Ok, maybe I lied when I said there were only two trance-artist albums I was looking forward to this year. There were actually four of them, and this is one that actually lived up to my expectations. It took me a few listens to really get into it, but I definitely found some quality tunes along with a great deal of potential for some nice remixes down the road. This album is only the second CD released on Gareth’s Garuda label, with the first being The Sound of Garuda released last year. Nevertheless, a debut artist album always calls for a celebration, and Gareth certainly has something up his sleeve planned for his fans. To ceremonialize this album’s release, Gareth and Digital Society have joined forces to throw the Northern Lights Concert at the O2 Academy in Leeds, England on October 8th of this year. Gareth will be playing a special 4 hour set (his longest set to date in Europe), complete with live vocalists and tons of special effects. The night will also feature guest DJ sets by Orkidea (a stand-alone legend), Sean Tyas, Ben Gold, Greg Downey, and Mark Eteson. This formula for album launch parties has seemed to work so well with many other producers, so why shouldn’t Gareth join in on the fun? It will be a great night for trance music as the lucky crowd gets to celebrate Gareth’s accomplishment with him. Now onto the CD review…

As I mentioned before, it did take me a few listens before I really immersed myself in the album. The CD opens up with a great collaboration with Jerome Isma-Ae on the intro track, and then it moves into a classic-Gareth style track titled El Segundo, complete with stuttering vocals and a solid bassline. Gareth features a few vocalists on his CD, including Lucy Sanders, Mark Frisch, and even his own sister, Roxanne Emery. The track with his sister (Too Dark Tonight) is very raw, with minimal productions and nice piano work, which I think is a great foundation for a killer remix. Another surprise song is Arrival, which features the Jazz-funk band Brute Force. You can hear their influence through what sounds like some sort of end-blown flute, possibly made out of wood or bamboo. You have probably heard one of the two Lucy Saunders  tracks on this album, so you already know how popular Sanctuary has become. However I actually like the other Lucy Saunders song, titled Fight the Sunrise, a little bit more due to the better lyrics and its use of the piano. Being a piano player myself, I always appreciate tracks which incorporate some nice keyboard work, and Gareth’s classical training really shines in this one. My favorites tracks are Full Tilt and Citadel, which are both 100% Emery and pretty much ready to do some destruction on the dance-floor. I also enjoyed his collaboration with Activa on All Is Now, as Activa piggybacks his harder style with Gareth’s smooth flows. Overall the end product here is a nice mix of vocal and non-vocal tracks. Gareth does a great job of expanding his sound range while keeping his signature style in place. The album is officially released today, so go grab your copy from Garuda. The digital version contains 4 bonus tracks, including a nice one with Emma Hewitt. I have uploaded the entire CD in one long mix to share with you, check it out below:

Gareth Emery – Northern Lights (Garuda CD002)

01 Stars (feat. Jerome Isma-Ae)
02 El Segundo
03 Too Dark Tonight (feat. Roxanne Emery)
04 Arrival (feat. Brute Force)
05 Into The Light (feat. Mark Frisch)
06 Full Tilt
07 Sanctuary (feat. Lucy Saunders)
08 Citadel
09 Fight The Sunrise (feat. Lucy Saunders)
10 All Is Now (feat. Activa)