Trance Anthems 2010 (Mixed by Dave Pearce) - Dave Pearce
3 CD(s) - Trance - Label: Ministry of Sound - Distributor: Ministry of Sound/Sony DADC, Ministry Of Sound/Universal Music - Released: 19/04/2010 - 505...
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Review of "Trance Anthems 2010 (Mixed by Dave Pearce) - Dave Pearce"
Here’s a short questionnaire for you to set the scene.Do you enjoy the feeling of hot, sweaty skin pressed against, hot sweaty skin?
Do you worship at the altar of the man known as Tiesto?Do you like it if the DJ ‘rolls another fat one’?
If you can answer yes to one or more of those questions, then this review is for you. If not, skim to the bottom, tut loudly and get back to your Nick Cave CDs.
About Dave PearceDave Pearce is a (characteristically unattractive) British DJ, famed for his love of trance music and his early evening Sunday night radio show ‘Dance Anthems’ that, until 2007, was a staple part of the weekend. He subsequently shifted over to 6 Music, where his shows have continued, but he has also taken up a regular tour of UK clubs, taking his Dance Anthem shows with him.
‘Trance Anthems’ is a compilation series distributed on the Ministry of Sound record label. Released once a year, the series has thus far stretched to three volumes (one per year since 2008) but there are a host of other Dave Pearce compilations, each featuring a similarly upbeat selection of house and trance tunes. They do good business, and rightly so. Pearce mixes a fairly commercial sound into a more credible one to create a mix that’s genuinely accessible to die-hard fans, newcomers and occasional listeners. If you ‘kind of like’ dance music, but don’t feel the need to buy endless volumes of the stuff, you could do far worse than a Dave Pearce collection. As a DJ, he’s almost entirely without pretence. He likes his tunes and he likes his crowd and that makes him a pretty safe bet.
The FormatThe 2010 volume was released on April 19th in two formats. The physical format comprises three mixed discs in a tidy little boxed set. The MP3 format is arguably much better. There are the same sixty tracks as the physical format but in unmixed, full track length format and then (provided you download the album in one hit) you get the three mixes as well. To further damage the reputation of the physical music format, the MP3 format is cheaper than the CD – it’s currently £7.99 on Amazon (£9.99 on iTunes) versus £10.99 for the CD set. So the digital format is definitely the better deal here, even if you get it on iTunes.
The format boasts ‘the biggest trance tunes past and present’ and comprises sixty tracks that pretty much fit the bill. The 2010 volume stays pretty close to the 2009 volume, which moved away from the ‘trance classics’ theme of the 2008 compilation and is probably biased towards the newer material. Indeed, many of the ‘classics’ featured here on the album appear in a new mix or version such that the whole album largely feels quite fresh. Of course, the downside means that if you’re looking for a collection of all your favourites, there are better compilations out there. As a seasoned buyer of dance compilations, this works pretty well for me though, as I tend to find a lot of duplication from one volume to another, particularly across the MOS range, where the same tracks often crop up on the Clubber’s Guides, on the Annuals and on the Very Best of Euphoric Dance Breakdown series.This is not an easy listen and is not an album to pick up and put down. The track lengths are generally quite short (although Pearce often uses the club mix, the edits here mean that the songs rarely last longer than three minutes) but this is about the overall mood and effect. This is an upbeat, pounding soundtrack that will only complement a certain mood. You can put this album on and find it really, really irritating and distracting and then you can put it on an hour later and find it uplifting and energising. God help your neighbours, but this is a great soundtrack in the morning, when you need waking up or later, when you’re getting ready for a night out. At times, I struggle to listen to this at length on my iPod. The intimacy of the mood means that you notice the similarity of so many of the songs and it’s not ‘individual’ enough to enjoy in that way. At other times, it’s hugely inspiring, injecting a much needed boost to your pace or mood. It’s fantastic for working out, or for just being energetic. It’s rubbish if you’re trying to relax.
Why Won’t You Just Let Me Be The Light Inside Your Heart?
Mix one is probably the most commercial of the three, with a reasonable variety of tunes that have done good business over the last decade or so. The snappy track length works well here, flowing one radio friendly track into another and there are quite a lot of ‘hands in the air’ vocal songs here that are big mainstream club anthems. It’s not all comprised of vocal stuff though, with several instrumental tunes to maintain the balance and whilst much of this will be too commercial for many tastes, it retains a reasonable degree of credibility and doesn’t end up feeling like a disc from the Now That’s What I Call Dance Music series.The mix is slightly choppy here. Unsurprisingly, the disc opens with a crowd pleaser (Toca’s Miracle by Fragma) but that’s a reasonably distinctive tune in terms of beats and tempo and it takes Pearce about a minute to mix that into the next tune. It feels like a bit of a struggle to be honest and that’s a fairly recurring theme on this disc. Another example of this is the transition between tracks three and four, where a fairly chunky remix of Paul Van Dyk’s For An Angel has to give way to Insomnia by Faithless. They’re both good tunes (and entirely appropriate to the album) but the shift in style and tone is uncomfortable – and had that been me, I’d have probably used Sasha’s 2005 rework, which would have settled in far more effectively here.
There are other ‘mistakes’ here, if that’s the right word. The longest track in the mix (weighing in at 6 minutes and 14 seconds) is I Can’t Let You Go by Ian Van Dahl. This is one of Van Dahl’s weaker tracks and has a particularly whiney vocal, which largely means that it long outstays its welcome before the six-minute threshold is passed. Sash’s Mysterious Times is perhaps a little too ‘pop dance’ for this collection too. It’s a great song but doesn’t strictly fit the ‘trance anthem’ criteria for inclusion here. (That aside, the way that Pearce uses the track’s distinctive drumbeat to mix in and out of the track is inspired.) Otherwise it’s a competent and accessible mix that will probably appeal to more casual listeners.Highlights
Tiesto – Adagio for Strings (Phynn Remix)www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgblqiDrDsM
Controversially (for some) Tiesto’s take on the classical piece was always harder and farther away from the more sombre, haunting arrangement that William Orbit used to take the track into the top ten. Here, the Phynn Remix is typical of Tiesto’s sound – a steady, persistent bass line with the haunting instrumental eventually rising triumphantly against the backing. The climax is arguably a little too frantic but it’s classic Tiesto stuff.Way Out West – The Gift (Michael Woods Remix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8bh7AycGAoComprising DJs Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff (who are now a staple of the funky house scene), Way Out West hit mainstream success back in 1996 with The Gift, a gentle trance-like house tune that sampled a line from Joanna Law’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (“the moon and the stars, are the gifts you gave”). Here, fourteen years later (god, I feel old) the tune is stripped out and re-energised by Michael Woods – and it’s a triumph. A cacophony of beats and synths, the vocal is still there but it’s an entirely new, more upbeat tune.
Kira – I’ll Be Your Angelwww.youtube.com/watch?v=yo-eiaqD1ls
Originally a hit back in 2003, this was a top ten hit in the UK (the singer’s only success in this country). It’s a strong representation of Belgian vocal trance, all breathy, desperate vocals against a shamelessly thunderous instrumental.Airscape – L’Eseperanza (Armin Van Buuren Mix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LII-LA7TVAMore Belgian trance for you, this time from Airscape who had a number of big tunes back in the trance hey days of the early noughties. This is a beautiful example of that era, all vocal whispers, glimmering samples and a swirling, uplifting synthesised instrumental. At the right point in the evening, this is the sort of stuff that seems to reduce loved up clubbers to tears and Van Buuren always hits the spots. Superb.
Public Domain – Love U More (PD’s Dirty Tech-Trance Vocal Mix)www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzyTVInU2xQ
Love You More started life as a cult techno tune way back in 1991 when the British group Sunscreem were doing the rounds. For the rework, Public Domain have (sensibly) retained Lucia Holms original vocal. Public Domain have essentially taken the vocal from the original and set it amidst a trance-techno workout, mixed up here in a slightly harder format. It’s dark and foreboding and very much contrary to the uplifting sound of the album overall – a welcome respite.Warp Brothers vs Aquagen – Phatt Bass (Warp Brothers Bass Mix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HGoSYAOBQYFamed for ‘that’ scene in Blade (you know – the one in the club where the vampires get covered in blood) Phatt Bass was a huge hit around the world with its industrial techno breakdown (heavy synths cut through a breathy male vocal before it and everyone else around it goes bonkers). This isn’t arguably the best mix of the track every invented but it’s still a great tune and a perfect way to close the mix.
Get Me Up, Wake Me Up, Dreams Are Filling
Mix number two is like a bridge between parts one and two. Still notable for a relative spattering of commercial tunes, some of the remixes are a little more obscure and there are also some lesser-known anthems here. This is a double-edged sword. This is a reasonably good ‘transition’ mix, offering some familiarity for those who want recognisable tunes and possible introducing them to some stonking new ones. The flipside is that it’s neither one nor the other, ultimately rendering it only partly effective in each direction.Compared to mix one, this is a superior mix, although it requires a long ‘session’ to truly appreciate it. It gets better as it gets going, Pearce saving the really euphoric stuff for the end of the disc when he has pretty much whipped you into frenzy. Indeed, it actually starts quite badly. Calvin Harris’s I’m Not Alone is not really a trance tune (only the Tiesto remixes could boast that) and opening the mix with such a commercial nod is probably not a great idea. Indeed, it’s slightly ironic that the tune mixes into a real Tiesto tune – could the record label not have stretched to the Tiesto mix of the Harris tune? Overall, this is probably more a mix for the instrumental trance enthusiasts. There are fewer vocal numbers here but the ones there are verge more towards the epic end of the scale. I’d argue that it’s on this mix that the short track length is least desirable. Some of these tunes just don’t have enough time to get going and it really is the sum of its parts.
HighlightsAndain – Beautiful Things (Jorn Van Deynhoven’s Sundale Mix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRnRZeXoy4sBeautiful Things remains one of the world’s biggest ‘overlooked music’ mysteries. Released in 2004, it’s one of the most gorgeous, tranquil and uplifting trance tunes ever released, but got barely a whiff of radio play in the UK. Andain are a curious mixture of rock, house and folk music and I can’t help thinking that the remixes didn’t really reach the right audiences. The Sundale Mix is a little more upbeat than the best mixes (the Gabriel and Dresden remix is legendary) but it still takes pride of place late in the mix here.
Angelic – It’s My Turn (Daz Baily Remix)www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnOzjf56ICA
Originally a hit back in 2002, It’s My Turn features the blissful vocals of Judge Jules’s wife and this new remix adds a whole new pace to it. The original was very much of the era, all echoes and rippling vocals with a dominating instrumental crescendo. This new version is slightly ‘thuddier’ but has a fresh new sound to it and retains most of the good bits from the original.Reflekt feat Delline Bass – Need To Feel Loved
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Xloo42tuc4Another beauty, this has a delightful, summery vocal from Delline Bass with simple, but blessed out vocals and a gorgeous string sweep picking up in the background. The words to this song are absolutely lovely and it arrives here in it original glory. Try listening to this without falling in love with everybody within a 100-metre radius. Go on, I dare you.
Oceanlab – Breaking Ties (Above & Beyond Analog Heaven Mix)www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4vRD6CbxhY
Brief mention for one of my ongoing favourites, this is a monster masquerading as a delicate, ethereal ballad. The mix isn’t quite the best one around (turn to the Jaytech and James Grant mix for a killer bass line) but it’s still a beautiful song.Plastic Boy – Live Another Life
www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX0JcqzTNPUThose DJs and their name-changing games eh? Plastic Boy is none other than Belgian DJ Mike Direrickx, otherwise known as Push. Push had a small handful of monster hits with the likes of Universal Nation and Strange World. These were huge instrumental, frantic trance beasts that just seemed to rip up the sound system. The very definition of epic trance, with pounding beats and dramatic instrumentals, Live Another Life is classic Push. No vocal – just relentless drama.
Still is the Water Where My Fears Are Bound
Mix three is a reward for patience. The third disc in the compilation is neither for the faint-hearted nor the easily pleased. It takes effort to get into this mix, initially because there are few/none of the big vocal numbers that offer a degree of familiarity to the layman. It’s very easy to go for the mainstream appeal of discs one or two, but if you can settle into disc three, what you’ll find is a storming mix. It’s here that Pearce really seems to cut loose, freed from the shackles of having to please the record label and simply playing the latest tunes that *he* thinks you should be listening to.It’s quite a progressive mix, starting off simple and easy and heading into more serious euphoria territory, as all good mixes should, let’s face it. Most of the tunes on this disc have only very recently been released or are yet to be released and it’s an encouraging sign that great trance music continues to be produced even more than ten years after the scene exploded. The inaccessibility of the mix works a little against it if you’re looking for a short burst (one or two tracks just won’t cut it here) but if you have an hour into which you want to escape, then this might just be the perfect soundtrack.
HighlightsMatt Darey Presents Urban Astronauts – See The Sun (Aurosonic Mix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RspvQtRzybEIt’s difficult to describe how much I like this tune. Matt Darey is a bit of a trance legend, having led Europe into the trance scene back in 1999, some of his tunes (Liberation, Beautiful) have become veritable classics, but he is still producing and mixing great music. See The Sun is the first we’ve had for a bit and is exhausting in its beautiful simplicity. Lovely, youthful, haunting female vocals glide over a very conventional synthesised instrumental that just takes you higher and higher. Pearce has upped the b.p.m. a tad too much here but it works perfectly within the mix – I even like the way he segues this into the next tune…
DJ Eco Presents Pacheco – Staring At The Seawww.youtube.com/watch?v=jY4PWj12x_Y
The New York DJ comes up trumps here with an atmospheric summer anthem that occasionally sort of mimics the sound of crashing waves against a very simple whining instrumental. It’s very Ibiza – I can see them going mad for this on the island all summer. A simple, infectious arrangement (the melody comprises a tiny handful of notes), this gets in your head and won’t budge until it’s talking to your whole body.De Donatis & Ciacomix – Angel 2010 (Arctic Moon Dub Remix)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNteB29ssLgAn old school trance tune this is what I call ‘emotional trance’. The euphoric melody is primed for that time of the night when it all gets a bit too much and you feel all emotional – usually towards the end of the set. It’s epic and hysterical, over-wrought, exaggerated, pounding and brilliant.
Rafael Frost – FlashbackPrimed as the next big thing by Ferry Corsten, Rafael Frost is playing alongside Tiesto at the Dutch launch party for Sex and the City 2. If Flashback is anything to go by, it will be a killer set. A dramatic, pounding, instrumental monster straight from that crowd-pleasing school made famous by Tiesto, this is outstanding stuff. If ever I grow wings and rise up over the crowds, this is what will be playing in the background. (Yes, I'm mad).
Need I Go On?The writing’s on the wall here I think. By now (and probably long before now) you’ll have worked out if this is for you and if you *think* it is, let me tell you that it definitely is. Throwing aside concepts of money and value (but sixty tracks for less than a tenner has to be good by anyone’s standards) this is a pretty slick trio of mixes, with a strong track listing and a good variety of sounds. Newcomers might need to work their way up to mix three but it’s rewarding for those who do. This makes its nearest partner on the MOS label (The Very Best of Euphoric Dance) look tame, inconsistent and ineffective.
Of the three volumes to date, this is probably my favourite and will have the most longevity. Previous volumes were good for the classics, but it’s great to have something new to play with and the balance here is better.Get in. It’s all good.
Product Information : Trance Anthems 2010 (Mixed by Dave Pearce) - Dave Pearce
Manufacturer's product description3 CD(s) - Trance - Label: Ministry of Sound - Distributor: Ministry of Sound/Sony DADC, Ministry Of Sound/Universal Music - Released: 19/04/2010 - 5051275033427
Listed on Ciao since: 28/10/2011