Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Markus Schulz-Without You Near (2005)


Lately, it's been kinda hard for me to listen to an album at home without keeping my playlists of favorites near me, because I know I'm gonna have at least one or two to add to them. That goes for the things I haven't heard before, things I've heard only bits and pieces of, or things I've heard dozens of times. In the case of "Without You Near", the debut by German DJ Markus Schulz, it was the second case of the trio, as a couple of his productions that I saved to an older playlist years ago just got added to my recently-revamped 'Ambient Mix' playlist. The first would be the DEPECHE MODE-esque title track itself—the 'Coldharbour Mix' of it, that is. Not sure how many other mixes of it there are, but I'm more than satisfied having this amazing five-and-a-half version! A supreme candidate for the 'dream dance' compilations, "Without You Near" is a three-way collaboration between Schulz and a couple of production teams going by the monikers DEPARTURE and GABRIEL & DRESDEN that features some cool, electronic vocals and sublime, atmospheric ambiance against a very trancey beat; it deserves way more replay value than just the single reprise found at the tail end of this album! And as for that second production? "Peaches And Cream", which is another joint collaboration—this time, with the production team calling itself INTERSTATE. That chilling keyboard melody, haunting ambiance and the deep bass line will keep you 'entranced' all the way through—all peaches and cream indeed! As for Schulz's unheard productions, I became an instant fan of the mega-trancey "Ballymena". The heavy electronic synthesizing coupled with the moody, atmospheric melody (I suppose you now by now I'm a huge fan of this sort of haunting ambiance?) and the high-tempo bass line? Well, that's all peaches and cream for me, too! Yet perhaps your cup of tea will be something else served up by the German DJ. The summer breeze tune "Clear Blue? The suspenseful "Arial"? The sleepy-sounding "Once Again"? The warming "You Won't See Me Cry?" The hypnotic "Travelling Light"? You'll actually won't be travelling too light here, taking on the 8+ minute load of music. But every minute is worth it, as you'll enjoy the angelic voice of an Anita Kelsey and a deep, downtempo rhythm. The high-powered trance takes a bit of a rest on "Red Eye To Miami", but the music is still great, particularly the way those electronic riffs echo with the mid-tempo beat. Then when you get to the thunderous, heart-thumping grand finale that comes right before the title track's reprise, the suspenseful ambiance comes creeping back, accentuated by some pretty dark lyrics voiced by an Alexandra Scholten. "Without You Near" is quite the successful first project for Markus Schulz, and I don't think I can imagine my trance collection being complete without it:

1. Clear Blue (feat. Elevation)
2. Arial
3. First Time (feat. Anita Kelsey)
4. Without You Near (Coldharbour Mix)
5. Once Again (feat. Carrie Skipper)
6. You Won't See Me Cry 2005
7. Never Be The Same (feat. Carrie Skipper)
8. Red Eye To Miami
9. Ballymena (feat. Airwave)
10. Peaches And Cream (feat. Interstate)
11. Travelling Light (feat. Anita Kelsey)
12. Sorrow Has No Home
13. Without You Near (Reprise)

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