By Evan Goldaper
We should’ve been prepared. After all, Markus Schulz’s press release did tell us that his “incredible” new album, Do You Dream?, did contain such “floor-igniting” tracks as “The New World,” “Dark Heart Waiting,” and “Do You Dream?” Thankfully, The Press’s Business Manager, Roman Sheydvasser, managed to procure a fire extinguisher before the floor-ignition spread to the rest of the Union. Safely perched on the couch as Audiomaster Kenny Mahoney emptied The Press’s aquarium onto the smoldering carpet and turned off the album sample, I reflected on the press release Ultramusic had sent us.
Apparently Schulz has “rocked the electronic dance planet to its core” with his previous releases; I must’ve missed them, as I live on the regular life planet. Over here, on Earth, I hadn’t even heard of Schulz, a fact that the release made me feel quite guilty about. “Fans and critics alike have seen Schulz as both the leading-light pioneer and ultimate standard-bearer of trance’s new wave.” My word, I hadn’t been following the standard-bearer, never mind the fact that I didn’t even know he existed! This had to change! Clearly there was a program I needed to get with, so amidst the dying embers of what once was the Press office, I agreed to shoulder this immense burden and listen to Do You Dream? in its entirety.
After alerting my neighbor, sophomore history major Liz Early, that neither I nor the Stony Brook Press was to be blamed if her suite burnt down as a result of this “long-player,” we sat down to experience Schulz in all his finery. Ultramusic told me that the opening song, “Alpha State,” contained “beatless shimmered finery.” It certainly contained something.
“This is boring,” Liz noted, “and it doesn’t even sound like techno.”
“He’s setting a mood,” I explained. “It’ll pick up.” Continuing tracks did little to prove me right. I waited for his “transfixing, uplifting edge,” “stunningly-cultivated vibrant trance riffs,” and “mesmerizing pathos.” By the third track, I was mesmerized all right. The ennui I was beginning to feel was slightly hypnotizing. Schulz was succeeding!
So the initial tracks didn’t make us get up and dance. That’s okay. I assured my friend that the aforementioned singles would be better. Holding up the release, I reminded her that these songs “have had nitrous-injection-like impacts on Schulz’s career.” Nitrous-injection! You can’t get more intense than that! You’d have to be dead to not like these! The title track, “Do You Dream?” is called an “uplifting vocal mix.” Upon playing the track, I realized that Schulz is capable of lifting his vocal mix so high that it becomes tough to acknowledge or remember its existence. Sort of like how I feel about the Hubble Telescope. To the untrained listener, Do You Dream? sounds a bit like the music you might hear on the secret stage of a Sonic the Hedgehog game—just minus everything I remembered liking about Sonic music—but it obviously must be much more. I could feel the floor grow hotter beneath my feet as the song ended, after over seven-and-a-half anticlimactic minutes that ultimately sounded mostly like a steady beat. “The New World” was similarly awesome in that I wasn’t completely certain I wasn’t just listening to Do You Dream? a second time, now without the “uplifting vocal” element. Certainly more of the same was stoking the fire, I’m sure. The album was apparently “near impossible to forget.” At this point, I can’t even remember when the tracks began or ended.
“Maybe we should be having a rave. Or playing a board game,” I said. “It might be better then. At the moment, I’m finding it hard to listen to.”
In fact, I didn’t actually make it through the album’s final two songs, choosing instead to listen to some indie rock. Does this make me a bad reviewer for not finishing the CD? It was clear that the last two tracks weren’t going to change my mind. I guess you could say trance just isn’t my genre. You could also say I was genuinely concerned about the flammability of Liz’s textbooks.
Liz knows more about music than I, so I figured I’d refer to her for the final thought. “It’s not bad music,” she said, “just bad techno.” That can’t be right. It had to be the best. The press release told me so.