As one of Psy Trance’s brightest talents, Daniel Lesden continues to turn heads with his incredibly sophisticated Progressive style that demands incredulous attention to detail. Many are hailing him as a modern day prodigy with each subsequent release, as his viciously complex productions have quickly garnered a huge list of support from industry leaders such as Simon Patterson, Sideforms, and Lyctum. Lesden kicked off his career in 2012 with the release of Contact on Ovnimoon Records, where it remained in the Psy Trance Top 10 on Beatport for multiple weeks. While it usually takes a couple of years to achieve that level of success, Contact immediately separated him from the pack as a rising talent whose potential could explode at any moment. Since 2012, his talents have grown to insurmountable heights, as his unique infusion of past influences and fresh experimentation have uncovered a radically unique approach towards his works. Yet, he still remains humble and optimistic as an artist, and continually strives to hone his craft by discovering new sounds and exploring different avenues of new age ideologies.
Daniel Lesden has always been interested in the concept of universal exploration, and has frequently implemented subtle suggestions of deep space throughout his pieces. Each of his tracks contain a mystical flow of energy that intertwines throughout its relentless basslines and his soft, velvety embellishments focuses on achieving an intense, sonorous sound. This fascination of the cosmos has culminated in the creation his debut album entitled Chronicles Of The Universe, which keenly focuses on the Solar System as its main driven theme. This album has given him the chance to stretch out his production chops by developing a vibrantly detailed arrangement of textures that accurately depicts his contemporary point of views. Each track represents a different planet in our Solar System and the tempo and energy decreases with each passing orbit, (and track). Additionally, Lesden has taken cues from various historical Gods that are said to reside over each world, which adds yet another layer of crypticism towards his dynamic magnum opus. Released on John 00 Fleming‘s legendary label, J00F Recordings, Chronicles Of The Universe is as academic as it is delightful, with each piece sending you towards a brave journey of immersive self discovery.
1. Mercurian Night
At a blistering 138 BPM, Mercurian Night is the fastest track in the album that continually accelerates with terrifying conviction. The piece is searingly fast and in your face with a brutal combination of devastating basslines and sinister, Middle Eastern interludes that inflicts serious damage to one’s sanity. This is due to the planet being closest to the sun, with a yearly cycle that only consists of 88 Earth days. An unusual presence of evil is shown throughout the opening track with the addition of radical percussive choices, smashing Breaks sections and thunderous Electro influences, as well as the intermittent laughs of the devil slowly seeping feelings of dread down your spine. It’s definitely a fiery start to the album.
2. Ishtar Terra
The Ishtar Terra is a particular continent on Venus which is represented by Mother Ishtar, who is the Semitic/Babylonian goddess of love, war and sex. For my interpretation, I find that a quintessential tale of Ishtar‘s life is closely connected to this piece. One day, Ishtar descends into the Underworld and demands that the main gates be open to her. After the gatekeeper allows her to pass, she angrily notices that she loses an article of clothing in each inner gate she passes while a group of demons prevent her from leaving. Completely naked, she is eventually captured and imprisoned in the bowels of the Underworld. As the goddess of sex, her imprisonment ceases all sexual activity for the planet. The King of Gods, Ea, sees this as a problem and creates a being called Asu-Shu-namir to free Ishtar from her imprisonment, or else face righteous retribution. The Queen of the Underworld, Ereshkigal, is furious that she has to let her prize go, but allows Ishtar‘s freedom for fear of the destruction of her personal realm. Lesden‘s track is brooding and bitter, with a scathingly intense, yet weighty character that symbolizes the anger and resentment of both Ishtar and Ereshkigal. With the addition of snaking acidic lines and various vocal samples, it perfectly balances between ferocity and elegance in true Progressive form.
3. The Gaia
As the only planet that is able to sustain life in the entire Solar System, The Gaia is certainly a track that stands out from the album. This track naturally refers to the Earth Goddess Gaia, who created the Sea and the Sky to support life. As a maintainable ecosystem, the Earth is comprised of trillions of living organisms that work together to preserve itself as a single, living being. A big concept of Psy Trance can be described with the lyrics of Galactic Mantra by Ovnimoon, in which it ends with, “I am me. We are you.” We are individuals, but we are interconnected with Nature. It bonds us, yet guides us and our interchangable relationship between the Earth Goddess guarantees our survival and the survival of our planet. The Gaia features the first instance of prominent human application, as the epic beginning is grandiose in displaying the overwhelming power of mankind. Ritualistic shouts, expressive vocal arias and open air sound constructions allows the marriage of spirituality and music to intertwine in immortalized harmony.
Many scholars and scientists believe that Mars was once as beautiful and rich as the Earth today and also contained the specific conditions needed to support life. Cydonia refers to an area on Mars that’s well known by its amusing depiction of a smiling face within its terrain. Daniel takes a completely different spin on this track, as its spacey, otherworldly atmosphere is largely supplemented by its prolific use of futuristic sounds that contain an element of extraterrestrialism. It is distinctly more Progressive than the previous three and in my interpretation, it is meant to convey the glory of past lifeforms on Mars with the use of cutting edge sound technology. Definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of discovering new sounds.
This is a rather exciting piece in the album, because the vortex obviously refers to the Big Red Spot that resides on Jupiter as a horrifying maelstrom of complete annihilation. This has a profound effect on the implications of this piece, as its fearful qualities are almost as violent sounding as Mercurian Night. Firmly planted in harmonic minor, Vortex focuses most of its attention on its continuous basslines as torrents of villainous samples are offset by the use of flowing ethnic vocals. At various points throughout the track, the rumblings of thunder can ominously be felt in the background; its constant presence inflicting panic and menace towards the listener. Around the middle of the track, Lesden switches gears and swaps out the sixteenth notes with a corrupted and warping bassline that summons a feeling of uneasiness throughout the layout of the other instruments, (along with a slight hint of mania thrown in for good measure). However, the entirety of Vortex is surprisingly tonal and avant garde, as the piece focuses more on cool, confident grooves than reckless brute force.
6. Shadow Of Collisions
Shrouded with enigma and intrigue, Saturn is known as the only planet with a distinct asteroid belt surrounding its orbit. By this point, we have significantly dropped down from 138 to 134BPM, and its distinct slowdown ventures into certain color territories that haven’t been explored by many producers. However, Daniel has taken that risk with conviction, as his paired down piece offers exciting new possibilities into Psy Trance as a whole. Compared to the last two pieces, Shadow Of Collisions is more technically advanced in terms of sound design/timbre selection, and its unorthodox blend of styles and influences provide a unique clash of ideologies that thrives of musical innovation. Its pumping percussion section propels the track at a smooth pace and its mysterious vocals/drums are featured as an elegant, yet vibrant example of musical conversations.
7. Deep Haze
With only two tracks to go, we now move away from Psy Trance to explore Daniel‘s interpretation of Trance with a cool, collected 131BPM feel. This track represents Uranus, as its collection of various gases and ‘ices’ are loosely collected to form the entirety of the planet. I find that these last two pieces are two of his most technical works, as his beautiful modus operandi induces a wonderfully intricate sound design that captures the frigid feeling of timelessness that’s constant throughout the coldest atmosphere of the Solar System. The entire piece is lusciously deep and carnivorous, with a sound design that rivals dominant Trance technicians such as Protoculture, Lange and Giuseppe Ottaviani. Deep Haze also boasts an impressive atmosphere within its elaborate soundscapes and its brilliant implementation of Progressive Breaks adds another crisp element of comprehensive creationism that seeks to shatter genres, as well as expectations.
8. 165 Earth Years
Now within the deepest reaches of the Solar System, it’s only natural that Daniel‘s interpretation of Neptune is where we see him at his creative prime, as this piece nebulously relishes within its deep, artificial personality. I don’t know if this could even be considered Trance in any sense of the word, as it reminds me of similar sound philosophies of Guy J, Cid Inc and Khen; artists that believe in the journey of sounds to guide them through the music. Clearly, 165 Earth Years is titled to represent the time it takes for Neptune to complete one rotation around the sun and its slow, lurching nature dictates the energy of this piece. Its heavily digitized palette is magnificently intertwined within its monstrous atmosphere as its smooth, seamless phrasing is flawlessly executed in top form. It is a fantastic blend of spacious, hopeful melodies and rigid, emotionless orchestration that brings a delicious and satisfying end to Chronicles Of The Universe, and is my personal favorite out of the entire album.
If you are new to Psy Trance, or are someone who wants to explore the hidden underbelly of EDM, this is definitely a great starting point if you want to get into true Psy. Lesden has masterfully integrated a sense on connection and cohesion within each track and also manages to present some of the highest work of craftsmanship that we have seen here at Your EDM. Make sure you check this out on Beatport via J00F Recordings and I hope your journey into Psy Trance continues to broaden your musical horizons. Our final rating is below.
Keep the music alive- Q