Richard Durand is one of the most underrated DJ/producers in all of trance music. With an innate ability to make high-energy tracks without sacrificing musicality, he consistently releases music that is so high quality you wonder why he isn’t booked at every trance event you attend. His newest album, Wide Awake, is no exception. Having already given us a taste of some of the tracks on the album on his spectacular In Search of Sunrise compilation, I was sure Wide Awake was going to blow the majority of other recent trance album releases out of the water, and that is exactly what happened. To quote Durand in a recent interview with Stark Profiles PR, this album is “innovative, fresher, and rougher!”
Wide Awake is the perfect collection for your all around trance lover. Be it techy sounds, vocal uplifting tracks, or more progressive flavors, Richard includes it all here, and every aspect is top-notch. The ominous Clear Blue Sky opens Wide Awake, with an interesting flute-like synth carrying the syncopated rhythm through into a sea of sub-bass and pulsing energy. His tracks are always very high-motion, constantly keeping the listening on the edge of their seat awaiting what is on the horizon. Next up is the album’s title track, which does a good job of taking all of the different sound palettes of the album and combining them into one of the most radio-friendly tracks on the album, topped with vocals by Ellie Lawson.
Continuing on, Airwell goes from a more spaced out sound into intense synth stabs that have a very cleanly produced sound to them; this leads me to another point about Wide Awake–the overall sound production quality is unbelievably high. From here on out, we get to hear an array of “trancescapes,” including the frenetic Explode, the almost industrial sounding NYC, and the pounding Real Deal. The highest energy track is saved for last, though; Disturbed will blow the listener away with its thick electro synth line that could rip through any club or festival.
Don’t be fooled by the lower visibility of Richard Durand in the trance scene; Wide Awake is a testament to the incredible musicianship demonstrated by the Dutch DJ/producer. If you’re around the Vegas area, be sure to catch the man in action on May 7th at RAIN Palms Casino Resort. An album like this is best experienced live, so save your pennies if you can make it.