Tiesto has over the past few years become, perhaps, the most recognizable figure in dance music. He’s the public face to the scene, the brand name on sale. Through relentless touring, high profile remixing – for everyone from Sarah McLachlan to Madonna to Justin Timberlake – and a steady stream of releases, he’s done his part to expand visibility for dance music in general, and trance in particular.
The In Search Of Sunrise series has been one of his staple assets, having long held a more unique place in the trance mix culture than most series can boast. It’s generally more middle of the road – neither relentlessly clubby, nor is it chillout – trying to find the reflective beauty in dance culture. It is at turns balearic, peak-time, headphone listening and party soundtrack. It really is the sunrise on the beach take on trance. And the latest installment, In Search Of Sunrise Vol. 7: Asia, continues that tradition.
As usual, the region labeled for this installment is more for convenience than any real reflection of regional style. With Asia being the largest land mass in the world, and home to a fantastically diverse collection of cultures, Tiesto is not delivering a tailor-fit mix for a specific area. It’s just a general snapshot of overall trends.
Although perhaps not intentionally, the two discs in the set are more or less evenly split between a focus on vocal and instrumental tracks, with the first disc handling the former.
Disc one starts off with the gentle opening of Banyan Tree’s “Feel The Sun Rise,” before launching into the exquisite track “Wasted” by Andy Duguid. It represents well what the In Search Of Sunrise series does best: lush, melodic trance. In much the same way, the Moonbeam remix of Rachel Starr’s “To Forever” and Tiesto’s own remix of the Cary Brother’s single “Ride” offer lilting, bubbling escapes of more intelligent pop trance.
In terms of feel, disc two continues in much the same direction as the first, just with more of an emphasis on instrumental fare. The highlights include the back-to-back pairing of Tiesto’s “Driving To Heaven (Mat Zo Remix)” and Carl B’s “Just A Thought.” There are a few tracks on this second half that, while not bad, do suffer from being more “typical trance” than the rest. Again, nothing distracting, just a couple of lulls.
Vol. 7 offers the most consistently excellent installment to the series since it went to the 2-CD expanded format. Personally, I feel that the past few volumes have suffered from sloppy mixing and an over-reliance on typical trance cuts. However, this new installment fixes those issues and brings back some of the magic from Vols. 1-3, when it was actually a unique offering, and not just another mix series.
It’s a bonus that Tiesto generally manages to grab tracks before they’ve made the rounds to all the other DJs and compilations, so for the most part you’re able to hear a great selection of all-new material. If you’re interested in a great all-purpose mix, or just looking for something new in the scene, In Search Of Sunrise Vol. 7: Asia is a great return to form for Tiesto, and an excellent mix for the summer.