Sunday, November 16, 2014

Regi-Registrated (2007)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 16, 2014

I hit a little speed bump early in the second part of my 'M' series when curiosity about that Regi guy featured on MILK INC.'s "Maybe" got the best of me. So I promptly ended up listening to all fifteen of the complete recordings on the Belgian DJ's second compilation entitled "Registrated" (nice stylistic touch there, using part of his name for that title). Well, I'm happy I signed up for this one, because I got a whole lot more than just what I assumed would be solely him performing all throughout. It wouldn't be until the absolute end when Regi himself is center stage on the guitar-driven dance cut ironically entitled "No Music"—ironically, because there is plenty of music to be heard, especially with that arena-sized techno beat. The lyrics speak for themselves—'there's no music without you here', 'how can I dance if you're not near?'—and it's this emotional pain and negativity that is the predominantly gloomy theme for the vast majority of this album. With the exception of the fun non-vocal track, "AAA Anthem", which has this cool Irish square dance fiddling/Indian chanting mix going on, every song takes you into the dark corners of the songwriter's mind. The gloominess starts right away with the opener, "I Fail" (the word 'fail' is already foreshadowing gloom and defeat), even though the actual music itself is really cool. A choir of youngsters singing together in unison against a techno beat—that's something unique that you don't hear in the trance genre very often. Tom Helsen's "Night & Day" features some great vocals and a bombastic driving trance rhythm, though he's surely not in the greatest of moods as he sings 'night and day, I'll keep you waiting all over again'. Next, there's Koen Buyse's "Punish", which too signifies something bad is in store. And the hard techno beat matches the angst felt in the lyrics perfectly. Don't be fooled by the sunny melody and the even sunnier voice of Katerine on "Back Off", because her declaring that she 'hates everything about you' makes that sunny feeling go away. And this, I believe, would be the very first time that I've ever heard the word 'abhor' (used when she sings 'I abhor you'), which is the more formal word for 'hate', being used explicitly in a song of any variety. I'd have to listen in on Roel Vanderstukken's "I'm A Man" to determine if it contained emotional gloom as well, but I was sooooooo busy enjoying his hearty, soulful voice and the guitar-driven country/60's Elvis-style rockabilly combo of the rhythm to really even notice what Roel was singing about. Track #7's "Hard" is just, well, hard.....hard not to love, that is. The eerie, suspenseful melody creates the perfect atmosphere for the cold nature of the lyrics, of which the line 'you're too hard to understand' being the primary declaration by Karen Damen all throughout. Then ecstacy overtook me for the next 4+ minutes when I got to Track #8, as Danzel, one of my coveted Belgian dance artists, is featured on it! Great voice on this guy, and his songs are always a thrill, including his offering entitled "What Is Life?" on this compilation. Definitely one of the best here in terms of the lyrics, as it really gets into the head of the songwriter who's basically soul-searching and trying to figure things out. I like the way, in particular, that Danzel sighs 'Oh Lord' and begs his Creator 'please don't let me bleed'. The gloom n' doom makes itself felt loud and clear on male vocalist Yannick's "Better World Without You" and makes itself felt tender and clear on Koen Buyse's second offering called "Hide". The latter becomes the album's first break from the high-energy trance and techno with its chilled-out acoustic guitar groove and Koen's lofty, mellow voice, which sounds very comforting on the ears, delivering the earnest lyrics. Perhaps the mood isn't completely gloomy on Laura's "I Still". I love the super-charged trancey beat coupled with the terrific thumping bass and Laura's soothing voice. And although the lyrics appear to speak of a relationship that has reached or had already reached its end, the mood is mostly bright and optimistic, as she declares 'I still hear you in my sleep'. Wout & Caren Meynen's "Larger Than Life" represents another unique music moment; aside from the arena-sized trance sound, the beat kinda has this cool production about it that makes me think of this cut as a 'trance march' of sorts. Came across a second familiar voice when I got to Kate Ryan's "Spoiled". Heard her for the very first time when my Russian buddy Oleg shared the Belgian diva's second compilation CD with me: "French Connection". I'm finding out more and more that I really like this lady's voice, now that I've heard "Spoiled", which is leaning towards being my #1 favorite because of the the lyrics. 'I always get what I want': It's like Kate knows that she's spoiled rotten and has absolutely no shame in announcing it over and over in the lyrics either! Then she goes on to mention all of the fun ways that she gets her way, and that's when I got hooked! More negativity? Yes, but in a good sense. Then things get dark and moody yet again on Hanne Troonbeeckk's acoustic keyboard tune, "Scared Of Me". Despite the nice, dreamy way the song moves, listening to her repeatedly asking 'are you scared of me?' and the thoughts accompanying that line sound more like a nightmare. Excellent work here by this Regi guy gathering up all of these talented vocalists for this "Registrated" compilation, and now I'm looking forward to the day when I sign up for his other trance music projects:

1. Regi & Scala - I Fail
2. Regi & BP - AAA Anthem
3. Regi & Tom Helsen - Night & Day
4. Regi & Koen Buyse - Punish
5. Regi & Katerine - Back Off
6. Regi & Roel Vanderstukken - I'm A Man
7. Regi & Karen Damen - Hard
8. Regi & Danzel - What Is Life
9. Regi & Yannick - Better World Without You
10. Regi & Koen Buyse - Hide
11. Regi & Laura - I Still
12. Regi & Wout & Caren Meynen - Larger Than Life
13. Regi & Kate Ryan - Spoiled
14. Regi & Hanne Troonbeeckk - Scared Of Me
15. Regi - No Music

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