You’ve probably been hearing about this one for weeks now and well, the time has finally come. Easily one of the most recognizable faces of the entire dance music community over the last decade, Armin van Buuren released what he describes as one of the most influential pieces of work to date. Crafted from a variety of tracks of the 1990’s that played a part in shaping and honing the Armin van Buuren sound we know and love, the Old Skool Mini Album pays homage to some of his favorite tracks over the years and reworks them instilling a new age sound. Complete with seven songs featuring reworks of a plethora of classic hits, Armin van Buuren’s Old Skool mini album is a nice blast from the past, giving fans a little insight towards what got Armin to where he is today.
First up is a Hard Dance rework of ‘Dominator’ by Human Resource that builds off of powerful vocals and displays a heavy melody and a punchy sub kick. This is one that’s been all over the radio in the last few weeks and is easily one of the album’s early favorites, since Armin’s rework is a club-ready anthem without a doubt.
The rework of ‘The Ultimate Seduction’ is another Hard Dance anthem that highlights the proper vocal work and backs it with plenty of bass and driving synth melodies. With smooth percussives and blaring horn rhythms in the back, the lyrics continuously rattle off the listener’s ears while the beat continues to build and bring plenty of power.
Third on the mini album is a rework of legendary artist Speedy J and his track ‘Pull Over’. The Hard Dance theme continues here as strong percussive rhythms continue to play a key role in the album’s entirety. A rapid snare pattern backs a fat kick with a subtle bass line on this one as the horns continue to rattle the listener from the inside out.
‘Qaudrophonia’ is much more synth oriented than the album’s previous tracks and represents a breath of fresh air for the fans. Powerful percussive beats back these orchestrated synth patterns as some more Q Dance/Hardstyle influences make their way in to the background. An open hi-hat beat can be heard ringing in the background as the heavy vocals fade in and out. This is another certified dance floor bomb without a doubt.
’88 To Piano’ is arguably the best track on this mini album, and with good reason. Centering around a heavy piano riff, the uptempo rhythm is backed by a crushing bass line, crashing cymbal work, and a bevy of clapping and snare rhythms to match.
The final two tracks are recent releases from Armin that also get the classic rework treatment. The first of the two is the Vigel remix of the mini album’s title track ‘Old Skool’ from his 2015 artist album Embrace. With a powerful build up, and a supremely energetic Electro infused drop, this is surely a track that’ll make into club sets heading in to the Fall and Winter seasons. And last but certainly not least, Armin van Buuren reworks one of his most well known tracks over the last decade in ‘Ping Pong.’ ‘Old Skool Ping Pong’ takes on an almost trapped out feeling as Armin focuses on swift snare and hi-hat rhythms to tickle the listener’s ear while toying with the high end melody in a joyous manner. As the pace begins to pick up, so does the melody, and it isn’t long before you’ll find yourself anxiously waiting for what turns out to be a shattering synth heavy drop with Electro and trap influences written all over it.
The entire mini album is truly an impressive piece of work from the veteran DJ and producer and only furthers the notion that Armin van Buuren is more eclectic and diverse than many critics give him credit for. Keep doing what you’re doing Armin, you’ve got a fan in us.