Liquid Soul - Synthetic Vibes

Iboga, September 2006

Author: pr0fane
Date: Oct 22, 2006
Views: 5039

Review by:
Jannick Andersen // DJ pr0fane (Dance N Dust Records)

Artist: Liquid Soul
Title: Synthetic Vibes
Label: Iboga
Format: CD
Released: September 2006


Liquid Soul is the project of Nicola Capobianco, a Swiss producer who has had a meteoric career over the last couple of years. I remember him playing at VooV Experience in 2004 - back then he was practically unknown, with only a 12\" release on Interzone, but after his appearance at VooV things started to move at a pretty fast pace for the upcoming act, releasing on labels like Iboga, Plusquam, Flow, Domo, SOG and many more with much success since then. The summer season 2006 has been especially busy for Liquid Soul, playing all around the world, leading up to the release of his debut album \"Synthetic Vibes\" on Iboga, which I will focus on in this review.

1. Synthetic Vibes [135 BPM]
The album starts with the title-track \"Synthetic Vibes\", and followers of Liquid Souls sound will feel right at home from the first second. It starts out very laidback, with sweet soothing sounds phasing in and out, simple melodic structures and a calm female voice-sample giving the track a very positive atmosphere, yet never really taking off. An ok opening tune.

2. Crazy People [135 BPM]
The energy is given a distinct boost with the next track \"Crazy People\", which in its ground-form and use of sounds seems somewhat similar to his outstanding remix of FREq\'s \"Strange Attractors\", meaning phat powerful progressive outdoor grooves, big takeoffs and great energy throughout. Sadly I found the repeated use of the \"Crazy People\" voice-sample over-used and almost on the verge of being annoying. A real pity, since this track had lots of potential.

3. Escape [135 BPM]
\"Escape\" proves to be the first real highlight on the album for me, stylistically being somewhere between the first 2 tracks - not quite as energetic as \"Crazy People\", and not quite as melodic as \"Synthetic Vibes\". The result is a subtle, but very charming tune, embellished with a very easily recognisable sweet theme and acoustic guitars. Great anthem for the afternoon at the outdoors.

4. The Source [135 BPM]
The quality is maintained in \"The Source\", not going quite as deep as \"Escape\", but with some more distinct and uplifting melodies and atmospheres, giving associations to some of the material from the new FREq-album. Yet another highlight, possibly my favourite on the entire album, and another tune that\'ll cause bliss on a sun-filled dancefloor somewhere outdoors.

5. I Get A Rush [130 BPM]
\"I Get A Rush\" was released on a 12\" before the album, also featuring a quite successful remix made by French act Motion. Here we have the original version, which is among the 2 slowest dancefloor tracks contained on this album, trying to appeal to the progressive house crowd, but still maintaining the rough and more psy-oriented edge. The crossover is interesting, but I\'ve heard better.

6. Unannounced Portal [133 BPM]
With \"Unannounced Portal\" we\'re back with the purely progressive psytrance sound, again with a positive atmosphere and lovely afternoon grooves. What promised to be one of the standout-tracks on the album is again sadly degraded by something I consider a somewhat misplaced and unnecessary voice-sample from the movie \"Doom\": \"In the year 2026 archaeologists working in the Nevada desert discovered a portal to an ancient city on Mars\". Apart from that sample, a good track.

7. 06:15 AM [130 BPM]
\"06:15 AM\" is, along with \"I Get A Rush\" the slowest dancefloor track on the album, and like the latter it\'s a crossover between the progressive house grooves and the rough, more trancy progressive psytrance sound. The main-groove is maybe a bit too static and monotonous for my liking, but the main hook-line is well-executed and prevents the track from being one of the more mediocre on the album.

8. Capoccino [135 BPM]
After a couple of slower tracks, we\'re back at what seems to be Liquid Souls favourite BPM, 135. As the closing dancefloor track on the album it packs a hefty punch, and is certainly the most intense, relying on a massive full on style rolling bassline, yet still not falling for the trend of making fast and stressful Israeli-style melodies. Massive tune, definitely among my favourites on the album.

9. Tagtraum
The album concludes with the almost mandatory laidback psychillout tune - but where other acts fail miserably in this task, \"Tagtraum\" (which is German for \"Daydream\") is actually a pretty charming little tune. Ok, it\'s not on level with Ott or Solar Fields, but it does have a lovely sound with big sweeping pads and nice, dreamy mood. It won\'t win any awards, but it\'s a pretty good conclusion for the album.

Bottom line:

The hype around the debut album from Liquid Soul has been enormous - well-deserved in many aspects, but with the album finally out, I don\'t think he could fully live up to the huge expectations. Apart from a few unnecessary voice-samples I found the general standard on the album quite good, but it never gets really exceptional like I personally had expected. The best tracks here are really good, but doesn\'t stand up to his best previous singles and remixes, and it won\'t cause as big an impact as when FREq released his \"Strange Attractors\" album back in 2004 - the reason for this comparison is that I find many common elements in FREq and Liquid Souls music.

All that being said, \"Synthetic Vibes\" is certainly not a bad album. It\'s very dancefloor oriented progressive with a generally high quality and as a DJ-tool it\'s a solid, but it\'s by no means a milestone in the history of progressive psytrance.


3, 4 (!), 8




Iboga Records:
Liquid Soul:

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