did not live up to expectations.
Iceferno

LNG - Inter City as reviewed by Iceferno

1. September 2019
My favourite production from Lange. "Inter City" is a beautiful Trance composition with gradual progression, making a pressing to vinyl an appropriate one for DJs of the time.

Both mixes are identical with subtle differences, which weren't immediately apparent to me. While the overall presentation is a track that unfolds over 10 minutes, the Original Mix offers the more artistic interpretation of the two, containing a steady build towards a single climax. The Lange Mix, on the other hand, takes a more traditional approach with two chorus sections, giving the DJ a little more choice as to how much of the track they would want to play and mix.

I feel that the Original Mix is the only appropriate choice, as the style and sound of the track is more suited to a longer build in a Progressive set. I highly recommend LNG - Inter City in whatever format you choose (it's been on some great compilations too). One of the finest tracks of its time, let alone the Tsunami label, which is no mean feat.
Iceferno

Various - Italo House as reviewed by Iceferno

24. August 2019
It's disappointing to learn of the less-than-professional mastering of this compilation. Using some tracks directly sourced from the original vinyl releases, you can hear the odd crackle in the recordings, especially during the intros and outros when the tracks have their base layering. I probably should have read the reviews before purchasing.

They've at least been cleaned up a little, and noise reduction techniques were most likely used. People have been complaining of the added high-end or 'brightness' of the tracks, but I don't find them too bad. I mostly got this compilation for the more specialised incarnation of the genre, but especially for Shafty - Deep Inside (Soul Trance Mix) and DJ Le Roy Feat. Bocachica - Yo Te Quiero (Detroit Version), two great examples of the beauty of deep Italian House. That said, an officially licensed CD with vinyl rip recordings deserves to be ridiculed.
Iceferno

Above & Beyond Pres. Tranquility Base - Getting Away as reviewed by Iceferno

16. August 2019
geändert 2 months ago
I remember when "Getting Away" was new. I was blown away by Above & Beyond's production, which I still believe to be their best to this day. It has a dream-like quality, with the harp sequences and chained delay effects. I think A&B were better at making Uplifting Trance more on the Progressive side, as the Original Mix has a chance to build gradually, revealing more of the chord progression over time, and moving into the full sequence at just the right moment.

Leama & Moor's remix achieves a similar end, with the duo's signature Progressive House/Trance hybrid and some original elements, namely the presence of a more melancholic build. It retains a haunting beauty, making the anticipation of the chorus a rather curious one.

The overlying feeling I take from "Getting Away", is a transition from spring to summer, as is perhaps the intention, given the chosen colour of the release. The single showcases both respective artists with some of their best work, making this an essential package for both Above & Beyond and Leama & Moor fans alike.
Iceferno

Michael Jackson - In The Closet as reviewed by Iceferno

14. August 2019
In my pursuit of a more complete MJ remix collection, this was a curious purchase. The Visionary single set featured the title track, video, and a selected remix. I've personally found that the Club Mix by Tommy Musto is the only worthwhile remix of In The Closet, of which there are about a dozen others. I would definitely recommend this single, as it provides pretty much everything you need.
Iceferno

Nayo - African Girl as reviewed by Iceferno

8. August 2019
When I found out one of my favourite songs included an acappella on the single, I made a point to obtain a copy. Here on CD2, you get all the versions you really need, making CD1 obsolete unless you want the shorter Radio Edit.

Ross Couch puts in a good effort on the remixes. The build ups are a little long, but when the hook change comes in after 2 minutes, the track suddenly flourishes. Obviously the Club Mix is better, as the presence of vocals add to the dynamics of the mix.

Finally, the Acapella Version of "African Girl" is very easy to listen to, with such a beautiful performance from Nayo, making this a single producers and non-producers alike should add to their collection.
Iceferno

Korda - Move Your Body (To The Sound) as reviewed by Iceferno

30. Juli 2019
I made a point of picking this up, as the Club Remix on Avanti! isn't quite as good, though it does take the track in a different direction, which I appreciate.

The mixes on this CD all follow the same sequence, with the Alex Version acting as an instrumental to the Club Mix. I don't particularly mind the vocals, myself, as they help give the track more variety, but it's always nice to have the choice.

The Cool Mix might be my favourite. It's a more relaxed take on Neri's mix, with some lovely Marimba chords and the added tribal aesthetic, courtesy of the bongo sections.

If you're a fan of soothing Deep Italian House with an atmosphere not unlike Larry Heard's early productions, then definitely pick this one up.
Iceferno

Weekend Players - Pursuit Of Happiness as reviewed by Iceferno

20. Juli 2019
Pursuit Of Happiness offers a vary eclectic assortment of styles. From Commercial Pop of the time to Progressive House, Downtempo, Deep House, and a bit of Lounge. You also get the full versions of their singles, which is a nice touch, and Rachel provides very soothing vocals, somewhat reminiscent of Tracey Thorn from Everything But The Girl, which really completes the atmosphere the album gives off.

Weekend Players have provided a great accompaniment for a summer drive, as is no doubt the intention, given the cover design. Well worth checking out, if you're into the chilled and progressive sounds of the early noughties.
Iceferno

Gat Decor - Passion as reviewed by Iceferno

20. Juli 2019
A bit of an underwhelming issue of the 1992 classic. It's great to have both the Original and Grant Nelson mixes together, but the other versions are fairly forgettable. The vocals are off-key in the Do You Want It Right Now Edit, despite the production itself being brought up by a semitone, and the vocal performance itself pales in comparison to Biti's on the Degrees Of Motion original.

I would personally trade out the Vocal Edit, Mr Roy, and Junior Vasquez mixes for Darren Emerson's Edit and the Passion Of Your Passion versions. If you're willing to spend a little more, I recommend seeking out the original 1992 singles, as they have a more refined collection of tracks.
Iceferno

Anjunabeats Iceferno

12. Mai 2019
I think people have a right to complain when the artists they loved back in the day had their own sound, and are now lost in the over saturation of EDM and Big Room. There's no point in listening to them once they sound like everyone else.
Iceferno

Hiroyuki Oda - Rise / Cataract as reviewed by Iceferno

17. März 2019
Hiroyuki offers up two seemingly identical tracks in the first instance, but each with their own characteristics in the key of F, what is often the strongest tone of the genre.

"Rise" is up first, and rightly so, as the more energetic track of the two. It continues to build even throughout the chorus as you might expect, given the title, and offers an incredibly uplifting experience. "Cataract" is similarly energetic, yet somehow less so. It's difficult to describe, but the track is ever so slightly restrained. The distorted guitar-style lead that comes in for the chorus is beautiful, capturing the listener's imagination, to which the title could be referring.

The style of both tracks puts me in mind of some of the mid-00 releases on Lost Language from producers such as Recluse and Pesh. Rise and Cataract have a distinct and timeley feel, coming from what many consider one of the last memorable years in the Trance scene.
Iceferno

Frankie Knuckles - House Masters as reviewed by Iceferno

6. März 2019
The best entry in the House Masters series. These 22 tracks take you through each FK era right from the very beginning up to the recent Director's Cut projects. There's a lot of incredibly melodic vocal tracks in this package. Highly recommended for fans of 90s and Soulful House, and a respectful tribute to Frankie's passing. The man definitely deserves a Volume Two.
Iceferno

House Masters Iceferno

5. März 2019
geändert 8 months ago
King Street did House Legends: Kerri Chandler, but it's digital-only. I would totally be down for a 4CD House Masters: Kerri Chandler. Maybe two volumes like MAW got.
Iceferno

Luminary - Amsterdam (Maor Levi Remix) as reviewed by Iceferno

11. Februar 2019
Upon revisting this track, it's still as incredible as when I first heard it.

Maor adapts "Amsterdam" to his futuristic progressive sound, similar to originals "Illumina", "Shapes", and tracks produced under the Pillow One alias. The build is long and the atmosphere is intense with beautiful pads surrounding the listener. And while I prefer instrumental Trance, Ashley's soft vocals are very well suited to this interpretation.
Iceferno

Kerri Chandler - The 4th Thing For Linda EP Iceferno

17. September 2018
I know I'm late but it's possible Juno just had one in stock still. I once bought a Trance vinyl from them, brand new, originally released 8 years earlier.
Iceferno

Scooter as reviewed by Iceferno

3. August 2018
It's sad to witness the decline in Scooters quality. I originally found out about them through a school friend back in 2001, so was very much introduced during the second chapter, but also went back to the origins and found some hidden gems like the legendary Rhapsody In E.

The second chapter was great. A lot of high quality instrumentals and even entire albums such as Back To The Heavyweight Jam and We Bring The Noise! I believe the group perfected their sound at this point in their career.

The third chapter was a curious one, and continued some of the Trance that Rick and Axel brought forward some years earlier. But for whatever reason, I bought The Stadium Techno Experience when it was new and sort of dropped off for a while to discover more Trance. I returned to Mind The Gap in recent years and was pleasantly surprised by Trance-Atlantic and Trip To Nowhere. The only album left that I want is, seemingly appropriately titled, Who Has The Last Laugh Now? A polarizing album, with some indicating the start in their decline, but I like what I hear.

The departure of Jay and introduction of Michael brought in some decent tracks, and a lot of Jumpstyle. There aren't really any consistent albums in this era, in my opinion, but some noteworthy tracks (The Sound Above My Hair, The Question Is What Is The Question, Love Is An Ocean, Metropolis).

I realise Scooter have always been a commercial dance group, but the way the industry turned clearly affected what they put out, as any longtime fans have observed. Personally, I feel the final nail in the coffin was the departure of Rick. HP is still shouting over the singles, but it's not the same.
Iceferno

Various - Sonic The Hedgehog CD - Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary Edition as reviewed by Iceferno

18. Juli 2018
One of the strongest and most melodic soundtracks in the SEGA back catalogue. Naofumi and Masafumi deliver an album of exceptional character, shaping the future of what Sonic and SEGA would become in the 90s.

A number of influences become apparent when listening through, such as Asian pop music, early 90s dance genres like Italo House, Drum n Bass. Even as I write this, I can hear a bass-line in Quartz Quadrant P reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall". And because of the game's time travel concept and multiple versions of each zone, the album is a great example to aspiring composers of variation and remixing.

The album would later make a spiritual return in the form of Tee Lopes' recent Sonic Mania soundtrack, which borrows heavily from the style, sound, and in some cases, even the tracks themselves, of this game. To fans of Mania who perhaps aren't familiar with CD, this is another reason to pick up this album, which is essentially Sonic Mania Zero.
Iceferno

Mat Zo Iceferno

15. Dezember 2016
Can't be wrong about an opinion, dude. It's just my personal experience listening to him. I knew of him back when he released Moonset. Listening to your examples, excluding Hurricane which is pretty decent, you clearly aren't hearing what I am. Generic EDM/"Brostep" fusions. His Drum & Bass is OK, but not overly impressive.
Iceferno

Lukas Greenberg Iceferno

6. August 2016
Such tragic news. I have his first two albums and thoroughly enjoyed what he created. He will be missed. R.I.P., Lukas.
Iceferno

Airbase as reviewed by Iceferno

30. Mai 2016
Despite the rather underwhelming transition within the commercial Trance scene, Airbase has stayed true throughout the 15 years he's been releasing. His symphonic chord progression can still be heard in tracks today. Highlights include the recent "Lachrymose", "Mondegreen", and the epic "Modus Operandi". Jezper has adapted to the current sound, but has blended his own with it, showing true character within his work, a trait which is sadly rare nowadays.