Voojoo Rituals is an obscure Israeli psytrance compilation from the turn of the millennium boasting an impressive collection of exclusive cuts found nowhere else. It is lightly mixed by DJ Gidi, who orchestrates mercifully brief and mostly non-invasive transitions, almost certainly arranged in a DAW (digital audio workstation). The packaging is peculiar; this CD comes in some kind of plastic sheath with a blue switch at the end to eject the disc. Four of these tracks were also released on a vinyl sampler EP.
The compilation opens with Scotch, a killer collaboration between Domestic and Erez Aizen from Infected Mushroom. Ranging from dark and haunting to full-on melodic bliss, this track covers a lot of territory, and still sounds fantastic today. A surefire winner for all fans of the early Infected sound. Alas, the dreamy finish is ruined by an awful mix into the next track.
Passenger’s The Race, taken from Full On 4 (and hence the only non-exclusive track here), is a serious piece of power trance featuring samples from the speedway and aggressive bass lines. Simple yet deadly, with some energetic buildups, but you’re better off with the version on the aforementioned release.
The Psycraft remix of BLT’s Lemon is bubbly and cheerful, combining a fast bass-heavy groove with fluttering melodies and warm atmospheric pads. Not a bad morning tune but the production quality is rather rough.
After Infected Mushroom, Dark Soho was seen as the next big thing from Israel in the year 2000. Madness features a menacing blend of grinding guitars, cinematic atmospheres, and heavy beats, remaining true to the sound of their debut album Sun Spot. This is one of the better early singles from the group.
Satlanation AKA Gorlation Corporation is made up of Assaf Dor and Nir Shoshani (better known as Hujaboy). Alongside DJ Gidi they provide a lesson in Bassology with fat chunky beats and dazzling psychedelic effects. Sounding very much like Plastic Zeus, from the U.F.S. 2 compilation, this is a real peak-time head-twister, and another good reason to pick up this release.
Creatures From Outer Space is a collaboration between DJ Goblin (of Psysex, and also known as Children of the Doc) and Talamasca (AKA DJ Lestat). It originally appeared on a vinyl single from 3D Vision Records, but this “Interactive Mix” might be a slightly different version (I haven’t a copy of the vinyl to confirm this). In any case, this deeply alien track is pure quality—it casts the listener deep into the shining void, building toward an extraordinary climax that seems to go on forever. Wicked stuff!
BLT’s Fluffer is a playful piece of trance with stodgy beats and wispy melodies spiraling around. Despite the 146 BPM pace it has more of a progressive arrangement, allowing elements to slowly build over several minutes. An intriguing sign of things to come for this talented producer.
Look at Me superficially sounds very much like other Infected Mushroom tracks from the era, blending the roughness of The Gathering with the more ornate styling of Classical Mushroom. There’s something peculiar going on here, however, as the track undergoes a noticeable metamorphosis at the halfway point, right after the eponymous sample plays and the rhythm sections fattens up considerably. Insanely cool melodies bubble up from the depths, providing much for fans of this iconic group to appreciate. Weird but worth owning.
Psycraft rounds it out with Wild 19, a strange tune with spooky hints of melody, a plodding groove, and ill-fitting samples about executions and other nonsense. The BLT influences are strong in this one but the results are mediocre.
This is an essential compilation for all fans of raw, underground Israeli psytrance circa 2000. Voojoo Rituals contains several exclusive tracks that really must be heard. That being said, the light mixing detracts from the quality of the release, and the order of tracks isn’t to my taste. Still, this compilation offers great insight into the development of what Shahar, in his Isratrance review, refers to as the “new generation” of Israeli trance producers. As such, it is certainly worth adding to your collection.