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V/A - Soulseeker 3 [Midijum 2005] CD

Basilisk
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  168
Posts :  2984
Posted : Jul 20, 2005 19:49
V/A - Soulseeker 3 [Midijum 2005] CD

The final compilation in the Soulseeker series continues with DJ Bim's mission of providing synthetic morning material. I ranted on in my review of the first Soulseeker that I wasn't particularly enthused about the direction Midijum has taken, having foresaken the deep proggy style of old for this newer variety of melodic psytrance lite. I'm not sure how else to describe the style except as a variation of 2004's "neo full-on" movement, remaining vaguely melodic without possessing any punch or surprise. I've called this stuff "diet trance" before, and I'd say the shoe fits. Thusly, I really wasn't expecting to take much of an interest in any of the tracks found on this compilation. As it turns out, the third Soulseeker is much better than the first...

German progressive act Symphonix teams up with DJ Magical to provide Turn, a predictable track with a curious staggered sample: "I will hold you... in - my - memory... did you notice - you made a wrong... turn". This is just about the only notable aspect of the track. It has the German sound down cold, with a throbbing beat and a snappy groove. Only marginally interesting.

After a scathing intro, Visua's Energy barely registers. This track actually has a more appealing sound than most in the style, with a deeper kick and bass combination, and non-standard percussion. Somehow the melodic aspects remain too sublime to carry my interest, but I do respect that this was well constructed.

Gaudium is an up and coming artist from Sweden who is imminently releasing a debut album on the famous Spiral Trax imprint. Here he provides Crush My Bit, a heavy grooving tune with synthetic overtones. The bass line here is huge - reminding me somewhat of S>Range's early work - though it suffers somewhat from failing to develop beyond what you hear in the first minute. Cycling sound effects are layered above, running through simple patterns. A looped breakbeat becomes involved later on, and I suppose there is a slight touch of Hux Flux in there somewhere. I think this track is lacking in development, as there are only minor changes throughout. There is some potential here but it isn't being realized with this mediocre track.

Four Wind Circle shows a respectable development of their style with Bad Voodoo, a dreamy and blissful track with a rolling psytrance beat meted out at a slow rate. The percussion is tight and precise, with subtle tribal drums weaved throughout the song. The melodies aren't massive, but they are layered at times. When they aren't, there are usually small details drifting around in the background to fill up the sonic space with additional audio textures. A series of increasingly dramatic breaks highlights the development in the arrangement as the track progresses. Overall, this is rather decent - and I have a feeling this light and easy tune will age nicely, like fine wine.

Mantik's contribution is more energetic and full-on than the previous tracks. Between Clouds and Stars wastes little time on an intro, plunging into a hard synthetic drum arrangement with swirling cosmic sounds. The bass line is heavy, hitting some nice resonances as the track proceeds, and receives a few good tweaks as the minutes pass. Melodic progression is on the subtle side, but luckily the artist lets the energy really build in key moments, and competantly transitions to tension-building states in appropriate locations. A break in the last third introduces a Dr. Who sample and a pleasant build, and the track continues without much in the way of surprising features until it reaches it's timely conclusion. I've never been tuned into this artist before, but this is smooth and powerful stuff, certainly notable in the context of this compilation, but not all that remarkable when stacked up against what else is out there.

Setherian's Ode to Andromeda is a nice follow-up to the previous tune, ratcheting up the power levels with a rougher beat and more fat synthetic bass lines. There is a smooth layer of polish evident all over this track, with clean melodic lines effortlessly sliding into place to evoke a light cosmic feeling. Delicate atmospheres grace the sparkling synthwork and provide pleasant background sounds. Bass key changes in the latter half introduce some appealing emotional twists. Somehow the track never does deliver a distinct passage which would make it stand out, leaving it somewhat mediocre. Very pleasant to listen to, but it doesn't stand out in any way.

Hailing from Israel, Elec3 provides another melodic track entitled Innervoice. Much like Visua's contribution, I simply can't register much of a reaction from this song... it's smooth and morning-friendly, and the production is fairly nice. More of those subtle bass key changes in the latter half provide an emotional mood which is quite nice. At this point I'm craving something more however... and this is just another same-sounding track that fails to capture my imagination.

Love Freedom from a group called Solar System is next, and the pattern doesn't change. Upbeat and melodic once again, though the production isn't as good as some of the other tracks found here. Despite that, the song is actually more distinct than a lot of the others here - the melodic hooks have a much more Israeli character to them, as if someone had been listening to a lot of old school Astral Projection while they were working on this. The arrangement isn't very dynamic however - and that rather effectively quashes the potential of this track to become noteworthy. If there were more layers present, or if the big leads shifted and took on new forms, it may have turned out better. As is, it just seems underdeveloped.

The compilation closes with the rather anonymously named Angel by Psytrain. I wasn't expecting to find this interesting after so many same-sounding tracks, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive a great impression from this one. I am actually at something of a loss to explain just why this is so good to my ears... the bass line progression certainly has a large role to play - on it goes, until at the end of a segment it takes a warm upward turn and then dips down again, creating a very cozy feeling. There is some guitar involved here, strumming off pleasant and heartfelt notes that are perfectly integrated into the feeling of the track. Most of all, I think it is the sound of the lead that captures my interest. Deep, edgy, and almost melancholic in tone, curiously a sound that reminds me more of industrial music than trance. Later on there is a break in which a somewhat awkward sample plays: "let me tell you something about the reason... to dance". Too bad for that, but it isn't overly disconcerting. A great way to end this compilation, and clearly this new artist has a great deal of potential.

While there are many dull moments on this compilation, Soulseeker 3 manages to evade the cornball nonsense of the first edition, which I grew to loathe. There are no samples found on this compilation that are really terrible (though some come close), and the beats are more solid than they are weak. The key failing of this release is simply that there aren't many particularly memorable passages throughout the journey... numerous nice morning atmospheres, of course - but no big melodies, no hooks, no explosions, no moments where you lean back and say "wow". I might make an exception for that last song - it certainly is the stand-out track of the album... but that's not so difficult on a compilation full of anonymous morning material. While Bim evaded the trappings of the first Soulseeker, this last effort also comes across as substandard - simply due to a lack of real highlights. If you're deep into playing this specific style of psytrance it is a worthy compilation to pick up perhaps, but for anyone else - there's not much to chew on. Ultimately it's just an average release.

Faves: 4, 5, 9(!)
Rating: 5/10
karmakanik
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  19
Posts :  658
Posted : Jul 20, 2005 22:37
love your reviews basilisk! we need more people who actually tell it like it is

cheers

Kitnam
Mantik

Started Topics :  110
Posts :  1151
Posted : Jul 21, 2005 12:42
how do you know that the sample is from dr who?
Basilisk
IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  168
Posts :  2984
Posted : Jul 21, 2005 17:14
Did I get that wrong? I googled it.
Kitnam
Mantik

Started Topics :  110
Posts :  1151
Posted : Jul 21, 2005 23:56
its true, i buyed a sciencefiction cd from dr.who in uk to get myself some 16bit samples in english. its called "dalek empire".
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