OUT The Digital Blonde - N3ON [JOOF Recordings]

Artist name(s)
The Digital Blonde
Release title
N3ON
Label name
JOOF Recordings
Release date
Sep 20, 2021
Release type
Artist album
Link to external store
https://www.beatport.com/release/n3on/3463425

Sleepy Robot

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Listened to the album multiple times and i'm very happy with. My favorites so far are Age of Confusion, Synthdrive, Aventador and Star Song although the others are right behind. The odd one out to me is Asteria, still not sure what to think of it.

Overall a great addition to the Neon sage and will be played many times just like 1 and 2.
 

Freezer

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STANDOUT TRACKS 9/10
Age Of Confusion
Aventador
Fade To Grey

ALSO GOOD 8/10
Synthdriver
Space Race
XBlast

POSSIBLE GROWERS 6-7/10
Plutox
Star Song
Magic Fly
Sanctus
Futuria

OK TRACKS, BUT NOT MY FAVS FOR VARIOUS REASONS: 5-6/10
Only You
Asteria
Look The Universe
Balerika
 
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Hensmon

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Need more listens but first round through I thought it was great. Possibly best NEON yet? Initially when I looked at the track list I thought the track lengths would be too long, but I never felt like things were too drawn out or got bored. I spent hours just drifting away with it while working. Can imagine its only gonna get better with more listens.
 
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Electronlyman

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Need more listens but first round through I thought it was great. Possibly best NEON yet? Initially when I looked at the track list I thought the track lengths would be too long, but I never felt like things were too drawn out or got bored. I spent hours just drifting away with it while working. Can imagine its only gonna get better with more listens.
Yeah exactly this. It is the best NEON hands down man!
It makes me feel excited like a kid under the Christmas tree haha!
I thought tracks as long as these, would be challenging to keep my interest.
However, on this album, even 17 min long tracks feel absolutely comfortable and exciting. It takes skill to achieve this.
 

s3baman

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Album of the year hands down!! It's a lot more varied than past two incarnations of the synthwave sound. At first I was not big on that but after a couple of listens I'm starting to understand the reasons behind it. When tracks are this long, having 2.5h of the same sound might be great for fanboys like myself, but it also makes for a less interesting listening experience.

One thing that I've always loved from Ricky is that even with 9-10 minutes tracks, and now constantly pushing towards 12-14, he manages to keep a natural progression going so that you don't just hear the same beats all the way through.

I agree with most: Age of Confusion, Fade to Grey and especially Aventador (this track literally takes off, holy cow) are some of the best trance I've heard in the past 18-24 months.

If there was one nibble, is that while I love this more refined sound, I miss the crazy high tempo from his early days. Case in point is the updated Only You. I would take the production quality of today, but with the energy of the original
 
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Rok

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Love the album.

Even though I'm a fanboy, I think sometimes TDB's tracks don't justify their length, but here with most tracks you don't even realize how long they are, because how good they flow. I also agree it's more diverse than the previous Neons.

Balerika, Age Of Confusion, Synthdrive, Only You, Star Song, Space Race, Xblast, Aventador, Fade To Grey, Aventador is my selection of faves in no particular order. I realize that's like 2/3 of the album, but I was having a really hard time ranking these tunes, because all of them are more or less equally good to me.
 
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Electronlyman

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Try to play this album again, on the loudest setting possible without distortion.
I did this recently, and understood this album wasn't made for quiet listening.

It's already awesome at normal levels, but I'm sure it's been designed to be played loud.
Discovered some things I didn't feel and notice before. You will be blown away.
 

Tievb21

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It's a fantastic album and I am in love with his huge extended mixes like the old days with proper build up etc. I won't write more for now, since I have to listen to it many more times.

I am also voting for being the best NEON yet! It really puts me in trance mode with every track. Everything sounds so flawless to my ears. So well made tracks in every way.

Btw a little sad that CD releases become less and less popular. Even Anjunabeats seem to just focus on Vinyl and digital releases lately. Sucks. The Flac are way too pricey on beatport for big albums too. If NEON 3 was available on CD, I would buy it without second thought.
 
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Gagi

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Don't mean to shit all over everyone's party, but I've taken a listen today. Managed to sit through the album (with just one break), which is a good enough sign I guess, bearing in mind my criticism of the first album.

I can certainly appreciate the effort made, and some of my criticisms of the first album really don't apply here. As said, the 17-minute tracks don't feel as such. The beats are not as loud and obnoxious - or maybe it's just my mood today - and I never had any desire to stop playing the album even though I listened to it on my headphones (the break was for practical purposes). It seems well-thought-out, and it's definitely not a lazy interpretation of synthwave trance. I can enjoy it in the background definitely - I'm not a fan of the style as much for active listening.

That said, what you guys voted the best track (and also our TOTW) I found to be the weakest track on the album and it actually managed to annoy me a bit at that. The album does feel a bit samey though, the beats get static and feel too processed. I'm not one to complain about long tracks, but the album is too long to enjoy at once, and the tracks do not stand out to me enough to listen to them on their own. That means I'll probably never listen to it again.

My favourite is maybe Fade To Grey. It's the only track which has a recognizable theme, and maybe that's why I like it. It's aggressive, edgy and it works. It's not perfect (beats!), but I sort of like it.

The overall conclusion is that it's not for me. But even then, it managed to surprise me, it's better than I thought it would be.
 

dmgtz96

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At nearly 3 hours 30 minutes long, this album is grand.
I haven't had a chance to listen to it fully yet, but it does sound more like background music than anything. I'll have it on while working, for sure.
 

s3baman

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At nearly 3 hours 30 minutes long, this album is grand.
I haven't had a chance to listen to it fully yet, but it does sound more like background music than anything. I'll have it on while working, for sure.
I think this album will feature a lot of play time from me, for the same reason why the Mirror's Edge Catalyst 5.5h OST does. It's a great journey that you can put in the background while working and just focus on the job at hand. Granted, Catalyst OST is by far the most ambitious and dare I say, best electronica album I've ever heard so it's not a fair comparison, but I got the same initial vibes from N3ON
 
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dmgtz96

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Synthdrive is probably one of the greatest trance tracks of this year. TOTY contender for sure. It captures the same "The Digital Blonde" energy from Electra and Legato that made him famous in the first place.

edit: Magic Fly was also good.
 
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Daysleeper

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Sat down yesterday, and played this through, almost.

I was about to write - Excellent album, but halvway through it started to become a little dull. Dont get me wrong, most of these tracks are solid. The cyberpunkish cold atmosphere he creates are intriguing and really draws you in. The basslines are deep and driving. The fact that the various fx sounds and overall tight atmospheres/pads and melodic lines are so well crafted makes the more static beatwork feel less static. The overall theme is very cool. I like the car accelaration sounds etc haha.

I think it would have been better if it were a little shorter and a couple tracks were removed. He uses the same bassline pattern and drums on a couple tracks a bit too much.

Magic fly is one I would throw away, I also didnt dig synthdrive that much either. There was another more fitting track with a less in your face synthwave:y melody.
 

Electronlyman

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Sat down yesterday, and played this through, almost.

I was about to write - Excellent album, but halvway through it started to become a little dull. Dont get me wrong, most of these tracks are solid. The cyberpunkish cold atmosphere he creates are intriguing and really draws you in. The basslines are deep and driving. The fact that the various fx sounds and overall tight atmospheres/pads and melodic lines are so well crafted makes the more static beatwork feel less static. The overall theme is very cool. I like the car accelaration sounds etc haha.

I think it would have been better if it were a little shorter and a couple tracks were removed. He uses the same bassline pattern and drums on a couple tracks a bit too much.

Magic fly is one I would throw away, I also didnt dig synthdrive that much either. There was another more fitting track with a less in your face synthwave:y melody.

I have eagerly waited for your comment here!

Yeah, that is a valid point.
I agree that the album is a bit long, in every other aspect it's very strong indeed!
There must be something to complain about, else it would be illegally good haha
This is one of these aspects, that can either be considered negative, or positive, depends on the approach.

It's not the easiest to find 3,5 h of time for the entire album, and some of the tracks in the seconds half, are a bit like variations of previous tracks,
but this also takes place in albums that are only about 1 hour long.

This seems to be intended and I think we could actually use it to our benefit,
playing either this track, or that track, alternately.
I remember Ricky stating, that he intended this album to be enjoyed in an unlimited number of ways.
If this was a CD release, it would be split on three CDs!

With the most multi CD albums that I own, I usually select only one CD at a time.
This one is waay too long for a single sesh, so I'll split into 2 or 3 sessions.
Or mostly, use single tracks for VA playlists as I like to do.
 
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dmgtz96

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Magic fly is one I would throw away, I also didnt dig synthdrive that much either. There was another more fitting track with a less in your face synthwave:y melody.
Those are quite literally the tracks that stood out to me. Maybe I enjoyed them because they are in your face synthwave-y?
I liked the neat little early-2000s synths that appear 2 minutes into Magic Fly. They remind me of the original Deadmau5 - Aural Psynapse (03:19). I think that was a fairly common sound among amateur producers at the time. The part with the subtle high hats at 02:54 in Magic Fly drew my attention as well. It is weird, though, like half synthwave half "Egyptian." In a way, Magic Fly feels like a The Digital Blonde "synthwave trance" remix of Ilya ViG - Ashian, released on Pulsar Dark a few years ago. The audible background pads at ~3:26 and ambiance at 03:52 are great. With this track I think it's more of looking at all the little things instead of an overarching melody.

The main melody in Synthdrive reminds me of Floyd - 4ever (Abel Ramos remix).

EDIT: The melody in Magic Fly is taken from Synthesizer Orchestra - Magic Fly [1991]. No wonder it feels familiar; it's been used by multiple artists.

EDIT2: Other highlights-

Futuria. Loved the "tech-house" bass and focus on high hats in the intro. As soon as I heard them, this track had me hooked. Good climax with a cinematic feeling.

Asteria. That tech-y intro was interesting, and I enjoy the darker/more "urgent" atmosphere of this track.

Fade to Grey. Wtf that noise at the beginning? It's awesome. Glad that this is the end of the album.
 
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s3baman

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Just giving this thread a bumb since I've had Aventador on repeat for the past hour. This track has some insane drive, especially once that synthwave riff comes into the climax. Also, the intro is very 00.db sounding, love the space vibes
 
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Electronlyman

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Just giving this thread a bumb since I've had Aventador on repeat for the past hour. This track has some insane drive, especially once that synthwave riff comes into the climax. Also, the intro is very 00.db sounding, love the space vibes
I'm same obsessed with Age Of Confusion.
The way it builds is so rewarding later on.


BTW I have recently heard the new Stephan Bodzin album and Activa albums.
N3ON is the best of the three and I'm saying that as a Bodzin fanboi :p

I don't say these albums aren't good, N3ON just impressed me the most.
It's spectacular.