Germany’s Paul van Dyk hasproved to be one of trance music’s most enduringartists, and shows a musical style capable of movingwith the times. Whereas previous albums such as SevenWays and Out There And Back had textures awash withwatery sound effects, rippling melodies and warmharmonies, Reflections seeks to gain greater varietyby introducing some tracks from the darker side andsitting them directly alongside floor fillers such asthe singles Time Of Our Lives and Nothing But You.
Opening track Crush is a low key,introspective start until a strong kick drum bitesthrough the mix, setting things up nicely for theVega 4-fronted Time Of Our Lives. Here there isevidence of van Dyk’s maturing lyrical prowess, forthis is a cut above your average dance fodder. It alsosignals a move towards breakbeat territory, a movefully realised in Knowledge, an aggressive, cuttingedge piece of music.
As well as this van Dyk tries hishand at a more down tempo, jazzy style on thereflective Like A Friend, which strays towardsDubstar territory. This is one of severaldisquieting tracks that seem to have been influencedby a recent life-changing trip to India. Thankfully hedoesn’t let this influence go too far, as the title tracksees him back on the dance floor doing what he doesbest.
The dark side is back forBuenaventura, with a bass drum that would rumble thewoofers in any club, and a bass line to match. Thepumping vocal cut Homage follows, featuring the tonesof the seasoned trance diva Jan Johnston, astalwart of the music of van Dyk’s mate BT.
One of the principal problemswith trance music albums in the past has been the lackof musical variety, which has often meant the artistin question has had to resort to trying their hand ata slower brand of music, often with disastrous andcheesy results.
Reflections shows that Paul van Dykhas avoided falling into this trap by some distance -his beat-mongering and songwriting having maturedconsiderably over the last ten years into a cool,polished pop trance sound with a harder edge for theclubs when needed. Add this to the advertisingcontracts he’s pulling in from mobile phone companies,and the future’s bright…