Various Artists - Tokyo Underground (Stargate Records) - com


Author: pr0fane
Date: Oct 13, 2005
Views: 3385

Date: Oct 13, 2005
Text: pr0fane

Artist: Various
Title: Tokyo Underground - compiled by DJ BIN
Label: Stargate
Format: CD (Jewelcase with standard 4-page inlay)
Released: August, 2005


Stargate is already well known in many parts of the world as the party-organisation with the most impressive progressive lineups in Japan. As a label Stargate is still pretty unknown though, with so far 2 official releases in the catalogue. The first official release was an ambient-compilation, featuring tracks from artists like Solar Fields, Kaya Project, Aes Dana and Vibrasphere, and the second CD, the recently released \"Tokyo Underground\", provides an impressive and very promising list of artists from the progressive trance and house spectrum.

01. Antix - Free As We Are (Paste Remix) [134 BPM]
The compilation kicks of with a remix of \"Free As We Are\" from Antix\' 2003 debut-album \"Lull\" - behind the remix is the slightly inactive Swiss duo Paste, and the result is pretty good. Like in the original the atmosphere is quite dark, almost even darker after the addition of a gloomy child-sample. The groove is made sleazier and dirtier, which works pretty well with the other elements in the track. Fine remix.

02. Clutch - The Weekend [130 BPM]
Next up is Clutch from Japan - a relatively unknown act, despite appearances on labels like Sub Machine, Groove Zone and Maniac I.Q. \"The Weekend\" is probably the best track I\'ve heard from him - quite slow, but with a very relentless techish groove and a hint of some melancholic pads somewhere in the background. Maybe a bit too monotonous for my liking, but placed in an early progressive DJ-set, I can imagine it would work wonders.

03. D-Nox & Beckers - You\'re A Star (Club Version) [129 BPM]
D-Nox and especially Beckers are in flying form at the moment, playing everywhere worth mentioning and releasing some of the biggest progressive partyhits in the last few years. \"You\'re A Star\" was originally released on the \"Outsider\" compilation on Plastik Park earlier this year, and while I didn\'t really connect to the original, this club version is better. This is mainly based on the fact that the main vocal-line is heavily filtered and isn\'t quite as dominant - but overall the entire track feels much more polished and harmonic.

04. Thomas Penton - Inside Me [130 BPM]
Thomas Penton is one of the first progressive house artists that caught my attention, and \"Inside Me\" is more or less your average Penton-trademark tune. From the first second there\'s a hint of his well-known tribal percussion, and the track evolves without any major surprises. Not his finest creation to date: very predictable, but without a doubt a true dance floor pleaser.

05. Tetraktys - Vergence [135 BPM]
Mainly based on his Tetraktys debut-album, I have for some time considered the French Vincent Courcot as one of the most underrated progressive producers, and while the Tetraktys project now is getting slightly in the background, due to the success of his other project Motion, it\'s great to see that he\'s still making fine techish tunes. The sounds in \"Vergence\" are very metallic, and everything seems to fit perfectly - a very sophisticated production, and in my opinion one of the better techtrance creations by Tetraktys.

06. Martin H - Bolido (Inkfish Remix) [129 BPM]
The Swedish Martin H is present with \"Bolido\", a track remixed by Inkfish (also from Sweden), originally released on Spiral Trax\' sidelabel ACDC earlier this year. A sweet tune with a really catchy hook, subtle pads and a nice, steady groove - quite laidback and well made for home listening, but don\'t let that fool you - pump up the volume, and you\'ll discover that this is a heavy dance floor bomb as well.

07. Motion - XXL [138 BPM]
Vincent Courcot appears on the compilation once again, this time under his more house-oriented Motion-project. \"XXL\" is a bit faster and more pumping than usual though, more experimental and with clever breaks and a cheerful, bouncy groove. Not quite what I expected, but a very fun and funky tune nevertheless.

08. D. Sens - Enjoy The Silence (Remix) [128 BPM]
\"Enjoy The Silence\" comes from another Frenchman, Mattheiu Delepau, - perhaps known as being part of the Lunaspice duo, but this time he\'s on his own as D.Sens. The similarities to Lunaspace are obvious though - this is seriously deep stuff, with a very broad sound spectrum and an enchanting, dreamy atmosphere. Despite maybe going on for a few minutes too much, this is one of my favourites.

09. Vibrasphere - Bitter Deep [132 BPM] (Bonus Track)
The bonus track proves to be my absolute favourite on the CD - the Swedish maestros of smooth, caressing sounds Vibrasphere provide one of their best tunes for a while. They always had a special way of combining soft ambient influences with trance, and \"Bitter Deep\" is no exception. It\'s quite similar to their stuff on \"Lime Structure\", but slower and with a deeper, more chilled atmosphere - a sweet and very enjoyable tune to end the compilation

Bottom line:

The list of artists on \"Tokyo Underground\" is quite impressive, and I can\'t say that I was disappointed with the product. There\'s a well-balanced mix between progressive house, progressive trance and even some techtrance, and generally the quality is good with no tracks completely failing - but with a few more truly outstanding tunes, it would have been a great release. That said, it is one of the better compilations I have bought lately, and if progressive is your thing, I doubt you\'ll regret buying it.


1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (!!)





Review by:
Jannick Andersen // pr0fane

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