Solarstone - Pure review
I woke this morning to the devastating news that celebrity trash mag favourite and famous for nothing in particular hotel eiress Paris Hilton is launching an attack on club land in the form of some sort of DJ tour.
Starting by closing a festival in Brazil, Paris then plans to clang her way round the rest of the world's clubs and outdoor events until she has reduced the population of every dance floor to the exact amount of equally shallow and useless BFF's she put on the guest list that night.
Now whilst I'm pretty sure that most clubbers worth their salt would rather be stabbed in the nuts with a biro than attend to one of these gigs, I'm still a little concerned at how easy it seems to be for Z list celebs to take to the decks at a major festival with little or no DJ experience or skill. If I'm going to hand over my hard earned money for a gig, mix or studio album, it's going to be to someone who preferably doesn't carry around a dog the size of a baked potato with them. Someone like Trance music linchpin Solarstone.
Solarstone (or Richard Mowatt as his mother knows him) is fronting a rebellion right now. A rebellion he describes as "a kickback against nonsense genre terminologies" and "self-appointed style councils".
Now even though my first two paragraphs of smack talk probably put me snugly in the self-appointed style council box, I agree whole-heartedly with what Solarstone is attempting to do with his new album 'Pure'. Your average music fan speaks in simple terms, so describing your latest offering as "bouncy minimal post-industrial testicular lounge jazz" frankly doesn't tell anyone anything. Apart from the fact that you're a bit of bell end.
For this reason, keeping it simple is the ethos behind 'Pure' and in Richard's own words is about "reclaiming" Trance. The evidence of his intent to keep things grass roots can be seen clearly when examining his carefully picked collaborations. Solarstone backing himself up with Vandit man Giuseppe Ottaviani, Egyptian duo Aly & Fila and Sinead O'Connor sound alike Clare Stagg is a bit like Bruce Lee turning up to a fight with Muhammad Ali and Batman behind him.
The opening and title track of 'Pure' puts Solarstone's money where his mouth is. Unashamedly Trance in its most undiluted form, it's rolling base line, smooth pads and building sequence lines make this 100 percent about the journey. As in going somewhere I mean, not the 70's rock band Glee uses to turn the youth of today into rainbow huggers.
Track two introduces Clare Stagg and is by far my favourite track on the album. I think this is probably because it's reminiscent of another Solarstone classic 'Like a Waterfall' (which is without a doubt in my top ten tracks of all time) but mainly because, like tracks such as 'Touchstone' before it, this one has a very live feel which many people probably wouldn't expect from an album pitching itself as "pure Trance".
As well as the above, stand out moments include the beautiful 'Requiem' which includes some of the most wonderfully layered vocal parts again from the very talented Clare Stagg. 'The Spell', 'Fire Island' and 'Falcons' will keep the big room crowd erect whilst 'Presence Of The Past' and 'Swansong' were what the phrase "all back to mine" was created for.
I'm personally not a fan of 'Where Do We Go From Here' as I feel it's a little detached from the rest of the album but overall Pure is a raging success and totally envelopes what Solarstone set out to achieve in the first place.
This album is certainly geared towards the club rather than the home listen. And it should be. After all, what is Trance for in the first place if not for the club? So I urge you to get out there and support Solarstone and these tracks in venues around the world in the name of all that is pure. See what I did there!
And like, OMG! I like totally almost forgot to say that the album is out right now! So tweet all your BFFs and tell them it's like so hot yea?
About the author
Richard Ronchetti is a DJ, producer and reviewer from the UK with an unhealthy obsession for grated cheese.
He plays and produces essentially Trance with lots of House and Progressive influence and will be posting a bi-monthly promo mix on Mixcloud, Facebook and Twitter. Each mix will (if his levels of creativity and grated cheese allow) contain his own tracks, mashups and remixes.
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