A lot of artist albums these days start with some sort of special intro track. This album is no exception as it starts with an ambient-ish track. It’s not your typical ‘floating-pads-ambient-intro’ though, this is something with a Wanrooy-twist. The chords and the guitar used in “Friuli” are really unpredictable which makes it a highly interesting intro. It’s like the track tries to tell you: ‘Yes, I am the intro of this album, but I have attitude… I am different...’.
The voice of Elliot Johns appears in the first dance track, “Put Yourself Through This”. Elliot is a known name in the trance scene with his vocals in tracks like ‘First State - Your Own Way’,
‘Nic Chagall - What You Need’, etc. The contrast between the piano/vocal-solo part and the big dirty climax after it is massive and completely unexpected. Just like the intro track this track has some serious attitude that makes it interesting.
My favorite track of the ‘In Search of Sunrise 8’ mix-compilation was Daniel’s “Ocean Terrace”, and it features on the album in a special 2.0 edit. The first one-and-a-half minute are not very different compared to the original with the memorable tingling background sounds and the small build-up melody all still intact. But then Daniel shows his attitude again, not afraid of what might be seen as ‘destroying’ the famous main lead section. Fortunately the dirtiness works well and the magic of the original isn’t lost. This is its tougher, meaner twin-brother. Great stuff!
After “Dog Day Afternoon”, which offers an enjoyable and peak-time Wanrooy-hook, and “Stay In The Moment”, a pretty cool housey track with vocals of Blake Lewis it’s time for “Tonica”. This track reminds a bit of Jonas Steur in the intro section but after a minute Daniel takes the track to another route. The contrasting climatic part and the sweeter Steur-ish sounds complement each other wonderfully. The little pitchbend effect used on the synth really gives it the dirty attitude again that the album so far has offered us.
Another ‘ISOS’ track, “Bangalore”, featured on the ninth in the legendary compilation series, continues going down the same dirty road combining elements from trance, house and electro in a way that Daniel Wanrooy is known for.
“White Sands”, with René Havelaar, increases the pace for a bit and it's another mean banger in line with the other tracks, while at the same time sounding completely different. After the aggressive high-pitched-hoover section the breakdown offers us a of moment of serenity before revealing a big trance melody.
Emma lock features in “Living It Up”, a great vocal track with some neat production tricks. The bars don’t consist of four quarter notes, but of three thirds (as used in ‘Armin ft Ferry-Minack’), which gives the track a laid-back yet bouncy feel. The big bongo percussion samples used add to this feeling and also show us again that Daniel is not afraid of crossing borders.
The tempo gets increased again with “Pretoria (2012 Mix)”, which doesn’t sound much different compared to the original. The main melody and the squeaky hardstyle sounds are still there, but perhaps this version has slightly more power. Anyway, the main melody is quite nice and the climatic part is banging, definitely something big for live usage. Perhaps not the most pleasing track for home listening though…
After the intro in “E.L.F.” a big electro-bassline takes over. The main part that follows reminds a little bit of Ferry Corsten’s ‘Feel It’, with that big stabbing synth melody. Once again, this is something with a Wanrooy-twist though with several layers and notes added to the melody throughout the climax section, keeping the track interesting.
“Your Life” is a more traditional trance track, with sidechained pads as climax and quite a nice vocal by Hannah Ray. It’s followed by “Lotus”, which is another nice blend of calm and peaceful parts with harsh main hooks and stabs. Just as ‘Pretoria’, this track is something for ultimate dancefloor-effect, but for home listening it might be too club-orientated for some listeners.
The album ends with a calmer track called “4 Days Out”, which is perhaps the least interesting track of the whole disc. The intro and the breakdown are pretty nice but it doesn’t really go anywhere afterwards.
It’s great that Daniel dares to release an album with this tough attitude. He doesn’t seem to care much for what is ‘standard’ in artist-albums leaving out meaningless fillers or unnecessary ‘experiments’ and focusing completely on what he wants the album to sound like. The whole album feels like one big connected musical statement, without sounding the same over and over, which is a great achievement.
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