1. Funky Monkey / Cydonia
2. Facing / Infected Mushroom
3. 911 / Koxbox
4. Trance Former / Space Cat
5. ReFresh / Sphere
6. HelloII / Skazi vs. Dj Omi
7. Mysterya / Dino Psaras vs. Sterilizer
8. Tasty Mushroom (Eat Static Remix) / Infected Mushroom
9. Breath / Bamboo Forest
Magnet is an interesting compilation from the Japanese label Vision Quest. Compiled by Dino Psaras in 2003, it features a number of high profile names yet it seems to have slipped under the radar of many trance listeners. There is no theme at work here; the track ordering seems virtually random here. This is merely another CD primed and ready for DJs to filter out some killer dance floor cuts.
The opening track reunites Dino Psaras with Ian Rive for what seems to be the final offering from Cydonia. Funky Monkey is a deadly night-time stormer loaded with tribal drumming, killer bass, and spooky atmospheres. There aren't any strong melodies but a track like this doesn't need any! For fans of the classic tune Anaconda, this is sure to satisfy. As a DJ tool, Funky Monkey is nearly unsurpassed; year after year it remains a recognizable feature of my sets. There is something special about the absolutely unstoppable way in which this song unfolds. In my books, this is essential!
Facing is great song in Infected Mushroom's classical style. It is completely devoid of vocals, guitars, or build-ups. The Infected duo take a deep dive into the emotional side of psychedelic trance without resorting to gimmickry. Instead, this song draws immense power from soft melodies, serene choral overtures, and subtle transitions. This uncommonly genuine piece of psytrance is a tribute to the group's innate talents; it is a shame they have left this path for more profitable pastures. Needless to say, this is essential listening for any Infected fan.
Koxbox released no more than a handful of tracks from 2001 to 2005. In this time, Frank E and Ian Ion parted ways, and the sound of the group underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. 911 reflects the changing times it is much tougher than previous material from the group. Some have called it techtrance, but I don't feel as if that describes this very well. Conventional melodies are not a large part of the action, but there is never any shortage of psychedelic noises to latch on to. Funky mutant bass lines and killer kicks create an impeccable dance floor groove, and the production quality is naturally of the highest calibre. This is top-notch psychedelic dance music that transcends boundaries.
Space Cat's Trance Former is an piece of full-on psytrance infused with hints of the old school spirit. The arrangement is very straight-forward, building and breaking down in the time-honoured fashion of uplifting trance anthems. Gorgeous melodies and shimmering choral voices will combine to lift the dance floor to new heights when the time is right. Sweet and saccharine.
Sphere is a one-off side project from Bamboo Forest (Stephane Dureisseix; Yann Henaff). Refresh is an original composition based on am addictive morning groove reminiscent of Cosma's Saffy Smoke-A-Lot and Quadra's Orbit Simulator. Gorgeous vocals, progressive-style chord strikes, and melodies like liquid sunshine ensure a favourable response wherever this is played. Fantastic!
Skazi & DJ Omi team up on HelloII, an aggressive exploration of monotonous stomping beats and sparse atmospheres. Predictably bland.
Mysteryo will sound familiar to anyone who has heard Dino's Lick It album or the song End from Atomic Powder. Composed with a steady unyielding drive, this track has the feel of a crossover piece aimed at the big room trance crowd. A sparse three-note melody does little to augment the plain rhythms and simplistic breakdowns. Easily overlooked.
The eighth track is the shocker of the compilation! Eat Static put a charming Latin twist on Infected Mushroom's Tasty Mushroom, spicing up the bass line with a killer salsa groove. Curiously mechanical trumpets and a hint of flute complete the transformation. What an unexpected treat! Bold, creative, and uncompromisingly experimental, this exotic dance floor anthem should inspire a strong reaction for years to come.
Bamboo Forest close the album with Breath, a massive festival-friendly anthem loaded with female vocals taken from a popular Brazilian folk song. The richly synthetic Bamboo Forest groove can be heard loud and clear; this French duo sure know how to lay down a sick set of original psytrance rhythms! Initially I did not like this track very much but I will admit that it has grown on me over the years.
Magnet is a surprisingly diverse compilation that is well worth tracking down. Although the quality level is by no means consistent, Dino Psaras selected some absolutely blinding tracks for this release. This is made for DJs, collectors, and fans of the individual acts featured here. Cydonia, Koxbox, Infected Mushroom, Eat Static, Space Cat, and Bamboo Forest all supply some exceptional material, so this is easy to recommend despite the weaker tunes.
Favourites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8
Samples / Buy