Yet another of the #1 DJ’s famous franchises, the fifth iteration of Armin van Buuren’s Universal Religion live series comes directly to us from the heart of Club Space in Ibiza, where Armin is currently a resident. I always have very high expectations of Armin, and once again they were met and exceeded by the man who clearly has his ear to the ground in the world of trance music. The compilation covers three hours in the best of progressive, trance, and tech, with another exciting note–it features yours truly! But onto the music.
Part 1 is my favorite of the 2-part set, and it starts off with a guitar-laden progressive bang courtesy of Ashley Wallbridge’s Vision–an indicator that this set is going to journey to unexpected places. This is followed by the avant garde Tomahawk by BT and Adam K, and an appropriate name it is, as the glitched-out electro drop hits you out of nowhere after leading out of a progressive buildup into territory not previously covered by many a trance DJ. Being Armin, there is of course no lack of vocal gems in Part 1; his remix of Hannah’s Falling Away is the first vocal we encounter, followed by the exceptional Stoneface & Terminal remix of Fight the Fire by Andy Moor and Sue McLaren. Just wait for the exceptional pulsating synth line in the drop–a fresh, exciting sound that instantly piques the listeners’ ears. An appearance by Markus Schulz’s now-ubiquitous Dakota moniker comes later on in the set with Terrace 5AM, as well as a new track by Armin’s quasi-operatic side project Gaia called Stellar–my personal Gaia favorite since Tuvan in 2009. Part 1 ends with the increasingly popular Brute by Armin and Ferry Corsten, a track made distinct by its unique lead synth rhythm.
Part 2 begins with perhaps the most unique progressive track to release in recent months, Andrew Bayer’s intricate Counting the Points. This then leads into a track produced, written, and sung by myself, Kid Alien, called The Atmosphere, with my friends Klauss Goulart and Mark Sixma on the remix. I won’t say much more here besides you have the official release of that track along with a few other remixes to look forward to very soon :). Other highlights of Part 2 include the lush Elegia by Alexander Popov, which features spectacular chord progressions, Gareth Emery & Ashley Wallbridge’s newest collaboration Mansion, and Orjan Nilsen’s fierce new single Viking. Viking picks up where The Mule left off, with syncopated claps, snares, and an almost Dutch house-sounding drop. Quite the closer to an epic three-hour journey. Pick up your copy here, which includes split track edits of each song, as well as the full live mix.