Review: Elliptical Sun Music 04 Is A Much Needed Breath Of Fresh Air

Progressive legends-in-the-making Elliptical Sun Recordings released their fourth label compilation, Elliptical Sun Music 04, on April 10, 2020. The 25-track compilation was mixed by producer and label A/R Manager Adrian Alexander. Fans of the label will be pleased to see familiar faces like Paul Arcane, Quizzow, and Nick Hayes in the mix.

Adrian Alexander

While this compilation has been a year in the making, its release couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. If the world needs one thing right now, it’s continuous, well-curated Trance. As we are, of course, living in chaotic times, it’s hard not to consider everything-even music releases-in the context of this pandemic. Luckily for listeners, this collection was crafted with such care that for close to two hours, you might forget about the world outside of your speakers. It’s just you and the music, as it should be. 

After a gorgeous piano-led preface, Lensa’s Don’t Leave invites you into the mix with a nostalgic warmth and softness. The chilled-out feelings and almost tropical vibes bring you back to a summer spent outdoors with someone you love, and those feelings only become stronger as you groove right into Tim Iron‘s Hypnotic. This comp pulls you in from the start, promising a journey that is sure to soothe the soul.

After this chill introduction, things begin to heat up with Warm In My Mind – by EDHI EDWARD, which brings the classic progressive sound ESR has mastered. That sound comes to full realization with the first vocal track of the compilation, Emerald Stars by Noequalgods. This many-layered beauty is built on deep synths, with light vocals and acoustic elements to round it out those edges.

Chris Giuliano’s huge one from 2019, Dream You, gets a fantastic rework from Wynnwood, who adds a more in-depth, mysterious tinge to the ethereal original. Dream You is beloved by fans and industry folks alike, who may not have thought such a track could get any better. Wynnwood steps up to the plate to let us know that it most certainly can. This is a common theme for the Elliptical Sun label on the whole: evolution and improvement are always apparent.

Label regular Nick Hayes furthers the narrative of Elliptical Sun Music 04 with Sounder, which boasts punchy hi-hats that bring a housey energy that flows perfectly into the next track, Lee Coulson‘s melty Controlled By Time. This tracks trilling notes bring the goosebumps that have been building since minute one of the compilation.

Lee Coulson

Tim Iron’s second feature on this album is a collaboration with Michael Mashkov called Coentrao. The breakdown sets up the listener for a danceable drop that lights up all the right parts of your brain. This one is sure to get stuck in your head for days on end, and you’ll be glad it did because the infectious melody brings a much-needed smile.

As further evidence of this compilation’s perfect song placement, take into consideration Mind Of One‘s Pursuit and Co.Fi‘s Down and Around. The grooviness of the latter, when compared to the anticipation and energy of the former, is a perfect analogy for the cultural context in which this compilation finds itself being released. In essence, things can be going smoothly (like in Down and Around‘s smooth bassline) but can shift to a more intense energy (like Pursuit‘s fist-pumping drop) so seamlessly that you might not notice the change. But the end result will be lovely, looking back.

After Leo Lauretti‘s bumping Dust, Disc One closes out with Paul Arcane‘s Bloom, a potent number with a stunning breakdown. This energy flows right into the second disc, where Adrian Alexander and Chris Giuliano‘s Lights Out brings the heavier techy vibes, assuring that this dance party is just getting started.

Chris Giuliano

You, Paul Arcane’s collaboration with another label fave, Quizzow, provides another hot vocal track for listeners who need something to sing along to. And this one doesn’t disappoint: the echoing vocals are both riveting and haunting, a perfect fit with the echoing piano in the breakdown. You melts right into Elypsis‘s Adira, bringing energy levels back up to an all-time high.

Quizzow’s Reach Out, and Nikhil Prakash‘s Habenero, keep the progressive heat burning right into Leo Lauretti’s second appearance on the record, a collaboration with Taygeto called Find My Own (Dub Mix) that hits hard right from the start. Disc Two is definitely the summer night to Disc One’s bright morning. Nourey‘s 77 Avenue combines heavy synths with floaty trance vocal elements, offering a sweet taste of the dark and light feelings this collection brings.

Nikhil Prakash sets the scene for a party with Momentum, which features heavy kicks and effects that make this dance track feel like an action movie. Disc two continually brings dance-floor heaters that will undoubtedly get you moving around your living room like it’s a festival.

Mixmaster Adrian Alexander will have you seeing stars with the heavy Free Yourself, another festival-ready number that sets the listener up for Jeff Ozmits‘ massive Empyrean. As the listening experience begins to draw to a close, Karanda and Zuubi‘s Odyssey explodes through the speakers like EDC fireworks, preparing to take you out of this comp with a bang.

Sunny Lax

But not before Anjunabeats powerhouse Sunny Lax works his magic on Paul Arcane’s and Adrian Alexander’s In My Soul, which closes the compilation on an atmospheric, emotionally-charged note. Sunny’s take adds a more punchy bassline while lightening the synths to create a complex sound that takes you right back to your last festival. The slow trilling piano signifies the end with that same anticipatory sadness you feel in your stomach when the lights come up at the end of the show.

What begins as a nostalgic, summer-tinged collection of tracks ends in a super-charged anthem that takes your hand and leads you to the dance floor. And let’s face it, that is what we are all craving right now. Elliptical Sun Music 04 reminds listeners of all the things they miss about being united together in Trance-the energy, the emotion, the freedom to feel-but instead of creating a sadness at what we currently can’t have, it feels like a celebration of what’s to come.

So sit down with your headphones or dance around in your living room and blast this through your speakers. Whatever you need to do to get yourself through this time, as long as you take this compilation with you, the journey won’t feel so lonely.

Buy Elliptical Sun Music 04 exclusively on Beatport

Or stream it on Spotify

Follow Elliptical Sun Recordings:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud

Katie Lee

Addicted to Trance since 2012 and trying my damndest to make up for lost time. Find me at shows in my hometown of Austin, Texas or where Above & Beyond are. I'm a freelance writer, run a blog called, "Early For The Afterparty," and act as promotions & social media manager for Melodika Music. My face is constantly in my laptop, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We invite your comments in the section below.