Archive for the ‘Trance’ Category

Delerium – Deluxed [2002]
January 27, 2014

A truly superb reworking of the main theme from Clint Mansells Requiem for a Dream soundtrack. It evokes a pretty good chunk of Hybrid’s Theme from Wide Angle but with the strings from the soundtrack. Nothing at all wrong with that statement, this is a perfect snapshot of the turn of the millenium in dance music. The surge in breakbeat lead dance music tracks, huge sweeping synth arangements and soaring strings. Whats not to love!

PSI – Inner Understanding [1993]
November 11, 2013

What a tune this is, taken from the excellent album Twice as Nice from Fantazia and its an album that really showcases where Fantazia were taking themselves back at the beginning of 1993. Leaning heavily on more progressive house sounds than the jungle that was emerging around the same time, this album has such a fantastic range of sounds that showcase just how the scene was fragmenting at the time.

This track is a real bridge tune with big piano’s evoking the arm waving tracks of the past 12 months along with a really quite ambient through to progressive synth and bass arrangement that sounds more like the tracks you would start hearing in the later months of ’93 at clubs all over the uk under the moniker of “Progressive House and Trance”.

For me, the intro is lifted straight out of an FSOL or Orb track and if I could criticize the track in any way, it would be because there’s not enough of this broken up ambient led intro.

PSI was formed by Simon Kemmett from Cheltenham, who wrote and produced all the tracks. The vocals were performed by Caroline O’Shea. PSI played at many event during the rave years but were manly known for playing at the big Fantazia parties as well as for their signature tunes on the Fantazia albums The First Taste & Twice as Nice, including the classics Feel It – Fantazia, No Way & Forever.

Quench – Dreams [1993]
July 1, 2013

How on Gods green Earth could I have forgotten to do a write up for this. Easily one of the defining early trance tracks that is well deserved of its legendary status. Its got pretty much everything you want in a dance track, a relentless synth bassline rumbling under a cracking kick drum and that filthy low-fi high hat. Cue the bells, oh the bells. Merely a harbinger of the destruction soon to be wrought by this banger. Because just as soon as the main riff kicks in, that sawtooth synth that just rips across a crowd like wildfire, you’ll see a place erupt like no other.

I never saw anything else from Quench, not of note anyway, Dreams just left too much destruction in its wake. An absolute masterpiece.

Lexos – The Key [2001]
March 26, 2012

The prerequisite trance cover of Theme For Great Cities. In fairness, as trance tunes go, this is a pretty damn decent arm waving pounder. Frankly, they could loose the vocal cheese entirely and just rock with the strings and choppy synths.

From Discogs
Wow,talk about a myriad of influences! The main ‘You, me, all of us…’ sample is of course taken from Pizzaman’s ‘Trippin’ On Sunshine’ while the main melody is better known as ‘Theme For Great Cities’ by Simple Minds, which was also used in ‘The Real Life’ by Raven Maize. The whole track is produced by the same guys behind Quo Vadis’ ‘Sonic Boom’, which was a remix of ‘Life’s Too Short’ by Hole In One in 1997. ‘Sonic Boom’ included a vocal line of ‘Open Your Mind’, used in Usura’s 1993 hit of the same name, which was based around ‘New Gold Dream’ by Simple Minds again. All in all, it’s no wonder I have difficulty remembering what this track’s called or who it’s by.

D.O.M. – Acid war [1995]
February 28, 2012

From one end of the spectrum to the other, this Acid Techno masterpiece from D.O.M rarely attracts anything but unapologetic joy and for good reason. This doesn’t destroy dance floors, this track obliterates them with extreme prejudice. Thats driving acid riff does not stop for the entire track, pulsing through you like a techno body snatcher from another world. There is no let up, no break, once it drops your in it for the duration. Your entire world is now nothing but possessed acid riffs, pounding bass drums and raw acid baselines. I cant adequately explain in words really just how incredible a track this is when heard live, surrounded by a sea of bodies but the reaction is just electric. An absolute masterpiece.

However, if this track is unbelievably not hard enough on the acid for you, there is a remix that may just fit the bill. Wah Wah’s Acid Intensifier Remix does exactly what it says in the title, it kicks the entire track up to 11 for seven minutes of the hardest acid bedlam your ever likely to hear. For me, its too much, the simplicity of the original is what makes it stand out for me, however I know many folks who ‘kin love the Wah Wah remix.

From Discogs
OK now, the original might come in handy every now and then, or serve for the odd occassion, but this whole release is all about the remixes, actually. For a change, yeah, the remixers really did elevate the original to whole new heights.

First off, Wah Wah’s remix is a blasting, who-can-count-that-fast-to-count-the-BPM-rate acid trancecore monster, with a hardcore touch moving at incredible velocity, with jarring and steel hammer hard acid riffs. Completely wild and off the hook. Definitely something to play during the peak of the night. No pauses, no breaks and no climaxes – just torrents of wild acid dropped for around five minutes after a brief intro and the initial build up.
Then comes Chris Liberator with one of his career calling cards. To my knowledge this is the first remix he’s ever done, and what a treat it is. Rolling, 4/4 percussion, with a funky as hell bassline as the sounds and acid leads slowly but steadily gain in loudness and intensity as they progress. By the time that final break comes, prior to the last stand-off, this track is already a wicked mental hospital, then for the last two minutes or so Chris goes completely mad, twists and tweaks with these insane acid melodies and plays a dozen tricks on your mind. Fun, danceable, funky and banging, and inclined to smack an ear to ear smile across your face – isn’t that what techno is all about? Absolutely essential for all lovers of London’s underground acid techno scene.

Cygnus X – The Orange Theme [1994]
February 28, 2012

Now here’s a track that inspires either flat out joy or absolute hatred in all that know it. Its one of those tracks that has been played to death for years, for me, thats for good reason, its a blinder of a track. Its a guaranteed floor filler, appealing to a wide slate of electronic music fans and perhaps thats one of the reasons it inspires such hatred in many. Its origins are from “A Clockwork Orange”, made by one Wendy Carlos who in turn took inspiration from Henry Purcell’s “March” from “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary”.

Hoffman, under the Cygnus X moniker simply cranked the speed up, chucked in a bass drum and wavey ravey acid riff underneath and stuck it on wax. As you’ve probably noticed, im a big fan of simple arrangements and this is no different. There are hundreds of remixes, many of which make small insignificant tweaks to capitalise on the popularity of the original. The standouts for me being the Man With No Name mix released in 2000;

and the VERY crowd friendly, Moonman’s Orange Juice remix from ’99

Regardless of your opinion of the track, its hard to deny that The Orange Theme played an integral part of the techno and trance scenes. For good or bad its a track that can transport me back to dark, smoke filled rooms with lasers in an instant.

From Discogs
One of the best classical techno-trance themes. My guess is that it is techno-trance at its best. Unforgettable, but then again we must remember that the original melody was created by the genious Purcell, and beautifully worked by Wendy Carlos on the “Clockwork Orange” famous theme.

Eye Q reached the pinnacle of the classically melodic euro trance milieu with the ‘The Orange Theme’.

The Original Mix takes the ‘Vernon’s Wonderland’ (Vernon) approach, but raises the stakes to a quick 147+ bpm, and adds background bubbly acid line to drive it through. The result is a classical music masterpiece that has been often copied and remixed, but never bettered.

That is not to detract anything from the remixes here though, they are both worthy treatments.

Recreating a song composed by a classical music composer (such as Beethoven) into an electronica tune sounds like a good idea in almost every instance, but I have yet to really find an example of this that has really worked. The Orange Theme, which is also the main theme from the movie “A Clockwork Orange”, is just not very good. Granted, the Solar Stone remix is good trance, with a great build, but the main synth line is just not that good. It really isn’t that catchy, and is just plain cheesy. There are better trance anthems out there that are worth owning in this format.

I’ve always considered “The Orange Theme” a turd in Eye Q’s catalogue. It’s crude, in-your-face and unsophisticated, and reeks of UK superclubs and “Now that’s what I call trance” compilations.

But the flip side of this original release is magnificent. See, “Introspective” is just that – a pensive, poignant track imbued with the kind of warm melancholy often heard in the best early 90’s trance. You needn’t waste your time on the overplayed A side – this is the real deal. Beautiful.

ABS -My house is Your House [1991]
February 24, 2012

Cracking piece of Euro Techno. Heavv on the stompage with that brutal kick drum just punching you in the chest at every beat. There’s a generous helping of synth stabs but the special part of this for me is the hover type synth riff that comes in at the intro and weaves itself through the moog bassline and then throughout the track, its permanently there driving the track on. A proper shape thrower.

UFO – Punk [2003]
September 16, 2011

Its been a while since we’ve had any post 2000 hardcore around these parts and before you all start running for the door thinking I mean Happy Hardcore, hold up. No, when I say post 2000 hardcore, im referring to the heavily trance drenched, hard house, pounding style of the likes of Sharkey and Scott Brown. For example, this is a perfect demonstration on how to take an average Trance tune from one of the bigger trance acts of the day and kick it into overdrive. Ferry Corsten did the original and it is a great track in its own right. A fantastic riff, nice and atmospheric.

However, stacked next to this reimagining from UFO, the original just sounds so tepid. This version is a no holds barred, F5, swirling maelstrom of hard as fuck synth led hardcore techno trance. Its probably the first track I heard back then that had me venture back to that part of the scene that for so long had been dominated by that horrific toytown techno sound. An absolute banger!

DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access [1994]
August 9, 2011

What. A. Tune. So huge this tune, every single DJ everywhere had this in their crate in ’94/’95. Its probably one of the most instantly recognisable tracks of the time, it was played everywhere, everyone loved it. In a single weekend I would hear this in the pub I was drinking in, the cheesy club I was in (always mixed into Higher State of Consciousness) on a Friday, on a saturday I might be at a free party/house party/underground club and lo and behold, out would come Access and the place would go off.

It not hard to see why, the track builds up perfectly with that pounding bassdrum marking your entrance into acid bliss. The track builds up, the bassline forces the track on further with its relentless rolling rhythm before dropping in a piercing string that cuts through a crowd like a knife through butter. Your senses are now under assault, the bassdrum is pounding your chest, the bassline is shaking your teeth, your skull is getting drilled by some evil string. Cut to the bridge, just that string, slicing through the crowd and suddenly from the depths, there’s an evil creeping acid riff, climbing up your spine, your eyes begin to throb, the snares are here. The buildup is almost done and BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM in it all comes, running your ass down like a steamtrain, dragging your writhing body through… WAIT, whats this, more buildup? nope, just an 8 bar break with “Ooooh” BOOOM! Your back, being dragged through an acid assault of biblical proportions.

Truly one of the greatest dance tracks of all time. Absolutely killer.

From Discogs
Seriously now, Access is one of the most inspiring pieces of electronic music – ever! Starting off with a ridiculously hard and fast drum kick accompanied by an equally menacing bass line, it stops only for a brief moment a few minutes into the track, and then following a crescendo of screaming 303s, it transforms into a high octane acid techno burner, never looking back once it really takes off!
Fairly simple in all its greatness, but it’s perfectly pitched, with a classic build up, which is just turgid with desire to be unleashed upon the party crowd. It still occasionally slips into modern DJ sets, and believe me, it has lost zero power and its devastating effect is still fully in tact. Truly a classic, and quite probably the best track to have ever been recorded under the X-Trax imprint, although Temple Of Acid is my own personal favorite.

It’s very difficult now to capture in words the devastating effect Access had on the worlds dancefloors at the time. Although plenty decent acid tracks had been released prior to 95, the 303 sound had taken a breather after the onslaught of the late 80’s & early 90’s and was then more familiar within the goa/hardtrance sounds.
The hard dance scene was absolutely huge in the uk due to the previous 7 years of innovation and as that had started to become stale the scene was screaming out for a fresh path.
Then Access Arrived!!!
Nothing had been heard quite like this and it was like a nod to the past with a wink to the future, combining a mixture of the best acid tweaking of days gone by but with the strength and power of very early 90’s gabba in a new hardtrance kinda style, very fresh at the time.
The minute that kickdrum and stab broke through a track in the mix, you could feel it like a tremor literally shaking and pounding the club, testing the sound system to it’s max like it was invented to play this track. Whatever was played before it became irrellevant, whatever was played after could not compete. Simply it caused crowds to go absolutely wild resulting in Total Dancefloor Annihilation!!! Exactly what Misjah and Tim intended it to do, i’m sure. X-Trax Rocks!!!

Castle Trancelott – Indoctrinate [1995]
July 8, 2011

Belting trance number from Mr Patrick Prins, as the title track for the fantastic Indoctrinate EP. Its a dark unrelenting tune with some cracking sweeping strings that just soars over your head. Whether packed into a club or in a field, its just one of those tracks that sweeps you up and carries you for miles. All the time, trying to not look down because the evil bassline beneath you is just waiting to eat you alive!

From Discogs
Patrick Prins was responsible for this masterpiece, as well as most of the quality underground house at the time. ‘Indoctrinate’ is quite possibly the greatest house record ever made. Everytime I listen to it I get chills up my spine… The word ‘atmospheric’ really doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Ignore the remixes that have come since, track down the original mix and sit back and soak it all in! Perfect!

A top class release from Mr Prins himself, the Way Out West mix takes the original Indoctrinate into a different league with a phat, plodding bassline which underpin’s the entire track. It continues to swirl and chug along until the mosterous acidic break down 2/3rd’s of the way though. A real grit your teeth and go for it moment, this tune turned dancefloors to pulp and had dozens of spotters leaning over the booth, trying to pick the name up. Side B was even stronger, with the almighty ‘Gloom’ which went on to feature on the seminal Sasha & Digweed ‘Northern Exposure’ mix CD. It is a seriously dark and brooding beast that drives along with an energy level that’s hard to beat. The break down offers spooky FX, haunting chants, and a bass line lower than a snakes belly. The off beat claps of thunder sound enormous on a big system, and the kick is absoultely nailed to the mutha fckin ground. Tunes like this will sound amazing in another 10 years time, let alone today. If your a DJ, next time you have a sweaty club with a low ceiling and a good sound system, play the Gloom and engrave your set in to the memory of the punters for the rest of their lives.