Saturday, February 14, 2009

Andy Blueman - Sea Tides EP ( Review)

If you have been following the trance scene throughout the past 2 years, then you most likely know of Perceptive Recordings. This label started out with a bang in late 2007 and introduced clubbers all around the world to Andrej Komatovic, better known as Andy Blueman. PR001 aka the first release on Perceptive was named Nyctalopia and was produced by Andy Blueman. This signing turned out to be the perfect start for the label as it received heavy support on the original mixes and the Onova remix. At this point people realized that Andy Blueman had a great sense of melodies and was one to watch out for. 6 months later came the sequel which turned out to be just as big a hit – if not even bigger. “Time To Rest” as it was named, had remixes from no other than Daniel Kandi and Mystery Islands and was picked up by Armin van Buuren for his 2008 A State Of Trance compilation. Now, the coming single Sea Tides EP is almost here. There has been a huge amount of hype going on around on numerous trance communities and the record has already received support by some of the top jocks like Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten. Manuel Le Saux even included all three tunes in his monthly Top Twenty Tunes radio show. The Sea Tides EP is release number 15 and could very well turn out to be the biggest record on Perceptive so far. This time there is no remixes but you get 6 versions to choose from thus almost 60 minutes of Andy Blueman.

The review
Up until now I’ve intentionally avoided previewing clips of this EP and too avoided some of the latest radio shows. I wanted to get a good first impression of the tunes and hear them in full rather than putting some flat youtube or myspace clip on repeat. According to the description in the mailout they had a hard time finding a title for the release, as all tracks were equally good. They ended up naming it Sea Tides EP and the first track is…. tada, Sea Tides in its original version. Andy starts with a swoosh effect to launch the track and with a kick drum, hi hats and a raw but subtle synth loop sets in quickly. The track feels very energetic at an early stage and as the clap and a pumping bassline is added the energy and tension starts to build. Different layers of melodies are added to the track and I start I realize how much Andy has evolved as an artist – the melody feels clear and the mix is really smooth. The melody has a classic trance sound to it. He keeps it classy without using over-the-top-riffs and sticks to his epic theme. To get that extra spark you can always get the energetic version which has some slight changes in the breakdown and in the melodies. Neverland is the second track on this EP and can already be located in quite a few playlists. The bottom end is pretty standard yet effective and well balanced. As we well know, Andy Blueman’s trademark is his melodies, and here he shows what he can do. He slowly builds the beautifully crafted melodies and adds a percussive loop which sounds like something taken right out of a movie – you can easily imagine it when you hear it. Another instrument, displaying a soaring melody, and I can’t put an exact name on it, adds to the massive epic feel of the track. Neverland also has an energetic mix to go with it – and this time there is no doubt, this is really energetic. The tune successfully combines a more upbeat and euphoric feel with the big room melodies. This mix does however lack some of the qualities of the original. So far I am impressed with the quality of the release. The sound quality level from Perceptive and Andy has definitely been lifted a few stories since 2007. Everlasting is bound to be another scorching hot tune judging from what I have just heard. Again, the rhythmical side of the track isn’t something to go into details about. The booming bassline does however stand out. The well placed plucks and sharp piano sequences have a jaw dropping effect. A classic uplifting trance lead sets in after the break and accompanied by the beats, it is pumping all the way throughout the rest of the track making it perfect for the dancefloors. This mix gets an emotional treatment instead of an energetic. Obviously cause of the piano used in the track. Some beautiful choirs are used in the breakdown and the subtle use of melodies gives it a more profound and emotional feel. The payoff isn’t as powerful as in the original and the approach is more laidback and somewhat softer.

The verdict
On this release Andy shows that he can deliver a complete release without a need for additional remixers. One thing I was expecting and hoping for was a rise in quality on Andy’s part and as mentioned earlier the quality has reached a new and higher level. The melodies are original and each tune is very unique. I like the idea of building an alternative version to each track and this only further cements his talent and his great feel for melodies. I don’t think a lot of other producers can put together a breakdown with such an amount of emotion as Andy can. Alex M.O.R.P.H. and Woody van Eyden spring to my mind though. Should one be critical towards this package you could discuss if the breaks are being taken too far. Trance should be danceable and you don’t want to be standing with hands in the air all night. This is why Everlasting is my favourite. The track has a fine balance between his signature sound, an epic trance lead and a bottom end that will make you move. Andy Blueman is on top of his game and this release gets a 9/10 from me.

Mini interview with Andy Blueman
Q: Your past two releases have had remixes from Will B, Onova, Daniel Kandi and Mystery Islands. These are big names but this time around it is 100 % Andy Blueman. Does this make this release extra special to you?
A: I don’t know if its special, but I have to say I am even more excited for this release than
I was for the first two.
Q: Does the style of the Sea Tides EP resemble your previous productions or can the fans expect something different?
A: Yes, the Sea Tides E.P. resembles my previous productions with the same kind of style but with some new things, which I hope my fans will like. Because I like this style so much, I don’t really see a reason to change it that much. Some of my newer songs will be a bit different but they will still be based on the same style.
Q: This is your third release on Perceptive Recordings and a bit of a milestone for both you and the label. It has only been a little over a year since your first release called Nyctalopia. Do you have a personal favourite among your three releases?
A: I am glad that I signed with Perceptive Recordings because we have a good partnership. They are a very kind label and have had many great releases in this short time and more and more people are starting to like them. My favourite release is the latest one - Sea Tides E.P.
Q: So far your productions have been praised by fans all over the world. Your track Time To Rest was featured on Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance 2008. There is also already a bit of hype going on around the Sea Tides EP on various forums. What can we expect from Andy Blueman in the future?
A: To be honest, don't expect too much, because I’m a bit lazy and kind of a slow composer, so things can turn around pretty quickly and I don't want to make any big hopes or promises to my listeners. On the upside, I plan on releasing quite a few songs this year, compared to the last two.
Q: As for you productions; what is your favourite VST or tool/component in the studio? How do you approach a tune, do you start with the melody, bassline or drums?
A: Actually, I don’t even have a studio - I have no special hardware equipment for music, just a normal PC running the appropriate software for all those synths and some pretty standard speakers, but I plan on buying a midi keyboard and a better sound card soon. I don’t really have a favourite VST - I like using many different ones because each of them is good for something. As for the composing, I always start with the main melody on my PC keyboard, which is a bit strange and more complicated, but necessary because of the lack of a midi keyboard.
Q: Thanks for taking your time to do this little interview. Before we round things off, do you have any advice for all bedroom trance producers out there?
A: Thank you for the interview. As for my advice to other producers, I would recommend them to follow their feelings and try not to rely too much on their equipment, create music they like and try to be creative.

Pre-order date: 09.02.2009
Release date: 23.02.2009


Previews are located at the Perceptive Recordings homepage. Feel free to discuss and post your thoughts in this thread.

Andy Blueman - Sea Tides E.P. CD Single

Click here to order it.

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