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LABEL: Tsunami RELEASE DATE: 2000 GENRE: Trance
// review by SoyBomb

The Japanese angel rises.

Imagine it's the year 2000. The radio is filled with massive sculpted hits like N*Sync's "It's Gonna Be Me", Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again", and OutKast's "Ms. Jackson", with that video where the highlight is an owl going "WHOOOO!" What, you don't remember that? Now you will. But across the ocean, over in the chipper land of the Netherlands, the trance scene was assuredly hopping, and two kings were riding high: Ferry Corsten and Tijs Verwest, better known globally as Tiësto. And, like the Megazords of their time, they had once combined into the mighty Gouryella before eventually going their own separate ways and separate musical directions. But before that moment of estrangement, there was one last hurrah for Gouryella in the form of "Tenshi", a Japanese word meaning "angel" and a fine trance tune indeed.

The single was most recently re-released in 2011 on the Flashback sub-label of Ferry Corsten's own Flashover Recordings label with all remixes intact, so that's the one I'll be referencing. Starting off with the ever-present Radio Edit, zero seconds are wasted bursting into the main melody, a tech-infused symphonic delight. Derived from "Light and Shadow", a song by Greek artist Vangelis, as composed for the movie "1492: Conquest of Paradise", the melody is simultaneously powerful and uplifting; the trance presentation itself is rather emotional, a sign of what the genre used to represent. Also, Ferry's signature clacky snare is fully present, so you can easily recognize from what era of his career this is from. Certainly worth a listen.

Next is the (and this is spelled wrong in so many places, including Beatport) Orchestre Cyber France De Paris, basically a strings version of Tenshi performed by the orchestra of the same name. If classical music is your game, try this out, although there actually is far less power to this rendition than I would have expected. Following this in the grand package is the Original Mix, an expansion of the Radio Edit and something worthy of a listen if you can't get enough enjoyment out of the short version.

German trance/dance producer ATB took a crack at the tune with the ATB Remix. A straightforward hard dance intro leads into some trancy pads and a deep buzz that drives the trance track forward. But why does it take until the 4:45 mark to get to the main melody? At this point, the song is merely the same, just with a more shrill bassline. Not much to get excited about in this remix overall, and clearly not his best work by a longshot. The Ratty Remix takes an even techier approach. The alter-ego of German supergroup Scooter had previously created quite a stir with their more underground-sounding pseudonym Ratty and the surprising single "Sunrise (Here I Am). The resulting remix sounds nothing like the party-leading Scooter; instead, we have a mix that spends more time on a gritty tech buildup, though the actual presentation of the melody's relatively tame and lackluster.

One remix of Tenshi that's been noted by many critics is the Transa Remix. A slightly deviating and more dance-oriented (rather than the occasionally-hard-to-differentiate "trance-oriented" label) track, chipper synths roll their way through the melody and alter it enough to sound fresh and revitalized anew. Though the arrangement is pretty orthodox by dance music standards, it probably could have lit up dancefloors across the nation back in 2000. As long as they weren't pumping a Westlife megamix, at least.

The Roland Klinkenberg Remix delivers a smoother, slower feel to the tune (even though the BPM is actually the same), complete with house shakers and one really neat burp-ish sound effect I can't give enough praise to for some reason. Not a bad mix, perhaps the most modern of the grouping. But for that last minute lager at the end of the night, maybe the dulcet piano tones and smooth underbelly of the Mark Moon Remix will lull you to peaceful slumber as it takes a far more ambient approach to Tenshi, and it simply works. With a calming breakbeat and equally soothing natural sounds, this one will invite you to "Tenshi and chill".

Tenshi was the final collaboration between Tiësto and Ferry Corsten, and it was a solid effort to part ways on. There are also a slew of remixes just varied enough to suit the tastes of many different playlists. The Gouryella project lives on in Ferry Corsten, as he revived the name in 2014 to create Anahera, which went on to become the top-selling trance hit of the year, but we can all remember its roots in songs like Tenshi, back in the days when trance was at the top of its game.

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