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Atmos - Tour De Trance CD (Spiral Trax, December 2008)


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Artist: Atmos

Title: Tour De Trance

Label: Spiral Trax

Format: CD/MP3/Compactstick (CompactStick features 6 extra tracks)

Released: December 2008

 

 

Review:

 

Without exaggerating I can safely say, that "Tour De Trance" is one of the most eagerly-awaited releases this year. A new Atmos-album was announced well over a year ago - first planned to come out on Digital Structures, but after a long while without any news, it was suddenly announced a few months ago that the resurrected Swedish label Spiral Trax was the new home for this long-awaited new album.

 

So Tomasz Balicki aka Atmos is back with the same label who released his first two albums (not including the Atmos/Echö-Lab release "Overlap" from 2001): The landmark release "Headcleaner" from 2000, which I personally consider one of the best albums in the history of trance-music, and the amazingly positive follow-up "2nd Brigade" from 2004. Both albums today are classics, just as tracks like "The Only Process" and "Klein Aber Doctor", and therefore expectations for his new output are enormous. Get ready for a "Tour De Trance".

 

 

01. Stay Awake [126 BPM]

As on the first two Atmos-albums, "Tour De Trance" starts out slow and atmospheric. "Stay Awake" is over 9 minutes long and starts out quite deep, but slowly evolves into a more positive mood, including synth-pads which remind me of some of his pre-2000 stuff, and a long, hypnotizing male voice-sample. Great, laidback opener, which even gives slight associations to the amazing opener on "Headcleaner", "Fill The Hat".

 

02. Skintrade [128 BPM]

In "Skintrade" there are also some oldschool scando-trance elements present, and with some really cool, laidback grooves we're certainly in no hurry to get to the dancefloor. Although the rhythm is underplayed, the sublime, quite moody atmosphere still puts this tune in the trance-category, and the soothing female vocals are the icing on the cake. Beautiful.

 

03. 46 DAZ [128 BPM]

Things get a little more pumping with the strangely titled "46 DAZ". We're still not going throttle though, but "46 DAZ" has more dancefloor appeal than the previous two tracks, due to the more full and distinct and full bassline. Again there are some great female voice-samples, and even a bit of soothing singing. Sweet tune.

 

04. ToWhatMyMindAttend [128 BPM]

"ToWhatMyMindAttend" starts out rather calm with some gloomy pads, a groovy rhythm and some deep male vocals, but that all changes after three minutes, when the rolling bassline the dancefloor has been craving for, is finally introduced. At first it's rather minimal, but over the next couple of minutes it slowly progresses even more and when the high hats kick in, it's full power morning trance. Sublime.

 

05. Ride The Flow [128 BPM]

We're halfway through the album with "Ride The Flow" - a track which I have quite ambivalent feelings about, as the track is somewhat impaired by some very dominant male voice-samples which are quite over the top cheesy for my liking. Apart from that, it features some beautiful strings and uplifting pads, and if it hadn't been for the voice-samples, this would probably have been my favorite track on the album.

 

06. Nick Of Time [130 BPM]

The tempo is raised a bit with "Nick Of Time" - one of the fastest tracks on the album. The groove is still reserved though, and it fits the mood of the track perfectly. At first slightly moody, but after the middle breakdown we're introduced to a beautiful melodic section, moving into deeper territories again, before we finish with a hint of the uplifting melodies once again. Class!

 

07. Power ON [130 BPM]

"Power ON" is a small, 4-minute breakbeat interlude. An interesting little tune with elements of robotic voice-effects, oldschool house synths and some elements I associate with old demo-scene music. Cool intermission from the 4/4 stuff.

 

08. Into The Groove [130 BPM]

After the small interlude, Tomasz puts us back into dance-mode once again with "Into The Groove" - undoubtedly one of the most dancefriendly tunes on the album due to the addictive rolling bassline and groove. On "Tour De Trance", this is probably the tune that reminds me the most of "2nd Brigade", and with the optimistic melodies I predict this tune will be one of the DJ-favorites from this release. Great morning trance.

 

09. Jellybean [126 BPM]

On the final track, "Jellybean", we're back in the starting tempo, 126 BPM. It features a very electro-influenced offbeat bassline, some pristine, crystal clear sounds, some very distinct, almost naive melodies and some bass-heavy breaks. Generally an ok track, but doesn't match some of the best on the album.

 

 

 

Bottom line:

 

These are interesting times for the psychedelic trance-scene. Where many dark psy and full on artists seems to be competing who can produce the most intense and obnoxious music, some progressive producers have gone the other way; slowing things down below 130 BPM while still keeping it trancy. Perfect Stranger recently took the techno-route on his "Free Cloud", and now Atmos has taken a mellower direction with "Tour De Trance", slowing things down even more than on "2nd Brigade".

 

Despite some minor flaws, "Tour De Trance" is a sophisticated, classy album with elements of both oldschool Atmos-trademark sounds and newer progressive house sounds, and an album which proves that progressive trance can be both very melodic and subtle at the same time. Also, despite being low BPM and a reinvention of his old sound, Atmos doesn't try to blindly follow the trends of electro and techno, and that deserves some credit in book.

 

My guess is that many people will initially disappointed with this release, and I doubt it will have the same dancefloor-impact as, lets say "Headcleaner", but that doesn't really bother me. To me, "Tour De Trance" is more of a trance-journey with the home listeners in mind and when given some time, I am sure a lot of people will appreciate it in the end. Also - in the right time and setting, most of the tunes here, can create magic on the dancefloor. Great album.

 

 

 

Favorites:

 

1, 2, 3, 4 (!!), 6, 8 (!!)

 

Verdict:

 

8/10

 

 

Links:

 

Spiral Trax website: http://www.spiraltrax.com/

Spiral Trax Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/spiraltrax

Atmos website: http://www.atmotech.com

Atmos Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/atmotech

CD at Psyshop: http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/spt/spt1cd026.html

CompactStick at Psyshop: http://www.psyshop.com/shop/Sticks/spt/spt1cs026.html

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i was real sketchy on 2nd Brigade when it came out, but it's one of my most played albums of recent years. there's nothing like that unique Atmos vibe...

 

can't wait to get a copy of this

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This is so great I have declared this album to be my Advent calendar: every day a new track!

 

(because I actually declared it as my xmas present and feel bad to listen to it before the 24th :(:) )

 

Yesterday I listened the first track, today the first and the second, tomorrow I'll listen to the first three and so on!

 

Already the first one is uber great ... it's this somewhat slow yet steady progression, gentle is the word for it, paired with the synth effects and short creative melody bits that gets me :posford:

 

edit:

oh and today (past midnight, so I may listen to the third :P ) it's 46Daz!

that track meant a lot to me already before, I loved it, was constantly listening to it on Thomas' Myspace site

and the best is, I just had a quite big pile of luck, yes, a quite big one ... and as I came home just ten minutes ago I put in the CD and WOHOO, it was 46daz playing as third track!

this can't be a coincidence...

I mean ... the luck (a really quite nice coincidence ... actually a series of the latter) and then coming home and the track ... my judgement is unfortunately a little influenced by un-soberness right now, but I guarantee I'll never revise what I say now. This track must have some kind of universal connection because it just is so awesome and just always pops in at the right time when LUCK is on the trigger!

Yes, at the right time, because this one is what I remember best from the Atmos live set that I heard this year, I instantly loved this gentle, floating atmosphere and the nice female voice and the slow, slow but gentle progression ... and there he also threw it in at the right time! I'm freakin' thankful that he played that track in the live back then so I gotta experience it. This is definitely one of the best Atmos tracks ever.

And to me it now shall be an ode to all good coincidences, to all lucky runs, to everything positive! Forever.

46daz!

^_^

Edited by RTP
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Once upon a time in the Magic Forest of La-la-Land, a beautiful flouro goa fairy was upset at her boyfriend, an angry little dark-psy-dwarf with dreadlocks under his armpits. He had always been somewhat of a weirdo with a bad temper, but lately he was getting more and more aggravated. He screamed at the poor fairy so fast and so loud that she didn´t even understand him anymore, he made no sense whatsoever. As luck would have it, one day she met a big Barry White-like looking deep-house bear and fell madly in love with him. He was everything that her boyfriend wasn`t: Respectful, confident, romantic, groovy and he knew how to please a fairy. After spending a night with the deep-house bear she suddenly realized what was wrong with the angry dark-psy-dwarf: He had a really small penis! And all the screaming and ranting he did was to compensate for that. So the fairy moved in with her new lover and they made nine beautiful children who were as calm, relaxed and confident as their father, the deep house bear, but also as sparkling and colorful like their mother, the goa fairy.

 

And that, my dear little children, is how the tracks on this album were born. (And their 6 cousins from the compact stick)

 

As the more astute amongst you may have noticed, I am very stoned right now. Therefore I will stop writing about dwarfs, fairies and deep house bears and get back to the real world with a concrete statement: This is Atmos` best album yet! There, I said it. I know that is a very tall statement given the fact that Headcleaner is an absolute classic that re-defined the genre and 2nd Brigade was a pretty fucking awesome follow-up that included "Transmission in Vain". However, "Tour de Trance" manages to top them both. And it does so in the classiest of ways: Quiet, yet oozing of confidence; subliminal, yet highly emotional; slow, yet with an unbelievable level of detail in its sound design.

 

In a way, "Tour de Trance" is the essence of everything that is Atmos. All the elements that have made his music so easily recognizable and successful over the years are here, just better. That includes the trademark laid-back rhythm section of grooves and percussion (total Headcleaner flashback), the masterful usage of voice samples, the subliminal beautiful soundscapes and the way he makes everything sound so easy. However, what really makes "Tour de Trance" shine so brightly is the combination of the slow pace with the absolutely stunning detailed production. If you listen closely, there is an entire world opening up between the beats, little subplots and twists and turns, it´s like reading between the lines of a book.

 

As for the individual tracks, all of them are 100 % pure class, at least the ones on the CD. The CD takes the listener on one of the most coherent and well-told stories of any album I know, a real "Tour de Trance" in every way imaginable. To use an old cliché, this is one of the rare occasions where the album as a whole is more than just the sum of its individual tracks (same goes for Minilogue – Animals, for example). Thats also why I won´t single out any individual tracks. The bonus tracks from the Compact Stick cannot quite keep up the same level but are also very good, except "Rhythm Is", which is an absolute deep trippy emotional gem that really should have made the cut for the CD.

 

To sum things up, listening to this album of condensed pure Atmos-ness like 50 times over the last week I think I have finally figured out why I like Atmos music so much, and why people talk about the Atmos frequency that you either get or don`t get: At the core, it´s really deep house. Just with trance instruments. (And you thought that fairy tale at the beginning was totally pointless…) It is now perfectly clear to me. And really, trance and deephouse are a match made in heaven, in their purest form they both explore deepness, one focusses in on the hypnotic, the other on the soul. Atmos does both.

 

10/10. Best Record of the Year. One of the best 3 Trance Records Ever (Next to Union Jack and Terra Ferma)

 

PS: The Compact Stick is really worth it: 6 new tracks (1 super awesome track , 1 awesome chill track, 4 very good ones) and cool other stuff, including live video. The artwork really fits the music as well, I can totally picture myselfsitting inthat space ship going on a tour with Atmos (the guy sitting next to him in the cockpit even looks like me, only half as fat...).

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Well, yeah, I gotta say this is a truly awesome release.

 

And indeed, gentle is the word for it on this one. The bpm is not so fast, the sound are nicely crafted beautiful melody bits and pads. I percieve this album less upbeat and less intense and less peppery than any other Atmos release so far (apart from chill tracks of course :P ) ... it's almost a bit chill, but not too much to make me wanna stand still. It makes me sway. Gently.

 

First track is very very good as I already said. Listen to the samples and give special attention to the keyword thing, this really works with me (of course I'm just talking myself into it, I like that), last time I heard this one late at night on the couch I got almost benzo-relaxed on it! It's awesome!

Second track is one that I don't like sooo much because I actually know a better mix of it and find the version on the CD not that cool. This should have more pepper, but then I admit it would not have fitted to the flow of the album.

Third one is one of my absolute favourites. Was listening to this already for months on the net. No words needed, pure genious. Wonderful vocals aswell.

ToWhatMyMindAttend (it's much more awesome written TOGETHER and not apart!) is totally superb. Starts off not even that brillant, but as the voice sample is turned into the rhythm giver it cracks me up. This is genious!

Ride The Flow is also very very awesome. It has already a poppy feel to it, but it's not cheesy pop IMO, it's nice pop. And the melody and effects are drop dead awesome.

Nick of Time is another chapter of awesomeness. This one reminds me a bit of the typical trance Atmos always stood for and it also has a bit pepper, the bassline is nice. Very very good!

Then comes seventh track, Power On, which is a nice interlude, but maybe a bit too short.

Into The Groove, well yeah, I didn't find this one that awesome. But it's a nice track to dance.

And the last one surprised me very positively. Didn't expect Jellybean to be so good. This also has a litle bit of the poppy feeling, but it's not cheesy at all and has a very nice melody. Good, creative closing tune for a brillant album.

 

What makes this album so good is the modern sound and the gentleness and yet still colorful creativity with what it's brought across. Atmos was never that gentle to me, even though tunes like Fill The Hat were pointing in that direction. This one is much more turned down in terms of intensity, even more than Fill The Hat. At least I have that impression. But I love it. The more gentle, the more floating the better...

 

My favourite tracks: 1(!), 3(!), 4(!), 5(!), 6, 9(!)

 

Now I'd only be curious about the CompactStick material... :rolleyes:

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Tour de Trance gets ridiculously high ratings because it is ridiculously good.

 

An ff you dont like this release it means you have ridiculusly bad taste :P

 

Other than that, i think most reviews on here are positive because in most cases people only bother to write a review if they really like something. I dont write very many reviews, but if I do it its either to praise a release or tear a release to pieces. The shit in the middle goes unmentioned.

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Why does every review on this site get such high ratings???

 

This is a ridiculously poor album. I can't believe how weak psy music has become towards the end of this decade.

 

Avoid this album at all costs.

This is not weak psy? This is atmos, it's smooth gentle 130bpm progressive trance... Emotional atmospheric and very pleasent to the ears IMO...

 

Maybe you can explain to us why it's a poor album? Except the voice samples/vocals(wich doesn't bother ME), i can't see any reason why this should be a poor release :huh:

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Why does every review on this site get such high ratings???

 

This is a ridiculously poor album. I can't believe how weak psy music has become towards the end of this decade.

 

Avoid this album at all costs.

I haven't listened to this album yet.

Please give your reasons.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is exactly what was advertised. The kicks are soft like a down pillow forest and the bass lines are bouncy and crisp. The pads add a lush background. I like the attention to detail where no space is wasted. I could've done without some of the vocal samples as they tend to distract, but overall pretty solid.

 

7.5/10. Take out the vocals and it shoots to a 9/10.

 

Mdk

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This is exactly what was advertised. The kicks are soft like a down pillow forest and the bass lines are bouncy and crisp. The pads add a lush background. I like the attention to detail where no space is wasted. I could've done without some of the vocal samples as they tend to distract, but overall pretty solid.

 

7.5/10. Take out the vocals and it shoots to a 9/10.

 

Mdk

Im actually liking some of the vocal samples here. In "ride the flow" for example, they are super cheesy, but it fits the super smooth, chilled feeling of this album IMO! This isn't the most psychedelic peace of work, i know, that's why i don't think the vocal samples are ruining anything... They add up/back up the intended feeling of this album, wich is accomplished to perfection!

 

If hallucinogen or whatever=LSD, this atmos album=ecstacy pills :) You have time to stop, take a deep breath, look around and enjoy what's being fed to you, like a warm blanket over your inner self.... Uh, i love this music

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Once upon a time in the Magic Forest of La-la-Land, a beautiful flouro goa fairy was upset at her boyfriend, an angry little dark-psy-dwarf with dreadlocks under his armpits. He had always been somewhat of a weirdo with a bad temper, but lately he was getting more and more aggravated. He screamed at the poor fairy so fast and so loud that she didn´t even understand him anymore, he made no sense whatsoever. As luck would have it, one day she met a big Barry White-like looking deep-house bear and fell madly in love with him. He was everything that her boyfriend wasn`t: Respectful, confident, romantic, groovy and he knew how to please a fairy. After spending a night with the deep-house bear she suddenly realized what was wrong with the angry dark-psy-dwarf: He had a really small penis! And all the screaming and ranting he did was to compensate for that. So the fairy moved in with her new lover and they made nine beautiful children who were as calm, relaxed and confident as their father, the deep house bear, but also as sparkling and colorful like their mother, the goa fairy.

 

And that, my dear little children, is how the tracks on this album were born. (And their 6 cousins from the compact stick)

 

As the more astute amongst you may have noticed, I am very stoned right now. Therefore I will stop writing about dwarfs, fairies and deep house bears and get back to the real world with a concrete statement...

:lol::lol::lol:

I'll give you a joint if you keep writing ;)

 

:rolleyes:

 

(soz off-topic)

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Why does every review on this site get such high ratings???

 

This is a ridiculously poor album. I can't believe how weak psy music has become towards the end of this decade.

 

Avoid this album at all costs.

Ah?

Care to explain (maybe he doesn't care or he would have done it already)?

Maybe he's just a troll idiot?

But maybe it's too smooth for him and he wants psychedelic madness?

That is well put:

If hallucinogen or whatever=LSD, this atmos album=ecstacy pills :) You have time to stop, take a deep breath, look around and enjoy what's being fed to you, like a warm blanket over your inner self.... Uh, i love this music

Really well put ... I love this type of warm music ... and I don't like the other type of music (Hallucionogen or whatever) that much actually, I have come to this conclusion although it comes good on parties ... this clearly proves I'm the ecstasy type and not the LSD type...

 

Whatever, for me this is an excellent release that once more delivers a punch against all the people who bitch and moan about how bad everything has become. That's because it shows that there still can be great music in this scene which is modern and doesn't go back to the roots (as newschool)! And at the same time it redefines the progressive genre which has become kinda generic aswell ... a breeze of fresh air for everyone.

 

7.5/10. Take out the vocals and it shoots to a 9/10.

For me it's actually the other way round. It's 9/10 ... and if you took out the vocals it would be 7.5!

That's because the vocals are GREAT!

Really, they fit well here. Normally I don't like vocals, they make the music sound cheesy, but in this one they are great because they are used well. Really. Some people just think because they throw vocals in the track is good ... and that's mostly when I find the vocals bad. But here not. That's because they are used wisely and creatively just in the right way.

Examples? In the first track the sampled voice is absolutely brillant IMO. The female singing in the second track is great aswell. Third one is masterpiece anyway. In the fourth one the vocals are great because they are transformed into a rhythm. In the fifth one they fit well IMO even though some call this cheesy already -- only the dude that sings "The Pain!" stuff maybe doesn't fit that well, but still great. And so on...

 

No bad vocals here. On the contrary: this is an example of how vocals should be used!

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I'm gonna get this one!

 

I got "2nd Brigade" a couple years back and I like that one quite a bit, but not remarkable aside from some spots for me..

 

BUT, I just heard "Headcleaner" for the first time about a month ago and I can't stop listening to it! "Headcleaner" is fucking fantastic, def in my top-10 albums ever - where has this album been my whole life?! Atmos is a master...

 

So this new album, if it's like 2nd Brigade I will like it, and if it's more like "Headcleaner" that would be great - or maybe like GaySatanicHippie says it'l be the best of both and better even!

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To Healium: Tour de Trance definitely sounds more like Headcleaner than 2nd Brigade, so you should like it. Of course its slower and more subdued than Headcleaner, but still, its the same vibe :)

 

About the vocals, I 100% agree with RTP, I actually think they add tremendously to the tracks. All of the vocals are used more as rhythmic devices or weird sound effects, so except Ride the Flow there`s nothing that`s close to singing. Especially 46DAZ and ToWhatMyMindAttend would lose a lot without the voice samples, they "tie the track together" like the Big Lebowskis carpet "ties the room together" ;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

This album is so plain and simple, yet so worked out and detailed. As a result, very confident sound, pleasant and enjoyable music. Bonus tracks add to the album, but I recommend listening without those for the first couple listens, because they gave me a blurry and unfinished feeling to the album.

 

One of the few progressive albums I enjoyed this year, definitely recommended. And yeah, the vocals fit well here (not that I want more of them).

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The bonus tracks from the Compact Stick cannot quite keep up the same level but are also very good, except "Rhythm Is", which is an absolute deep trippy emotional gem that really should have made the cut for the CD.

Just for the record, Atmos has now updated his Myspace profile with new songs and two of them are from the Compactstick version of the album!

 

One of them is the mentioned "Rhythm Is"!

The other one is Codename Bruno.

 

I'm not that impressed by them though. They're really good, yeah, but the better songs clearly are featured on the CD. I therefore conclude that I have made the right purchase ^_^

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  • 2 weeks later...

after a few months of listening, this is a bit disappointing for me

i think it doesn't have the magic of the first two albums, some moments for sure...but not quite making it

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  • 1 month later...

This album has been on repeat for the last 2 weeks since I've had. Soooo smooth and just an absolutely gorgeous listen from start to finish. Listen to this on a good pair of headphones and it feels like your just being wrapped up in layers of sound. And the progression in each of the tracks is just perfect!!

Stands along side Perfect Stranger's Free Cloud as the best album of 2008.

9.5/10

Favourite tracks:

1, 3, 4 (!), 5 (!). 8 (!!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I love it, on headphones even more :posford:

 

the only track I like less is the one with vocals who are to electro imo,

 

for the rest this a smooth subtle progressive like we have known atmos from the beginning...

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