Various Artists - Afterhourz

Groove Zone, July 2006

Author: pr0fane
Date: Jun 30, 2006
Views: 3887

Review by:
Jannick Andersen // DJ pr0fane (Dance N Dust Records)
www.sunrisesupplies.com




Artist: Various
Title: Afterhourz - compiled by Side-A
Label: Groove Zone
Format: CD (Digipack)
Released: July, 2006
Cover: www.wakyo.jp/img/jacket/l/GZCD-005.jpg


Review:

Groove Zone Records is a label based in Japan, that launched back in 2004 - the first releases where focused on progressive psytrance sounds, but lately the label has moved more towards the housier sounds, which also recently resulted in the opening of the sidelabel Aqua, where they have released 2 CD\'s so far. The last release from the main label Groove Zone was roughly one year ago, the morning-oriented psytrance compilation \"Aerocruz\", and now, one year later they are ready with the compilation \"Afterhourz\".

\"Afterhourz\" is compiled by Side-A (Olivier Cambier), one of Frances upcoming talents on the progressive scene, already with releases on labels like Tatsu, Sub Machine, Tribal Vision, Candyflip and Domo. The CD contains mostly unreleased tracks, and mostly centered around artists based in France.


01. Dousk - Estrange [130 BPM]
The opening track is by Yiannis Douskos from Greece, who has been releasing deep, progressive house/trance crossover for some years now, appearing on releases from key players on the scene like Bedrock, Vapour, Audio Therapy, Renaissance, Lost Language and maybe most importantly Klik Records, where he released his stunning debut-album last year. \"Estrange\" is a re-release from a 12\" Vapour on last year, and it holds all the trademarks from Dousk - deep, tribal progressive house with subtle melodies and breathtaking atmosphere. Superb way to open the compilation.

02. Parham & Dominic Plaza - Once (Kasey Taylor & Chris Meehan Remix) [126 BPM]
Next up is another 12\" re-release, Taylor & Meehans remix of \"Once\" by Parham & Plaza, which was released on Fokused Records last summer. Kasey Taylor is the label-manager of one of my favourite progressive house labels, Vapour Records, and like expected this track is a real beauty, although not exactly cutting-edge. Very gentle progressive grooves with blissful trancy pads.

03. Motion & Side-A - Activated [132 BPM]
\"Activated\" is a French collaboration between Side-A and Tetraktys\' progressive sideproject Motion, and I\'ve loved it since the first version I got several months ago. It\'s a progressive house/trance monster with an epic big room sound, catchy voice-samples and lots of dancefloor power for the big rigs. This track is basically \"da bomb\", and seeing it getting released, I can imagine it being a huge hit the rest of the summer.

04. Tetraktys - Interstellar Overdrive (Motion Remix) [130 BPM]
Vincent Courcot aka Motion is also involved in the next track, which is a remix of \"Interstellar Overdrive\" from his self-titled album released under the Tetraktys moniker a few years back. The original was a dangerous minimal/techtrance tune, and you can still hear the harsher, mechanical themes in this big-room progressive house version. Really powerful tune, one of the best Motion-tracks so far in my opinion.

05. Solead - Accoutume [132 BPM]
Vincent Courcot team up with his fellow French partner Charles Michaud (who many might know for his psytrance project Triptych) in their new progressive project Solead. What I\'ve heard from them up till now has been very funky and electro-driven progressive house, but \"Accoutume\" is more laidback, with sophisticated French voice-samples and beautiful dreamy melodies that remind me of Jaïa. Superb.

06. Jaia - Last Call [132 BPM]
With last years stunning album \"Fiction\", Jaïa from France established himself as one of my absolute favourite producers, and \"Last Call\" is another beautiful piece of music from him. The atmosphere is lush and dreamy, the grooves are warm and very catchy, and the melodies range from subtle and thoughtful to downright epic. Such a positive piece of music, it\'s impossible not to get in a good mood.

07. Side-A - Synopsis 1.1 [130 BPM]
Side-A, responsible for compiling the compilation is up next with a track of his own, \"Synopsis 1.1\". The powerful groove seems quite similar to that in \"Activated\", but the atmosphere here is much more melodic and trancy with soft, gentle chords and once again a generally very uplifting mood. I definitely consider it among his very best releases so far.

08. Rai - Comet [127 BPM]
Rai from Czech got his breakthrough on the first releases on Tribal Vision Records, and \"Comet\" continues in the somewhat same vein as his early releases, meaning soothing and very relaxed, laidback house-grooves. You won\'t find a fully-packed dancefloor peaking to it, but it\'s a very smooth and pleasant tune, perfectly suited for the sunny Sunday afternoons. Pure class.

09. Side-A - Synopsis (Silicon Sound Remix) [BONUS TRACK] [130 BPM]
Last but not least we\'re presented with a bonus track, and what a bonus this is. Johannes Regnier aka Silicon Sound is one of the big names on the morning full on scene, and here he\'s made a quite surprising remix of Side-A\'s \"Synopsis 1.1\", running at \"only\" 130 BPM. The theme-melodies from the original are intact, but there\'s a lot more punch in the electro-influenced bassline, and the melodies and pads are given another notch up the epic-scale. Amazing tune, continue to make more of this stuff!


Bottom line:

I always had a thing for uplifting and melodic music, and \"Afterhourz\" definitely hits the spot for me - it\'s an almost perfect selection of beautiful progressive tunes ranging from laidback or emotional progressive house to more pumping progressive house/trance morning anthems. While this might sound like a promotional speech from Groove Zone, I must say that the overall quality of the tracks is almost ridiculously high, and with so many amazing tunes and no fillers it\'s really hard to point out any tracks in particular - I could imagine playing all of the tracks in a set, and all of the tracks would be among the highlights if they where to be released on another compilation.

Are there Drawbacks? Well, my only complaints are that the first 2 tracks where previously released, the last bonus-track slightly abrupt an otherwise very well-made flow, and the fact that the release is contained in a mediocre digipack - but basically all that is just nitpicking. Bottom line is that I absolutely love this release - so far it\'s the best compilation I\'ve heard this year, undoubtedly the best from Groove Zone yet, and one of the most essential releases this summer.

Highly recommended!


Favourites:

1 (!!), 2, 3 (!!), 4, 5 (!!), 6 (!!), 7, 8, 9 (!!) - yes, that\'s all of them.


Verdict:

9,5/10


Links:

Groove Zone: www.groove-zone.com
Side-A: www.sideasoundlab.com

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