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March 1 , 2021
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Set 4: Essentials

 ( Iboga Records ,  Feb. 2005 )

1. Ace Ventura- Cardiac Arrest 8:37 135bpm 2. Perfect Stranger- Nobody's Perfect 8:06 134bpm 3. Freq- Lifeline 7:36 140bpm 4. Yotopia- Believe 7:21 141 bpm 5. Sunseek- Jet Lag 8:40 140 bpm 6. Cubica- Red Out 8:48 135 bpm 7. Aerospace- Scatter 7:39 136bpm 8. Pixel vs. Ran Shani- Disco Nection 7:24 134bpm 9. Zen Mechanics- Ground control 9:30 136bpm

It’s not everyday that I listen to progressive music, my excuse? A generalization known as: “it’s boring”. Whenever I fall into a slump with other music – I always try to find something fresh… something that I don’t normally listen to on purpose… it either drives me back to what I like, or opens new doors; either way I gain. Set 4 was compiled by Yuli Fershtat, formerly known as BLT and now as Perfect Stranger on this CD. This is the 1st time Iboga takes the chance on the Israeli side of Progressive Trance…. Lets see what happens:

Ace Ventura opens the compilation with a heartbeat; a proper sound for a track named “Cardiac Arrest”. This is one of the new side projects of Yoni of Psysex. The track kicks off with a hypnotic solid beat that slowly develops with gentle percussions. The sounds and games remind me of Psysex, no getting away from that… not that it’s a bad thing… I enjoy the Son-Kite like lead that comes on in the middle. Overall, a hell of a crossover track with lots of space to mix out and some acidic sounds to finish, excellent start off. Yuli’s track comes on next, (T2) this is definitely one of my favorite tracks at the moment and the most stand out on this compilation. The kick is super organic and so is the base… refreshing to hear this organic sound but coming with flawless production. If I’m not analyzing the track for review, I find that I first notice it around 5 or 6 min… almost at the end when the melodies come in. up to that point I am completely in trance. There are sirens that have “gotten” me in the 1st or 2nd minute while driving… very subtle and pushed to the sides. Freq’s – Lifeline (T3) is a very well produced track. Massive sounds along with powerful percussions are the theme here. There is a nice game going on with some white noises and delays, they give good a nice spacey atmosphere, however I did not connect to this track too much. Yotopia’s – Believe took me by surprise. It has been a long time since I heard a Yotopia track and I guess I have been missing out. I enjoyed this track very much; it was simple, well constructed and optimistic. I like the tribal percussion and those fluffy melodies that were mature enough to fit the track. My second favorite track here is Sunseek – Jet Lag (T5), I think power wise – it is the strong point in the compilation. A strong kick/base combination that just sweeps me and carries the track with a lot of energy forward. The breaks are unexpected as well, and the percussions are extremely well thought out. A great track, somewhere between Progressive and Full-On. Next up is Cubica with “Red Out”. I found this track a bit lacking, maybe too Minimal for my taste. A good Minimal track should have better planned architecture; this one falls a bit short. There is a weird 30 or more? Second space between tracks 6 and 7… I don’t really understand why this is, but it disrupts the flow. I manually push forward to the next track. Aerospace is Guy Shanti of EDL and Isratrance; his track here is “Scatter” (T7). The Vocal on this track is excellent! There are some production flaws, but the idea is good. I think Guy’s future releases could shoot much higher then this one… I did not really connect. Pixel’s – Disco Nection is not a new release, it is one of my favorites from his debut album. The track is a groovy blend of percussions along with clever tricks and psychedelic sounds. However, I don’t think it fits this compilation, to me it feels a bit out of place with the ideas of the other tracks. I understand the reasoning behind this track placement though… most people who buy Iboga’s music haven’t heard Pixel’s CD. Last and certainly not least – is Zen Mechanics with “Ground Control”. I was really impressed with their chill out track on Natural Born Chillers and was eager to hear more. I’m happy to say that although I had high expectations, I wasn’t let down at all. This is a masterful track… the David Bowie sample is great! The groove is sweeping and the flow is immense! Wonderful to track to finish a good CD.

Recomendation:  Overall I dig this compilation a lot. It is a crossover sound if we need to be specific and categorize things; meaning somewhere between the Progressive sound of Europe and the harder Israeli environment. Although there are some non-Israeli tracks, there is no denying this compilation is a showcase into the world of Israeli Progressive. A side not many Iboga fans or worldwide trancers were aware of. Yuli shows us Israel is a force to reckon with even in this genre. Well done – highly recommended.
Favorites: 1,2,4,5,9

Review by : Surrender (Gadi Vered).

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