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LABEL: Platipus Records RELEASE DATE: April 29, 2002 GENRE: Trance
// review by Jeff

Love washed over me when I first heard this!

It's funny how the music of Art Of Trance can sound both outdated and NOT outdated at the same time. Using now-ancient sounding synthesizers is the trademark of the man behind the moniker, Simon Berry, but he tends to use them in a way that just feels appropriate, no matter what age he happens to be living in. Such has been the case with more recent releases, including his 2006 release "Persia", which continues to use the sounds of TB-303s and all those classic synth pulses while still sounding like a tune worthy of the 2006 datestamp. This can also be said somewhat of "Love Washes Over", the 2002 Art Of Trance release featuring the vocals of Michele Adamson. But not only does this track bring the old sounds into the new wave of things, it also holds its own against the best trance music out there!

The best way to start listening to any single is to begin with the original version! This track sets the tone with some older analog-style sounds during the build-up, eventually making its way into solid vocal trance, featuring the aforementioned vocal stylings of Michele Adamson. I think the vocals are what take this song from an average affair to a grand audio spectacle, as they are soft yet powerful at the same time. It sounds as though they have been tinkered with ever so slightly with the power of the vocoder! It's minor though; you may not even notice. I also believe that even the lyrics have given me some inspiring feelings within:

"Love washes over...
Cleansing my soul...
Breathe with me baby
Let love unfold...

Don't trouble your mind...
Happiness ain't a crime...
Morphing moments in time...
In your body, it's sublime..."

I was so moved by the presentation of these lyrics in "Love Washes Over" that I ended up making a desktop wallpaper based around them. Yeah, I'm a big dork; just say it and get it over with. Yet overall, the song has an uplifting feeling, both from the vocals and also from the use of oldschool and more modern trance synths in a combination to create an excellent trance tune that I'd be proud to pull off a Charlie Brown dance to. It's also worthy of the Art Of Trance name, as it still maintains the classic sensation of trance meets natural beauty.

The Pheric remix is a standard trance remix, but actually provides slightly more energy to the mix with new synths and a more generally-used bassline while maintaining all the initial elements that made the original so stunning. However, this is just the remix that the doctor ordered, providing a slightly modernized take on it for those tranceheads not quite satisfied with the elderly squelches of the mid-90s output of Art Of Trance. I suppose the same could be said for the Airwave remix, which has a bit more of a kick than the Pheric remix, but still maintains a similar melodic structure, just with a few more funky little reverb effects. I'll personally take the Pheric remix, but the Airwave remix isn't too far away from this, so it's up to you.

The Moshic & Zidan remix is far more jungle-oriented, utilizing only the trance-like synths of the original to relate this tune back to its source, but there is a sprinkling of the expected trance portion coming into play at the 6:20 mark (yes, you have to wait over six minutes to get to the good part). Besides some skewed vocals in the background, you're not going to be hearing the lyrics here (as I expected during the more dreamy pad-oriented section), but instead it will just keep going until the jungle beats return. For a twelve-minute remix, there certainly is a lack of substance here, and it simply is a dry reflection of the original. Clubbers would become tired and edgy after this; I do not prefer it either.

Typically, Art Of Trance songs are not commercial, but this one may be the most commercial-sounding track of Simon Berry's career. Yet even with that in mind, I can't say with any justification that this is a bad track. On the contrary, it is one of the brighter stars in a dark sky filled with generic trance output. As long as you steer clear of the banal Moshic & Zidan remix, I think you'll find this to be a heavenly slice of trance music that should not be ignored, for it just might engulf you in its passionate beauty.

(NOTE: I have reviewed the version of "Love Washes Over" currently available on iTunes; this release features all published remixes, with the exception of the remix by King Of Clubs.)


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