First sign is the abundance of NEW artists featured on this 11-track compilation. Only Galaxion, Everdune and Mark Vera are known “Centaurions” contributing with one song each, and I’ll start with them. These three have been with us all from the start of the new spacesynth wave of the last decennium, and have been essential contributors all along. It’s interesting how all three have yet to release their own solo-albums, but neither will space people wait in vain for such… thus, taking part in this compilation is a good move. It depends though on what they deliver here.
Galaxion’s mighty -Nekomimi’s Song- is a pleasure to discover the entity of, as we’ve had the intro excerpt available for a good while. The general feel in this is of positive and high energy. It follows that the melodies themselves are filled with emotions of joy and play, which are strengthened by an exciting variety of instruments throughout the song.
I must admit being a little bit disappointed about not finding a new song from Mark Vera, who presents a shorter version of -Android People- made in 2005. There hasn’t been any new music from him the last couple of years and I miss that, but I have this semi conscious feeling of still before the storm… Anyway, his song marks a perfect high note point finale on this album.
Among these three, Everdune wreaks the first price with the stunningly beautiful -Dark Racer-. This melody sticks with you for a long time, and the energy flowing back and forth in the soundscape indeed takes you on a ride that you don’t want to get off.
The music of these three is distinct in character, and moreover easily distinguishable from Michiel van der Kuy’s traditional spacesynth sound. They make the balance of going their own path and keeping it spacesynth, Galaxion towards trance, Everdune towards pop and Mark Vera’s attacking punch. Now, do the eight other musicians belong in the “future of spacesynth”?
Let’s start with Cyreon, who was granted two songs by Jouni Airaksinen (Mark Vera), the compiler and producer of the whole release. The Jarresque start of the album implies that Jarre is along the path Cyreon is walking, but is it spacesynth? Anyone who has heard the teaser megamix would claim it to be, myself included of course, as -Mars Raider- kicks off rolling the arpeggios we love so much with spacey and intelligent melodies and sounds dancing around them. The feeling gets more contemporary than eighties, with Darude-influenced and trance elements present as well. In my world I’ll say that the latter is “improved” on, on his –Starfall-. Great vocoders and lighter bassline are good remedies in this regard, and Cyreon brings by this song himself up to the level of the before mentioned three artists.
Among the newcomers Alek Szahala still strikes me as the most interesting. His –Crystal Thunder- builds up perfectly to several crescendos, with a strong underlying melody accompanying the listener all along. A thoroughly worked track, which leaves you amazed as the thunder stills. I have noticed other fans having pinpointed Andy Piney and Lightsaber as the top new hotshots on this compilation. Well, this cd really is packed with hotshots, and as this paragraph illustrates, the listener’s taste is what decides which one is the hottest. Because the styles are indeed diverse. Thereof comes the release’s weak point in my opinion, which could be a weakness for compilation albums overall. Although this album was much anticipated, I’ve listened far less to this than let’s say Dreamtime’s Farout or other concept/ artist albums. SS Rev Ep One might have become too diverse to really make it as an entity, a cd to put in and listen all through. Transitioning from –Dark Racer- to One Hit Wonder’s quite dancey –Surrender- is not that smooth in my ears, likewise onto Zircon’s “back to the Amiga 64” –Solar Revolution-. To put some positive eyes on this aspect; you’ll never stop being surprised throughout your first listen to this compilation, and you still have the following common denominator; it is all criminally well produced technically.
Gratz community, we’ve been granted delightfully much more than we wished for. Or do we wish for other than the traditional sound of Laserdance? We are all different, and what a pleasure then to have the option of the variety presented by Alpha Centauri.