Today sees the release of the much anticipated 7th instalment in Solarstone’s Pure Trance compilation series. Spread across 3 discs with Kristina Sky, Solarstone and Lostly on mix duties. I decided to take a listen through and share my thoughts on the album but this won't be a straight up review as I'll be giving a little background on my personal experiences in relation to the Pure Trance brand and artists as well.
Solarstone set up the Pure Trance brand in 2012 at a time when, for me, trance was really going in a bad direction. He helped bring things back to the essence of proper, pure trance music without the harder more aggressive EDM, dubstep and house influences that were prevalent in 'trance' music at the time and made it cool to be un-cool again. I’m clearly not alone in feeling this way as Pure Trance has continued to grow and grow into a much loved and respected brand ascross the world with a label, events, merchandise and weekly radio show, which is a permanent fixture in my house.
I was lucky enough to get this downloaded first thing this morning via my Pure Trance fan club membership on Amplifyd and after my first listen through I was very happy indeed. It's a perfect start to the weekend!
Three Choon artists are featured on the compilation; Disc 1 kicks off with a laidback, chilled out track entitled ‘Elixir of Life’ by Neptune Project feat. Christopher Lovell. Neptune Project’s new album ‘A Question of Reality’ also drops this Sunday 11/11 so stay chooned for more on that from us here at ChoonTrance. Moving on to Disc 2 we have ‘False Memory’ from Allende and ‘Solarstone’s Pure Mix’ of ‘When Faith Fades’ by Dreamy under his Dark Matter alias. It’s great to see Choon artists getting support on such a well respected and high profile mix series.
Disc 1 – Mixed by Kristina Sky
Hailing from the West Coast of America Kristina Sky is a well established and respected DJ playing at big festivals and events on both sides of the pond such as Coachella, ASOT, Dreamstate and Luminosity Beach Festival. Back in February she even featured on the lineup for Choon co-founder Gareth Emery’s Laserface event in San Fransisco, if you like lasers and haven’t heard of Laserface you should definitely check this out!
As a producer she has collaborated most recently with Orla Feeney on a series of releases on Vandit and Extreme Global. If you want to know more about Kristina then head on over to her website: http://kristinasky.com/
Disc 1 manages to fit 20 tracks into the mix and although my preference is for full versions of tracks rather than short edits, with a compilation I know that's often not the case, as they want to showcase as many tracks as possible and CD's have limited playing time. Nonetheless, Kristina's excellent track selection means it doesn't feel rushed or awkward in any way and the mix flows really well.
The first half very much showcases the more progressive side of trance before stepping through the gears a little. Track 11 was a real joy for me, Kristina's mashup of 'Force of Gravity' by BT feat. JC Chasez and Attila Syah's 'Long Journey' instantly reminding me of the Ferry Corsten Bootleg of Force of Gravity which is a track I love (but nobody else seems to, when I put it on). The mix then moves through some slightly more upbeat, melodic tracks such as 'Sunset' by Shacada and 'Awakening' by David Gradwell before turning it up a notch from track 16 for what for me is the best part of the mix.
'Radiant' by Tim Verkruissen leads into a mini sing-along with 'Like a Waterfall' then followed by my favourite two tracks from the disc. First up 'Where We Dream' by Solar Movement, with it's beautiful pluck, and after that it's 'Sueño', from the immensely talented Alex Wright. It's surprisingly different from his usual work with it's groovy tribal beat.
Final track of the disc is Kristina's own collab with Roger Shah - 'Ocean Flame', which will get a full release on Pure Trance next month. I'd probably say that one rounds out my top 3 favourite tracks from the disc.
01. Neptune Project featuring Christopher Lovell – Elixir of Life
02. Mike Saint-Jules – Parachuting
03. Paul Sawyer – Meridian
04. Elfsong – Crenshinibon (Dub Mix)
05. David Broaders – Tidal Force
06. Mark Found – In the Room
07. Nick Silvestri – One Person At A Time
08. David Broaders – Jitter
09. L_DG – Isle of Formentera (Ciree Remix)
10. Revolution 9 – Awakening
11. BT featuring JC Chasez vs. Attila Syah – Journey To Gravity (Kristina Sky’s Mashup)
12. New Ordinance – Beyond Gravity
13. Shacada – Sunset
14. Danny Stubbs vs. Kindred Spirits – The View From Apollo D’Antan (Kristina Sky & Randy Boyer’s Resurrection Mix)
15. David Gradwell – Awakening
16. Tim Verkruissen – Radiant
17. Solarstone & JES – Like A Waterfall (The Blizzard Remix)
18. Solar Movement – Where We Dream
19. Alex Wright – Sueño
20. Roger Shah & Kristina Sky – Ocean Flame
Disc 2 – Mixed by Solarstone
A man who really needs no introductions: Solarstone has been a stalwart of the trance scene for 20+ years and is behind some absolute trance classics such as Seven Cities, Solarcoaster and Like a Waterfall along with Jes. (That last one actually getting an outing by way of the excellent Blizzard Remix on disc 1). He regularly plays gigs all over the world, manages the Pure Trance brand, hosts the excellent Pure Trance weekly radio show and regularly puts out releases and albums.
By the way if you haven't seen Twan's excellent recent interview with Rich about Seven Cities and Pure Trance you should definitely give it a watch!
I had the pleasure of attending Rich’s birthday meal whilst at Amsterdam Dance Event and he’s a lovely guy to boot. Finding out that he used to work above a grungy pub, a 5 minute walk from my house before the music took off was quite funny.
That invite was something else that came off the back of the Amplifyd Pure Trance fan club by the way, and if you’re a fan of Pure Trance or Solarstone you should definitely check it out! You also get a cool membership card amongst a load of other stuff and if you’re a DJ it’s a very economical way to buy your Pure Trance releases as well.
Solarstone’s mix starts with some nice groovy tracks before really getting started for me at track 4 with Allende's 'False Memory', something I wouldn't normally pay special attention to in a track but I really like the sounds of the kick and snare rolls in this one. That mixes into the 1st of 3 excellent Solarstone Pure Mixes on this disc with 'Indica' by Pink Bomb. The spanish guitar-like sound that starts mid-way through this one is wonderful and reminds me of a summer holiday. A couple of tracks later we're into the 2nd of Solarstone's Pure mixes, this time giving a more upbeat take on Dark Matter's 'When Faith Fades'. Skipping through a couple of tracks again, that's where we get into, what for me, is the real meat of this disc.
Track 9 - 15 are all awesome tracks in their own right and together they are even better. First up is a new (and I believe) unreleased remix, by Equinox resident Neil Bamford, of Reorder's extremely catchy 'Beyond Time'. We're then into the beautiful pianos and upbeat energy of 'What Lies Between the Stars' from Astrosphere, before Robert Nickson delivers his usual slice of excellence with his remix of 'Motif' from Solarstone.
The next 2 tracks are both from artists I'm looking forward to seeing play out, over the next couple of months. First up is Bryan Kearney* with 'Something Out of Nothing', followed by Wax Format (fingers crossed a venue replacement is found for NYE!) head honcho Sam Mitcham's 'Whopper' which has a classic sample i'm sure you'll all know!
The final track of Solarstone's disc is a jewel (pun intended) that I know for certain will be my girlfriends favourite, and had me doing my usual sing-along; Craig Connelly's remix of 'Jewel' by Solarstone feat. Clare Stagg.
01. Vadim Zhukov featuring Megan Sampson – Heart Connected (Solarstone Reconstruction)
02. Ibizarre – Underwater World (John O’Callaghan Remix)
03. Effen – Sinners [Aren’t We All?]
04. Allende – False Memory
05. Pink Bomb – Indica (Solarstone Pure Mix)
06. EDU – Turbulence
07. Dark Matter – When Faith Fades (Solarstone Pure Mix)
08. Matt Darey featuring Jonatan Bäckelie – Step Outside (Matt Darey Trance Mix)
09. ReOrder – Beyond Time (Neil Bamford Remix)
10. Astrosphere – What Lies Between The Stars
11. Solarstone – Motif (Robert Nickson Remix)
12. ReOrder – All Comes Back To You (Solarstone Pure Mix)
13. Bryan Kearney – Something Out Of Nothing
14. Sam Mitcham – Whopper (Solarstone Edit)
15. Solarstone & Clare Stagg – Jewel (Craig Connelly Remix)
Disc 3 – Mixed by Lostly
I first got to see Lostly live at Luminosity in 2016 and was immediately impressed by his energy and track selection, that set turned out to be one of my highlights from the festival. Unfortunately, until recently I hadn’t got to see him again. At the Pure Trance night at ADE this year, I witnessed him again, where he played as part of his Lost in Noise project alongside Indecent Noise. That ADE set was electric, with bucket loads of Acid chucked in for good measure, I can’t wait to get to see him playing out again soon.
Productions wise Lostly has put out some real quality the past couple of years with tracks such as 'Nothing Left', his remix of 'Outsider' by Sneijder, 'Came Here to Forget', 'Any Given Sunday', 'Causeway', 'Away', 'Roam' and 'Colourways'. That track, for me, was one of the standout tracks from the Pure Trance 6 compilation.
Lostly is an artist clearly brimming with talent, as he feels equally at home making the harder techier trance sounds, fans of Mark Sherry’s Outburst label will know him for. But also his recent ventures into more progressive sounds on Roam alongside Emma Gillespie, are quality. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from him over the next few years.
If you want to know more about Lostly head on over to: https://www.facebook.com/lostlymusic/
Lostly's mix starts off strong with his vocal collab with Katherine Amy, 'Forever'. Followed by track from the man behind classics such as 'Suraya' and 'When We Collide' it's Simon Bostock feat. Fisher - 'Without You'. Track 5 is Lostly's first solo production of the disc: 'Reflection'. Another great track that I'll definitely be looking to add to my collection once it gets a full extended release.
After that, we have 'Voyager', a track from an extremely talented, up & coming DJ and producer who's been making waves with his live performances. I'm absolutely delighted to see him getting recognised on a compilation such as this: EverLight.
Disc 3 is no exception and picks things up in the second half as I guess you'd expect it to. Track 8, 'Tides' by Scott Bond & Charlie Walker vs. Lostly is great and features our first bit of proper acid in the mix. The standard from here on is top draw. Highlights being Allan Morrow's Remix of 'Remember Me' from Liam Wilson and Lostly's own 'Distant Shores', which, to me, has an 'Any Given Sunday' vibe, just a touch more upbeat. The banging acid sounds combined with the mysterious German vox (I think it's German anyway) in the Allen Watts Remix of Lostly's own 'Trans Karoo' are a perfect warm up for the final track of the mix with the both beautiful and absolutely savage 303 heavy 'Cosmic Spirit' by Lost In Noise.
01. Lostly & Katherine Amy – Forever
02. Simon Bostock featuring Fisher – Without You (Instrumental Mix)
03. Leroy Moreno – Paradigm Shift
04. Factor B & Lostly – Strandloper
05. Lostly – Reflection
06. Everlight – Voyager
07. Giuseppe Ottaviani – Carbon Paper
08. Scott Bond & Charlie Walker vs. Lostly – Tides
09. Sneijder – Back Home
10. Liam Wilson – Remember Me (Allan Morrow Remix)
11. Indecent Noise – One Step Back
12. Lostly – Distant Shores
13. Tempo Giusto pres. ToneArts – Together As One
14. Lostly – Trans Karoo (Allen Watts Remix)
15. Lost In Noise – Cosmic Spirit
I've thoroughly enjoyed today's listen through, each disc offers a different but equally beautiful window into Trance. The album really does offer something for every trance fan; from the relaxing, progressive, melodic sounds of disc 1, through disc 2's definitely pure trance sound and onto the more banging, acid infused sounds of disc 3. I know the album will be getting regular plays from me and if you pick up a copy I'm sure you'll do the same.
If you have any feedback on this article you can leave a comment on the thread below. Thanks for reading. Vive La Trance!
* Bryan Kearney will play at Trance Sanctuary presents Kearnage on 17th November