02. Rank 1 - Airwave (21st Century Mix)
Safe to say, this track packs a "modern club" punch. That is not say it's the most innovative approach to Airwave out there, but it tries to translate the Classic into an outfit that suits today's dancefloors. Building on that, I'd say the choice for the Gaia-esque lead must have something do with its effectiveness. Based on the style of Airwave bootlegs that Piet supported the most in the last four years or so I feel he and Benno deliberately chose to incorporate this rough bigroom synth rather than going for the melodic/Trancey Elements Of Nature/13.11.11 approach. All in all I must say I am somewhat relieved over this rework as I feared it would be a complete and utter noise fest. If you disregard the rougher main lead, the rest sounds pretty crisp 'n clean and especially the elements surrounding the breakdowns sound nice and soothing. There is also bit of a Freudenrausch-ish funk to the extra elements the guys added to this version. So. Is it a mindblower? No, not in my opinion. Is it a complete destruction of the original? Nope, not for me: I'd call that a blatant exaggeration fitting of certain deterministic people. Sure, it's an "EDM" festival-fueled rework soundwise but it will work. It might not have the "good at home, good at the road" combination of the original Airwaves but it WILL go off live. Because that's what this track has done since day 1, for the past 15 years of Piet and Benno's most successful project to date.
I can very well imagine that Piet and Benno felt they wanted a modern, up-to-date version of their most beloved track to fit in the Rank 1 sets: if there is one track that's guaranteed to get the crowds going, it's this one. No arguing there! Then there's the fact this is much of an anniversary year to the project so why not relive the track crucial to its rise to prominence? Besides that, I can also imagine that many (newer) fans have been asking for a modern rendition over the years. And I'll admit I'll take this 21st Century Mix over the Porter Robinson/Wallbridge/Jullians/ICJ Stone & Milo.NL bootlegs any day. If we are gonna have a modern approach to Airwave then at least let's have it in the least noisy/annoying way possible! I really expected this rework to fall in line with those bootlegs but bar the rougher Gaia-ish lead, this Airwave version seems to have more of a Freudenrausch groove to it, which works for me. But there is a part of me that regrets this rework wasn't more of a reflection of the 2012/2013 live version they performed at Nature One, EDC Las Vegas and Sunrise Festival: that one is to this day, absolutely magical!
Ultimately I would much rather have had a brand new "weird" and out-of-the-box single ala Top Gear than a second rework of one of the most bootlegged/remixed Classics ever... Again, I understand Airwave's significance and impact, and I am sure this version will further expand its Legacy and Classic euphoria over the wheels of usb-driven steel for the coming years but at the end of the day I simply like other Rank 1 tracks better. But that's just my opinion. I know that many fans are happy with this release, and I am positive that applies to the gents as well, otherwise they wouldn't have released it right? ;)
Ps. Who on earth came up with that insect on the cover?? Does it have a meaning? Didn't hear any insect buzzes in this rework so I guess it doesn't relate to the track itself? :)