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Album of the Month – Aug 06

August 3, 2006

Junkie XL Today Cover

Junkie XL – Today

  1. Youthful (10:30)
  2. Mushroom (6:42)
  3. Such A Tease (5:51)
  4. Today (6:37)
  5. Drift Away (4:54)
  6. I’ve Got A Xerox To Copy (4:53)
  7. Even In This Moment (1:53)
  8. Yesterdays (3:54)
  9. Honey (3:50)
  10. We Become One (4:47)

I’ve always rated Junkie XL as a remixer.

He’s remixed some of the biggest names around including BT, Coldplay, DJ Tiesto, Sarah McLachlan and Scissor Sisters, but my favourite of his remixes is of Centre Of The Sun by Rhys Fulber of Delerium renown, under his Conjure One alias.

Until recently, I’d had little exposure to his own productions except from his collaboration with Tiesto for Obsession and his charts friendly remix of Elvis Presley – A Little Less Conversation, so my first listen of ‘Today’ was a bit of a journey into the unknown.

If only all explorations were this rewarding.

It’s a monster of an album with a little bit of everything I love most – trance, house and ambient, both with vocals and instrumental. Despite the fact I am an electronica junkie (if you pardon the pun), I love the more commercial downtempo tracks such as Yesterdays as much as the storming Mushroom and I have Xerox to copy.

The album is guitar rather than beat orientated, which widens the scope of the album and allows greater flexibility for experimenting which is done with great relish. The mood and style changes with each track, but still maintains the necessary flow which separates great albums from decent compilations.

All of the vocals on the album are performed by Nathan Mader, but none of the vocals feel misplaced or reused, which is a trap some artists fall into. This consistency of the one vocalist adds to the cohesiveness of the album, and due to Nathan’s previous lack of exposure, the album feels as if it’s his work, and not just something he’s guest appearing in. In my opinion this is a positive thing, since albums with multiple vocalists can feel bitty or unlinked.

Nathan opens the album in grand style with the track Youthful, that quite appropriately skips along at a fast happy rate for ten minutes, which is followed by the thumping Mushroom. Such a Tease is a drop in tempo to something much more gentle and mellow, before Nathan reappears on the title track in all it’s catchy, foot-tapping, head-rocking beauty. We immediately Drift Away afterwards to recover with a pleasant vocal easy listener that sounds not a million miles away from Coldplay.

We’re back on our feet again with I Have a Xerox to Copy which really develops after about 2 and a half minutes into something upbeat but also dreamy. This dreamy sensation is brought to the fore in the almost 0 beat Even In This Moment. It’s so slow and quiet that when Yesterdays kicks in, it’s a change UP in tempo despite being no faster than the gentle Drift Away.

The album is winding down now, and Honey is beautiful chillout that makes you want to lie back and look at the stars with a smile on your face. He started it, so it was only appropriate he closed it aswell, which Nathan does in We Become One, a vocal ambient track with violins and a heartbeat sounding beat.

I was truely surprised at the high standard of this album, and it’s appeal hasn’t dimmed after multiple listens. I thoroughly recommend this album to all since it has many aspects that will appeal to listeners of a variety of genres.

Pure quality from start to finish – 9/10

~ TranceFixed


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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 12, 2007 4:59 pm

    Hello, nice post. Bookmark it.

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