If everything changes, where do you go? – Sneijder’s debut album review
For Sneijder, a Trance producer hailing from the central regions of Northern Ireland, a debut album was a creative endeavor that seemed simply naturally to his future – and you can catch him in San Diego this weekend.
Everything Changes, released last November, is a testament to the varied talents the producer cultivated since 2009. As a herald for the merging of Trance sub-genres Tech Trance and Uplifting Trance, the album infuses the listener with more than expected. Here, we rewind the tape and explore the release and its thirteen tracks.
Opening with the Breaks Mix of “Remember Me” offers an instant boot up for new listeners. It’s a slower progression that showcases sound design and refinement over a bombastic energy one would expect for a Trance album. The addition of an acid line near the end of the song really settles the floor work for the album the build off of.
The album then jumps in to “The Only Place,” ironically juxtaposing the Breaks Mix we just had with a Chill Out Mix. Instantly the listener recognizes this is an album of singles, not a journey offered over of mixing of offerings. A soft female vocalist adds atmosphere to the subtle piano and structured melancholy of one who has lost, or nearly lost, their only place where they found solace and peace.
“Elements” rotates the mold, and brings a tech-infused progressive sound into the fold. Part early-career Sander van Doorn, part Ferry Corsten, the track offers a smattering of variety like modern art on a canvas. Here, Sneijder does his best to showcase the range of sounds he is influenced by. Though it is a haphazard piece, it does not give away to dissonance.
“Low Orbit Ion” dives deeply into the progressive realm, bringing dark deep baselines together with synth work reminiscent of mid-2000’s Trance. Progressions here feel similar to early Deadmau5. Brooding as this track is it wouldn’t feel out of place in an Eric Prydz/Cirez D set. Dig the darkness.
Vocalist Karen Kelly joins Sneijder for the first four-to-the-floor Trance song of the album. Karen’s vocals accentuate the polish sound of the productions here, where the echoing and delayed main synth creates a sweet sounding palette for simpler consumption. Her voice at times comes a little narrow, but here on “Be With You,” you’ll get your first opportunity to lose yourself in the euphoria of uplifting trance.
Sneijder’s sixth track grabs onto seasoned producer Giuseppe Ottaviani. The duo here combined to create a full up Trance in the form of “Nero.” A sonic journey that evokes the atmosphere of flying amongst the clouds, “Nero” showcases how beautifully trance can pull you into a new space. A highlight of the album for certain.
If you like things a bit harder and techier, you’ll love the next song on the album, “Question Mark.” Having teamed up with The Noble Six, “Question Mark” offers a club banging low-end, furiously energetic beats, and synth work that shows how working in tandem with the strengths of each producer creates something magical. This track is something you could hear in a set by John O’Callaghan, Aly and Fila, Solarstone, John Askew, or any of the mainstay trance core DJs. Superb craftsmanship is what is called out in this track for the trope of what trance is.
One of the non-surprise includes here is the hit “Love Of My Control” with Christina Novelli. Having a beautifully crafted and emotional vocal and the well-producer atmosphere in this track, there is no surprise it was a pre-release hit. Gravitate to this one – its dazzling.
“Breaking Point” offers another pulsing Trance journey. Teaming up with Mark Leanings, Sneijder focuses the energy and the melodic breakdown absolutely radiates from the core. Stupendous and a gem on the album!
Scottish producer Nick Callaghan grabs the techy side of the spectrum on his collaborative work “Collision Course.” Proper depth in the low end and a subsonic energy absolutely grabs the hips and shakes them, while the techno elements reign loud in the mid-range of this one. A familiar House vocal sample permeates the track, but I’ll leave it as a secret as to its source.
Winding into the back end of the album, Sneijder takes hold of the direction. “Resolute” cranks the BPM up while bringing in a touch of Psy-Trance to the album. Energetic back beats and squelching leads bring one to the arpeggios. The energy gets a bit lost as time goes on, but the production on the track is clean and simple.
“#Acid” represents the last Trance tune on the album, and Sneijder brings the energy in full force. Booming low-end focused kick drums and a layered acid synth line drive the track, while arpeggios in the same synth course the track’s transitions in the correct direction. Bang on; this is Acid!
To close the album Sneijder returns to the mellow end with an Acoustic mix of “Be With You.” Featuring the sublime vocals of Karen Kelly, the tracks artfully directs the listener’s attention to the train-stop panning passage of time. Waiting for the moment of beauty when a moment becomes shared, the track shows how soft and emotional Trance can be.
Sneijder could do much worse as a debut; in fact, many have. A varied portrait of the production muscles he flexes here shows how he is gifted in crafting a memorable experience. There is much to love, and much to hear on the album. That’s why it was voted at TrancePodium’s Top Album Of The Year. If you’d like your own copy, jump on to your favorite major music retailor for a digital copy as the album has been out for a few months now.
If you are in Southern California: grab a ticket for a special set over in San Diego at Spin Nightclub for the next Lucent Nights. Sneijder will be on stage for a 6 hour Open-to-Close set. Grab tickets here for the March 26 show: http://lucent6.eventbrite.com/?aff=Huggy.