Armin van Buuren’s seventh studio album strikes a true ‘Balance’ [Album Review]
When he isn’t busy curating his A State of Trance (ASOT) radio show, heading up his label by the same name, or just generally making a mogul of himself, Armin van Buuren makes time to create music. A lot of music. Just over five months since a full-length release under his GAIA side-project, the ASOT guru now releases his seventh studio album in the form of Balance.
A producer does not put out seven formative studio albums without constant drive, dedication to craft, and artistic due diligence. Then again, van Buuren isn’t known as any run-of-the-mill producer. The Holland-born known-perfectionist has tirelessly driven his namesake project forward since he made his initial debut with 76, which was released in 2003.
A full 16 years later, and with five more full-length projects released from his vault since, including Shivers (2005), Imagine (2008), Mirage (2010), Intense (2013), and Embrace (2013), van Buuren stands tall as the flag-bearer of the trance movement and one of the most influential global figures in EDM. All of that makes no mention of van Buuren’s longtime collaborative project, GAIA, alongside Benno de Goeij. The pair released their Moons Of Jupiter LP just this year, after all, comprised of a staggering 42 tracks.
Balance lands a mere four months after Moons Of Jupiter and clocks in at 28 tracks. The budding compilation album is a stunning followup to van Buuren’s June-released joint effort. From the piano-led melodies and chill tonal quality on the Josh Cumbee-assisted track, “Sunny Days,” to the high-energy hard trance stylings of his two solo ventures, “Blah Blah Blah” and “Turn It Up,” van Buuren shines on all counts.
Speaking to the album, Armin van Buuren said the following in a press statement:
Creating ‘Balance’ was a great journey for me to be able to reflect the new chapters in my life, have a really good time working with legendary artists, and making new sounds while still giving fans my signature trance sound.”
The album is also filled to the brim with high-powered collaborations, including “Song I Sing,” featuring the beautiful harmonies of dance-centric vocalist HALIENE. Another standout collaborative rendering comes c/o Ne-Yo, where the formerly limelighted pop/R&B singer ignites the track, “Unlove You,” with his signature soulful voice and sensitive hurt-boy lyricism.
For more than twenty years, the Grammy-nominated Dutchman has been living to the rhythm of his own international success. His five-time number one position in the critically acclaimed DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll has been the result of his loyalty to fans, his creativity in the studio, and the energy he brings to the crowds in front of him. Despite the heavy pressure that comes with being one of the world’s most sought-after DJs, Armin has always kept his focus on the music.
It’s not just love for music, it’s my passion. It goes beyond liking, and beyond a hobby. It’s about a way of living. Music is essential to my life.”
That’s exactly what Balance aims to prove. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
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