CD review: Aly & Fila – Quiet Storm

June 2, 2013


The Pharaohs of Trance are back, with an album to follow up their debut artist album released three years ago.

Quiet Storm is a masterpiece that sees Aly & Fila staying true to their much-loved uplifting trance sound, but also expanding their horizons, adding downtempo compositions that, along with the intro and outro, make this record a complete journey, with peaks and troughs.

The album kicks off with a track like no other. While many trance producers have attempted to incorporate Middle Eastern music into their compositions, the Egyptian duo are one of the few who manage to make it authentic, with the tune featuring a layali—a vocal improvisation that is often used as an introduction in traditional Arabic music—setting the stage for the rest of the record.

Following the introduction come three vocal tracks that have already become hits, making their rounds in radio shows and music festivals—all emotional, but each with a unique composition accompanying the vocals: from the lingering, melancholic loop in “Running Out of Time,” to the atmospheric, wondrous pads in “Mysteries Unfold,” to the heavy, arpeggiated synth line in “Speed of Sound” that takes the listeners higher and higher.

But after starting off with a bang, the album cools down with a new, chill-out mix of “Fireisland,” the duo’s single with British producer Solarstone, which has already become a trance classic.

Another downtempo track is “Mother Nature,” a testament to the spiritual power of trance music, with its lyrics that speak from the perspective of the Earth, sending a message to humanity.

The journey picks up once again with “First Sun,” featuring a bright, ringing melody, like the sunlight that peaks out between the clouds, before the storm brews for a second time with “Your Heart Is Mine,” a more pumping, energetic composition in collaboration with John O’Callaghan, filled with heavy kicks and an acidic synth that will burn the dance floor.

Ending the voyage is “Where to Now,” another chill track, featuring a slow-moving piano piece and echoing vocals that leave the listeners hanging, questioning themselves, wondering where to go after the storm has moved on.