- "The Sound of the Sixth Season" is the latest instalment in Sven Väth’s popular mix CD series, which has fast become an annual fixture in the techno world. Now in its sixth season, these are something akin to a musical yearbook, recording what was played at Cocoon’s weekly Monday night party at Amnesia on the White Isle. After experimenting with a mix CD and DVD package last year, Sven Väth has returned to the double mix format that worked well in the second and fourth seasons. This time, ‘Wild’ is the peaktime mix, while ‘Life’ is the after hours soundtrack. Of the two, it is the latter that works better, but both have their charms.
The first mix, ‘Wild’, is most definitely for the dancefloor. Proceedings commence in fine fashion with the monster 'Adonai Elohim' by 2000 & One, reminiscent of something found on an older Zenit release. Unfortunately, Väth does not keep the momentum, getting distracted with a pair of ineffectual numbers that lack the intensity or interest of the opener. The mix then moves in a 'neo-trance-ish' direction with a couple of big tracks making it the strongest patch of the first disc. The bouncy melodies of Akzidenz Grotesk pave the way for 'Snabeln' by Hugg & Pepp, a fine example of a sound that harks back to the tech-trance of the mid ‘90s. 'Ihre Persönliche Glücksmelodie' comes next as the mix reaches a crescendo. Gabriel Ananda is starting to draw quite a bit of interest, and with productions like this it is not hard to see (or hear) why. After this high point, the CD begins to really lose its way, as Väth switches to a remix of 'Komm'. A cool dirty electro rocker for sure, but it seems somewhat out of place here. Things quickly deteriorate as T.Raumschmiere's harsh vocals are a sharp contrast to the rather light melodies heard before. The X-Press 2 remix of Nitzer Ebb's 'Join In The Chant' that follows is a particularly cringe-worthy moment. Selections by Gregor Tresher and Extrawelt keep the mood unsettled, and when the mix comes to a close with the hauntingly beautiful 'Marionette' by Mathew Jonson, you are left feeling a bit scattered after the amount of shifts, changes and jolts inflicted.
The second CD, 'Life', is the stronger of the two and invokes inviting images of an after party on a beach in Ibiza. The mix starts very well with a couple of excellent productions creating a nicely chilled vibe. The howls of Dexter on Jay Haze's 'I Can Love You' rolls into the luxurious house of 'Pillow Talk' by everyone's favourite, Isolée. Väth continues this opening with the highlight from Alex Smoke's recent album on Soma, 'Don't See The Point'. Once again though, this mix can't maintain a flow and it begins to jump around. Tommie Nevada’s ‘New Settlers’ soon follows and while being a fantastic record, its breezy, upbeat melodies seem much better suited to the first disc. Väth switches styles again, this time to the dirty house of 'Medusa Smile' before hitting us with Sten's 'Hitchhiker'. Three great individual tracks, but I am not sure how well they fit together. Things continue to remain unsettled, with the harsh sounds of ‘Wave’ being a particularly inappropriate choice. After a few more tangents, we are finally returned to the mood Väth started to build at the outset. The Carsten Jost remix of Lawrence is a beauty, as is Serafin's 'Hasenmatt', which closes the mix nicely.
In all, 'The Sound Of The Sixth Season' is a pretty solid outing from Väth. The mixing is what you'd expect - solid and workman-like, with the focus being firmly on the tracks. While some people dislike the lack of emphasis placed by Väth on mixing, there is value in the way he lets the music speak for itself. And most of the tracks here have something to say – plenty of good productions have been selected. As mentioned, where he does fall short is in failing to properly use these records to create a sense of coherence or journey in both the mixes. Nevertheless, we do come away with a good idea of what sounds ruled the dancefloor at Cocoon at Amnesia in 2005, which is ultimately the purpose of this release.