After four years of thoroughly enjoying ‘20‘, one might start to wonder when a new long player will come forth from the studio of Finnish DJ & Producer Tapio Hakanen. Wonder no more, since today, Harmonia finally joins its three predecessors in Orkidea‘s back catalogue. I’d say a closer look is in order.
If you paid close attention to the release schedule, last June’s Slowmotion III dropped some hints about the sound of this very material, providing a nice fusion of styles between Orkidea and Solarstone. Then, in October, Purity brought out yet another tease for fans to enjoy until the album finally dropped. The last hint came in March, with Revolution Industrielle, Tapio’s superb take on the 1988 Jean-Michel Jarre classic. That takes us nicely up to present day, don’t you think?
Harmonia is a representation of ‘retrofuturism’, a nifty word the folks at Black Hole came up with to describe Orkidea‘s blend of modern and old sound. This blend is immediately obvious from the very first tones of My Sunset, through to Dreamers of Dreams and Neo Romance (featuring Ben Lord on vocals), all concentrating some of the past’s beloved classics and turning them into modern day masterpieces of their own. The retro vibe continues with Tapio’s reheat of mid-80s classic p:Machinery and of course, JMJ’s Revolution Industrielle. A respectful nod to the past with a distinctive modern twist.
Going further down the list, we find what’s one of last year’s biggest tracks in my view, the collaboration with Solarstone, Slowmotion III, along with two more vocal numbers, Strange World and Glowing Skies, featuring Sami Uotila and Lowland, respectively. As we advance, the techier side surfaces in Nana, and the darker tones get a representative as well with the stunning Redemption.
A familiar vibe resounds in the headphones as you encounter last October’s Purity, with its enchanting break and addictive synth line. The adventure continues thanks to brand new collabs with Activa and Guiseppe Ottaviani (Z21 and North Star, respectively) and ends on an adequately high note with the album’s title track, which masterfully gets constructed around the fitting closing monologue from Blade Runner.
This one is packed to the brim with variety and will undoubtedly satisfy even the pickiest of picky individuals. The standout track for me is beyond any shadow of doubt Z21, not just because it’s new, but because out of all these, it managed to hold my attention time and time again. The 13 others are great in their own way, but the break in this collaboration was especially enjoyable, and those brilliantly placed vocal chops sealed the deal. Truly amazing.
Don’t let my preference get in the way of picking your own favourite. Have a listen to the trailer below, and the full versions of Slowmotion III, Purity and Revolution Industrielle. For those eager to grab it, I’ve provided some handy links below. 🙂
Country: The Netherlands / Style: Trance / Year: 2015 / Label: Black Hole Recordings
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