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:Retrowerks: ± DJ Harder ± – [Reflected]

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± DJ Harder ± – [Reflected]
Release Date: February 22, 2013
Label: Black I.P. Studio Recordings
Website: FacebookReverbNationiTunes

Review by Nicole E. Calcagno

[Reflected] is the 5th studio album by ± DJ Harder ± released in February 2013 on the Black I.P Studio label. After a year of working tirelessly, the listener is greeted with an intoxicating album full of ambient, trance, and industrial elements that make you want to move. There are only six tracks, but each one meets you with something different. There is an ambient undertone throughout each song but it’s not slow or sleepy. Each song is haunting and it entrances you as you listen. You could easily sit in front of a speaker and just move to the music. It has a dark feel to it but it’s still fun and danceable. It feels like the music tells a story without words. The album is almost like a ride through slower, darker, more ominous places, and then builds up to a hard, stompy, and driven beat throughout each song.

The first track, BE-XI-L-V, starts out driving, gradually builds up, and then BAM!—the beat changes and hits you. There is a futuristic tone in this song. You can hear the trance element as well. In my opinion, the best part of the song is how the beat plays with the listener. The beat drops out and picks up several times throughout the song. The buildup in this song is awesome. It leaves you waiting and wondering when it’s going to drop out and pick up.

Track two, BE-XI-L-I, starts out making you want to dance immediately. There are a lot of drums and hi hats, and then it gets digital. This song is another case of awaiting a big change in the beat. The song follows a trance-based beat and then changes up when you don’t expect it. Personally, I could get lost in this song. It has a haunting trance vibe with some great beats. It’s almost like the main reverb assaults you.

The third track, BE-XI-L-IV, reminds me of something you would hear in a dark dance club. The deep exhale/inhale sound is a cool effect that adds to the song. This song is definitely a darker song. It’s got a lot of slower breaks and beats but still has that dance feel.

Track four, BE-XI-L-II, begins with a tribal beat. It has a different vibe from the other tracks. This song is almost ominous, really. It has a rhythmic drumbeat throughout the song and is entrancing to the listener. The song starts out slow with that tribal beat mentioned and it really picks up. When I hear this song, I can envision groups of people just dancing and feeling the vibe, getting lost on the dance floor.

Track five, BE-XI-L-VI, has a good buildup. You really anticipate what’s going to happen next. I feel like that is the best part of a song. In this one, the beat drops out and slowly starts to come back in and pick up. Then the song gets stompy. Out of all the songs on the album, this one would fall most into the industrial category. It has a great stompy driven beat. It just feels really good.

Track six, BE-XI-L-III, has a very ominous intro. It continues into a very melodic and haunting song. Then the beat sneaks in and starts to capture you. It quickly becomes dance driven with a great feeling to it. As the song progresses, it brings you back to that slower, melodic, ominous place a few times. Then it brings you right back up to the buildup into the ominous beat. A listener can strap in and follow the song throughout the ride it takes you on.

The album includes a bonus CD with remixes of the song “Electric Heart.” There are seven remixes of this song by artists like The Broken Silence, Vycos, Project Falling, Pakrac, C. Yetter, and ± The Violen(t) Vocation(s) ±, and others. I want to put this album on, turn the lights down and just stomp. Each remix has something special to it. They all sound different. There is a dark element to each one. My personal favorites are the first track by The Broken Silence and Re-Make 2012. I also like the Vycos one a lot. The last track on the bonus CD is actually a remix by ± DJ Harder ± of “Praise The Fallen” by Wynardtage. It really finishes up the bonus CD with a bang. It flows really nicely and the beat is just flawless.

If someone asked me to recommend this album to him or her I would not hesitate to do so. I may be biased, but I love the vibe of this album. The complexity and variety in the songs is great. It also has continuity throughout the album with those driving ambient dance beats. I could easily throw this album on, take a long drive, and just get lost in the music; or be in the middle of a crowded dance floor and completely lose track of time. If an album can make me do that, it’s a win for me.

Track Listing
01. BE-XI-L-V

02. BE-XI-L-I

03. BE-XI-L-IV

04. BE-XI-L-II

05. BE-XI-L-VI

06. BE-XI-L-III

Bonus Remix CD
01. Electric Heart [Hypnomix by The Broken Silence]

02. Electric Heart [The day after – Remix by Vycos]

03. Electric Heart [Re-Make 2012]

04. Electric Heart [Alkemic Generator RMX]

05. Electric Heart [Remix by ± The Violen(t) Vocation(s) ±]

06. Electric Heart [PowerRMX by Project Falling]

07. Electric Heart [Remix by Pakrac]

08. Electric Heart [Remix by C. Yetter]

09. Praise the Fallen [Remix by ± DJ Harder ±]

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