Area 51 "Message From Another Time"
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Review by Ronald Wennekes
I bought the track in Holland, NL. Very first was adapting to the various sounds, second time was amazing. This album is great. Good to hear that Michiel van der Kuy and Rob van Eijk are still producing together.
1. Introx: An intro like a movie.
2. Journey to Triskelion: Good track, the snare is a little bit mid and loud.
3. End of Line: From the first beats you know this will be an energy track, the bass will let you know. Great samples like always. The introducing (the pizzicato-like) lead sound a new one. Good thing that Michiel and Rob didn't keep hanging only onto old synth sounds, refreshing it is. A perfect combination of the synthesizer sounds from the early days and nowadays. And of course the vocoder which takes you to another time. Maybe the best track of the album, but check it yourself.
4. Message from Another Time: Top track, really tells the update sound of M&R in this title track.
5. The Empath: A well know dek-dekedek bass, sounds like... Bellmelody like 99 luftballons. Vocoder time again!
6. Die Hard: Different one, piano, another underbass. Lovely melody, vocoder tells the story. This one shows the quality of the producers, they can make a different sound in the same style, and makes this album sound various and not 12 of the same tracks. Its a privilege if you can make the sound of your own album without interference of a A&R, or executive producer which also want to decide how it should sound.
7. Of the Known Universe: The Area 51 sound we like so much and already heard on the first album. The Koto-a-like bass is still super, the synthsound make this track sound like you want to hear it. The new sound loop makes is from the another time, if that's what they meaning with it. Lovely female sample and the stops (short break/pause) makes this track more exiting.
8. Impact: Good to hear this one, fast start, great sample take them out and again a new synthlead sound. The vocoder makes it like it should, an energized Area 51 track with that famous melody what gives you a good feeling.
9. Eternities: Starts with a New Area 51 bass, maybe inspired by sounds like Apopygma Bezerk - listen to this when you like it. The first lead makes me think of Kraftwerk or similar. The combination with the synthesizer sounds and effects makes it sound new and updated. The samples are used too often, they didn't have to, I think. House sample makes me think of that kind of music and doesn't fit in this track. But that's my opinion.
10. The Robot Empire: Standard Laserdance sound, baseline, vocoder and the famous synths and bell makes it a classic again. Makes the album various, but also this track from a early and not not another time. Not a track they found in their archive I think, the great guys produce new, but it sounds like it.
11. Xuxos (Remix): The new Area sound again, sung with happy vocoder style. The well known bass is played differently. Great stops again. Old sound make this days, you can hear that for sure. The toms fill-in is back again. And like always the different synth sounds are following up on another, so the track keeps sounding fresh. Filtered, and that is a nice thing they didn't use in the early days.
12. Outrox: Like a ballad, they like opera so you hear, not fot the first time, and makes it a special outro or last track. The album ends as beautiful as its started like it should, you know know that it has ended and you have to start this great cd again.
They did it again, there are many producers, Michiel and Rob are top producers, the quality is great and the songs are played in the way only they can. The more you listen to the album the better it sounds. The songs don't get boring. Every time you play it, youll get that special feeling, superb! I played it every night while I'm sitting on my terrace. This is one of the best albums I have for sure. We will wait for the 3rd album with even more... and hear what they are producing, probably now when I write this text. Songwriters are always busy with their music, and that exactly what the fans are expecting from them!
Review by Adi
One year ago Rob and Michiel came back with "Jupiter Beyond", an album which - let's face it - was not so good as we expected from them, with a few great tracks and lots of misplaced musical ideas and simple lazyness. But both of them liked the idea of coming back and co-work, so in 2005 a second Area 51 album came out. One year has passed since the first album, so can we expect any better from them?
As on "Jupiter Beyond", second album starts from an "Introx". Enigma's and Vangelis' style is coming with full of its glory, which unfortunately stops very quickly. "Journey to Triskelion" strong reminds almost similar second track from a first album, but nothing's wrong with that - that's Area's style. "End of Line" speeds up, but composers didn't pay much attention to seamless enjoying listener's ears - great synth and vocoder solos are combined with an empty moments, where nothing's going on, except flat bass and drum lines. I thought, that such ideas were undertaked in 90's, when MvdK stabed so many LD tunes, especially on the few last LD albums of his. But, unfortunately, with his name and talent, he brought back his worse ideas...
Album's title track is one of the best works of Area 51 - no doubt of it. But on "The Empath" both composers seems like they can't come out of their very few repetitive over and over again instrument's sounds, which brings down quite good melodies. "Die Hard" repeats one of the few deadly spacesynth sins - it's all about the title. While listening this bright, light, goofy tune, the last thing that comes to my mind is the title of a brilliant movie thriller with Bruce Willis ("Die Hard"). After a while vocoder sings "Die Hard Lover", which turns over meaning of a title - but so what? Rob and Michiel - please hire PS to name your tunes - he'll do it so much better than you...
"Of the Known Universe" makes strong deja vu - beginning of this tune is a goddamn clone of "Imminent Attack" from a previous Area's album, as the rest of it. Tune itself is a very nice piece of spacesynth, but is it so hard to make up some new stuff, without so much asspained self-repeating? "Impact" is also a good work, but it is so much like a previous track. They both sounds so similar, that a few seconds of silence between both of them seems like a damage of a CD player...
"Eternities" - without a doubt it is a best track on the album - classic electronic mood, dignified bassline, fantastic solos - I'll ask for more! Even naked drum parts seems like composers finally though it out in a best way. "The Robot Empire" falls down with a goofy Cyber People style - how many times do I have to listen to this "spacesynth jurassic park"? It's a 21-st century for Christ's sake! Stop digging out that forgotten style, even if you consider this as an immortal classic - Cyber's style is dead and let it rest in peace!
"Xuxos" repeating all the sins described above - don't line up two similar track one after another. Don't you hear it? And once again - why compose brilliant minor-scale solos and combine it with gooffy Cyber People style? It'a a waste of time and disc space. And finally "Outrox", which is once again cloned from "Introx" with reversed line up.
Final words - "Message from another Time" ia an album, that needs "owner's manual". Without any knowledge of composers and their heritage, uninformed synthfan will throw this album away and put once again Marco's or Chris' works playing loud. But well informed fans will love it. Why? Because Rob and Michiel signed it - that's all. Beside a very few highlights ("Eternities", "Of the Known Universe"), album as a whole seems like a one giant, bad joke from a former synthdance masters, who lost their ability to create new, fresh stuff within their style, presented on a first album. "Message from another Time" taste like a beer without bubbles - it looks the same, but consuming might make its final in a toilet.
Review by Klajunas
I don’t know, maybe its matter of taste of cause. But I think masters slept on they victory laure leaves. Because i‘m disappointed with this album. It’s less melodic then first Area album, got less nice vocals, got less varied melodies; some song got too strong rhythm that they sound more dance then space… I don’t know maybe it’s winter was too cold or something else.
1., 12. Intro and Outrox – sound mostly the same. I like first part. But then I heard that women solo form the first Area51 album was disappointed. I prefer to hear monk’s vocals instead some classic music solo.
2. Journey to Triskelion – this song I would call “melodramas space”. It very soft, very calm. Too much romantic for me. Haven’t feel “journey”, more feel love, poetry and etc. your don’t hear something special and amazing here. Too much average song. Only one good thing is part from beginning to 0.43 (and it’s repeating further).
3. End of Line – this time intro vocals part is OK. Part from 0.50 until 1.30 sounds amazing. But what’s this… ”end of line” …words not wrong, wrong is how they said. Singing again was not in my taste, to this song rhythm, they sounded liquid. What I did like else? Intro. Again they done best job, but do that drums part from 3.58 was so important?
4. Message from Another Time – then I first time heard, this song sample I thought that it got wrong synths, I don’t like then. Now then I hear full song, I thing they sound amazing. Listen to part from 1.30… it’s something unreal. Intro was not so special, but then came part 0.20 to 0.30 and I was stunned such nice sound. And one more strike was in 4.00, better if they use more such sound. In my opinion this is they best album song.
5. The Empath – intro? I don’t know maybe for someone it’s nice, for me chip, “bum bum” and that's all. And vocals: they tragic. I more liked melodic parts in beginning and end, then synth line. Because synth sounded boring with feeling, that this I hear somewhere before. One more average song.
6. Die Hard – well, nice electronic song. The piano part was really nice and different from the rest album. But is this real spacesynth? If it’s so, then maybe spacesynth pop. Because it sounded all song the same. Nothing more, nothing special. Maybe I would like this song if I didn’t hear vocals, they again not in may taste.
7. Of the Known Universe – I would call this song “Imminent Attack 2”: synth sounded almost the same. But maybe it’s not so bad. It helped to feel old sound of they music.
8. Impact – I like intro part, and leading synth, nice fit together. What I notice that this song got most varied melodies from all songs in albums. This is nice. This is second song in album which I liked most.
9. Eternities – intro? Same as “The Empath”, chip again. But in most, rest sounded nice. Maybe melody at all is very “hard”, but it’s not big problem. About vocal, this time I got double feeling. From one side they fit from another not much.
10. The Robot Empire – strange, why not call it “Journey to Triskelion 2”? It’s sound almost the same.
11. Xuxos - intro again was not very impressive. But leading synths sounded in my taste. Part from 1:00 amazing. Everything was ok until 1.55… this cheeping … sorry vocal, what they doing here? And I don’t liked synth part from 3:00 until 3:19. not fit to all song. This is amazing song, with amazing bad parts.
Review by Peter D
After the delightful Jupiter Beyond I was expecting much of the same. To my horror this was not the case. I could not believe that the two stalwarts of this genre M Van der Kuy and Rob Van Eijk known for some of the best productions (Future Generation, Interplanetary Mission) could churn out such. I can not express how bitterly disappointed I was. I have tried to give this album a chance by listening to it over and over, trying to find something positive about it, but just can't. To me it seems either one of two things have happened. Either 1, both composers have tried (in their way) to move this genre forward and thus re-verted to trance or they have simply run out of ideas and so used their current trance background to cover this. Either way it’s a dismal failure.
Personally as a spacesynth fan that has listened to the odd trance track I don't think this Album works. What I mean is that, from a spacesynth point of view all this album has to identify with this genre is the spacesynth rhythm, but generally no melodies just trance sounds. I don't think trance fans will embrace this album either as it lacks the big bass and drums of trance, in addition the music is much too slow. In terms of sound the Album does have a similar feel to Jupiter Beyond, but that’s where the comparison ends. One is spacesynth the other is a sort of hybrid of space trance. I think if Rob and Michel did want to move this genre they should look at projects like Galaxion, or Protonic Storm or even say Mark Vera's "San Diago" remix. Vera and Galaxion while remaining true to spacesynth have included elements outside the square so it doesn't sound like the same old stuff. Protonic Storm well he has expanded this genre in his futuristic way, both show great initiative in showing how this genre can evolve rather than taking the easy route of merging two genre's.
Here's my track-by-track review:
1: Introx. Not sure what the idea behind this introx is. For me it has nothing to do with rest of the CD.
2: Journey to Trsikelion. This is a sort of slow number, I'd say spacesynth with trance elements. Does have a nice melody at about 1:54min, but apart from that pretty average track.
3: End of Line. This is the first of the hybrid numbers. Average track, lacks a decent melody too much noise not enough creativity
4: Message from Another Time: The best track on the Album, but even it isn't without its flaws. What annoys me are those long notes with the trance sound, it seems to repeat itself on this album and after a while becomes rather boring. I like the vocoder singing on this track.
5: The Empath. I can't stand the start with that awful synth but then it transforms into vintage Van der Kuy with that beautiful Chord sequence, vocoder singing is a rather let down and then we cop more of that awful synth, which follows and interesting melody that doesn't seem to fit into this track. Overall this track is just too messy, its not really a track as a whole but rather an assortment of melodies pasted together.
6: Die Hard. What the?????? Perhaps one of the worst songs I have ever heard across all genres of music. Slow piano runs to fast music (what were they thinking?) The music after it sounds like some cheesy TV score to a crap show This is so kitsch, camp, and the vocoder singing is so cheesy I'd label it vocoder abuse!. An absolute embarrassment!
7: Of the Known Universe. This track is done in the same mould as Into oblivion and Imminent Attack from Jupiter Beyond, the only difference is that the main melody (if you call that a melody) is a trance sound sweeping through. Pretty average track. The vocoder singing is not appealing either.
8: Impact. Like many of the tracks on this album a trance sequence and some very limited melodies. Perhaps a bit better than some of the other numbers but still average.
9: Eternities. I know what they were trying to do with this, but that background talk through the mic I don’t think really fits in spacesynth even though this is a more darker track it still didn’t work. Average spacesynth.
10: The Robot Empire. Nice soft melody in this sort of reminds me of “From the Sun” It also has a pretty vicious synth after woulds. Like many tracks on this album it just lacks something to be good. Average.
11: Xuxos. An uneventful track, rather boring with pretty bad vocoder singing. I think the guys have run out of ideas. Forgettable!
I think the problem with this Album is that there weren’t many imaginative ideas and too many tracks were just too plain average especially given that there is some great work being done by the new artists who are constantly bringing or attempting new ideas. In addition its quite boring the trance makes one-track sound like another. This incomparisson even though made on modern equipment sounds too stale. Where with Jupiter Beyond one would say welcome back guys, this one reeks of “You should have stayed home in bed”. My apologizes but this album is a shocker