Perfect Stranger - Learning = Change (Iboga Records 2006) CD


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Aalborg, Denmark
Perfect Stranger – Learning = Change


Hi-res cover: front + back

Artist: Perfect Stranger (Israel)
Title: Learning = Change
Format: CD (jewel case)
Label: Iboga Records (Denmark)
Cat. #: IBOGACD38
Date: 13 March 2006

Track listing:

01. 08’28†Perfect Stranger – Starter
02. 08’31†Perfect Stranger – Dr. Feelgood
03. 08’03†Perfect Stranger – Morning Blues
04. 09’08†Perfect Stranger – Those Days
05. 08’21†Perfect Stranger – Hyperdrive
06. 08’39†Perfect Stranger feat. Emok – Truth
07. 09’00†Perfect Stranger – Nobody’s Perfect (Remix)
08. 10’39†Perfect Stranger feat. Zen Mechanics – Desert Session
09. 06’50†Schatsi – Radio Schatsi (Perfect Stranger Remix)

.m3u-playlist: (all tracks!)


The journey man…

Israeli producer, DJ and party person Yuli Fersthat has been an integral part of our beloved scene for years… His first release was in 1998 under his BLT moniker and back then it was melodic goa trance with a twist… As time progressed and four albums were released, Yuli slowly shifted direction onto more progressive sounds, and eventually he became closely associated with the Danish powerhouse prog-label Iboga Records… He compiled the lovely Set/4 _Essentials and the recent Hibernation compilations. His Perfect Stranger alias emerged somewhere in early 2005 and after three VERY lovely tracks released on Iboga compilations, now it’s finally time for a full album… Yuli’s fifth, but Perfect Stranger’s first which I’ve been looking forward to ever since it was announced… Let’s dig in!

Let me take you thru the tracks…

#01: Perfect Stranger – Starter
The aptly named opening track doesn’t waste any time on a boring, pretentious intro – this is floating, organic hybrid trance right from the get-go… Trademark Yuli with his combination of uplifting morning sounds and tighter progressive rhythms… This is a melodic afternoon groover complete with epic, melodic pads and tightly-knit, bang-on percussion… A very groovy and very tasty track… Maybe not the best PS track ever, but still pretty damn enjoyable…

#02: Perfect Stranger – Dr. Feelgood
“Dropping back into normal space…†Ahh yes, this is all about feeling good… This is melodic, fluffy morning trance with the typical PS progressive take on things… Reminds me of Antix or Protoculture, and as such I can’t help shake the feeling that this is maybe a little too sugar-coated… Don’t get me wrong, we’re still far from Sonic Cube-like commercial cheddar, but there are elements of this track that would appeal to the club crowd… Pretty good, but I still feel like the album hasn’t REALLY started yet…

#03: Perfect Stranger – Morning Blues
As the title suggests, we’re still in morning trance territory here – but as predicted, the album is slowly increasing pace… This is another extremely well-produced track – rich, slow progressing melodic morning trance with hints of psy, electro and progressive house…The vox are a bit clubby, but Yuli excels in never crossing the line fully and this would be the perfect transition track between an epic clubby tune and a more edgy progressive stomper… Simply lovely!

#04: Perfect Stranger – Those Days
And we’re getting closer to full-blown party mode now… This track crawls up on you like a hot blanket or a solid dose of MDMA… Without really noticing it, all of a sudden we’re completely soaked up by this subtle, electro-ridden little number… Ear candy if there ever was ear candy – so subtle, so refined, so frekkin’ sweet… The last run-down is just PURE bliss! =D

#05: Perfect Stranger – Hyperdrive
Halfway thru the album we’re exposed to a trademark PS hybrid tune… Tribal percussion, dubby background pads and sharp electro-hisses are accompanied by the hardest bassline thus far… All kept within a framework of progressive morning trance beautifully executed by Yuli… The sheer magnitude of this hypnotic tune is very impressive… It’s kinda simple really, but very effective at the same time…

#06: Perfect Stranger feat. Emok – Truth
On this track Yuli is joined by Emok (Mikael Dahlgaard from Phony Orphants) and that makes for an interesting collaboration. Contrary to what I’d expected it seems that Emok brings both some underground edge AND some fluffy melodies to the track… Yeah, this is another very distinct hybrid tune that fuses feather light, naïve melodies with well-defined, edgy tech-trance and electro elements… Totally PsyBooty! Generally I like this, though the middle passage seems a little too epic for my taste… Luckily it picks up again as the track progresses and the electro-infested, reverb-soaked final rundown is nothing short of perfection!

#07: Perfect Stranger – Nobody’s Perfect (Remix)
In its original form, this track was on the 2005 Iboga Records compilation Set/4 _Essentials… That was a pretty good track, though not the strongest PS track I’ve heard… This remix seems to up the ante though… It’s still crystal clear, tight percussion – with phat electro elements, tribal percussion and an overall organic atmosphere… The remix seems more club-friendly and will works absolute wonders during the peaks hours of a progressive set… As the original, this remix really explodes during the last couple of minutes when Yuli tears open his goodie bag… Sweet!

#08: Perfect Stranger feat. Zen Mechanics – Desert Session
On this tour de force track Yuli is joined by Dutch producer Wouter Thomassen who is a multitalented producer of both downtempo and upbeat party music… And obviously this track belongs in the latter category… This is a true journey track that evolves from simple, minimal electro trance to full-blown progressive mayhem… Dancefloor napalm so to speak! So rich; so versatile and so amazingly groovy… I dare anyone NOT to move to this! A stellar track!

#09: Schatsi – Radio Schatsi (Perfect Stranger Remix)
Schatsi is a project by Israeli producers Yoni Oshrat (Psysex, Ace Ventura, etc) & Corin Kiser and this PS remix has been unreleased for quite some time… Anyway, as you might have guessed this is the traditional oddball track of the album… Like flipping the dial on a radio, this track browses thru a number of different genres within electronic music – a hybrid track if there ever was one… And as with most PS tracks, the last half is by far the most interesting – and an interesting contrast to the somewhat commercial first part… A pretty neat tune – I just wish it was longer…

What an album! I’m happy to say that this album is everything that I expected – and it’s as good as I’d hoped for… There are no bad tracks here and the stand-out tracks are many… Yes, some of his tracks have commercial, fluffy elements, but those moments are always balanced out by edgy, genre-bending, experimental parts. I’d prefer this over Antix, Gaudium, Insane Creation or Sonic Cube ANY day! Yuli is the master of journey tracks and the progression in his tracks is unsurpassed by few in our scene… It’s the ever sought-after story telling which I like so much! Brilliant!

Learning equals change… That’s very true, and in retrospect Yuli’s change from full-on’ish trance to much more versatile hybrid trance seems like a very successful learning experience… I for one wouldn’t want it any other way… This is a VERY ripe album that compasses the very distinct sound that Yuli has refined and defined in recent years… It’s as mature as it is cutting edge!

The cover art by Bakke (Spiral Trax) is absolutely gorgeous and as always with Iboga, you really get your money’s worth here… This album gets two thumbs up from me – it’s a safe purchase for any fan of rich, versatile progressive/morning/hybrid trance and it doubles as both a valuable DJ tool and as a living room favourite. Enjoy!

Favourites: 3, 4(!), 5, 6(!), 7, 8(!!)


External links:
Iboga Records:
Saiko Sounds:


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Yeah Its a Phat Boy, Good Review Again DP (no surprise there then!!)