Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You [1999]
June 26, 2012

If you want to talk about dance floor destroying classics, if Stardust doesn’t come in the top five, I reckon you’re overlooking a timeless classic of biblical proportions. When this was released it steamrolled over pretty much everything else at the time. You couldn’t move for this track and I don’t think anyone really suffered for it. Guaranteed to have a dance floor packed in seconds, the track is a seriously easy going house track drenched in classic French style production.

The track lifts a pretty decent slice of its melody from the classic “Fate” from Chakka Khan but remasters the crap out of, resulting in this masterpiece. Sure, its gotten so much play these days that you might say its worn out. But be honest, the minute you hear that riff, you’ve got a wry grin on your face and that foot of yours is tapping. A hallmark of a great classic.

From Discogs
There’s something about this song, that just makes it so awesome. It follows the same formula that a lot of other house tracks do (See: One More Time and Digital Love by Daft Punk, U Don’t Know Me by Armand Van Helden, Lady by Modjo) but this one has some unique quality to it that I can’t put my finger on. It’s just so, full of energy, life, and awesomeness! Benjamin Diamond’s vocals sound different here, he sounds like a different person. And it’s just so, inspiring.

On the Saturday this came out, two copies of this were simultaneously spanked for hours in Luna Bar (Bar Basics)Leeds. Disco house, though, had already been going for years. It was a natural gradual progression, impossble to pinpoint a specific point in time, cos that point would be different for everybody.

Long Live French House!

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.

Nigo – Freediving(Stereo MC’s Remix) [1999]
September 19, 2011

Cracking breakbeat remix from the Stereo MC’s of Nigo’s otherwise anemic downtempo offering. The Mc’s did the dirty with the break, making seemingly double that of the original, adding some nice piano touches. It pretty much turns this track from a downtempo yawner to a fantastic, end of set track.

Huntkillbury Finn (ft. Taskforce & Gunshot) – Liar Liar [1999]
June 21, 2011

Taken from the Mummy’s Little Soldier EP and what a track this is. Some quality irreverent lyrics, delivered perfectly to the laidback beats. Quality.

From Wikipedia
HKB FiNN (born Andrew Ward on October 13, 1965) is a British musician, poet & writer. He is known for his role as lead singer for Hip Hop band Katch 22 and his solo work where he fuses a variety of music styles to create a unique sound. He has written and performed on 25 albums.

Divine Styler & DJ Shadow – Divine Intervention [1999]
December 1, 2010

Devastating collaboration from Divine Styler and DJ Shadow. Fantastic lyrical work, relentless and conscious over an incredible composition from Shadow. Doing what Quannum does best, huge breaks, brutally engaging lyrics and faultless production. Kick your Wednesday in the face with this banger!

The best part of the track by far for me is the last minute or so where Shadow just changes the whole composition up a gear with the subtle additon of that fabulous echoey moog bassline and monster scratching. What a way to finish on a high!

Les Rhythm Digitales – Soft Machine [1996]
November 18, 2010

One of my favourite tube tracks, great when you’ve had a heavy night and your feeling a bit shifty in the morning.

es Rythmes Digitales’s Darkdancer album was way ahead of it’s time so people didn’t know what to do with this excellent release from 1999 when it came out. Most anyone who was into electronica back when this was released they were either dancing to the euphoric beats of trance or chilling to a downbeat track in the backroom of a club.

As I listen to this album today it still sounds very fresh. Every track is very nicely produced by Stuart Price aka Les Rythmes Digitales, aka Thin White Duke, aka Zoot Woman. He even brings on Shannon of Let The Musi Play fame and the Wouldn’t It Be Good musician Nik Kershaw on a couple of the tracks. The album sounds like the early 1980s dance music with the added electronic elements of today.

Blue States – Walkabout [1999]
November 2, 2010

A serious downtempo stormer from Blue States, Nothing Changes Under The Sun was a landmark album for me at least. It was one of the very first to get me seriously into listening to downtempo tracks, comming at a point in my life where I was Techno’d out. The album sounds far more like a soundtrack than a mix of tracks, a testiment to the cohesion of the arrangements. This is one of the more whimsical offerings but I have a soft spot as it was the theme of my showreel that got me my first job in visual effects. A great way to spend 5 mins!

From Discogs
Nothing Under the Sun is astonishing — even though it’s Blue States’ first album, its mature production and careful attention to detail make it an instant classic. Its downtempo stylings are melodically perfect, with a tinge of sadness permeating the proceedings. “The Trainer Shuffle,” for instance, morphs and grows, continually adding instruments: a wistful trumpet, a Hammond organ, a muted brass band. The most famous track, “Your Girl,” makes you wonder why people even bother falling in love: the vocal sample complements the melancholy vibe. Both “Stereo 99” and “Spit and Soar” have a gorgeously dreamy quality to them; they’re songs that make you want to lie on a hill and watch the clouds go by. Easily one of the best downtempo albums of the decade.

Astral Projection – Nilaya [1999]
May 13, 2010

What a track this is. Probably one of my favourites from Another World its depth of synth mastery I think outshines almost any other Psytrance track. There’s at least four main synth sections mixed with the pounding bassdrum that just sweep in and out of each other. Its farkin’ supreme, an absolutely stellar dancing track that you can loose yourself in and just when you think your journey is over….. off you go again!

From Discogs
Astral Projection’s “Another World” was released following the hugely sucessful “Dancing Galaxy”,and continues on that tradition of massive, rich and deep sounds of previousAstral Albums. Nine mind-blowing compositions, kicked off by the heavenly and angelic sounds of ‘Nilaya’ – a floor killer that captures the soul and takes it into a psychicjouney into the chakras.The album theme “Another World”is a pulsting grooveoverlaid with skylining power riffs. “Visions of Nasca” – images of colliding magnetic fields that mold into powerful and mysterious 3D morphing grooves.”Searching for UFOs” – a touching creation – a magical light from the galaxy beyond us with excitingmorning sounds. Other tracks include “Tryptomine Dream”, “Aqua Line Spirit”, Trance Dance and the legendary Mahadeva in a new form “Mahadeva 99”. All in alla multidimensional sound scape, breaking new boundaries in Psy Trance.
This album is Astral Projection at their peak in my opinion. While I love all their albums, Another World always stuck out for me. The overall feel and theme of the music is very futuristic and outerspace… Which is something I love in trance music. When an artist or album successfully captures this feeling in their music I go crazy for it. Tracks like “Nilaya” and “Tryptomine Dream” give these space images very well. Its debatable if Astral Projection is still considered goa trance as I write this review, but back when Another World came out, there was no better artist in the genre!

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker [1999]
February 28, 2010

Not much to say with this, just another classic by Richard James is probably the best way to put it. For the most part Windowlicker is a disjointed electro beast that lures you into a sense of comfort before sneaking up on you with that HUGE and chronically filthy climax that I think is pretty much one of the most epic sounding synths in living memory. Its so goddam dark and evil I could listen to it day in and day out! Awesome.

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker – Full 10 Minute Music Video

From Discogs
Windowlicker is by far aphex twin’s best and most commercial release without compromising any of his skills that makes him such a talented musical genius. sounding like a warped soundtrack to a porno movie, windowlicker writhes and contorts its way to the fuzzy electric guitar climax. the only track worth the cost of the EP! (formula) or (equation) or a bunch of unpronounceable scribble starts of strong but falls short at the end and we hear more nannou style musicbox twinkling to last us a lifetime on drukqs.

Nightmares on Wax – Morse [1999]
January 22, 2010

Absolutely fantastic downtempo stormer from Nightmares on Wax.

From Discogs
The longest serving artist on the Warp Records roster. Originally founded in 1988 by George “DJ E.A.S.E.” Evelyn and Kevin “Boywonder” Harper. Harper left before the release of Smokers Delight.

This is definitely off of Warp’s beaten path. I wasn’t expecting anything like this on Warp, that’s what makes it so refreshing I think. This is a great mixture of Funk, Jazz and Hip Hop, but not so much the latter. It’s good to see Warp likes to keep their catalogue fresh with artists like Nightmares On Wax!