Artist: Various Artists (Sasha)
Label: Ministry of Sound
Cat. #: MOSCD290, MOSE290
Release Date: March 17th, 2013
Format: CD (2 x Mixed), Digital Release (19 x Unmixed, 2 x Mixed).
CD 1 (Invol<3r)
01. Taragana Pyjarama feat. Kicki Halmos - Growing Forehead (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
02. ThermalBear feat. Arrow Down - Turn The Tide (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
03. Little Dragon - Crystal Film (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
04. The XX - Chained (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
05. Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka feat. Abigail Wyles - Battleships (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
06. Ultraista - Smalltalk (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
07. Ananda Project - Moment Before Dreaming (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
08. James Zabiela - The Healing (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
09. Blondes - Wine (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
10. Keep Shelley In Athens - DIY (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
11. Sasha feat. Kicki Halmos - Shoot You Down
12. Foals - Late Night (Sasha Involv3r Remix)
CD 2 (Beatless Mix)
01. Taragana Pyjarama feat. Kicki Halmos - Growing Forehead (Sasha Beatless Remix)
02. ThermalBear feat. Arrow Down - Turn The Table (Sasha Beatless Remix)
03. Little Dragon - Crystal Film (Sasha Beatless Remix)
04. The XX - Chained (Sasha Beatless Remix)
05. Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka feat. Abigail Wyles - Battleships (Sasha Beatless Remix)
06. Ultraista - Smalltalk (Sasha Beatless Remix)
07. Ananda Project - Moment Before Dreaming (Sasha Beatless Remix)
Almost five years has passed since the second entry on the Involver series was released by Global Underground label (2008). While the first part of the series iss very melodic and progressive, Invol2ver gives us some dark, twisted Techno-like beats while being more dancefloor oriented.
With those two successful previous installments, every Sasha fan just went nuts when the third part was announced. The expectations with this one were higher than with the other ones and every fan was eager to know more about the release.
In case you're not familiar with this series, is all about Sasha remixing some great artists (both from the EDM and indie scene). Sasha has been doing this since the 90's (does anyone remember the Chemical Brothers' "Out of Control" remix? Or the amazing Madonna's "Ray of Light" remix?) and it is natural that his remixes are expected to be awesome.
When the final tracklist was revealed, everyone was shocked to see some unexpected names like The xx, Blondes, Taragana Pyjarana and even Foals among other artists from the Indie scene, but really few important names in the underground EDM scene. Also, the title: Invol<3r ("Did he seriously... Got to be kdding!" <----- average fan reaction to the title). It seemed like this third part was going to be a dissapointment. But, just like Equestria Girls, we couldn't say anything until we listened to it.
I got the digital edition (same price as CD + unmixed tracks), and I was really anxious to finally listen to it. I skipped the unmixed tracks, because "dj mix is magic". And...
It all starts slowly, building the foundations of the mix with Mr. Pyjarana. This part is really epic and it pays off the long intro (when that beat finally kicks in... BOOM!). We quickly continue with one incredible highlight of the album/djmix/compilation/whatever: ThermalBear's "Turn The Tide" Invol<3r remix. This track is just brilliant: simple, yet so stunning, with attention to details. Really lovely.
As we procede, the mix becomes a little bit... Flat. "Crystalfilm"s remix is not exactly the best way to move on, even though it works. The problems come with "Chained" by The xx. This was one of the most expected remixes from this installment, and we found a boring, dull rework. It is really emotional and well made, but if you want to dance this is definitely a no-go.
In this moment I notice that the transitions are a bit ruff, unlike Invol2ver where they are seamless. Anyway, we get one of the best tracks after this dissapointment: Doc Daneeka and Benjamin Damage's "Battleships" is simply superb and one of the best tracks here. Abigail Wyles' voice is simply beautiful and provides a lovely feeling along with the heavy percussions and the awesome groove.
Afterwards, we listen to another highly expected remix, I'm talking about "Smalltalk" by Ultraísta. This one is definitely going to divide people. You either love it or hate it due to it's 90's proggy feeling. It feels like this track was made in 1998 and got released as a bonus track in this album. Since this will be a matter of preference, I won't say anything else about it.
"Moment Before Dreaming" comes next and this is one of three magical moments in a row. The bubbling bassline along with the percussions and the well modulated pads turn this one into a winner, but if you still doubt it's greatness, the beautiful vocals by Marta Gazman will convince you.
Zabiela's "The Healing" gets an astonishing rework by Sasha. The bassline makes it even more agressive than the previous track but keeping the mellow feeling. The male vocals work perfectly. And I HATE male vocals in dance tracks. We move on with a track that most people call a "filler", but it is indeed one of the best remixes in this compilation: Blonde - "Wine" (Sasha Invol<3r Remix). Compared with the other remixes, this one is an uplifting track; so full of joy and happiness! Sasha keeps the vocal stems of the original track while working on FXs and a lovely bassline that will make even the most professional DJ/producer jealous.
Then... It all goes a little bit flat again. Keep Shelly in Athens makes it's appearance with a remix of "DIY". Even though this track is not bad, the vocals seem to be out of place. I understand that the original has barely anything to do with EDM, but this one is not the best. Most people agree that this one is one of the lowest points of the album/cd-mix/compilation/whatever, which is bad considering the amazing lead it has.
Before the end, Sasha shows us his only original track in Invol<3r. "Shoot You Down", which features Kicki Halmos vocals, feels better than the previous track, but still misses to regain the momentum built before. By no means I'm saying this is a bad track (just listen to it and notice the way it plays with underground ideas and comercial House sounds! GENIUS!), but this was not the most appropiate moment to play this track.
To close the album Sasha choose one of the most awesome tracks from the indie scene. Foals' "Late Night" remix by Sasha is just another great masterpiece... That fails to build the momentum once more. It misses the epic sensation we get from the middle part of the album/cd-mix/compilation/whatever, even though is arguably the best track from this release. At least it manages to make you feel like the journey was worth it, closing with piano chords and looped vocals.
The second CD is a "beatless mix", with the first seven tracks being featured without drum patterns. This feels like a bonus, but it is a lovely one. At least you'll listen to some of the best melodies in the album without any kind of distraction (beats, pls).
Would I recommend Invol<3r? ABSOLUTELY! But you really need to keep your expectations lower. This is not a bad album/cd-m-I'm sick of that, let's call it "release"-but it is not the best one out there. It won't be part of the best 2013 Electronic & Dance albums of the year, but it is pretty close to be.