GAIA – Moons of Jupiter

Armin van Buuren is one of the most respected and legendary names in trance, but he still takes plenty of flak. A constant debate among trance fans and Armin fans a like is whether he is “still trance” or “abandoning trance”. Over the past few years, Armin has expanded his repertoire a lot, experimenting with all sorts of musical styles. In that time he has given the detractors some ammo, even while putting out his banging club mixes. However, today he is gifting an album that is something of a love letter to trance, and to his true fans.

Together with Benno de Goeij, Armin’s GAIA alias always catered to Armin’s trance purist side. Now in this latest iteration, GAIA has gone beyond the typical expectations of trance and given us Moons of Jupiter. The album is actually not just a set of tracks that you consume individually. This is a journey through the nooks and crannies of trance and all of the related styles. From the deep to the melodic, the uplifting, and the techy Moons of Jupiter is one cohesive whole clocking in at 77 minutes.

Much in the way a proper extended trance set goes, it starts slow, deep, proggy, and melodic with a slow build in rhythm, darkness, and intensity. The tracks are all named after the titular moons of our solar system’s largest planet. It brings us back to a time in dance music when tracks had strange and hard to pronounce names without lyrics and with long run times. To some this might sound awful, but to the real fans this is incredible.

No CDJs here

This album was originally created in one live jam sesh during ADE. The entire performance was in the vein of Porter Robinson’s WORLDS or Rufus du Sol. That is – no CDJs – but full production equipment live-triggering on the fly. This is a new GAIA from what you’re used to, but that’s not a bad thing.

Armin did his experimenting with poppier music, but GAIA is his outlet to experiment with the purist styles. No vocals here and that’s just how we like it. Being completely honest, the copy of the album I listened to did not identify the individual tracks so I couldn’t tell you any specific highlights to look for. Just set aside some time and listen to the whole thing on a nice drive.

GAIA – Moons of Jupiter