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Wednesday 16th, January 2008
Sander van Doorn - Supernaturalistic

Sander van Doorn is one of the biggest dance music success stories of recent years. Making his name with tightly produced and crisply mastered tech trance bombs, the reluctant superstar from Eindhoven quickly shot to the higher echelons of the dance world, conquering every corner of the globe with razor sharp, crowd pleasing DJ sets. His infectious enthusiasm and personality have won him legions of fans who will no doubt be licking their lips, as here is his debut artist album, Supernaturalistic. This has been sneaked out with a minimum of fuss and very little fanfare, with recent productions serving more to confuse than to confirm what sort of musical ride we are in for.

The dancefloor perfection of Riff, the mildly irritating King Bee sample on By Any Demand and the minimalist masterpiece Grasshopper are all present and correct, albeit in heavily edited forms. All three tracks were huge dancefloor hits for the Dutchman, especially in his home country where they dominated both the dance and commercial charts. These have been played to death over the past year though, and sadly there is no place for the mesmerising King Of My Castle, so of more interest is the rest of the album.

Look Inside Your Head is an excellent intro, a haunting melody that segues neatly into Riff. Fans of his much-missed Purple Haze alias will lap up the hypnotic, trancey 15 and forthcoming single The Bass with its ‘French Kiss’ style climax is reminiscent of early Sander and another sure-fire dancefloor smash. The obligatory downtempo moment is present and correct in the shape of Lobby, and, like the rest of the album, it is awash with dark overtones yet remains a starkly beautiful piece of electronica.

His passion for minimal techno, first shown on Grasshopper, is expanded on the tracks Sushi and Apple. Apple is the more effective of the two, a chugging groove building to transfixing melodic climax while Sushi is like a cricket to the far superior Grasshopper. Elsewhere, the skittering, menacing Dozer, mooted as a future single, will be causing plenty of future dancefloor destruction, as will the brooding and melodic Pura Vida. Closing track Outrospective finally provides a ray of optimism on an otherwise bleak album that is immediately ruined by some completely needless arrogance tacked on at the end that tarnishes all that has gone before it. Hear it to believe it.

Conclusion

Sander van Doorn delivers a slickly produced, smooth flowing, varied opus, with each track neatly edited and melded together. However it is overall completely lacking soul and is oppressively, relentlessly dark and bleak. Tech trance albums can be done well, shown by the crowd pleasing hooks that burst from a Marco V album, or recent brilliant efforts from the likes of Stephan J. Kroos and DJ Preach. Those albums have character, life. Supernaturalistic is choc full of past, present and future dancefloor hits yet as an album it’s a curiously morose listen that is about as exciting as the track titles. Some full vocal tracks perhaps would give it a bit more of a human element but overall this is a reflection of the music he plays, made for the club, not the bedroom. A great artist album is no doubt in Sander van Doorn’s veins but this, sadly, isn’t it. 3/5

Tracklisting

1. Look Inside Your Head 3:11
2. Riff 5:09
3. By Any Demand 3:24
4. 15 5:44
5. Pura Vida 5:44
6. Sushi 5:24
7. The Bass 4:44
8. Lobby 3:14
9. Apple 5:38
10. Grasshopper 3:49
11. Dozer 4:46
12. Outrospective 6:41

Bonus track: Sia - The Girl You Lost To Cocaine 7:05


Written by:
frombeyond

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