My #3 Album

of 2008

Released in 2008 on Go Global Records

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     In 2008, I listened to Christian dance music more than any other single style of music; about 30% of my listening time was in this genre.  This album, of course, by being at #3, was a great contributor to that statistic. 

     This is an album of dance music with explicit Christian lyrics, as are other albums by DreamLab.  The title suggests that the music is trance; I think that term means different things to different dance music lovers, but as for what I was expecting with the word “trance” in the title, this isn’t quite there.  However, it is more trance-like than any other of DreamLab’s projects so far.

     As for the quality of the dance music, it’s not at Andy Hunter level, but on the other hand, there is very little Christian dance music available, and on the scale from best (Andy Hunter) to worst (The Company), this is close to the best end of the scale.  In general, I am satisfied with the quality of the music on the album.

DreamLab was  begun by  Paul Buono, whose stage name is Magellan.  It is not a group, but  a project that puts out albums using various studio musicians.  DreamLab put out 4 albums in 2007 & 2008.

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DreamLab’s official website

  DreamLab’s Facebook page

  DreamLab’s MySpace page 

  An interview with Magellan (October 7, 2009) at Cross Rhythms

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This page was first posted November 15, 2009 with a new hit counter added on July 15, 2012

     The second aspect is the lyrics.  As I’ve stated in other reviews on this website, most of the time when I listen to music, I also want to use that time to connect with God, or at least think about aspects of the Kingdom of God.  With this album’s explicitly Christian lyrics, I get both music I like and the lyrical focus I like.

     The album opens with the words, “Glory to the One who stands upon the sun,” followed by, “Almighty Father, risen Son, Holy Spirit, all as one.”  The second song, “Shout,” is a call to rejoice in God’s goodness.  “Taste The Heavens,” one of the more trance-like songs on the album, begins with the female vocalist singing about the pleasant and glorious beauty of the Lord, then later the male vocalist sings, “Come on everybody dance, it’s time to celebrate His goodness.”

    The fourth track speaks of the eternal life we look forward to, especially the arrival, summarizing with “...and then you’ll know you’re home.”

     Having said what I just did about this album versus Andy Hunter, I have an important counterpoint to that:  In 2008, I also got Andy Hunter’s latest album, Colour.  It didn’t even make it onto my best of the year list for 2008.  Reasons for that include the weak lyrics and lack of actual danceable music on Andy Hunter’s latest (he experimented with various styles), but the point is, in 2008, when I had both Andy Hunter’s Colour, and DreamLab’s Tranceformation, Tranceformation was my third favorite album of the year, and Colour didn’t even make the cut.  So while in terms of objective, critical musical quality, Andy Hunter is tops, there is more to music than that.

     So what made this album so high on my 2008 list?  First of all, of course, is the dance music that is my style.  Though not as close to the style I think of when I think of trance, a style of dance I think is wonderful, it is still basically in the trance camp, so musically it’s down my line. 

Taste the heavens, drink the living water

Feel the Spirit rushing on the wind

Sweet aroma, Lily of the Valley

Touch His garment as He passes by

Come on everybody, dance

It’s time to celebrate His goodness

Everybody lift your hands

To the God of our salvation

Since DreamLab is a project, not a group, the above list, from the album insert, is helpful in identifying the performers.

     The main line from track 5 is, “Wash me in the water, warm me in the sun, as I rediscover all You have begun.”  The song “Arise,” one with a sound that I fully consider to be trance (so I really like the sound on this one!), features  these words:  “You will rest in His love, He will rejoice over you singing...arise!”

     Some of the other songs have fewer lyrics and concentrate more on beat.  My favorite of these is “New Generation.”  This one has a thumping beat and running bass line with electronics and background vocals that are a bit ethereal with the song having a kind of hushed feel.  Late in the song, it breaks out into an almost tribal outcry from one of the female singers.  Awesome.

   There are only two real complaints I have about the album.  The first and most important is the sound quality.  I expect dance music to be bright on the high end and crunching sharp on the low end, but this recording is too muddy for dance music. 

     The other complaint is lack of a lyric sheet, but unfortunately, that’s the case with all DreamLab albums released so far.   

   To sum up, with lyrics that have a clear focus on relationship with Jesus, and dance music that’s right down my line, this album was one I came back to again and again throughout 2008. 

<<-- Click the Play button to hear “Taste The Heavens”