Artist: Tilt
Title: Vaults
Label: Lost Language
By: Colin C. | 30 October 2006
  1. Angry Skies (Cressida Mix)
  2. If This Is Love
  3. Dublin Kicks
  4. Southern Sky
  5. Come Closer
  6. Walking Away
  7. Rising Son
  8. In This World
  9. Invisible (Supernatural Mix)
  10. I Know Your're Afraid

Tilt "Vaults"Tilt "Vaults"

Out Now on Lost Language

Looking back over the 90s and upward there has been three key players in the dance community that have been able to reach across every corner of the globe and bring gripping, stirring slices of dance music to the masses. These three players (Mick Park, Mick Wilson and John "Quivver" Graham) were known to the world as Tilt, and their cuts 'Angry Skies', 'Invisible' and 'Headstrong' have climbed into "classic" status since their debuts. As Tilt entered into the millennium, John Graham seemed to have his sight set on furthering his solo career and eventually left both Micks to their own devices. While rumors started circulating on a Tilt artist album, the duo recruited Andy Moor and in 2005 released their first album 'Explorer' on Lost Language to mixed reviews.

A year later and one Mick less, Tilt is taking another swing at the full length album, this time playing into rehashing some of the hits, and digging up some past tracks which have remained unreleased until now, as well as giving us a more "armchair" listening experience. Going into this I have to admit now I was not one of the fans of 'Explorer'. From such a prolific group for me in my years diving into the culture, I was expecting to be knocked flat and 'Explorer' really left me wishing that magic that Graham and the Micks were able to convey had carried through to this even without two key players. However I tried to ignore 'Explorer' as I went into the "Vault" and keep my ears open in hopes that this new release can live up to the Tilt dynasty.

Opening this disc is the 'Cressida' mix of Maria Naylor's epic collaboration 'Angry Skies', where fans of Maria's vocals will be pleased to hear the full vocal still on display but set to a more current driving groove that strips away some of the original large synth arrangements. The main hook melody is left out of this mix and some heavy, distorted synth stabs take its place. Not before long we are dropped into a blissful set of synth string arrangements to accentuate the vocal hook before slamming back into the heavy, big room groove that the last three minutes were spent building up to. The key change ups in this mix are really what makes it a stellar re-hash, and really breathe a little more life into it without loosing the original's appeal and keeps the fans happy. Moving out of the grandiose opening, 'If This Is Love' drops in to take us back out of the club and into a blunted sofa experience. In fact, there is quite a hand full of these styled tracks on the album, making me wonder if they were part of the alleged 2nd disc that was rumored to have been part of the early version of 'Explorer'.

'If This Is Love' draws from a fairly somber female vocal laced with a simple break beat and Conjure One/Delerium oriented motifs. This cut, along with the similarly styled 'Rising Sun' is carved too heavily into a pop standard for me and really doesn’t break the surface of the creativity of the people involved. Other pit falls of this album are the disposable male vocals on 'Come Closer' and 'In This World'. The production on 'Come Closer' is the track's saving grace as it has a nice deep progression complemented with shimmering high-end motifs, but the vocals just feel flat and under produced. 'In This World' suffers the same fate with its spoken word vibe that reminds me of The Edge's vocal performance on 'Numb', however the guitar is a nice touch but yet fails to wrap tightly around the environment that just seems to skate all over the place.

On the positive side there are some cuts that are able to make up for the lack luster ones, including a lost gem 'Southern Sky'. This is classic Tilt at its finest, and until now I've only seen it floating around as a white label. Here in its full on (almost) twelve-minute version, it pulls you in tightly even if some of its production feels a little dated. 'Walking Away' is another decent track; here the boys pull from similar inspiration as Way Out West with its wistful sweeps and layered atmospheres. And lets not forget 'Invisible', which gets resurrected in the form of an old 'Supernatural Mix' that only saw the light of day briefly back in 1999 as a dub on a limited run on Hooj (also part of the 'Missing Pieces' EP that Lost put out in 2002 for you 'spotters out there) with the vocal version have only been featured on one of Paul Oakenfold's Essential Mix broadcasts back in early 1999. Once again this is classic Tilt and it boils into a massive euphoric breakdown complete with the original vocals. Only complaint is that (as it was with 'Southern Sky') it sounds a bit dated now in 2006.

What it unfortunately comes down to here is the fact that the dynamics of Parks, Wilson and Graham was what made Tilt so special and gave them all the ability to draw from each other and pull together some truly magic moments. Without that dynamic, Tilt is nothing more than a shell of its previous self and it's evident across this album. I would have loved 'Vaults' if they stripped away all the sugar coated down tempo tracks and focused on crafting a true "greatest hits" as their impressive back catalog of original work and remixes would have been nice to have on a CD compilation. I just hope that Tilt can continue and get over this lull and bring back some much-needed quality not only in the Trance community, but also in the dance community as a whole.

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