Alpha Portal debut set at Ozora Festival 2016. Photo by Pierre Ekman Photography
What happens when two of the most successful, well-known, and talented psytrance producers in the world team up together? The results, as you may imagine, are pretty on point. It's much more than a collab track or a tag team set. It's, as they say, border-free psytrance. It's the combination of the musical powerhouses that are Astrix + Ace Ventura. Ladies and gents, it's Alpha Portal.
You may not know the names Avi Shmailov or Yoni Oshrat offhand, but if you've been anywhere near electronic music on this planet, you may very likely have heard of Astrix (Avi) or Ace Ventura (Yoni), easily the most recognizable names in psytrance. I can ask a raver kid who has never been to a psytrance party in the States, and they could tell you who both these guys are, because they've reached a certain pinnacle of success that transfers between the mainstream and the underground, something few have achieved; a dream many can even wish to dream.
The musical style of Alpha Portal may not be what many would expect, if you were to base this melding of musical masterminds off of their solo projects. Rather than staying in their more signature sounds, they build upon each other's styles. The result is driving, high energy music, notably faster than either of their solo projects or past collabs. Relentless. Uncompromising. Blasting, full-power, deep and textured, banging and grooving, are but a few of the words that come to mind when listening to Alpha Portal.
The Alpha Portal project is on the established, highly respected label HOMmega, Astrix's home label (also home to Infected Mushroom, Skazi, Juno Reactor, Freedom Fighters, Vertical Mode, and more). Their project debuted at Ozora Festival in Hungary a few weeks ago, and now they are at Psy-Fi in the Netherlands (which actually is the reason I haven't reached out for an interview just yet as they are there right now, blasting away).
Yoni and Avi have unleashed some definite musical magic. Yesterday, August 24, 2016, they released their Alpha Portal - Dimension 001 set on SoundCloud, which has become an instant hit with fans worldwide. In under 24 hours their mix has racked in 6.6k plays and steadily climbing:
ALPHA PORTAL - Dimension 001
1. Burn in Noise - MPR (UNRL)
2.Tristan & Magik - Triptamine (Nano records)
3. Braincell & Martian arts - Braidspiral (Nano records)
4. Alpha portal & Magik - Magik portal (UNRL)
5. Mad tribe - Alien hoax (TIP records)
6. Eat static & Laughing buddha - Sea of dreams (Mesmobeat)
7. Burn in Noise & Altruism - Shamanic (UNRL)
8. Alpha portal & Ajja - The other side (UNRL)
9. Freedom fighters & Ryanosaurus - Million little pieces / Outsiders remix (UNRL)
10. Empirikal - Lost contact (HOMmega productions)
11. LOUD - Africa 101 (Nano records)
12. Altruism - Colours (Nano records)
13. Artificials - Sequences (UNRL)
14. Alpha portal - Creatures (UNRL)
More Alpha Portal:
The sound of this mix is more Nano Records and TIP Records than say the progressive stylings of Iboga or traditional HOMmega, their home labels--but don't let me define it like that for you, it's just a hint at what constitutes this borderless psytrance. I also note influence from their earlier works in their musical repertoire of tunes from the early to mid 2000's. It's great to see the return to this, and this expansion of increasing bpms and driving sound from both of them, truly a rich, uncompromising, simply-put, badass sound. Also, there's a solid chunk of holy-grail "every-psy-djs-dream" unreleased tunes in here for the music aficionados and nerds to geek out over in here too in this set, which is also up for download so you can listen without streaming.
So yeah--I'm saying it's a fantastic mix, impeccably mixed, to boot, of course, no question there. There are many talented producers that just never got the hang of DJing, but both Astrix and Ace Ventura, both extremely talented producers, are *phenomenal* DJs, who I've both seen masterfully play sets on CDJs (and learned some tricks from them), they know how to create proper journeys in their sets.
Ozora Festival 2016, from left to right, Ace Ventura, Astrix, Ajja (photographer unknown)
The collaboration track with the venerable Ajja (Peak Records, Switzerland) alone should speak volumes about the intensity and brilliance of this project.
Sometimes criticized by a few scene purists who think psytrance is theirs' to own, unfairly judged for their success both mainstream and underground. I would love to see an Alpha Portal set at an event like Electric Daisy Carnival and have them unleash the fury upon unsuspecting ravers who will eat that up, easily. A friend had seen Astrix and Ace play at EDC, and she immediately wanted to come to my psytrance gigs after that! All for the better. Also, both Astrix and Ace Ventura will be at Symbiosis Gathering in September at Woodward Reservoir in Northern California, hint hint to Symbiosis...
As a DJ, I've had the honor of closing after Astrix, and as an event producer with Pulse SF in San Francisco, have helped bring out Ace Ventura to the Bay Area three times in the past few years. I am very familiar with their music and play it often in my sets, and I look forward to when the Alpha Portal music will start to be released.
For two people that have contributed so much to psychedelic trance, we can only begin to fathom what's coming next from these guys.
Khromata is a resident DJ/promoter/event organizer with Pulse SF based in the Bay Area. She is also a label DJ for Digital Om Productions, and a label DJ and Artist and Repertoire for Luminus Music, Hedflux's new label. She is also an occasional writer, humorist, scene satirist, and lover of various types of cheeses and oh yeah, she loves psychedelic music.