Review Summary: A Classic Trance album for the first four tracks, and a boring, average album thereafter.
Trance and Techno in general is music that has many more horrible artists then good ones. A lot of that comes from the tendency for songs to all sound very similar, with redundant beats, repetitive sounds and minimal “musical” ideas. It’s not really the artist’s fault, though, since there is really no need to innovate or expand their sound when most of that kind of music is listened to at raves or clubs where only the beat really matters anyway. Program 2
is a band that had the potential to break from that mold, though, with their album Robotix
, but unfortunately they couldn’t sustain the quality past the first four tracks.
The album starts off with one of the best tracks, “Una”, which has a few different catchy synth sounds, a pretty piano melody, a dance beat that strays from the stereotypical Trance beat and adds a little groove, and most notably features some really good female vocals that sound very similar to the New Age style of Enya
. All of that would be enough to make a great Trance song, but they take things one step further by changing things up as the song progresses by adding different sounds and varying the melodies.
The second song is slightly darker due to its use of a female voice that alternately sounds like it is wailing or chanting. The beat on this song is a little more conventional, but it isn’t noticeable due to the varying sounds used as well as the tendency to change up the pace of the song, by stopping the beat completely and allowing the sounds to increase the level of the atmosphere. The third track continues that slightly dark atmosphere but in an entirely different way. The beat brings back the groove of the first song, and also slows things down just a little. Also, instead of more female vocals they use various samples of people whispering to each other which works really well within the context and atmosphere of the song.
The fourth track is the best on the album and unfortunately also sets things up for a higher fall thereafter. The track is called “Carnival” and is a tripped out song featuring samples of little children talking about the carnival, balloons, clowns, and being taken to “fairy land.” The beat on this song changes from section to section, but never falls into the stereotypical Techno beat once. The main melody is an echoing keyboard sound that sounds very light and childlike, and there are quite a few other melodies that are used as well throughout the song, which when combined with the children’s voices makes for a classic Trance song.
Unfortunately, from the fifth track on, things fall into the worst parts of the Techno stereotypes. The beats are the redundant thump that can be heard in any club from Tijuana to London to Moscow for five tracks straight. The different atmospheres and parts that made the earlier songs flow so well are also missing, making each song sound the same ten seconds in as it will by the time it ends. The synth and keyboard sections that seemed so thought out are also absent, instead replaced with one or two typical synth sounds put on a loop. The most annoying thing about the later tracks is that their samples and voices are mostly obnoxious and repetitive. Who wants to hear some robotic voice repeating “I am a Robot” for 5 minutes straight over a boring beat and a couple of looped sounds?
Program 2 could have released a classic Trance album, and 4 songs into the CD it seemed like they had, but from the fifth track on, the songs deteriorate into average Trance at best, and boring, obnoxious songs at worse. If you have the opportunity to get the first four tracks (and the thought of Enya combined with Trance music doesn’t make you puke in your mouth a little), then I highly recommend it. On the other hand, the rest of the album is nothing worth seeking out or wasting you time on.