With the current world situation causing everyone to live their version of “The Shining,” I had the opportunity to review the 10-track debut album by Peter Hulsmans called Limitless. So, let’s dive into each tune individually to see what makes this release, Limitless.
1. Midhaven – From the beginning, the atmospheric pads hit and begin to set the stage until the underlying bassline softly creeps in. The beat doesn’t immediately smash your face, rather a slappy, almost funk-style bass takes over. The first half of the song continues this construction allowing a “DJ friendly” (DJF) mix. The main break offers more atmospheric pads in what could only be described as an airplane flyover at a high pitch with another breakdown. This allows a slappy sounding bass right back into your chest, but there’s not a drop that stands out as an “omg” moment. The energy carries the song through the back half with an explosion two-thirds of the way through – something I wish it had done from the beginning – yet it still creates a DJF mix.
2. Known Feat. Dave Greening – Beats from the beginning (BftB) with this tune. Simple beats without a lot of clutter create tremendous mixing opportunities, and then it hits, a haunting piano riff locks the safety bar on the roller coaster as you prepare for the ride. There’s a little break, and bam, you’re off to the races. The energy and melodies pulsate along the atmospheric pad work and help develop the first half of the tune. When the main break hits, you sense a vocal, but it’s not there. The drop is a solid yet simple construction with melodic sounds that don’t overcomplicate the song. After a small breakdown, the drop kicks the track into full gear creating an energy level of 11 that carries through to the last part of the tune. After getting off the roller coaster, you’re comforted with an almost choir-like vocal leading you home.
3. Eclipse – The intro is what you would expect from a Hollywood blockbuster, and the wonderful pad work builds to another DJF opening. This tune is structured into 4 sections. The first is a high-energy greeting that hits like a rampaging bull. After a transition into the second section, the song seems to abruptly shift gears giving the tune a whole new feel with intermittent pad work that could have been more uniformed. After another breakdown through the third section, you feel like someone took their foot off the gas pedal as the song drops back in allowing the song to coast until you get to the fourth and final section – a Thelma and Louise moment. The energy skyrockets, but sadly it’s brief. It creates an interesting mix-out considering the energy grows towards the last few seconds rather than taper off. The atmospheric pads with random sounds were a nice concluding touch.
4. Companion – Creating the feeling of a midnight summer’s drive with the windows down as the street lights gleam off your car’s paint to the beat as you pass by them on the highway, the beginning melodic pace through the first half of the track is a wonderful change from the previous tunes on the record. The tone work through the sounds is incredible leading to the breakdown, only to surface again with the same sort of minimal melodic structure but with a fuel-injected energy via some new synths. Carrying through to the final breakdown, the song escalates and drops in with an incredible amount of energy which follows the same structure of the previous tune and can make mixing out of it tricky.
5. Crossroad – The opening bass and sounds make you ponder your life choices – you’re at a crossroad. When the song kicks in, it signifies the beginning of your journey by slamming a minimal bassline and beat right from the beginning. Toss in a click and other random percussion sounds that offer tremendous call and response, and if I’m not mistaken, you can even catch part of the Amen Break in the track. The lovely minimal progression continues to the first breakdown, then the song falls apart. Reminiscent of sound effects from the new Transformer movie, it doesn’t fit at all. With an almost reset, the song injects some sounds creating a beautiful melodic composition that’s been infected with a virus. After a sensational harmonic breakdown, the fuse is lit, the beat drops back in, and this song never looks back. An unorthodox finale is still structured to be DJF.
6. Sphere – Beginning as a classic Trance anthem, ‘Sphere’ features atmospheric pads that are stuttered, and build to an opening drop that makes you feel like you’re flying. With energy to power a Prius, the breakdown with a haunting vocal leads into an absolute mental drop. Bass and beats for miles, and if you ever wanted to be strapped to the outside of the Millennium Falcon at light speed, this tune is for you. The amazing construction brings in various sounds to build layer after layer of energy mixed with melodies. This first half of the tune is simplistic, much like a chef with the correct ingredients, and is one of my favorites. The breakdown is harmonious, but has a beeping sound that carries over into the drop that makes me want to punch someone. But afterward, the track pins you to the back of your seat with tremendous force. The ending construction was brilliantly done and is very DJF.
7. Aureate – BftB again as this tune starts with some funky percussion, but the sounds seem recycled from previous songs on the record. In particular, the beeping, albeit a different key and less frequent from the previous track, and a female “ahhhhh” vocal from earlier tunes. ‘Aureate’ then breaks down into a more minimal structure and allows the various sounds to play off one another, creating a more pleasant vibe. It’s interesting how the energy starts to pick up through the rattle your walls bass-heavy main breakdown. Then, when the drop hits, it’s like a caterpillar that emerged from a chrysalis and is now a beautiful butterfly because the song takes an incredible melodic developmental turn. As the back half of the tune eases off the throttle rather than slamming on the breaks, it’s a gentle release which makes very DJF and a pleasure to hear.
8. Yield – The intro to this tune is very DJF and offers some deep driving energy almost like the dark side of the Force. The construction of the chords playing off each other is is very well done. Towards the middle, the song kicks in with an almost steel drum sound I could take to a beach during the day. I imagine folks sipping cocktails as the music and smiles fill the air. When the track launches with some serious energy sans island sounds, it then drops creating that floating on the ocean feeling as the crystal clear blue water waves beneath you. As the energy starts to build through the last half of the track, the tune erupts like a volcano of energy offering new sounds that I wish were throughout the entirety, but is still very DJF.
9. Solitary Feat. John Dopping – Instead of beaches, parties, and good times, the song feels like you should be emerging from a fallout bunker to see what’s left of the world. A very dystopian feel kicks this tune off with a thick beat to match much like the marching of an army. With an off-hitting snare, I’m already put off by this song for its mixing capabilities. The drastic change in energy carries some incredible string sounds to accompany the dystopian feel creating a feeling of gazing upon the remnants of a civilized area. The tune then wastes very little time bringing back the marching feel experienced in the beginning, but this time it’s more developed, and that’s when the energy kicks in and with it that same offsetting percussion hit. This newfound energy continues into the second and final break, and what comes out of this is some hard, edgy bass and funky percussion that would sound amazing had that offsetting percussion been taken away.
10. Myriad – Funk and shakers hit right from the beginning, and that bassline slides right in and delivers some great foundational work for this track. The percussion construction makes the opening half of the tune very DJF, so feel free to mix one this deep. There are dark laser-type bass feels that hit and sustain for numerous bars create a futuristic tune from a robotic planet. The small breakdown hits, and you get a breather for a few measures, and then it’s back to the robot synth bass army of death (Yes, that’s a real scientific description). The “I’m screwed” feeling overcomes you during the second breakdown as you feel the robots are about to take over. When the song drops in, and the war comes to its climax, the energy delivers a truly amazing experience, and I couldn’t think of a better way to end this album.
‘Limitless’ delivers tremendous energy and emotion that grabs ahold of you from the beginning and never lets go. The songs could quite possibly set your biological clock back ten years – 8/10
Purchase ‘Limitless’ here.
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Editor note: Brent Roberts is a contributing writer offering his personal view on this release. He is an accomplished DJ with over 20 years of experience.