Tiesto: Kaleidoscope (Album Review)

Tiesto kaleidoscope

Arguably one of the world’s greatest trance DJs, Dutch producer Tiesto has continued to redefine the boundaries of trance music with his signature emotive style and arena-ready sound for over fifteen years.

For his fourth major studio release Kaleidoscope, the premiere producer of trance sought some of the music scene’s most dynamic characters, ranging from global superstars (Calvin Harris, Sneaky Sound System, Nelly Furtado) to an assortment of lesser known, left-of-center acts (Tegan & Sara, Bloc Party‘s Kele Okereke, Sigur RosJonsi) The result? A powerhouse collection of single-worthy uptempos bursting with indie cred and trance appeal, appealing to both the body and soul.

One standout involves Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado, who had her first taste of dance with her 2006 album, Loose. Replace the generic Timbaland-produced beats of that album with a flurry of glittering, electro-encrusted pulsations, and you’ve got “Who Wants To Be Alone,” a devastatingly addictive dancefloor haunt guaranteed to delight on repeat time and time again.

Other winners include Emily Haines‘ turn on the storming “Knock You Out,” which plays like Ladytron on E, the warm synth pulsations of the Cary Brothers-assisted “Here On Earth,” and “You Are My Diamond,” a throwback to the days of pure, ‘90’s pulsating bliss. The track is made all the better thanks to a shamelessly celebratory, sugary sweet delivery from Kianna Alarid, known best as the lead singer of Tilly and the Wall.

“Feel It in My Bones,” featuring indie darlings Tegan & Sara is perhaps the album’s greatest track, and undoubtedly the epitome of the album’s intentions. As Tiesto’s cool, calculated trance vibrations shudder underneath, Tegan & Sara’s smart-pop sensibility lift the track and create something new; the result becoming a celebration of the art of collaboration.

Simply speaking, there’s not a bad track in the bunch–at least in terms of the vocal offerings. The album’s only drawback can be found in its five instrumental tracks, included as a kind of overcompensating injection of Tiesto trance, lest we somehow forget who’s in charge behind the scenes of all of these guest spots. Sadly, they do little for the album here, aside from providing long, unnecessary breaks between the meat of the album. Skip them, and you’ve got one hell of a solid set.

Kaleidoscope is unlike anything Tiesto has done before (and surely nothing its guests have recorded). In spite of what could have been a risky undertaking (whether or not devoted fans of each genre will come to embrace this album remains to be seen), Tiesto’s fifth studio album is nothing short of excellence–allowing indie music the pulse it never knew it needed and dance music the lyrical sophistication it has so stubbornly ignored. Hearing the two genres come together? Well, that’s why this is nothing short of a musical dream come true.

Kaleidoscope will be released on October 20.

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