Review: Emotive Response – Emotions ’95 EP [AAL011]

Belgian producer Innershades has carved out a name for himself thanks to his unapologetically trance-inspired, peak-time tracks in the past couple of years. Soaring melodies and chunky basslines have been championed on Binh’s Time Passages and DJ Masda’s Cabaret to roaring success. His connection to the scene is obvious, given he’s Belgian and the Benelux region was something of a hotspot during trance’s heyday. However, his new Emotive Response alias offers the chance for younger listeners to see the genre beyond the modern associations of Tiesto asking Coachella to ‘put their hands up and make some noise’ by revisiting the golden period of the genre.

The Belgian steers clear of any trance caricatures such as breakdowns so long that you could grab a drink from the bar and be back for the drop, or a melody that just steps into the realms of being a bit too cheesy. Most likely avoiding these pitfalls due to his own personal connection to this bygone period of music and it’s evident throughout the EP.

Take ‘Trance Code’, it’s emotion is prevalent with a hefty dose of melancholy encompassing and melding together the bassline and melody, underpinned by its throbbing drums. Whilst it may have been inspired by the giant warehouse parties in the ’90s, it’s easy to envision Trance Code captivating a dancefloor on a particularly emotion-drenched morning at FOLD, Hoppetosse or just about anywhere in the world.

‘Push To The Extreme’ bravely walks the tightrope of cheesiness but comes out stronger for daring to do so. The electrifying melody in conjunction with the drum rolls create a ‘hands in the air’ moment during the breakdown, but the booming drum-clap combo and grimacing bassline ensure it has a place in the record bag of a modern DJ even with the heavenly vocals during the breakdown. Even for those not around for this period, it feels difficult not to get wrapped up in nostalgia.

In a scene that’s rare with purposeful alias’, I don’t think it’s particularly hyperbolic to say Innershades’ Emotive Response project is the most interesting one for a while, especially with Emotions ’96 already on the way. Now put those hands in the air and make some noise.

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