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28 posts tagged

Press reviews

TranceMag review of 2000 Years Ahead album

TranceMag staff editor Florin written a review of 2000 Years Ahead album, revealing hidden meaning of the tracks titles.

If you’ve ever been to an interview, you know sometimes employers ask questions about your future, like where you would see yourself in 5 years to a decade. Daniel Lesden doesn’t mess around with these short time frames, opting to think on an altogether grander scale.

A year’s worth of studio work has now culminated with the release of his future-focused second studio album, 2000 Years Ahead. This tremendous sci-fi inspired 9 track long player draws a timeline for a human race which is at peak technological development, highlighting the possible hidden dangers associated with it.

But enough introductory text, let’s dive right in, starting with:

The End Of The Aquarius Age

Open up the album and you’re confronted with its first track, The End Of The Aquarius Age. In astrological terms, each zodiac sign has a so called astrological age assigned to it. We are currently in the age of Aquarius, which is associated with technological development, transhumanism and giving more power to the individual. It is therefore no mere coincidence that Daniel selected the following quote from the movie Automata as the center piece of this ominous ambient creation.

The movie explores a future in which robots have taken over, and the struggles of mankind to stop the AI from altering itself. This first production from the LP has a slew of tech sounds infused into it, to further solidify its connection with the film. Antonio Banderas’ (who plays Jacq Vaucan) words fade, signalling the beginning of a menacing crescendo, which wraps things up nicely.

Pangea Proxima

As we shift focus from the skies to the ground, Pangea Proxima zooms into view. The original Pangea (from the Ancient Greek words pan – whole and gaia – land) was a supercontinent which formed 335 million years ago. Taking into account the geological cycles, Pangea Proxima (also called Pangea Ultima) is a possible future supercontinent which may form in the next 250 million years.

The namesake track brings proceedings into more familiar territory, with Daniel’s signature brand of Psy shining through from the get go. Heavy baselines and gated sounds lay the groundwork for the heavily acidized rest of this opus. It’s a demonstration of the masterful control and quality of sound design we’ve come to expect from Daniel.

The Dream Of Electric Sheep

Continuing on the path we set out at the beginning of the post, we get to The Dream Of Electric Sheep, and its subtle reference to humanity’s robotic counterparts. Clues for this are present at beginning (another quote from Automata, “Identify yourself” / “B-2206. Sorry, the city is not safe for any of us.”) as well as in the short breakdown. The Blade Runner quote “It’s a test designed to provoke emotional response” is particularly adept at emphasizing the relative rigidity of the AI in terms of ability to empathize.

Contrast is underlined not only via quotes, but changes in pacing, especially on the baseline front, switching from a full on to a triplet pattern in key parts of the track.

The pedal to the metal approach of The Dream of Electric Sheep accelerates our eventual arrival to a frightening future event.

Technological Singularity

Further down the list is a track which you should know from the production announcement video released about 10 months ago. Technological Singularity highlights a more melodic side of Psy Trance’s overall sound, drawing its inspiration from a future event often called simply “the singularity”. In basic terms, it is the idea that artificial intelligence may enter a cycle of rapid self-improvement, evolving into a kind of artificial superintelligence and leaving humanity in the dust.

Like the issue itself, the production is way more nuanced than it would appear at first glance, employing some lovely modulated acid lines throughout. The build-up is a particular highlight, with its almost Goa-like organic progression. Wonderful stuff.

Arrival

A familiar name greets us at number 5, Arrival, the teaser single which was released in December last year by the same lovely folks at Digital Om Productions.

Taking the issue of ETs arriving on Earth as its main theme, Arrival opens up with a breaks-like layering, only for Daniel Lesden’s beloved blend of Progressive and Psy to replace it shortly after.

With massive energy throughout and an addictive arrangement overall, this is not only my favourite of the 9 productions, but it can serve as an example of what the modern Psy Trance sound should be.

Not only was the subject interesting, but the execution was top notch, as usual. It’s a fantastic package all in all, which comes from an artist whose familiarity with the Psychedelic sound allows him to craft some exquisite tracks. No wonder the album reached #1 CD on Psyshop, it bloody well deserved to.

Structured Chaos

Sitting at number 6 is yet another fantastic Psy Trancer which you were able to hear in the album completion announcement video prior to the promo-blitz preceding the release.

In comparison to the others, the Progressive side stands out a little more and the overall vibe is heavier. Once again, the bubbling acids and the build-up are of particular note here, due to the sheer attention to detail and masterful execution.

Sacred Space (with AudioFire)

Following in the footsteps of the wonderful Prog Psy number above, we find a collaboration with London-based producer AudioFire.

A balance is struck between the two producers’ sounds, yielding a delightfully energetic, and ever changing piece, which is much lighter in overall vibe than its predecessors. It’d dare say that near the end you could almost mistake it for an Astral Projection track. It really is that good.

Machinery

After a subject as ethereal as the sacred space, Daniel plonks down a mammoth base driven Psychedelic slab called Machinery. Employing plenty of gated sounds and delicious modulated acids, track number 8 also sports one of the most distinctive secondary acid lines of the entire bunch. I’ll only say it’s near the middle, but you’ll definitely recognize it instantly. Terrific stuff.

Middle Mode & Relativ – Divination (Daniel Lesden Remix)

Closing proceedings is Daniel’s take on the 2014 Middle Mode & Relativ collab entitled Divination. Despite using a similar approach to the original in the construction of his rework, Lesden manages to flip the entire atmosphere of the track on its head. What’s more, the end result is a much lighter, more dynamic interpretation than the source material, while still incorporating the quotes from Porcupine Tree’s Voyage 34 Phase IV.

Conclusion

The follow-up to Chronicles of The Universe (Daniel’s first album) shines as both a worthy standalone opus and as a part of the overall story arch. After his exploration of the universe, it made sense for Daniel Lesden to pick mankind’s technological end goal as the main subject for a second album.

Not only was the subject interesting, but the execution was top notch, as usual. Though I personally lean more towards Technological Singularity, Arrival, Structured Chaos and Machinery as the highlights of this LP, there’s no denying the others are equally worthy of your attention. It’s a fantastic package all in all, which comes from an artist whose familiarity with the Psychedelic sound allows him to craft some exquisite tracks. No wonder the album reached #1 CD on Psyshop, it bloody well deserved to.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2017   2000 Years Ahead   Press reviews

Music Talk blog review of Surreal

Music Talk is a blog that features exclusive interviews, reviews, and other interesting tidbits from artists who are part of the Electronic Dance Music world. Writer Kostas Voulgaris reviewed Surreal, released earlier this year on JOOF Recordings.

Daniel has been on a mission to infect each and everyone of our minds with his unique blend of sounds and ethereal soundscapes. In his latest endeavour on JOOF Recordings he has presented us with the magnificent Surreal EP.

Torn between a torrent of ideas and vast inspiration he decided that one track to showcase all this was simply not enough. The answer was wide and clear and so he has presented us two different sides of the same coin.

Part 1

Part 1 is spacey, trippy and full of forgotten sounds reimbursed for the 21st Century. A journey through the deepest depths and chasms of unknown planets beyond our solar system. In search of the unknown, like modern day crusaders we press on entranced by all we see and hear.

Surreal in every measure, this is truly an EP that every dance music fan should have in his collection.

Part 2

Part 2 retains most of the elements of the previous track, including extra progression to heighten our senses as we delve deeper into the essence and core of the track itself.

Surreal in every measure, this is truly an EP that every dance music fan should have in his collection. Waste no time and grab your copy now!

Link to the original post
Text — Kostas Voulgaris

2016   Press reviews   Surreal

Vand Sunete review of Surreal EP

Vând Sunete focuses on track recommendations and features everything from new releases to genre classics. This time he reviewed Surreal, a new EP that just came out from Daniel on JOOF Recordings.

By his own admission, Daniel Lesden is not one to stick to the particular boundaries of a genre, and his latest double part single on JOOF Recordings serves as sufficient proof for anyone who seeks it. You’ll have to read on if you wish to find out more details.

Part 1

The EP kicks off with what can be summarized as psy trance meets techno meets progressive, as outlined in the promo blurb. Though I’m familiar with the slower end of the psychedelic spectrum (or psybient as some like to call it), this particular mixture of styles is something new for me.

The psychedelic motifs have been nicely woven into the fabric of the track without occupying a large chunk of the soundscape, helping the other influences shine through. It’s deep, it’s dark and I’ll be damned if Surreal isn’t the perfect word to describe the atmosphere of Daniel’s latest opus.

It’s deep, it’s dark and I’ll be damned if Surreal isn’t the perfect word to describe the atmosphere of Daniel’s latest opus.

Part 2

On the flip side, we get a faster track, which brings proceedings more in line with the ‘traditional’ psy trance vibe. That’s not to say the BPM increase is the only difference, since Part 2 tones down its various other influences, and shuffles things around noticeably. The main theme is altered a tad as well, and in certain places you can even hear influences hinting at Daniel’s previous work on Enuma Elish.

In the end, it all comes down to preference, which is why I’m glad these two-parter EPs are becoming a regular thing on JOOF. Part 1 is for me the undeniable highlight of this material (and I’d love to hear more of that in the future), but Part 2 serves as a great compliment to its slower EP neighbour.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2016   Press reviews   Surreal

Zone Magazine review of Enuma Elish

Zone Magazine is an Irish magazine about underground dance music scene, born in 1994. On February 2016 issue #8, staff journalist Danny Slade reviewed Daniel’s Enuma Elish, recently released on JOOF Recordings.

This Psytrance release is written and produced by Russian artist Daniel Lesden and is an accomplished production to say the least. It starts with a muted kick drum and an ethereal pad and quickly builds with a chanted male vocal sample and an arpeggiated synth riff into a subtle acidic pounder that is full of energy and verve. The bassline keeps up the urgency of the track and the psychedelic elements soar around the soundscape giving it a real edge as it drives you ever forward to the breakdown which is simple yet effective and gives it real panache and sets it on a level that is something to aspire to.

John 00 Flemming has been championing the Psytrance sound for many years now and it is tracks of this quality that make you see why. It is the kind of sound that you could easily loose yourself on the dance floor to, or is as equally as good for home listening as although it is fast and driving, it never oversteps the mark and becomes tiresome. I have to admit that I haven’t really kept up with the whole Psy Trance movement of late but if John’s label is putting out tracks of this quality, I better start paying attention as this is a work of art!

Link to the original post
Text — Danny Slade

2016   Enuma Elish   Press reviews

Music Talk blog review of Enuma Elish

Music Talk is a blog that features exclusive interviews, reviews, and other interesting tidbits from artists who are part of the Electronic Dance Music world. Writer Kostas Voulgaris reviewed Enuma Elish.

Daniel is back with a vengeance on an iconic label known for it’s harder style and euphoric tendencies.

As is evident from the title this is a track jam packed with mystical entities. Taking a trip back to the era of the creation as described by the Assyrians and Babylonians in their revered tome.

This is Psytrance at its finest!

The listener begins to feel the tense atmosphere as out of the vast emptiness one finds himself/herself guided by unseen deities serving as our hosts during this miraculous journey. Chants and spiritual cries are heard in the distance while the traveler begins to fall deeper and deeper into the abyss which is being transfigured right in front of our very eyes.

Enuma Elish is mystical, atmospheric and compelling. One listen and it will be on repeat, inspiring you to seize the day and conquer your own personal goals!

This is Psytrance at its finest!

Link to the original post
Text — Kostas Voulgaris

2016   Enuma Elish   Press reviews

Vand Sunete’s look back: Daniel Lesden — Producer of the Year

Vând Sunete focuses on music recommendations and features everything from new releases to genre classics. By the end of the year, they summed up the year with different nominations, with Daniel Lesden named as “Producer of the Year”.

Getting even closer to the end, we encounter the fourth category in the series, which is Producer of the Year. Though I’ve been impressed by the output of a fair few names this year, one of them did deliver the release which convinced me beyond any shadow of doubt.

This mysterious name I keep referring to and stubbornly not mentioning is clearly visible up there in the title..thing, but let’s have it appear down here as well, yeah? For 2015, this title goes to Daniel Lesden. Why? I thought you’d never ask.

Collaborating with Mekka on Aurora, Daniel kicked off 2015 on a high note with the Borderline Music single, and being a fan of previous Borderline releases, I immediately took to the combination. The fusion of progressive and psy really appealed to me, which is why I gladly paid close attention to what he had to offer next. Though leaning much more towards the psy end, his Thru The Stars, Life Simulation and Another Earth EPs hit all the right notes as far as I was concerned, resulting in a pretty permanent spot in my playlist for all of them. Then came what was the deciding factor which swayed things in mr. Lesden’s favour.

His releases hit all the right notes, resulting in a pretty permanent spot in my playlist for all of them.

First teased at the beginning of February, Daniel’s collaboration with Cosmithex (which we later found out was dubbed Genesis) saw the light of day near the middle of August, but it was bar none one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of this year for me. It really did tick all the boxes and managed to offer a modern equivalent of those highly addictive Goa masterpieces from the 90s. The fact that the folks at JOOF Recordings paired it with mixes from You Are My Salvation and Steve Birch surpassed even my wildest expectations of how good a package can be. This irreversibly planted Daniel’s name on the top of this fourth category of ours and it made sure his name stayed there.

Just to be sure I got the message as clear as I could’ve, he traded places with You Are My Salvation later in the year, remixing the Swede’s Research & Development release, As The Horizon Comes Closer. After that, he ended on the uniquely titled Enuma Elish (which is the name of the Babylonian creation myth, for those not familiar) making yet another appearance on the JOOF family of the labels.

If the releases still haven’t convinced you, he’s also doing a weekly knowledge exchange on his site, covering a variety of interesting topics for you aspiring musicians out there, or for those like me who just enjoy reading things regardless of subject.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2015   Press reviews

Vand Sunete review of Enuma Elish

Vând Sunete focuses on track recommendations and features everything from new releases to genre classics. This time he reviewed Enuma Elish, a new single that coming from Daniel on JOOF Recordings.

Back in August, Genesis landed with a thud in the JOOF catalogue and showcased the production prowess of Daniel Lesden and Cosmithex on the superb psy-trancer. Four months later, we’re presented with another origin story, this time as a solo effort from Daniel Lesden. Let’s dive right in and see what’s what. :)

In terms of titles, Enuma Elish is as unique as they get, borrowing its name from the Babylonian creation myth. Unlike its namesake, the latest in Daniel’s catalogue doesn’t portray the story in a thousand lines stretched over seven tablets, rather it chooses a more digital approach, contained in a tad over eight and a half minutes.

The driving psy arrangement, with its decidedly heavy base and quite subtle vocal accents, manages to give this production a slight aura of mystery, serving as even more of a catalyst for pushing that replay button.

The driving psy arrangement, with its decidedly heavy base and quite subtle vocal accents, manages to give this production a slight aura of mystery, serving as even more of a catalyst for pushing that replay button. There’s no messing about, just straight to the point psy that is as engaging to listen as one would expect, given the producer’s previous work.

Enuma Elish hits all stores this coming Monday, December 7th.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2015   Enuma Elish   Press reviews

Music Talk blog review of Genesis

Music Talk is a blog that features exclusive interviews, reviews, and other interesting tidbits from artists who are part of the Electronic Dance Music world. Writer Kostas Voulgaris reviewed Genesis.

Daniel is indeed a storyteller. This is evident if you have happened to follow his string of releases.His tracks are loaded with just the right stuff to take us on destinations we would never have had the privilege of arriving at. In this trip he joins forces with Cosmithex delivering us the massive “Genesis”.

If anything can be said about the masterminds behind the music it would be that the duo are certainly Trance masters of the Cosmos!

The aforementioned trip starts off in a state of awe as the melody is so divine, almost as a sound descending from the heavens. It feels like being taken back to the very beginning, when the creator began assembling our planet as he saw fit.

The narrative vocals arriving at the precise moment in the midst of the track add an extra notch to the enhancement of the already epic aural ride we have been on. One feels himself/herself drawn, almost hypnotized to the rhythm and infectious vibe of this one!

If anything can be said about the masterminds behind the music it would be that the duo are certainly Trance masters of the Cosmos!

Link to the original post
Text — Kostas Voulgaris

2015   Genesis   Press reviews

Vand Sunete review of As The Horizon Comes Closer

Vând Sunete focuses on track recommendations and features everything from new releases to genre classics. This time he reviewed As The Horizon Comes Closer, new single from You Are My Salvation that features Daniel’s remix.

The research and development phase of a product takes a fair bit of time, but the end result is all the more polished because of it. Such is the case with the latest offering from the underground labs of Dopping and Ruddick-led imprint Research & Development Records, which welcomes aboard Swedish producer You Are My Salvation. Let’s take a closer look at what’s inside.

Original Mix

At the beginning of the decade, I was transitioning from a generally prog-house leaning playlist to a more trance oriented soundtrack. Although it’s a sentiment that still manifests itself today, nothing can beat those awe-filled moments of discovery that ensued. In many ways, As The Horizon Comes Closer served as a nice reminder of those exact moments.

You could pick out the superb melodic atmosphere in the break and turn that into a very satisfying ambient piece, but YAMS went a little further. Wrapping the melody around a deep progressive arrangement, the Swede managed to extend the experience in a smooth fusion of electronic music styles. Truth be told, this original vision does not require any accompanying words, but I had to convey my appreciation somehow. Plus, it would look weird if I didn’t include any text, now wouldn’t it?

If this isn’t quite your thing, perhaps I might interest you in some remixes?

Will Rees & Alan Ruddick Remix

The first of the reshuffles steps out into the wider electronic music landscape, as Will Rees and label boss Alan Ruddick come together to create a noteworthy slab of melodic techno.

The snare is much more pronounced in the first half, which might make you think a transition into breaks is imminent, however, hold on. Your patience is rewarded as the thumping base and kick combo not only secures the track’s place in the techno spectrum, but gets you off the chair, whether you want it or not. For listeners not so easily convinced, the original melody riding on top should be as good an impulse to get up as any. A distinctively addictive reshuffle, whichever way you slice it.

Daniel Lesden Remix

The second on remix duties is Daniel Lesden, a name that should be familiar. Remember when back in August YAMS remixed Daniel and Cosmithex’s Genesis? Well, this time the roles are reversed.

The mysterious distant sounds in the break serve as mere teasers, prepping the listener for the inherently infectious drive of Daniel’s psy rework. Framed by the precisely placed vocal chops, the tweaked melody makes an eventual entrance, providing all the necessary elements for the oh-so-good goosebumps to occur. A beautiful example of creatively constructed psy that stays true to the original material, while giving off its own unique vibe.

A beautiful example of creatively constructed psy that stays true to the original material, while giving off its own unique vibe.

As The Horizon Comes Closer, so does the release date for the EP, with this triple track offering hitting Beatport this Monday, October 26th. If you prefer other portals, November 9th is the date to mark in your calendar.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2015   As The Horizon Comes Closer   Press reviews

Vand Sunete review of Genesis

Vând Sunete focuses on track recommendations and features everything from new releases to genre classics. This time he reviewed Genesis, the latest Daniel’s collaboration with Cosmithex.

Few releases have made me jump and down with joy quite like the latest one in the JOOF back catalogue, a collaboration between Daniel Lesden and Cosmithex. Why the excitement, you ask? Well I’m not going to give it all away in the first two sentences, now am I? Let’s put it under the microscope.

Original Mix

A teaser, however short, can make or break the ‘hype’ for any piece of media, be it film, game, music, etc. Suffice to say the video that has been teasing this release since February did its job wonderfully, the end result being me bugging Daniel about more details on a couple of occasions.

Genesis sees Daniel and Cosmithex join forces for what is for me one of the classiest examples of modern psy-trance. They haven’t overdone it on the effects or the whole arrangement, instead focusing on the absolutely epic lead and beautifully executed break and build, plopping in a relevant vocal sample to seal things off.

I write these posts with the tracks blasting in my headphones and Genesis has more than once made me stop mid-sentence just grinning to myself at how great it sounds. I feel like my mouth is going to hurt from all the smiling, since this particular EP is a triple serving of sound. Let us move on to the first of the remixes.

Genesis sees Daniel and Cosmithex join forces for what is for me one of the classiest examples of modern psytrance.

Steve Birch Remix

For his rework, Steve Birch bumps up the BPM a couple of notches and rolls the pronounced baseline right out the gate, with the vocal sample joining soon after. As the sample draws to an end, we transition to an off beat base pattern, dropping not long after back into the rolling groove. The lead gets a nice FX treatment, helping further differentiate Steve’s reimagining and offering a fantastic alternative for those who want their psytrance just a tad faster.

You Are My Salvation Remix

This remix was probably the most surprising to me, because I honestly didn’t know what to expect from it. Things start out in what I’d dare call near tribal fashion, with the drums reverberating in an oddly hypnotic fashion. Following a nicely controlled use of the vocal sample, we get treated to a tremendous psy-breaks arrangement, that slowly wraps itself around the melody and guides the listener towards the track’s break. I was damn speechless as the breakdown smoothly got unveiled and by the time the climax had rolled around, I had to pick my jaw up from the floor. Just..wow.

This fantastic 3 piece EP is out now on all digital download stores. If the text hasn’t convinced you, the samples most certainly will.

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

2015   Genesis   Press reviews
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