Wow, what could one say about this one without understating its true magic? In 2003, the original of Symbols, composed by Dutch musical prodigies Bart van Wissen (Fictivision) and Joris van der Straten (C-Quence), obliterated clubs all over the world with its hypnotizing, ever spiritual melody during the song’s core. Besides the obviously intense breakdown containing this central melody, the song integrates a variety of offshoot melodies. For instance, a melancholic melody on a ghastly pads/monks synth beginning at 1:51 sneakingly morphs into a more aggressive, ominous strings synth (again, using that same melody) by 5:10 before the second breakdown. This drawn out transition would ultimately sustain the song’s momentum, acting as a glue to bind the song’s segments. Brilliant! The synths are classy in general and not overdone, as they have a dynamic range of timbres to keep you well engaged from start to finish. Leaving out rubbish filler to keep you waiting for some “big moment”, Symbols encompasses the definition of a song that takes you on a journey from start to finish. Let’s look at this another way: up to the point at which I’m writing, Symbols is the highest rated release on the In Trance We Trust label on Discogs, and certainly exceeding many of its peers on any label during the 2000s decade.
Comparatively, I found the Mesh remix missing out on the more nuanced arrangements that made the original so special. Although, he does make the melody played on the monks and strings synths from the original stand out more, which I think helped. While still an excellent job, Mesh’s version sounds much similar to some of his originals like Esthetic Visions and Purple Haze, with only some minor twists to accommodate Symbols. Nothing special is really added, so it is the original that wins my vote.
Either way, make sure you grab hold of this incredible release. No trance collection is complete without it!
What more can be said about Symbols that hasn't already been said? Well, not much, if you ask me. Yet I am still going to have my brief say.
Bart van Wissen is the man behind Fictivision. He had written and produced another EP on the In Trance We Trust label before this one, namely Ringworld / Outpost (ITWT 347-5), and although it is not heralded as a classic by many, it still showed his undoubted talent. Soon after, he colloborated with C-Quence on Symbols, which has gone on to be one of the true classics on Dutch trance. In fact, I do believe it is the top rated ITWT release on Discogs (with 10 votes or more). This proves both its longevity and its popularity among those in the know.
So why is Symbols seemingly so universally adored? I think it's simply one of the most unrelentingly euphoric tracks I have heard. Whereas some euphoric tracks rely on their wall of sound providing an elongated heavy electronic soundscape, Symbols utilises the notion of intricate melodies speeded up to create its exciting atmosphere. The Quest's C Sharp (ITWT 310-5) is another example of this technique being perfected before our very ears.
Jack Molenschot in his Mesh guise remixed this track for the EP, and, as has been stated before in a previous review, he didn't really capture the magic of the original. It's definitely the Original Mix that should be heard and embraced as a true example of Dutch trance at its finest.
'Symbols' in my honest opinion is an ideal of uplifting dutch trance. This colossal chef-d'oeuvre made me open my eyes wide and even have creeps the very first time I heard it! The spectacular breakdown is followed by ascending uplifting theme and plays in your head for a long time again and again. A true masterpiece by great dutch trance producers!
Jack Molenschot's vision of the chef-d'oeuvre is much more softer and it lost the power and energy of original mix, but though of its own peculiar taste.