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The Mexican - Land of the Pharaohs (Carbon Based RMX) - This track opens with some lovely melancholy pads. That's one thing the Finns seem particularly adept at within this style of music, evoking a complex range of emotions. Most English hard dance/hardcore is usually gogogogo mad-eyed joy, occassionally hoods-up darkside terror, but the Finns manage to draw something more complex from their machines, that weird intersection between joy and sadness, between ecstasy and fear. This track quickly kicks into a nice jagged riff, glittering from the rhythmic bed of the track like smashed car window glass on a sidewalk late at night. Then into the breakdown, where a fantastically incongruous Middle Eastern melody rubs up against some nicely sweeping synth vamps, which then cuts out into the main riff. It's a familiar arpeggiated trance riff, yet there's something about it that sets it out from so many of the other millions that I've heard. Although it seems to replicate the usual arms-aloft euphoria, there's this weird edge of dread to it; a clenched-teeth, eyes-shut kind of power.
DOK - Mental Ward (Carbon Based RMX) - This is where Carbon Based take DOK's darkside freeform classic and strip it down and charge it up, Suomi-style. If the original version was a mean-assed Harley Davidson of a tune, all gutteral roars and thundering engines, this remix is a souped-up Superbike of a tune. A coming-out party for all the little synth tricks they have up their sleeves, this tune is a compilation of some of the most intense digital riffage ever concocted. Furiously unstoppable energy. It fires through the speakers like a missile. Describing it is almost pointless...what more is there to say than that they bettered a classic?
Carbon Based - Dark Side - Straight into a pounding off-beat bass and choppy percussion, this one only takes about 40 seconds to get into a classic Carbon Based spider-riff, skittering across the track. One of their most melodic tracks, this marries that familiarly skeletal skitter to a melody that starts as a simple up-and-down plucked riff before, in the breakdown, building and building into an epic, sweeping, soaring, insert your own adjective, explosion of joy. What I love about this track is that it keeps shifting the emotion, alternating between a holding-pattern glide and the diving headfirst off a mountain madness of the main section. This is one of the most conventionally trancey tunes they've done, which is, of course, no bad thing. You are a sick and joyless person if you hate all trance.