Archive for the ‘Hard’ Category

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.

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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!!!

Wippenberg – Neuro Dancer [1995]
June 20, 2011

Acid Techno, what a wonderful time it was in the mid nineties when classics such as this filled basements, fields, warehouses across not just England but the whole of Europe. Neuro Dancer is one just record that you would be dropped everywhere and with good reason because its a floor destroying piece of epic techno. Mark-EG must have dropped this like four times at Dreamscape 20, in the chillout tent as well of all places and every time, it would get the monged up off their arses and back into it. If your track can get people comming down up and dancing, I reckon your onto a winner.

From Discogs
Forget about running for cover, there’s no escaping this record. In the acid trance stakes, this is unique in so far as it even manages to make ‘Lost In Love’ by Legend B sound like a chill out record!

It all starts off innocuously enough, like someone casing the perimeter of a bank, minding his own business, the all off a sudden it’s all systems go for a ‘smash’n’grab’ raid that would hit the headlines the world over. The track goes into overdrive as the acid tweaks rain down with ferocious intensity and fog-horns raise the roof. There’s a crazy vocal that sounds like “Girl in the house”, but I could be wrong.

Anyone who has witnessed this track on a dancefloor will know that nothing comes close to touching it in term of whipping up the crowd into frenzy.

Years later, it still has the same impact that it had back in the mid 1990s.

The ultimate euphoric hard acid trancer.

Sven Väth – An Accident In Paradise [1992]
May 5, 2011

Oh Sven, a man who’s techno output has ranged from the sublime to the absolute pits. Also allegedly one of the hardest working producers in Electronic Music. This is one of his earliest tracks, originally released as a test pressing before getting a full publish and included on Sven’s seminal first album of the same name. For 1992, this techno track echoes far more of techno to come, with that rolling angry acid bass synth dominating the track with other urgent synth riffs and haunting whispered vocals layered on top. But nowhere you go can you avoid the acid bass synth. Its like a nightstalker, comming to find you relentlessly, an absolute masterstroke from Sven.

From Discogs
Not only was Sven Väth at the top of his game when he recorded the title track for his debut ‘solo’ album (Ralf Hildenbeutel was practically ever present whenever Sven Väth was in a recording studio back then), but each of the remixers on this release produced some of their finest work to date.

The original mix is as per the album version. It’s an urgent and dramatic in your face ballet influenced dark had trancer with a mischievous hard acid line that sounds like a space monsters stomach suffering from a very bad dose of cosmic indigestion. The beats thump away with fist pumping percussion and twists and turns. The production is topped of with dark breathy occasional vocals and intense symphonic stabs. This track demands your attention and won’t let go of you until you’ve been rendered a shivering emotional wreck in the corner of a very dark and uncomfortable room.

RIP Loleatta Holloway
March 22, 2011

Loleatta Holloway

Its a sad sad day for music. We lost one of the truly great female vocalists. In this day of autotune and refined marketability, Holloway continued to find cuts of her vocals in all manner of music, in many cases without any financial compensation. Her voice remains one of the most sampled in the history of music with Love Sensation being one of the most prolific accapella’s of all time.

I grew up with Loleatta Holloway’s voice, from the originals back in the early to mid Eighties to the rise of the sampler and House & Garage tunes from 1987 onwards. From that point on, I dont think ive heard more than 20 different electronic tracks before I find one with a vocal from Holloway. Ive lost the plot with her, i’ve danced around a field with her voice floating across the fields, heard in raves, mixtapes, hardcore, house, drum & bass, commercials, movie trailers, on my ipod about four times a day and i’d hazard a guess that she was playing the day I got married. There are very few artists that I know of that can claim to have been in the collective audio unconscious of sample based music lovers for almost four decades.

She was one of the truly great vocalists of our time and one that will be very sorely missed by me. In an effort to do any kind of justice to this memory, lets get the music underway.

RIP Loleatta Holloway, you were fucking amazing.

…the key to her appeal is that she doesn’t push herself too far to the front. The pleasure of listening to divas like Whitney or Rihanna is that it’s an aspirational experience – women want to be them, men want to be with them. Holloway is a different proposition: a collective experience, of mutual understanding and shared joy. She takes the utopian ideals of clubland – sex, community, abandon – and massively amplifies them back at the dancers, singing to each one of them and the club as a whole. As her voice surges onto and fills the dancefloor, it really does feel like we’re all getting stronger.
Taken from a Great Obituary from the Guardian

The Psychopaths – Nightmares [1991]
February 1, 2011

First off, im so glad I never heard this in a club. Im not sure i’d be able to take it, Krueger scared the shit out of me as a kid and im not sure a dancefloor would have been the best place to relive those memories.

However, thats not to say the track is a bad one, on the contrary, its a total belter. That sub base is a brutal, writhing monster of a sound, chopped into tiny pieces by the breakbeat and interspersed with as many fucked up Krueger samples as you can find. The choir riff is just plain evil, damn, just so dark. At a time where Ital-Piano tunes were dominating the setlists, this fella creeps in and brings all the party kids crashing back down. Albeit, with a big ass grin your face. YES!

From Discogs
This kind of masterpiece only comes once in a life time. First time I heard this was on Jeff Mills’s Liquid Room 2000, I searched and searched and found it on Discogs Track ID. I don’t know how to describe the tracks. Jeff played from B-side, which has tools. What really thrilled me was A-side, the track makes the time and space totally paranoid: the children chorus, and samples and main female vocal, this is a pleasure nightmare. A real masterpiece. I believe this must have been the inspiration to Surgeon’s Waiting For Me.

Mega’Lo Mania – The Finest [1994]
January 18, 2011

Kicking off this short week with an absolute BELTER. If your going to do Hard Trance, your first stop should be Nils Ruzicka and Ramon Zenker as Mega’lo Mania. This for me is probably their best offering by a mile, keeping the vibe really positive, great string work and a couple of synth riffs so catchy, they’ll destroy pretty much any dancefloor.

From Discogs
The Finest is a simple-sounding, but very good tune. It has a positive feel, and a good flow. The extra track Antasy maybe takes some time to really enjoy, but is a very underrated track! However, in my ears, Gozzle is way off here. Keeps little of the feel of the original, offers nothing new, is slow and boring. Probably there are people that like this style also, but it has nothing to do with Mega ‘Lo Mania…

If you have the opportunity to buy the original single, I would recommend that over this one. However, this one is definitely worth the money also, just ignore Gozzle 🙂

94-96 Acid and Hard Trance | Mixcloud [2010]
January 17, 2011

Vodpod videos no longer available.

94-96 Acid and Hard Trance | Mixcloud [2010], posted with vodpod

Ive been jonesin’ for some really banging tunes while at the gym so I dug out a stack of old Acid and Hard Trance and got to work. There’s so many absolute classics this mix could have gone on for days but I managed to keep it short and sweet, down to an hour. Enjoy!

Brainchild – Symmetry (c-mix) [1994]
January 7, 2011

One of the best this, an absolute banger from Matthais Hoffman aka Cygnus X. The track was featured almost entirely on Carl Cox’s seminal Hard Trance album F.A.C.T which was something due to how cutty Mr Cox was known to be. It is hard trance perfection, consistently building and breaking down, its so huge that it can only truly be appreciated drifting over a crowd of thousands under the stars. Ive included the P-Mix as well as its a much darker, brooding affair with some amazing buildups in its own right. Such a classic.

The B Side Mix : Brainchild – Symmetry (P-mix)

From Discogs
Goosebumps, goosebumps, goosebumps, this is what I get when im hearing this song. Especially the symmetry P mix. Its starts with a sample of a church orgue. True this song more and more sounds are add to this tune, with makes a typical trance melody.
I dont know how the artist Brainchild (also know as Cygnus X)combined these samples to such perfect harmony. But for me the are memorable!!