Over the past year and a half we have seen Armin van Buuren in overdrive with a plethora of new releases ranging from his popular State of Trance
series, his own solo album Imagine
(with the accompanying remix version), and even another Universal Religion
release. Armin is definitely making his presence felt, which is mind-boggling given the fact he also host a weekly radio show and constantly tours around the world. With this kind of exposure, Armin not only keeps his fans constantly entertained but he also makes them feel like a part of his entourage of sorts, which makes for a very devoted fan base. In fact, Armin van Buuren lets his listeners vote for their favorite tracks in the yearly Top 20 poll and then uses those tracks, plus 65 other trance hits from 2009, to populate the track list of his newest release, A State of Trance: Year Mix 2009.
I admit that usually I am not fond of megamix compilation sets where the DJ tries to cram as many songs as possible into a short playing time because many of the songs lose their distinctive feel and vibe when condensed to nothing more than a snippet of their former selves, but somehow Armin makes it work on this release. In fact, I thought the 2007 and 2008 releases were fairly well put-together, but Armin has exceeded expectations even more this year with lots of variation- a great display of beats and rhythms with great vocal selections. The first disc is packed with some amazing tracks with many of the standouts being vocal tracks that are dominated by smooth lush sounds, generating beautiful uplifting melodic trance.
Starting With a Monologue, Really?
On the first disc, I definitely could have done without the beginning introductory monologue that seemed more doomsday than uplifting, but fortunately the music takes over and you forget this minor flaw. On tracks like "Because the Remix" by Ferry Corsten and “See the Sun” by Matt Darey, Armin highlights breezy, uplifting soundscapes with angelic voices that blend harmoniously well with the other tracks contained within the set. The disc also contains such hauntingly beautiful tracks like “Take It all Away” by John O’Callaghan with Audrey Gallaghet, followed by the truly inspiring Van Buuren track “Never Say Never” with Jacqueline Govaert. Of course the disc also contains catchy hits, such as “This Moment” by Nic Chagall, that definitely provides a few beats for the dance floor. The first disc also contains more great music, like the enchanting and seductive "Rain" by Van Buuren, with lush vocals from Cathy Burton, followed by the mesmerizing vocals of Johnny McDaid on “Home,” from Paul Van Dyk, which also showcases Buuren's amazing ability to infuse such various tracks into one continuous epiphany of sound. Other gems include artists like Oceanlab and Nadia Ali that provide more alluring vocals set to undeniable beats that pulsate with warm energy and beauty. The disc ends with “Waiting” by Dash Berlin, which features the angelic vocals of Emma Hewitt, that sends the set into euphoric bliss and leaves the listener craving for more.
A Second Dis of Trance Hits
Fortunately for the listener, Armin is not done yet, and provides another disc full of more trance hits from the past year that have inspired many listeners around the world. The second disc begins with the upbeat "Onyric" by Cressida that flows with charismatic energy and signals a more progressive set than the previous disc. We also find some thumping basslines on the track "Invisible Touch," by Bobina, that intensifies the listening experience, running counter to the more enchanting and seductive double entries by Oceanlab on "I Am What I Am" and "Lonely Girl." The middle of the disc is grounded with several non-vocal tracks like "Healesville Sanctuary" and "RAMsterdam" that work amazingly well in delivering smooth intoxicating beats set to the maximum. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Armin doesn’t close out the set with some amazing vocal tracks. Tracks like "Piercing Quiet" by Tritonal featuring Soto and tyDi's "You Walk Away," with vocals by Audrey Gallagher, provide more angelic vocals with vibrant beats set adrift into endless bliss. At the end, we see Armin van Buuren end with a flourish of pulsating tracks that climax into a frenzy, sending the listener off into pure ecstasy. The only flaw that we see comes at the very end where we are reminded by the almighty voice again that we are listening to the music of 2009, which seems gimmicky at best. I have to admit though that if that is the only major flaw that I can find, then evidently the music and mixing skills of Armin have done their jobs all too well.
A State of Trance: Year Mix 2009
is definitely a great collection of
the best trance hits of 2009, offering a listening experience that not
only elevates the music, but provides a reminder of the talent and
ability that Armin van Buuren possesses. If you are looking for a set
that not only encapulsates the past year in trance but provides a
musical journey full of lush landscapes and pulsating beats, then look
no further than this two-disc set. There is so much to offer on this
compilation that will please not only fans of Armin but fans of trance
in general, and it definitely deserves a spot in your collection.
Released December 2009 on Armada Music
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy