‘The Inner Me’ is the debut album of rising UK producer Ashley Wallbridge. It was released earlier this week on Armada Music. The album represents a year and a half of time in the studio, which certainly shows in the these solid productions.
Ashley Wallbridge is already well-known in the trance world but this album is his major breakthrough as an artist. He was voted number 132 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list for 2011, however, after this brilliant release he definitely deserves to crack the top 50 next year.
The album features great progression and flow from track to track that takes the listener on a journey from smooth and chill grooves towards more upbeat club hits. ‘Emotions‘ provides a harmonious introduction to the album with a strings section that could easily be used in the score of a movie. ‘These Walls’ is a touching ballad centered around the beautiful vocals of Elleah and a gentle piano melody. Both of these tracks show a side of Ashley that fans haven’t seen before as they wouldn’t be classified as trance or progressive. They are emotionally charged and show the diversity of Wallbridge’s production ability.
From there the album evolves into progressive trance. ‘Kopanang’ is more reminiscent of his trademark sound and features Canadian Violinist Jayeson Andel (Kobalt Infusion). The violin is the perfect compliment for a light progressive trance melody. This is one of my early favorites on the album. Following that is the first prog-trance track that kicks up the tempo on the album. ‘Careful’ rises steadily until it reaches an atmospheric breakdown that Above & Beyond would be proud of. Again Wallbridge uses the piano masterfully before introducing powerful synths and turning this into an increasingly exciting track. ‘Zorro’ is based purely on the rapidly climbing melody that Wallbridge is famous for. It quickly builds the energy with synths that lead up to the first major drop on the album. This one was a pleasant surprise the first time I heard it.
The first of two collaborations on the album with Andy Moor is ‘Faces’, featuring the vocals of Meighan Nealon. Originally released in 2009, this was one of the tracks that got Ashley Wallbridge early attention as a producer. This synth laden track features orchestral piano and classic trance vocals. Next up is a track that will have crowds going wild as they wait for it to drop. ‘Soul Seek’ has a variety of elements that combine for a fantastically euphoric climax driven by a powerful bassline.
Now the album really kicks off as the tracks get louder and more energetic. ‘Vision’ is one of the anthems of this album and is probably the most recognizable track. It has received massive support from many DJs and was featured on Armin’s ‘Universal Religion Chapter 5’ compilation. Its extremely similar to Gareth Emery’s ‘Arrival’ (which Wallbridge has also remixed) but thats hardly anything to complain about. This song is one of the best I’ve heard for opening sets with because the rising melody instantly gets people moving. Following that epic track is ‘Meta4’. It starts slow, but thats just the calm before the storm. The introduction of massive synths and strong bass quickly transform it into a hit. I can barely sit still while this one is playing. ‘Mumbai Traffic’ is another gem on this album. The swift melody progresses into soaring synths that explode with spirit and enthusiasm.
Once again we are graced with the vocals of Elleah on ‘Keep The Fire’. Compared to the earlier song (‘These Walls’) this is much trancier and the simple lyrics take a back seat to the winding melody. ‘Ibiza’ is a refreshing change-up that offers a cooldown before we move into the end of the album. This song is one of the most unique on the album as Wallbridge departs from his usual style. A hypnotizing buildup with anthemic chords lead into bursting drop. I never want this song to end.
‘World To Turn’ is such a great collaboration between Ashley Wallbridge and Andy Moor that it deserves its own post. Check out Farzad’s review here: http://www.cascadiarecords.com/ashley-wallbridge-and-andy-moor-feat-gabriela-world-to-turn/.
Vocal legend Audrey Gallagher adds her exceptional voice to ‘Bang The Drum’. This is a very interesting track with a solid bassline and echoing vocals that are almost haunting. Any trance song with Audrey Gallagher is a winner in my books. This is followed by ‘Feel Again’ which takes the listener in a different direction. This track reminds me of Dash Berlin’s productions due to the soft and emotional male vocals of Matias Lehtola.
There are two bonus tracks on this album and both are stellar. First up is The Inner Me mix of an already successful Wallbridge track, ‘Jynx’. It is driven by a beautiful progressive piano melody and a crushing bassline that combine to create the perfect club-banger. The album closes out wonderfully with the second bonus track titled ‘Sunrise’. Its light progressive melody provides a gently uplifting finish to this stunning album. This is a cheerful and light-hearted track to end the album with.
From start to finish, ‘The Inner Me’ provides an extremely enjoyable ride that I certainly recommend to all fans of trance and progressive music. Ashley Wallbridge is truly inspired and his talent is clearly displayed in each of his diverse productions. I rate it a 9.5/10 because I really don’t have any complaints. Every song serves its own purpose and brings a unique addition to the album. Ultimately, all of my musical cravings have been satisfied. This brilliant album should cement his place among the top progressive trance producers in the world. Do your self a favor and buy it off iTunes or elsewhere. You won’t be disappointed.
2. These Walls (feat. Elleah)
3. Kopanang (feat. Kobalt Infusion)
6. Faces (with Andy Moor) (feat. Meighan Nealon) (The Inner Me Mix)
7. Soul Seek
10. Mumbai Traffic
11. Keep The Fire (feat. Elleah)
13. World To Turn (with Andy Moor) (feat. Gabriela) (The Inner Me Mix)
14. Bang The Drum (feat. Audrey Gallagher)
15. Feel Again (feat. Matias Lehtola)
iTunes Bonus Tracks
16. JYNX (The Inner Me Mix)
Via @JordyTait at Cascadia Records | Ashley Wallbridge – The Inner Me (Album Review)