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Maelstrom - Lights On

 ( Iboga ,  Apr. 2009 )

1. Maelstrom- As It Should Be 7:27 2. Maelstrom- Bitch 7:09 3. Liquid Soul & Maelstrom- React (Rocky remix) 6:57 4. Rinkadink & Maelstrom- Enough Cash to Escape 8:28 5. Maelstrom- Bit Kitchen 6:41 6. Lenny Ibizarre & Maelstrom- Wasted Youth (Maelstrom version) 8:01 7. Maelstrom- Sake Head 8:39 8. Maelstrom- Retro Nights 6:52 9. Maelstrom- Remember your Inputs 9:21 10. Brisker & Magitman- Just Another Day (Maelstrom tech trance remix) 7:34

As one of the founders of Iboga Records, a quality label that exists from 1997, Emok spreads his talents with a new and fresh side projects and one of them is called Maelstrom, suiting the needs of today’s modern music and culture. Mikael Dahlgaard has an enormous background as a producer as well as a DJ. He started playing psychedelic sets and organizing small parties around Copenhagen in the last century. After working as the Phony Orphants duo with Jepee he focused on managing the label. Nowadays Emok is known as one of the leading progressive DJs in the scene producing with others such as: Perfect Stranger, Liquid Soul, Lenny Ibizarre, Ticon and many others. With this second solo Maelstrom album the label heralds the new progressive club sounds with the original northern touch. Let us see what has Mikael crafted.
Starting of as a classic dance floor material with a totally clubby stab slowed down to a deep and soulful memento As it Should Be (T1) is a hypnotic piece of cosmic disco bringing the trancy, emotional touch to our ears slowly but surely. We immediately recognize the grinding electro spatial bass in Bitch (T2), which reminds me of the epic D-Nox and Beckers’ Switch. But it's not the same case here, hence at one point the crossover deep trance melodies kick in and all hands are up in the air, marking the originality of Mr. Emok. A nice piece of work. This album keeps things varied with the numerous collaborations included, such as roaming through the soundscapes with the help of Rocky remixing the collaboration with Liquid Soul (T3) as the groovy and speedy tight loops keep the ride low to the ground before the main part of the track presents proper trance spiced mayhem with its arrangement for which is worth waiting for. As we listen onwards the rest of the tracks might seem formulaic but there's nothing wrong in using the right formula. There's a lot of experimentation going on here, from a bouncy bass line to the evil piano stabs and minimal synths with the tight loops repeating over and over, all together forming a well thought album and blending the style that every collaborator has brought into Maelstrom hands, with which he did his magic and reworked them to his conduct. Remember Your inputs (T9) is a warm, chromatic story splash with a nice soft repetition and a underwater feeling ready to take you a floating trip. An emotional deep track is waiting at the very end. Emok remixing Just Another Day by Brisker & Magitman. The low crunchy bass and the not so sharp minimal beat are in for a job well done, as the sorrow pads and submarine like bleeps add to the melancholy lurking somewhere in the stereo background.

Recomendation:  All in all this is an interesting album, somewhat of a turmoil in the positive meaning for the progressive trance scene, adding the old emotional feeling to the almost boring repetitive beat. A must have for young producers and DJs as well as for the experienced ones. The artwork is showing us that usually the best ideas don't come out when the bulb explodes, they actually do when it flashes.

Favorite tracks:1, 2, 3(!!), 9(!!), 10.

Review by : Kikola

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