A word of warning for anyone who might be expecting something along the lines of AraabMuzik‘s hip-hop production work: Electronic Dream is an album of trance music, and the bulk of its tracks will fit right in amongst those of the TiÃ«stos, Oakenfolds, and other club-filling DJs of their variety. Where AraabMuzik makes that sound his own is with the addition of his signature MPC drum machine work, breaking out a wide assortment of samples, and dropping them in over his hard-hitting digital percussion.
The backing layer of trance music throughout Electronic Dream is used, primarily, to create mood. The best songs here are just dripping with atmosphere. As such, much of Dream plays out like a vivid nightmare. “Underground Stream” is a tense number, alternating between paranoid, high-pitched synth lines and pounding industrial. What he hides deeper in the mix is most chilling–what are those whispered voices? Was that a scream? Later, “Make It Happen” continues in that same unnerving ambiance.
There are several more-upbeat tracks here, and the album is set up to flow together smoothly as one extended listening experience. “Streetz Tonight” and “AT2” are laid-back numbers that turn down the drums a bit to let the woozy synthesizer establish the groove. However, the airy female vocal samples common in trance don’t always work here. In “Golden Touch”, and the lead-in “Electronic Dream”, they can leave you with an ugly ’90s dancefloor hangover. Conversely, they’re used to great effect in “Lost In A Maze”, where they’re weaved into the other instruments, rather than haphazardly dropped on top.
It’s a strange album, for sure, but the merging of the two musical styles creates something that’s rather unique, and should be sampled by any electronic music fan.