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Tuesday 17th, July 2007
Ali Wilson - Watchmaker

Ali Wilson is a UK DJ and producer who has been knocking around for some time now. Starting off riding the UK hard dance wave with releases on labels such as Vicious Circle, Tripoli Trax and Nucluez, like many others he has moved away from the harder style and honed his own unique tough tech trance sound. This has proved a huge success, with none other than the big man Carl Cox naming him his ‘producer of the year’ last year. Watchmaker is his debut artist album and features collaborations from some of the brightest UK production talents and has garnered praise from the likes of Judge Jules, Marco V, Ferry Corsten and Sander van Doorn. 15 tracks are on offer presented as a continuous DJ mix – should be quite a journey.

Opening with the title track, Watchmaker, ambient sounds, a vocodered vocal that wouldn’t sound out of place on a psytrance track and the sound of a clock ticking ease the listener in superbly before a thumping electro tinged beat kicks in. The whole track has a dreamy feel, with a beautifully delicate melody in the euphoric breakdown, providing the perfect introduction. Second track Wah Wah is a marked change in style, bumpy, driving techno that has Carl Cox stamped all over it. Driven by the ‘wah wah’ sample this is a funky little beast that packs plenty of punch. Next up is a team-up with top hard trance producer Vinylgroover on Pitch Black. This lives up to its name, driving trance straight from the dark side with a bongo loop that Wilson regularly uses to such great effect. Elegantly evil trance music.

Pyramaze is all about the superb percussion, one of Ali Wilson’s many strengths. A superbly energetic piece of tech-trance with an ethnic feel that crops up in many of his productions with a great melody that snakes up through the track. The first of three collaborations with regular studio partner Matt Smallwood, Evissa Twilight, catches the ear with shrill female vocals and superb tribal chanting and a slinky melody. This is trance music made for dancing in the sunshine on a white sanded beach, pure party music. Let’s Get It On is a stand out track – pure electronic insanity with a devastating robotic male vocal and roof-ripping riff. Huge! Bring the bongos back for Emanation with DMF, a superb fusion of hard dance stabs, tribal vocals and epic euphoric riffs. A lesson in how to make an uplifting tech trance track – stunning.

Untame Me features the female vocalist Marcie who is cropping up all over the place at the moment. The slinky and seductive vocals are an acquired taste but they are driven by relentless, breathless production and add yet more variety to the album. Matt Smallwood crops up again to help out on Chiller where over deep and pounding bass they unleash swirls of synth insanity. Marco V fave Jericho is up next and it is easy to see how it has found its way into the V-Man’s CD wallet. It has the kind of punishing bassline that he loves and a riff that is pure filth. Nasty, nasty, nasty! By this point things are getting that bit harder with the thumping Mechanized - a particularly damaging assault to the senses but with a trademark Ali Wilson uplifting melody.

Amazon strays furthest into ‘true’ trance territory with a classic trance bassline, claps and gorgeous pads and keys. This is a beautiful piece of trance music that should it get a single release will no doubt become a mainstay in the likes of Armin van Buuren’s sets. Power, drive and a sublime melody to top it off, this is a real highlight. Sheer class! Pangaea keeps the uplifting melodic theme going with great style into the final Matt Smallwood team-up Evacuate. This is almost a return to his hard dance roots, with a powerful rolling bassline, cutting synth lines and an explosive breakdown – pure insanity! The album closes with Ferry Corsten favourite Clear Skies – this has a throbbing electro bassline that no doubt got Ferry’s juices flowing straight away contrasted with a sweet uplifting breakdown providing a fitting end to what is an exceptional album.


This is a stunning debut album from one of the strongest talents the UK trance scene has to offer and is worthy of a place in any trance fan’s music collection, especially if you like it a bit tougher. The sheer variety of styles on show is breathtaking and the exhilarating pace doesn’t let up for a second. No filler, just pure quality from start to finish. It puts to shame any other mix album released this year and is as far removed from the generic trance drivel that is eating away at the genre as possible. If you miss the days of great hard trance, buy this album, it will go a long way to easing your pain. Tough dance music that has a brain - an utterly essential purchase.


1. Watchmaker
2. Wah Wah
3. Pitch Black (feat. Vinylgroover)
4. Pyramaze
5. Evissa Twilight (feat. Matt Smallwood)
6. Let’s Get It On
7. Emanation (feat. DMF)
8. Untame Me (feat. Marcie)
9. Chiller (feat. Matt Smallwood)
10.Jericho (feat. Durty)
11.Mechanized (feat. Clodagh)
13.Pangaea (feat. Chris Barnes)
14.Evacuate (feat. Matt Smallwood)
15.Clear Skies

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Available to buy from http://www.beatport.com or on CD from http://www.cdjshop.com

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