maandag 17 maart 2014

Single Review: Rank 1 & Dennis Sheperd - Freudenrausch [March 2014]

Revealed to be in the works during that time when 7 Instead Of 8 was doing the teaser rounds was a collaboration between these three gentlemen: Ever since the few tweets about this Rank 1 & Sheperd diminished though and was only vaguely referred to in an interview here and there. A couple of weeks back both Sheperd and Rank 1 started tweeting about it again though and after a 1,5 year wait Soundcloud and Youtube teasers were revealed flanked by A State Of Trance and Group Therapy premiers. The past 18 months were busy times for both artists involved with Sheperd enjoying increased attention following his debut artist album while Rank 1 proved to still master the production genius that moves crowds with two brand new remixes and no less than three widely embraced singles across 2013.
Since the latter’s 2013 sound single-wise was characterized by retro-styled Trance that reminded us of yesteryear, I was utmost curious as to how this collaboration would sound like. Hints of 7 Instead Of 8? Or more of a bigroom driven monster with a euphoric Fallen Angel riff? As it turns out, “Freudenrausch” is not a collaboration that leans on just combining signatures sounds of different producer minds. It seems the gents went for something a bit unusual! Here’s how I experienced this Rush Of Joy when I heard it in its longest form on a Group Therapy Youtube rip:

Rank 1 & Dennis Sheperd - Freudenrausch (Original Mix) [07:09]
German titles can sound either very cool or intimidating and this one definitely falls in the former category! It kicks off with a roaring lead that has a slight vague oldskool Electro-Daft Punk touch to it. I have a hunch this lead comes from the hands of Dennis, both melody and sound wise it seems in line with his previous productions. Despite the Electro-ish lead, the track doesn’t feel like a Life Less Ordinary 2.0 or an And Then… 2.0. We are in for something different here and the breakdown proves that point perfectly. Heading into said breakdown, we are welcomed with a very summer-friendly piano which is soon backed by driving Trancey chords. As a smile forms on our faces we recognize a feel-good euphoria not unusual to either Rank 1 or Sheperd! But the best is yet to come! Half a minute into the Trancey euphoria a pretty oldskool (Deep) House sounding bassline joins the fray to deliver that tiny bit of polish to crown the whole as another Breakdown of Breakdowns in the Rank 1 discography. Am I exaggerating you think? Come on! You gotta admit the combination of a Trancey goodness with SUCH a Housey bassline is brilliant! Anyway… The main lead from the build now demands center stage as the piano and Trance chords stutter and move to the background. Snare rolls accelerate to reach the climax you have been waiting for! BAM! The main lead is backed by a higher layer as you let the beat carry you. But listen closely! What’s that in the background…? Is that a…?? Is that a friggin Industrial Techno-like synth?? Oh yes it IS! Guaranteed dancefloor mania inc. What happens next is that a second (semi-)breakdown follows on a weakened kick with a this funky stuttering background synth. We hear a variant of the initial break’s Trancey melody but it is pretty tuned down. Though I like this part I feel it could use a little something extra. If anything, this “teaser break” might have fitted better in the beginning only to have the “real break” further on. Then again, that might have upset the whole structure of the track so never mind me (just thinking out loud!). Another climax is reached and the Daft Lead returns with its background Tech artillery! Got love this funky record! :D

Now I really like Freudenrausch. It’s the ideal track for the Spring / Summer period which, surprisingly, has begun pretty early in the Netherlands this year. It mostly reminds me of Jochen’s uPad and Bamm! (two of my 2010 and 2011 favorites respectively), especially structure wise but with more Trancey touches to it here and there. For me it’s a great feel-good jam and you know? I finally have “that High Contrast” feeling again. It just combines so many different things into one that it is hard to classify it within one style. In my case, it combines the RIGHT things (praise the Lord they didn’t bother with Dubstep wobbles, Hardstyle kicks or Avicii leads). Of course, some people will instantly label it Trouse or Bigroom because “if it isn’t Trance, it’s either of those two shit genres” but that’s the kind of talk I’ve never considered levelled or intelligent for that matter (no offense). Heck, the fact that it’s 7:09 minutes long says enough as to why this track doesn’t fit former genres. Those usually don’t last longer than 5 I thought :P In my opinion Freudenrausch sits in-between genres in a good, fresh-sounding way and it is bound to work its dancefloor magic this summer.

2014 is on!
For me a new year of music can only be kicked off properly with a new Rank 1 production (preferably a single). That shouldn’t surprise any of you anymore :P After the fertile 2013 the guys had, I was curious what direction they might take next. The fact that this track is not a style-based follow-up to either EoN and 13.11.11 or Floorlifter for that matter is a good thing in my books. Since 2012, Rank 1 have become utterly unpredictable single-wise, which is interesting: it used to be their remixes that could bounce between and through genres effortlessly. With a decreased remix-output I'd say that taking that unpredictability into their singles makes every wait for a newie a worthy one. For instance: a second collaboration with M.I.K.E. was confirmed though after that nothing was said about it anymore. Who knows where they will take that one? I am not expecting an Elements Of Nature follow-up. If anything, I hope M.I.K.E.’s recent “Astro Lab” teaser might be the direction they take that next Clash Of The Trance Titans to. Tribal, techy, BIG lead, unexpected melodies… No, I am not giving hints (merely thinking out loud again)! Regardless what happens, that one is set to be another monster track. As for Dennis: with Freudenrausch he brings me another cool track to follow-up his Edge Of The World Thursday Dream 2000 Remix and of course, Fallen Angel. If he keeps this up, he might just become another fave artist of mine. Well done man, keep it up!

Piet, Benno and Dennis: Chapeau! This collaboration was definitely worth the wait! So eh Piet, you better make sure you are armed with this one when you grace the Wheels Of Steel in Eindhoven next month! I am looking forward to it already ;)

Grab your copy here:

 | Single Review | March 17th 2014 |

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