ALBUM REVIEW: Ronski Speed’s “Second World” by Lindsey Lou


First of all, I LOVE Ronski Speed. I love listening to him speak, I love watching him DJ, and I love his music. Now that I’ve got the enamoured Trance-girl out of me, let me tell you a little bit about this veteran producer/DJ. German-born Ron Newman a.k.a Ronski Speed became a DJ in 1997, the same year that he was signed to the record label Euphonic,  and has been releasing productions on the top electronic labels ever since. Always staying true to his uplifting trance roots, Mr. Speed never fails to impress with his solo projects, collaborations and remixes.  Having only entered the rave scene in the early spring on 1999, I have nothing but admiration and respect for this dedicated artist with his humble, warm stage presence.

Ronski Speed has stepped up to prove that he can still play with the masters in the business, even after sixteen years, with the release of his second album entitled Second World. Speed has not hesitated to bring us the best-of-the-best in vocal and collaborating production artists. I was excited to get my hand on his preview release, and, upon first glance at the track-list, was extremely excited.

The first track on this album, Rise Again, features none other than the sexy, seductive Lucy Saunders. In addition to her wonderfully silky vocals, many layers of melody comprise the track structure; I particularly enjoy the melodic bassline. This is because it moves creating fluid layers that step outside the boundaries of the typical uplifting trance track.

While I was fixated on the bassline and vocals of track one, track two faded in with the immediately recognizable, angelic, voice of the Trance-goddess Emma Hewitt. The perfect combination of Hewitt’s voice accompanied with the darker electro-trance sounds created the type of track that hits me right in the gut. After a heavy bass drop, Hewitt, without holding back, sings us into an intense build that explodes into an emotionally charged, electronic symphony.

I will never get enough of Pink Skye ft. Renee Stahl. This track is incredible. First of all, Stahl’s voice is gentle and carries with it an irresistible feminine quality that causes my brain to react by impulsively pushing the repeat button. Secondly, the version featured on this album has a breakbeat backbone and pleasing piano melody. This track is uplifting trance at its finest.

The Will Holland edit of Afterglow featuring Ana Criado comes in as track four on Second World. Not sure who Will Holland is? Have you heard of Enhanced Records? Well, that is Will Holland’s label. It drives me nuts when people buy into a label without first taking the time to learn a bit about it.  Don’t do this. Label owners invest a lot of time and energy into their labels! That having been said, this track is comforting like a fire and hot chocolate, in the living room, after a long autumn walk. The calming piano melody and warm, breathy vocals of Ana Criado are a soothing addition to the progressive sounds in this groovy track.

Track five on this album, Not Easy with Tony Awake, is laced with an irresistible, bouncy house groove and the soft, reedy vocals of Gracie Ho. Track number six is my favourite thing in the whole world: Trance with a breakbeat! I guess this isn’t surprising considering that it’s a track featuring AneymSubstitute For Love begins as a mellow track dominated by Anyem’s crystal vocals which progress into an upbeat, yet not intense, breaks-trance track. The first time I heard it, I jumped up when the beats kicked in and showed off some footwork for my cats. I also like that the odd word in Anyem’s chorus is accompanied by male vocals. This adds a nice touch.

If you didn’t get your Renee Stahl fix during track three, it’s OK. Coming in at track seven is Something Real with LTN ft. Renee Stahl. I identify with Stahl’s lyrics, and the brassy synth seems to sympathize with them also. There is a trance track for everything, and, for me, this track is what I’d listen to when somebody let me down. It’s a “people suck, but it’s OK because I have trance” sort of track.

If there was a fairyland called “Trancetopia”, Elizabeth Egan is what the fairies would sound like. Her voice is incredibly enchanting. With 90s sounding lyrics and an intricate rhythm, One With You, with Syntrobic, was definitely constructed with the die-hard trance-addict in mind.

Sanity Dub is the first non-lyrical track on this album. It carries a very refreshing melody. Everything about this track is solid, untainted trance. In 1999, I we would have called this “morning trance”, and I would have waited up until six or seven am just to dance to it. Following this track is another beautiful melodic work.  Don’t Lose Your Way features K.I.R.A, and a dub-like, bassline. The lyrics are motivational, and the entire track just has an air of funkiness that keeps me swaying and smiling. It’s a very “new-school” sounding track, but it is done exceptionally well.

You know that moment when the synth melody in the trance track playing is so in sync with your emotions that it makes you want to cry? That is Glueck with Cressida! This is the type of trance track that everybody should add to their “getting over a breakup” track-list. This track features a melody that is both uplifting and invigorating. I listen to this track and feel hopeful. This track speaks to me, and it tells me that life is OK. Things will work out.

Track twelve, Run To the Sunlight ft. Stine Grove, not only features more warm vocals, but the beats in this track are hard. It might be an age thing, but this is what I crave. I’m so sick of the repetitive kick/bass that can dominate a trance track. I need beats too! Mr. Speed is really spoiling us with the beats in tracks on this album. I really appreciate this because I like to dance, and I find that a lot of the new music released these days doesn’t have that upbeat, danceable drive. House and breaks influenced trance is meant to be danced to. As much as I love the current trend of electo-influenced trance music, I’m really glad that Speed chose to produce tracks that have influences crossing in from other electronic genres!

Love the synth in track thirteen! Sanity ft. Melissa Loretta is a track with a style of its own. It is, not surprisingly, very melodic.

Although Proton 12 in the Ronski Speed and Cressida mix is a very awesome track, it can be found on Youtube, so I won’t go into detail about it here. Track 15 follows, and Ana Criado’s lovely voice eases back into our ears with A Sign. Her vocals are soft, and she’s accompanied by a gradual build that leads into a hard kick and danceable groove.

I had to listen very carefully to Ambrosia with Mirco De Govia because I couldn’t tell if the synth was a synth of a distorted voice. I’ve decided that it’s a talking synth. I don’t know what that is. Just listen to the track. I can’t get past the voice/synth. This is one of those tracks that I choose on Beatport just because I become addicted to a catchy sound. The bass is also dark and hard, and I like that!

Did You Disappear with Purple Stories features Sue McLaren. This release wouldn’t be complete without Mclaren’s full, rounded vocals. This track is gentle with a hard kick. It features and intense build but remains restrained and chill.

The second last track on this album, Fiero, is non-lyrical, melodic, uplifting trance. It made me cry.

Welcome to trance church! Today’s trance-god appearance is Ronski Speed! The closing track on this CD is epic. I hate using the word epic these days because it’s so overused by everybody. Is there a synth melody? Man, that track is EPIC. No, no, this track is epic. Mr. Speed knows epic because he’s from the days when an epic track had to be epic to be called epic. Everybody stand, raise your hands, and share some love with Mr. Speed. I might actually reserve this track for my marriage proposal track! It’s really drenched in that much love! This is what marrying Ronski Speed would feel like!

So, now that I’ve had the opportunity to highlight the extraordinary talent invested into these nineteen tracks of exceptional quality, let’s go buy this album! I can’t imagine my electronic library without it! I’m not just saying that because I’m in love with Ronski Speed either. He’s really outdone himself, and set the bar high for the newbie producers, with Second World!

Lindsey Lou  EDM TOR


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