Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones - the producers known worldwide. For two they have let out already many albums and tens magnificent singles, reliably having fixed in world history of dancing music. Their hits more than once appeared at tops of charts, and each new album stably got to number 50 of the best to Germany. It started in 1997 with their debut single "Sunrise", the first step towards producing their own tracks. Nowadays, one cannot imagine the electronic elite without Blank & Jones. During their career they have known no musical boundaries and have worked with Artists such as Robert Smith from The Cure, Bernard Sumner from New Order, Sarah McLachlan, the Pet Shop Boys and Keane to name just a few…
Blank and Jones, the kings of laid back listening, return just in time for summer with their beautiful RELAX Edition 9 double album. They take you on a musical journey with their own unique sound. Call it chill out, Balearic, lounge, downbeat, tropical disco, beach house, bar grooves - this fantastic new artist album features timeless compositions, ready to be the soundtrack to your personal summer.
Blank & Jones continue their double life with the release of the latest installment to their original chillout series, Relax 4. By day (as in sunny hours, not their "day job") they craft hazy, lazy downtempo beach music, such as is presented here. By night, they bring their brand of high-energy electronic music to the clubs, drawing equal inspiration from the trance scene, electro movement, and more beat-oriented tracks from early techno days. The Relax series has morphed a bit over time. When it started, it was a mostly seamless collection of chilled out original tracks and remixes meant to accompany your nap on the beach. Now, the series is presented as a day time/night time set.
Disc One is subtitled "Sun" and is the more laid back of the two. Stylistically, this disc finds itself somewhere in between a very slow, Balearic chill sound and something that occasionally approaches down-tempo. It's one of their most placid offerings, to be sure, but also is a bit out of genre. "Face a la Mer" starts things off, and is a breezy, flamenco guitar-led instrumental number. A reworking of Laid Back's "Happy Dreamer" follows, and already brings the pulse of the set down a notch. And by the time we get to "Nuits Blanches" - which harkens back to the first track in terms of style - things seem to have stalled out a bit into… I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: easy listening.
The emphasis on this Margaritaville-hammock-style of chillout seems to be taking them to the edge of what would actually be considered "chillout," as opposed to just "really slow." And its this emphasis on the first disc that finds the group faltering. Where before there had been generous doses of this mixed in with some other ambient trance elements, or after-hours lounge, now it has come to the fore as the overriding theme.
Things pick up a bit with their first effort at a title track for the series, "Relax (Your Mind)," which is a pleasant vocal number that brings up the tempo just enough. This carries nicely into "Chilled Cream," delivering more of a definite laid-back groove. "Try Again" features Keane and starts off as a very nice slow vocal cut, before injecting a rhythmic break during the mid-point. This second triptych of seconds feels more like the heart and soul of this first disc, and easily trumps the first set of songs.
The second half of the disc finds itself oscillating between these two styles, with the two vocal tracks featuring Vanessa Daou ("Heart of Wax" and "Consequences") as well as "Up 2 You" being definite highlights. The more "elevator" tracks certainly aren't bad, especially when considered individually, but do feel out of place given the level of prominence that they have throughout the disc. The fact that the set is unmixed only serves to highlight these contrasting styles all the more.
Two CD set. Long-awaited third installment in the Relax series by the German DJs and producers. This 'chill-out' series mixes their love of classic Trance music with a modern chilled Lounge twist. Disc One features 12 new Blank & Jones recordings guaranteed to calm your frayed Rave nerves while the Disc Two features an additional nine tracks including remixes of a few tracks from Disc One and other new mixes.
Blank & Jones offer up a soothing collection of ambient Balearic tunes and low-tempo chillout tracks with the second edition of their "Relax" series. Spread out over two discs, disc one (called "Sun") seems more focused on pure leisure,while the second "Moon" disc offers some slightly more uptempo tunes while still maintaining a calming mood overall.
Perfectly exemplifying the difference between the Sun and Moon CDs are a number of the tracks which actually appear on both discs,but in different remix guises that make them more appropriate for the tone of one or the other. For example, the version of the instrumental "Balearic Blue" on disc one has only some soft tabla drums running through it, while the Sa Trincha Mix on disc two retains the plucked guitar lines and sunshot keyboards of the original, but here introduces bongos that lead into a relatively pumping yet still unhurried new drum track. Similarly paired up are other instrumentals from disc one like the ethereally atmospheric "Twilight," that's given midtempo breakbeats in its Chill & Grill Remix on disc two, or the delicately shuffling "City Of Angels," which has a midtempo House rhythm added on the second CD's Beach House Mix.
Vocal examples of this on "Relax" would be the excellent track "Revealed" (one of this set's real standouts) with Steve Kilbey, where the disc one's version's dramatic and melancholy building piano lines are enhanced with the additional percussive accents and elongated wind flutes in the Bliss Remix on disc two, or the Sun disc's gorgeous and delicate ballad "I Love You" featuring Mike Francis, which is treated to a chugging downtempo mix with minimally tapping beats on the Moon disc.
Some of the tracks only appear once though, such as the Elles De Graaf -fronted "Closer To Me" with its laidback shuffling beat and chiming synths or the vintage 70s Soul influenced "Cruisin'" filled with relaxed guitar work, lush warm string lines, and warm electronic organ, both of which are unique to disc one, while the guitar-strummed, female vocal swirler "Mind Of The Wonderful" with Elles and the dreamy Tech-House track "Stars Shine Bright" (L.A. By Night Mix), which heightens its mood with oboe parts and the sounds of birds and crickets chirping in the background, are unique to the second CD.
Naturally "Relax: Edition Two" is more appropriate for and intended for leisurely moments like lounging over drinks with friends or winding down after a night out rather than for peak hour club play and as such provides a warmly charming aural journey ideal for such times.
Piet Blank and Jaspa Jones - the producers known worldwide. For two they have let out already 17 albums and tens magnificent singles, reliably having fixed in world history of dancing music. Their hits more than once appeared at tops of charts, and each new album stably got to number 50 of the best to Germany.
The first release which has left in 2003 of an album "Relax: Edition One" to a descent has occupied 22 place in charts of Germany, and a chill-miss the version of track Pet Shop Boys "Love Comes Quickly" from this album became the present hit.
Blank & Jones is one of Germany's most successful DJ and recording duos and they are back in stores with a new album called "The Singles." This greatest hits collection is a definitive must-have for all B&J fans, trance fans, and music lovers alike and features a bonus DVD containing all their video clips. Even though ATB and Paul Van Dyk have garnered more attention than their compatriots in the music scene, the duo has managed to release seven albums, three mix albums, and have obtained fifteen hit singles under their belts. On The Singles CD you will find rare tracks such as "Sunrise" and "Nightclubbing" sitting next to two new, exclusive tracks. The CD also covers the whole history of the act, from their early chart successes such as "Cream" and "A Forest" with Robert Smith from The Cure to their current new singles "Catch" and "Revealed," with each song having been digitally remastered.