Most trance mix albums open with an expansive, often pretentious prelude with a breathy female voice, and take some time afterwards to find their rhythmic feet. Not Revolutions – a quick breath at the outset and we’re off, just as if someone shouted “Go!” on an arcade game. It’s a brilliant start, especially as the track in question is Jurgen Vries’ own The Theme, one of the best commercial trancers of recent years with a mad-for-it synth line.
Vries is in fact the pseudonym for Darren Tate, a highly respected producer and trance DJ for some years now. Revolutions might not be the best title but it packs plenty of energy, has a relatively low cheese factor and looks to be up for a big party.
The Theme sets the mood, and there’s little or no slackening of the pace or intensity for the rest of the mix. Tate’s mixing isn’t startlingly inventive but then it doesn’t need to be, with the energy of the music propelling each track into the next. After The Theme Flashback and Green Martian set the scene with more spatial sounds, the latter harking back to the X-Files but retaining a pounding beat.
Then it’s another Vries production, Deliverance, which pumps a mighty bass sound out for a powerful impact. A tactic employed numerous times by the tracks on this mix is to pull the sound down so it’s almost inaudible, then hit hard with a riff or building chord sequence, and few do this more effectively than Mike Koglin’s Circuits. Again Randy Katana adopts this approach, but Tate is now making the beats tougher, moving into the strong chord sequence and bass line of Endre’s Kallocain.
At this point Tate starts to introduce some vocal elements, with a slightly hammed up distant vocal for Hemstock & Jennings’ Reverence, pushed to the background by Tate’s own remix. This element resurfaces for the big Jurgen Vries hit The Opera Song, but here Charlotte Church‘s vocal is sensibly restrained.
There’s yet more Vries in The Wilderness, demonstrating an ability to funk things up a bit, once again culminating in one of those big hands in the air moments. Tate’s collaboration with Jono Grant meanwhile uses a tribal drum sound to extremely good effect, a stirring climax to the mix. Vries then winds down to close with Andrea Britton contributing a vulnerable vocal to Take My Hand – nothing original there! – and the Flash Brothers with an unusual last track Amen, fading into the distance.
By this time you’ve probably determined if Revolutions is for you or not. In terms of pitch it falls around the Ferry Corsten mark, with some genuinely hot party tunes, but lighter in substance than a Tiesto set. If you like trance music this is a worthy addition to the cannon, and as Tate hangs up his Jurgen Vries moniker for good, a stirring way to bow out.