Ralph Kyau and Steven Albert have a penchant for producing synthy trance anthems and mystifying, serenading masterpieces. Their latest effort is no exception to their distinguished reputation. But as with all great masterpieces this process takes time: in this instance it took six years for Nights Awake to finally materialize. Opening track “Encounter” is a peaceful, inviting, therapeutic odyssey providing abundant auricle satisfaction. It segues nicely into “What Lovers Only Know” by getting lost in the soaring, emotional builds and the desirous poetry of breathtaking love. Scattered within are the pre-released and beloved successes of “A Night Like This,” “Another Time” and “This Love.”
“Open My Eyes,” their collaboration with trance veteran Paul van Dyk, is another triumph. While it has the familiarity of their classic “Kiksu” or “Are You Fine,” the rooted contributions of all three talents can be equally detected. (It should be noted that Van Dyk had recognized Kyau & Albert early on, playing their now classic “Outside” on his radio show in 2001.)
Historic, epic trance seeps through Nights Awake on the Ronski Speed collaboration “Euphonia.” Smooth, futuristic synths drive “Do You Still Know” and “What Will Go.” An orchestral background blended at times with a subtle island beat dictate the aerial “Nightingale.” Deviating from the traditional archetype of utilizing the vocals of Steven Albert, the duo recruited Australian singer and TV personality Adaja Black and found her unique creativity and her impassioned vocals of “Could You Fall” a fitting asset to the mix. Some of the more melodic and entrancing tracks on the collection come from “We Own The Night” and the single release “All Your Colours.” The former, with its resonating vocal echoes, was the choice track by Euphonic label mates Stoneface & Terminal when they agreed to do a track together for the album. The four label mates worked it, ran with it, nailed it and the final piece is wondrously enchanting.
The lengthy journey to Nights Awake has been worth the wait. Once traveled and embraced it’s a destination of passion and love, a utopian escape that you’ll desire to revisit again and again.
File under: Armin van Buuren, Above & Beyond Group Therapy, Paul van Dyk