Area51 "Message From Another Time"
It is great to see that the pioneers of spacesynth, Rob and Michiel, are back with the same productivity as they had back in the 80s. This album was available just one year after their previous album Jupiter Beyond was released. Therefore it was interesting to hear if also this album would bring some fresh ideas to the genre.
On their previous album Rob and Michiel showed up a different kind of sound compared to the productions that they have made before as they replaced most of their hardware with software. As they have used the same setup in their studios, it gives the impression that all songs have been made by just one person. This is something that I really like, and I also like that they haven't published on the cover whom of them that have made the different songs. I think that it is better to keep this as a secret, as it gives the feeling that they actually are one band and not just two individuals.
The songs on this album are produced in the same good quality as their previous album, just as we could expect from these professional musicians. The songs include a lot of details which makes it interesting to listen to them over and over again. However the first impression that I got when I heard the album was that it sounded very close to their Jupiter Beyond album. The melodies are new, but most of the sounds are the same, like for example the detuned chords from Imminent Attack and the same type of Koto bass.
Unfortunally they have used the same bass sound through almost the whole album, in the same way as they did on their previous album. One exception is the song Impact, which includes the classical Laserdance-bassline which sounds awesome. This sounds promising for their next album. The voices on this album are more trance influenced than on the Jupiter Beyond album, which I don't like as I prefer to keep the genres trance and spacesynth separated. I'm sure that many of the songs on this album would have sounded much better if the detuned trance sounds would have been replaced with something else, as the material itself is very good.
One difference with this album compared to their previous one is that they have replaced the movie samples with vocoder material. The quality of the vocoder stuff is good and on songs like The Robot Empire it brings the same magic feeling as on their Laserdance productions. Eventhough the quality of the vocoder material is very good, I think that the melodies that they are build upon could have been made better.
The songs on the album are mostly done in the traditionally spacesynth style with a few exceptions. One exception is the song Die Hard which sounds more like Synth Pop which works quite well on the album. One thing that I'm missing on the album is a slower song, like the ones that they made on the Laserdance albums.
To summarize this album, I think it is a good and well produced album that includes a lot of good melodies and vocoder material. It only took one year to make this album, which shows the talent of these musicians. Personally I think that they should have spent some more time to make new voices as it sounds too close to the previous album in some places. Overall this is a very good album and in my opinion it is better than their Jupiter Beyond album.