Underground Knight and longstanding hero of many, Orkidea’s new album ‘Harmonia’ is out, about and taking few prisoners! As with his previous long-play outings (‘Taika’, ‘Metaverse’ and ’20’), it’s once again proved a delight for trance & progressive lovers who have a taste for the more involved, immersive and cultured side of the sub-genres. The inspirations, references, influences, alludes and asides which line his music have long played a substantial part in their ongoing appeal. Having completed the album, Orkidea wrote some listeners club notes for ‘Harmonia’, to give you that much more insight into the highways and byways of his fourth album.
01. My Sunset This is my cover version of the legendary Chris Coco’s chillout classic ‘My Sunset’. It’s an exotic brew. I incorporated some modern Berlin influenced “neo trance” sounds into it. The kind of music Guy J, Ame, Dixon, Guy Gerber, et all are making and crossbred that with deep progressive trance vibe.
02. Dreamers Of Dreams This is the second track in as many that has that deep, yet very emotional progressive feel to it. It was heavily influenced by the likes of Sasha, Digweed and Warren, but the production underneath is as 21st century as they come. With its wide soundscapes and sound-design, it also has a big dash of timeless electronica ‘ala Jarre & Vangelis’ swirling around in there too.
03. Neo Romance feat. Ben Lord This is the first vocal track of the album. The lyrics tell the tale of the spark of romance that’s born on dance floor when eyes meet and subsequently develops into love. The main riff, in terms of vibe, is not miles away from the cool euphoria of Bedrock’s ‘Heaven Scent’.
04. pMachinery Pryda meets Anjunadeep. with a driving tech stab and peak time prog riff. That was what I was aiming for here. In the album flow this is the track that shifts it up into the next gear. It’s got a clubbier drive and without doubt the fattest baseline of the album. It’s a cover of one of the bigger hits from avant-garde group mid-80s synth-pop group Propaganda. It’s been 20 years since it was last translated for clubs, so I thought it was about time. Fellow Finn producer Erkka lend a hand in making this one happen and I blame him for the fattness of the bassline!
05. Revolution Industrielle My cover version of Jean Michel-Jarre’s classic track of course. It was a huge moment for me when we got the official go-ahead to do this. That the likes of Oakenfold, Van Dyk, O’Callaghan, Ottaviani, Solarstone hopped onboard to support made it that much more of a happy event!
06. Slowmotion III w/ Solarstone This was the first single from the album. It’s the third one in Solarstone & my ‘Slowmotion’ series, with the previous ones appearing on the ‘Metaverse’ and ‘20’ albums. It’s unusual to have a single series these days, but back in the days of Dave Clarke’s classic Red releases, it was a more regular happening. Solarstone & I put our own twist on the whole idea, by making the series a collaborative one and stretching it out over 8 years. It’s hypnotic, pulsating, driving, filtering, organic business with Yello-influenced vocal sample by Rich and myself!
07. Strange World feat. Sami Uotila Powerful, haunting, emotive vocal to ‘Strange World’, I think, but it’s also touching and catchy, which, believe me, is a hard combo to pull off! Sami’s song has some late 80s UK synthy-poppy vibe to it. A bit of New Order and maybe some Human League in there too. I wanted the background track to have a big rave-like riff, ala Faithless, while the sound design brings a fair amount of hi-def Hollywood boom to it for added oomph!
08. & Lowland: Glowing Skies The darkest and moodiest rhythm section meets the softest vocal on the album. What juxtaposition! The vocals were inspired by amazing aurora borealis, which Finland saw last winter. Following the ‘20’ album’s ‘Blackbird’, its another collaboration with Classical Trancelations producer and all-round guru Lowland with vocals from amazingly talented and great sounding Marianna Jakobsson.
09. Nana ‘Nana’ has a techy Filterheadz-like groove to it, to which I folding in a joyful Afro vocal. Too many trance tracks are so full of melodic euphoria. I wanted to do a track for my own live sets just based around a drum groove. It’s named after my daughter. Actually, I probably didn’t need to say anymore than that!
10. Redemption Perhaps the darkest and most sinister of the album tracks, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of that! I did set myself a bit of a challenge with this one. I wanted to do a track with as few elements as possible, yet aiming it for a full on peak time warehouse rave vibe. TB303 meets Hollywood trailer meets big German rave riff!
11. Purity I took a sample from the Manga soundtrack ‘Ghost In The Shell’ and worked it into something with a complex, Matrix-esque driving trance atmosphere. Sneijder’s outdid himself on the remix. It topped the Beatport chart, while the album’s version proved a big favourite with Oakenfold and Solarstone with it’s pure trance sound.
12. Z21 w/Activa I’ve played psytrance since 1995, after hearing Man With No Name’s ‘Teleport’ for the first time. The recent trance/psy cross over is highly inspiring to me and Activa is one of the leading names on that tip. Listen real close and you’ll hear vocal nods to the legacy of ‘Unity’ in there. The rest of the track though builds on it’s own merits.
13. North Star W/Giuseppe Ottaviani Yeah, this is the most straightforward 140bpm uplifting trance track of the album. Two Pure Trance figures collaborating for the first time – they couldn’t keep us apart! Classic GO sounds meet my rolling basslines.
14. Harmonia The album title track is always a special one for me and this is no different: a true labour of love track. There are only a few uplifting tracks, which are truly hypnotic nowadays and this, I think, is one of them. Featuring Rutger Hauer’s classic closing monologue of from Blade Runner, it seemed like a fitting sample for a closing track on an album. I’ll be forever inspired by that movie. Psytrance influences again on drums, a dash of Vangelis on the atmosphere and pack of 90s trance on the vibe.