Nick Warren Global Underground: Amsterdam
by Shannon Petrick
Nick Warren is one of the most celebrated DJs of our time. Having played with Massive Attack in the early days, he has gained the reputation as one of the "greats" in dance music. Not only does he have amazing taste as a DJ, he and his partner, Jody Wisternoff, have become one of the best and most creative producers in electronic music under the name Way Out West. This is Nick's fourth Global Underground, the most any Global Underground DJ has ever completed.
The bassline stands firm throughout "Eternity," staying repetitive and sturdy for...well, eternity, until the breakdown. Endless ambient sounds balance out the deep bass creating a harmonious feel to the track. Nick gently pulls in track 3 by fading the soft voices of "Eternity" into the "money and soul" monologue of Soul Mekanik's "I'll Call U." Tribal-trance sounds dominate this track with vocals saying something along the lines of "You know, record sales pays the bills and keeps a roof over your head but it stems from the music...I hope that people understand that. Money's one thing but soul is another." I guess all big DJs aren't sellouts. Throughout the song, the vocal continues, "I got your music...I got your soul." Atari-like noises play off the tribal drums at the closure of "I'll Call U." Really wicked track!
A beat much harder brings you out of Soul Mekanik and into the enigmatic minds of Nick Warren and Jody Wisternoff (otherwise known as Way Out West) with their track, "Intensify." The sounds of "Intensify" cycle and repeat as manipulated female vocals are woven throughout. The song is static until the female vocal solo and then it intensifies Way Out West-style sounds added in here and there for sheer perfection. Although it's not the best new WOW track ("The Fall" is mindblowing), "Intensify" fits ideally into the set.
The cycling sounds simply drop out to reveal the beginning of the next track, "Riddem Control" by Hipp-E & Tony Presents Soul Interactive. "Riddem Control" is mundane but it's DJ friendly and allows for extended, solid mixes.
Number 6, Hedfuk's "Main Element" has a very unusual and creative beginning (you'll have to hear it to understand). They bring together simple rhythms and sounds to form a beautiful track that becomes even greater as it progresses. You will be drowning in absolute bliss.
NOTE: Be careful if you want to buy this track: On the NW Amsterdam track listing, it says the producer is Hedfuk and the track is "Main Element." On vinyl, it states that Main Element is the producer and "Hedfuk" is the track. Also, it may be that NW has the remix of this song because the track on vinyl is somewhat different.
Somehow, Nick pulls you out of the enchanting "Main Element" and throws you into something with much more house flavor "Mumps" by Mechanism E-H. "Mumps" stays steady with little change but it's sure to bring up the mood on the dance floor.
Fluke's "Bullet (Cannonball)" brings a more trance-feel to the set after listening to "Mumps." It's typical Fluke: strange house-like vocals that permeate the entire song. Sometimes the vocals in Fluke tracks are too overpowering and annoying. The end of the track makes up for it with the (almost) nonexistent vocals.
Suddenly, the sounds of James Niche's "Isolated" are brought in. The mood is brought down from the previous harder tracks into a simple formatted track. This song is strangely erotic and the seemingly sexual nature of it blends perfectly into "Gyromancer" by PMT.
"Gyromancer" is marked by peaks and plateaus of seductive, beautiful sounds. The structure of this track is captivating as it seduces your every sense. The finish of the stunning "Gyromancer" fades into the perfect track to end the first Amsterdam CD: "States of Mind" by Soul Driver. This song is eastern-influenced with a modern structure...it leaves you totally satisfied but ready for more.
Nick uses the trancey sounds of of DJ Gogo's "Ajuna" to mix out of track 1. Much of "Ajuna" uses a steady sound with everchanging drum beats to create an excellent build-up song. The feel and intensity of DJ Gogo's track escalates more and more until Nick downplays the mood for a few moments as you hear only the beat for "Futureshock," Sparc, coming in.
Siren-like sounds characterize "Futureshock" and you think it's just going to be another one of those boring dance floor sell-out hits. What's such a "shock" about this song is that is uses a very intelligent breakdown, proving itself worthy of the label "quality." To me, the breakdown makes the song.
There is a very strange (for lack of a better word) mix from "Futureshock" into Neil Himmons' "Play." "Play" starts out very basic and then incorporates industrial sounds to make it unique. It's as if Neil Himmons went a little insane for a few seconds of the track and then retrieved his cognitive sense immediately...it makes for a very interesting and good track!
Just when you thought "Play" was going to last longer, "Swarm" by Zenith cuts in. "Swarm" is creative and well thought-out, bringing a sense of confusion to the listener: "Do I want to sit and chill or get up and dance?" Similar notes bring in Sonic Infusion's "Reformatted," although, once again, it's mixed in an odd way. Common trance sounds are infused into a groovy basic melody and beat.
The next track, "Enhanced" by Nick Hook 2, is amusing. The basic melody is reminiscent of "Trainspotting" and is "enhanced" by a male vocal sample speaking the truth: "Drugs have done good things for us...if you don't believe it, burn all your records...because all those musicians that have made the music that has enhanced your lives all these years...real fucking high." You get the drift.
A deeper, harder track is brought in: "Dive into the Deep" by Revolt...very mechanical sounds layered with mesmerizing trance. Yes, it almost makes you feel like you are diving into the deep...deep ocean...deep abyss...the depths of your mind. Light, airy sounds complement the shadowy beats.
The next track, "Ultra Vixens" by Thomas Heckman and Mark Rombay is my favorite track of disc 2 (close runner up: "Dive into the Deep"). The music (although sometimes too predictable) is caustic and jarring and vocals are superb. I'm not going to ruin the vocals for the listener but the monologue reminds me of the film, "American Beauty." Small town USA...nothing is as it seems...the people of America's façade and then what they really are.
Track 9, "Interstellar," done by Mark Shimmon VS 3rd Degree is another addition to a long line of recent space-related songs (think "Space Manoevers"). It is a little too much of a typical trance top 10 hit for my tastes (and not as intelligent as "Space Manoevers") but it's sure to be a club hit.
Nick takes it down with the next track, Halo Varga's "Future." A remix of a really good track, with an added tribal flavor. You'll recognize the song when the vocals pop in.
The final song, "Eternity" (Stripped Mix) by Ariane is a soft, beautiful ending to two amazing CDs. Another exquisite addition to the Global Underground family.
Global Underground: Amsterdam
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