Solarstone - AnthologyOne

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UK trancer’s Solarstone, aka Rich Mowatt and Andrew Bury, have been warming the heart’s of trance fan’s for ten years now, ever since they made their first indelible mark on the scene with their seminal debut release The Calling. This latest double disc album is a collection of the cream of their original productions under their various guises including the enigmatic Young Parisians, Z2, Liquid State (created for the Perfecto Label) and the hands-in-the-air alias Skyscraper.

Disc One is unmixed and contains 14 full on trance productions of the very highest quality. It’s a fantastic selection of their more upbeat club tracks accompanied by some equally dreamy ambient productions. Starting the album off on an ambient tip, Solarcoaster explodes from nowhere, with it’s big trance riffs you immediately realise why this song, and it’s production duo, are one of the pioneers of trance music. Following the tripped out Black Finished Crome comes the angelic Release, a dreamy beachside trance production and definitely a highlight of the album, similar in sound to the seminal classic Beachball by Nalin & Kane.

While Speak in Sympathy is impressive with it’s female vocal, it’s the next track which Solarstone are most famous for, Seven Cities. This track needs no introduction and is widely regarded as one of the best trance productions, ever. Their seminal release The Calling is next, a triphop-esq trancer that is followed by the chilled out Intracity. Next is possibly their biggest vocal hit, Jump The Next Train under the Young Parisians alias. While this is one of, if not, my favourite trance production ever, this original remix at a slower pace than usually heard really doesn’t move me the way the more up-tempo remixes out there do. Preceding another highlight of the album, Like A Waterfall, is the very short yet ultra-chilled Crashing. Like A Waterfall is the next track to add to the highlight list, a trifecta in trance production terms as it’s uplifting, driving and accompanied by a beautiful female vocal. Enough said.

The album is broken up by various ambient and break beat interludes and spoken word samples, all providing a welcome break from the pulsating basslines, showing their versatility as producers. Some work better than others, and few sound very experimental, but it does result in a well-balanced album. The disc is rounded off in fine style by the ambient classic Jabberwock, which seems to have appeared on nearly every chill-out album going around.

If Disc One was all about home listening, Disc Two is all about the dance floor. A seamless mix of Solarstone’s biggest club tunes, kicking off with the club mix of Like A Waterfall, and moving through a couple of their deeper productions including the mysterious vocal and sublime guitar melody of U Write The Rules and the sheer quality of Destination – two excellent examples of how to make a big trance record without resorting to huge synth lines. The other major highlight? The entire second half of Disc Two! Tracks 8 to 13 finish the album off in spectacular fashion. A devastating trance trip of Solarcoaster, 3rd Earth and Naked Angel is beautifully followed by The Hymn and I Want You. The Vone Mix of Seven Cites finishes off this album in absolutely spectacular fashion.

In concluding, the album is a beautiful blend – an aural tapestry if you like – of all the things that made trance almighty and the genre of the late 1990s. Having recently reviewed Johan Gielen – Revelations, and having bought Armin’s ‘A State of Trance’ this year, this album by Solarstone absolutely leaves both for dead. It’s one of the best albums of the year, for any genre! If you don’t have this in your collection then you’re dreaming if you think you’re a true lover of trance.

With Anthology Two and Three scheduled for release in 2007 featuring their finest remix and ambient works respectively, these are must-buys!

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