Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Paul Van Dyk-Reflections (2003)


If April showers bring May flowers, then what do April chills bring? In my case, a sense of wanting to stay warm, which I accomplished overnight by remaining inside my bedroom and cuddling up with some relaxing instrumental music.....mostly instrumental, that is. The source of my hour-long chill-out session? "Reflections"—the only album in my collection by the renowned German DJ and producer, Paul Van Dyk. Reflecting back for a moment on the very first time I got hip to Van Dyk's electronic creations, it was the 'Marco V Mix' of the wonderful trance cut "Connected" that saw me—just like the title says—getting connected to his world. And now I'm all connected to the album's proper 6+ minute version: the mind-melting ambiance, the keyboard riffs, the progressive trance beat—all completely satisfying to my ears! That is surely one of the reasons why "Reflections" was bestowed with the "Best Electronic/Dance Album" award thirteen years ago; I'm betting there is a dozen more reasons on top of that. The title track itself has to be one of them; it becomes the ultimate dream dance jam with the comforting sounds of a female vocalist guiding your ears every step of the way. The dream goes on with the warming adventure that is "Buenaventura" (my Spanish even translates that to 'Good Adventure'), the soothing 6+ minute seduction that is "Nothing But You" and the massive music masterpiece that is the 7+ minutes of the airy opener, "Crush", where the whispering voices and the timely repeated chanting of 'you know you want me' by guest vocalist Antoine Becks take you away and get you lost inside the electronic explosion. The trance becomes trippy on the hypnotic drum-n'-bass cut, "Like A Friend"; I like the way the guest female vocalist sorta speaks directly into your mind with her words of subliminal suggestion. I quite literally had the time of my life on Track #2's "Time Of Our Lives", a full-out vocal track featuring the voice of a John McDaid and his alternative rock outfit, VEGA 4. Amidst the cool rock guitars and Van Dyk's sublime electronic production are some very touching lyrics—a time for everything, as the listener is reminded of—which compliments the song's daydreamy feel. Further promoting a positive way of thinking is Track #9's "Knowledge", where German rapper Trooper Da Don instructs you to 'get busy' while offering up that knowledge is something we should all obtain, all put to a hip, uptempo beat with lots of swirly, electronic glitz in the background. And if you like electronic music that is simply pleasant, the track before it—"Never Forget"—is one that you and your ears themselves would indeed never forget. Named the world's #1 DJ in both 2005 and 2006—another deserving honor of distinction for this talented Mr. Van Dyk. While this fourth studio album of his is a total reflection of that honor, the music contained on it is a reflection of the type of music that I love so dearly:

1. Crush
2. Time Of Our Lives
3. Like A Friend
4. Reflections
5. Nothing But You
6. Buenaventura
7. Home
8. Never Forget
9. Knowledge
10. That's Life
11. Connected
12. Spellbound
13. Kaleidoscope

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