maandag 9 november 2015

Single Review: M.I.K.E. Push vs. Rank 1 - Zenith [November 2015]

Premiered by Markus Schulz on GDJB on October 8th, this was a collaboration I was expecting to happen but no so soon! Exactly a month prior to its World Premier, both artists posted the following “hints” on their twitters, more or less giving a way that a third collaboration was under way and that “Zenith” was most likely to be the title:

Without any hinting having taken place to hype up this track beforehand, I never saw this coming. Perhaps that Element Of Surprise added to the effect of hearing it for the first time. Who doesn’t like a pre-mature Christmas gift? ;) Let’s get down to business though! The Rank 1 vs. M.I.K.E. pairing heads into Round 3 with Zenith albeit this time the battle takes place in a Coldharbour Ring rather than a High Contrast one… So what does the Jury have to say about this Clash Of The Trance Titans?

M.I.K.E. Push vs. Rank 1 - Zenith (Original Mix) [08:59]
An echoing clap, firm kick and captivating Trance-synth line open this third collaboration. About a minute in, the build-up lead swells into the fore as crispy hats and characteristic Rank 1 claps join in. In the second minute the main melody's motive subtly reveals itself and in the final measure before the beat fades, a M.I.K.E.ish pluck hits a few moodsetting notes too. The breakdown is a bit similar to Juno in the way it starts playing out: a single instrument that starts swelling in ferocity as the break progresses as percussion elements and backing pads and synths join in until a snare-driven climax unleashes those typical M.I.K.E. saws on a bassline that feels familiar. So damn Trancey :) I mean, from the moment the kick faintly comes back from 03:12 onward and the whole starts to feel so bouncy, how can you not love that? :D Where Zenith really gets it done for me however is when this background synth starts tagging along in the second half of the first bit: crescendos are often full of tension and even though this synth doesn't suck all the attention of the track to itself, its presence is in perfect harmony with the main saws. Furthermore, it keeps varying throughout, a very dynamic background element! Said saws are then left to themselves as we head into a second breakdown: at this point the first breakdown's pluck returns but it only plays the first halves of its measures before heading into the track's second big climax. The background synth is there too and at 05:45 it almost sounds like an accordion! I don't know if this was on purpose, or if the guys even noticed this themselves but this is yet another small detail that makes me love this track. Back to the break: the snares start rolling again for the second climax that leads to a reprise, which to me, is totally justified. Note how this time the main saws are backed by that extra synth right after the climax > it's this little detail, this specific background element that gives Zenith that finishing touch, that completes its absolutely euphoric vibe and the "everything will be alright" feeling it gives me. How can you not love this??

When I first heard it, I had just gotten home from a disco-bowling birthday party with friends: upon opening my Twitter and scrolling down I saw Rank 1 tweeting about their brand new tune and even though I had a hunch they had yet another collaboration with M.I.K.E. cooking, I had seen no hints whatsoever as to when a first teaser would be made public. Instead, it was Markus who played the track as an ID in one of his sets and then revealed it on his GDJB show a week later. For me this kind of recreated the ambiance surrounding a new Rank 1 track pre-Facebook/Twitter era: I would always be surprised during ASOT or I would find out a newie was premiered on the show when I'd go tracklist/episode hunting. This would often make a premier more special as you wouldn't know it was coming until the very last moment, instead of being teased with news of its arrival many days/weeks before. This Element Of Surprise definitely gave my first time hearing Zenith a special touch. That alone would not guarantee so much replaying and so much enjoying for the past 32 days though. I have been pretty moody lately but when I listen to Zenith, it feels like something tells me to hold on as it will al be alright in the end: I can't help but love this massive collab! You can hear Rank 1's touch in the details like the percussion and effects whilst the synths and main melodies all have that signature M.I.K.E. feeling. For the third time now, the Legends bring together their own unique sounds for a '1+1= >2' record. I am, quite simply, delighted with Zenith! :D

As a stand-alone tune
It rocks. It has both very Trancey elements and some more Bigroom-oriented grooves from both artists but overall this track breathes “Trance Anthem” all over your eardrums. I doubt it will be capable of taking on Anahera for Tune Of The Year honours on various radioshows, but it might just sneak into any given Top 30 or 20, I really think it’s captivating and cheerful enough for people to vote it pretty high up in polls for this last phase of the year. Among the GDJB following, it is immensely popular. For me personally it hits the spot.

As a follow-up
After Juno failed to live up to Elements Of Nature, Zenith was in the beneficiary position of the bar having been lowered to a more reasonable standard, plus it had the advantage of coming as a complete surprise (that is to say, no prior announcement of the track being premiered until it was premiered. These are of course, “side-matters” to the actual musical content: in my opinion Zenith beats Juno quite easily and as far as Rank 1 releases goes, this one has to be the best I’ve heard since 13.11.11. Freudenrausch was a funky, different kind of track which I listened to a lot over the course of 2014, Airwave (21st Century Mix) was a waste of release space (very harsh but deep down that’s how I still feel about it) and Juno was solid but lacked that “Z-factor”. Zenith however, puts a big grin on my face from the first play onward and it has continued to do so each time it pops up in any of my playlists (phone, laptop, mp3 player): that’s the signal of a great track and to me, Zenith is just that to say the least. Nothing too complex, perhaps a bit straightforward but it does what it has to do with style.Btw, if you are interested, here are my reviews for Rank 1 & M.I.K.E.’s previous collabs:

Elements Of Nature

Three great productions in 2,5 years!
The only other artist Rank 1 collaborated with on three singles was Jochen Miller: these release appeared bi-annually and differed quite a bit style-wise. With M.I.K.E. they nearly halved the space between the collaborations but also kept these collaborations much closer to each other in terms of continuity and quality. Elements Of Nature is a hard one to beat, especially since the guys managed to live up to the level of anticipation that first collab announcement created for me. However, Zenith is a damn fine tune in and of itself and a most worthy “follow-up to a follow-up”. I am now certain to give it its well deserved spot in my final Top 30 of 2015 (I know it's a late release and all but just as far as plays and continued enjoyment goes, it easily competes with the other selections). I can say without a doubt this will be a favourite for many years to come.

And Many More To Come....?
Since Mike already put the idea out there two weeks ago, let me give my two cents on this: After a third successful collab, I truly hope you guys decide to make an album together that focuses on Instrumental music. Since you've already proven to have the Anthem Trance vibes under control I'd love to see what what happens when you guys tackle Techno, Acid, Breaks, Ambient/Chill-out stuff, Hard Trance or fusions of these things combined! Perhaps add a brand new Rank 1 Remix of a huge M.I.K.E. Classic and a brand new M.I.K.E. Remix of a huge Rank 1 Classic to the mix? If this collab album is to become real, I am convinced it has the potential to become one of the mightiest albums I'll ever hear in Trance music. It's Up To You guys in the end but I fully support you and I am pretty sure your other fans do too! To conclude: THREE big thumbs up for your third successful collaboration. Can't wait to play this when I am in the city centre at night and Christmas decorations are in place, it will be a magical ambiance! As for the people reading this, wait no more and get your Trance Energy fix with Zenith right now:

| Single Review | October 9th - November 9th 2015 |

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