Bye Bye Sky High by Alpha Tracks
Surprising Trance-infused EP
"How are you feeling?" a girl with an American accent intones on the opening track Mind Over Mayhem. It's this type of embellishment that transforms what could easily have been a decent but forgettable dance track into something much more seductive and memorable. In his short career (first release ~2016) Felix Benedikt, aka Alpha Tracks, has made this method of borrowing celebrated traits from the heady days of Techno and Rave and injecting them with a transfusion of contemporary spirit, his own. As the saying goes:
good artists copy, great artists steal!
Bye Bye Sky High is Benedikt's eleventh release (second on Blue Hour Music) and continues his exploration into the echelons of high BPMs (Discogs call it Neo Trance). He's used vocal snippets in his work before, so this isn't a new angle, but on Mind Over Mayhem the points at which we receive our instruction ("take a deep breath in", "exhale") correlate closely with the core concept behind Trance: creating a state of hypnotism and a heightened consciousness through tension and euphoric melody. Double Exposure and Troubled Waters are fine DJ tools remaining well within the boundaries of the Trance blueprint, with the former incorporating hints of Acid squelch. Returning to vocal snippets, closing track Grand Deception raises the stakes with dark intent; its use of a somewhat menacing dialogue and a dominant pulsing beat give it purpose and a rousing whiff of danger - the subtle melody that creeps in halfway through is the only thing that softens this surprising edge.
How am I feeling? I like this fresh angle on Trance. Take a deep breath in and hear this: Trance doesn't have to be bland. Thankfully artists like Benedikt are slowly shifting attitudes.