It’s definitely a weird time out there, the country is entering its sixth week of lockdown, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to be going to any live events anytime soon. However, the majority of people are making the most of the situation and remaining positive. As we’ve been home for days at a time, we’ve been treated to virtual festivals, home live streams, and of course, a bunch of new music. Count Paul Van Dyk among the many artists who are using the quarantine period to engage with fans in creative new ways.
The legendary producer/DJ has just released Escape Reality. Escape Reality is collection of ambient and orchestral arrangements of some of Paul’s most beloved hits. The album spans 16 tracks and includes breathtaking re-works of PVD hits like “For An Angel,” “Guardian,” “The Ocean,” “Music Rescues Me,” and more. Paul was originally slated to release his ninth studio album Guiding Light, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul wanted to release something more personal, more relevant to the moment. While PVD’s version of progressive and uplifting trance packs its own emotional punch, Escape Reality is a side of PVD we’ve never seen before.
Escape Reality definitely has some ambient tracks, however, to me, it’s almost more of an orchestral album. What stands out is really the instrumentation and song arrangement, there’s lots of acoustic guitar and percussion in the tracks. When we think of an EDM collab, it’s easy to see two producers just sending files back and forth. With Escape Reality, we see Paul van Dyk as a deft studio producer cranking out high quality material with professional musicians. While you can recognize some of the PVD synth work on a couple of tracks, overall the vocalists get to shine and PVD is almost more of an orchestra conductor than a producer. Here’s what the trance legend had to say about why now was the perfect time to release Escape Reality.
“Last month it quickly became apparent that putting out an album designed for the dance floor (‘Guiding Light’) in a largely club-less world would not be right. So focusing on music-making and a release whose function is now more intimate made a lot of sense… Again, music became my remedy. When I got underway, much of the personal apprehension I’d been feeling moved into the background. Impasses that I’d previously reached on certain tracks vanished, new ideas popped and angles appeared. It was a remarkable final production month to something I’d enjoyed playing with for years, and a specific reason to finish it became its tipping point…This project was, to the greatest extent, waiting in the wings. Reality can be unkind and while this release isn’t a remedy, it might play its part in helping us to calm down, relax, dream and escape reality.”
Check out Paul van Dyk’s Escape Reality and prepare to go on a musical journey with a master producer. Escape Reality is out on Paul’s Vandit Records. Tune into his Sunday Sessions on his YouTube and Twitch channels at 1 PM EST/10 AM PST as well.