Kevin Energy & Proteus – London Helsinki Underground [2004]
March 19, 2012

Right. Time for some face melting hardcore. Yes, thats right, some ridiculously high bpm, acid riffs that will split you in half and a light sprinkling of cheddar because really, you cant take Monday too seriously now can you?

So Kevin Energy is one of the longest running hardcore producers in the business, hell the guy had his own radio show on DreamFM back in 1994 aged 15. While ive heard plenty of tat from Energy, this track is taken from what I would consider to be classic KE production. Mental synth manipulation at 168bpm with a ferocious kick drum and enough buildups and drops that your brain is jelly by the end of it.

So, if your Monday feels a bit sedentiary, kick it in the face with this banger.

Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme (Main Mix) [2004]
February 29, 2012

Love it or loathe it you cant deny that Lola’s Theme is a master-stroke of house production. Its literally draws upon 20 years of experience to craft a track so damn slick it will be heard for years to come. It has enough disco-y house to please the bunnies, the bass line is chunky enough to satisfy even the most devoted Prog house fan. The four to the floor is crispy and interesting and the vocal is absolutely perfect for the tune, synthy guitar business keep the tech heads happy and wrapping it up is that cracking build up smack bang in the middle. Guaranteed to lay waste to any dancefloor it comes into contact with. What a release this is.

Its another one of those tracks that have been remixed to all hell, there’s a lot of great ones out there but for me its either the Main Mix (a dub version of the Extended Vocal) or the afforementioned “Extended Vocal Mix”. Both, original and absolute perfection.

From Discogs
The Main Mix is simply a dubbed version of the Extended Vocal Mix. The track simply starts with a progressing introduction, with an all round solid kick and bassline. Soon enough, we are greeted with a more uplifting synth, and the track starts to take a more funky turn with some quality strings, and a superb catchy house melody. As we approach the breakdown, the vocals are heard. The vocals are quite fitting to the vibe that the track gives out, and the cut vocals make this a mix much better than the full vocal mix in my opinion. The breakdown just builds and builds before exploding into a crescending array of synths, instruments and basslines. The melody so funky, and catchy, will no doubt make this one of ‘the’ summer tunes of the year for 2004!

Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise [2004]
July 18, 2011

What was supposedly meant to be Orbital’s final release, One Perfect Sunrise in fact was their last track for about four years before reforming and touring again. That said, the track definately smacks of the melancholia of a departing friend, coupled with the sweeping uplifting string and vocal arrangement that almost suggests that “Dont Worry Folks, We’ll Be Back”. It is a beautiful song however, if a *wee* bit pretentious if we’re being honest. Regardless, I think overall the track never made it as big as it should have done, its such a crowd pleasing melody that it would make the end of any set just floor a crowd I reckon. End of the night as you stand in a field with the break of dawn, this floating over the hedges? Golden.

There are a bunch of cracking remixes too, ranging from standard house offerings to cracking breaks.
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Hybrid’s Stereo 8 Remix)
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Reuben Halsey Upbeat mix)
Orbital – One Perfect Sunrise (Phil Hartnoll Mix)

From Discogs
This is one 12″ not to be missed. It’s the most perfect farewell single any band could ever come up with! The original Orbital mix always brings a lump to my throat – it’s so emotional and beautiful… From the amazing vocals by Lisa Gerrard to the perfect instrumentation…this is without a shade of doubt one of the best progressive trance tracks ever produced.
Stereo 8 remix on side A does not disappoint either. It’s a harder clubby take on the track, but still very haunting and atmospheric.
A truly fantastic release! Orbital will never be forgotten. But they will be HUGELY missed.

This record is worth owning for the awesome JDS remix of Orbital’s ‘Acid Pants’ alone. Reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers at their stomping best only better, this is probably his finest moment. An absolute monster of a tune that builds and builds into a frenetic ‘hoover’ climax, and a tirade of furious ‘live’ drum samples and frenetic 303-style squeaks and squiggles. This tune is a jaw dropper that fans of any of the contemporary hard dance genres will go absolutely nuts for!

The Breakfastaz – Kick It [2004]
April 6, 2011

Ive not been the biggest fan of the Breakfastaz, strange given my near fanatical devotion to the breakbeat, however this slice of banging cheese is one of my guilty pleasures. Its an unapologetic arm waver with some cracking bassline and break work. Its not too complicated, like Ronseal…. it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Roni Size Ft Beverley Knight And Dynamite MC – No More [2004]
March 2, 2011

When Roni is good, he’s great. Beverley Knight is always amazing. Bash ’em together like on this track and you’ve got perfection. Capturing the urban sound of the UK perfectly, Roni has had a string of successful singles, yet he’s seemingly dropped off the face of the earth since 2009. Same goes for Beverley Knight, I havent heard her fantastic vocals for at least 12 months which is a shame. Dont get me wrong, the track is a pretty standard offering, the break is pretty vanilla, the sound is borderline liquid, what raises this up over the usual noise is the contribution fron Knight. Without the strength of her vocal this track would be nothing.

Ivory – Blaze A Trail ( Breakfastaz Remix ) [2004]
November 15, 2010

Belting remix from the Breakfastaz. I’ll admit, im a bit on the fence with a lot of the solo work but almost all their remixes that I have heard have been flawless. I love Ivory’s lyrics on this track, I reckon its a near perfect example of mid-2k’s UK breakbeat. Raw and grimy, punchy lyrics and head kicking breaks. YES!

From Ivory’s My Space Page
A self-confessed nutter on stage, Ivory and his band are currently one of the most talked about live acts. All raw power, fast rhymes and big hooks, he has commanded floors from indie venues and clubs to festivals such as Glastonbury. “Simply one of the best live acts I’ve seen’ Touch Magazine.

Radio 1’s Annie Nightingale, Huw and Mary-Anne Hobbs, and Kiss FM’s Tayo became massive supporters. XFM’s Eddy Temple-Morris was moved to say: ‘When I heard Ivory I thought, WOW, this guy is serious…. this is REALLY GOOD! His tunes were in my box from the day I got them and will be till the day I stop breathing! He’s amazing.’ realeditorbest profile toolsrealeditorbest profile tools

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Filo & Peri – I95 (Original Mix) [2004]
October 8, 2010

Fantastic uplifting trance banger from Filo & Peri. There’s very little not to love in here, banging bassdrum, great synth work and the thing that makes it, those epic strings and piano. The absolute nuts.

From Discogs

This track is still one of my favourites. It has a real punch and drive from the onset with a energetic bass line and lead sounds which bring us nicely to the break… and then comes that piano riff… simple yet extremely catchy. no wonder Paul Van Dyk was all over this one a few years ago. I think this is one of Filo & Peri’s better offerings.

Robert Nickson – Spiral (Original Mix) [2004]
October 7, 2010

Anyone with even a passing interest in uplifting trance tunes knows the strings from Spiral. Played to death for over 6 years, its still a favourite in Buren’s trance sets and for good reason. The track itself is a great example of truly atmospheric layering, with twinned string synths dominating the feel of the track but layered with a squelchy acid riff and main synth that just remains punchy. The four beat is big and pounding, just what a track like this needs.

On a side note, while the Original will always be my favourite, Alucard’s Star Ocean Mix is a total BEAST and well worth a listen
Robert Nickson – Spiral (Alucard’s Star Ocean Mix)

EnMass – CQ (Seek You) [2004]
July 7, 2010

I recently got my hands on a bunch of trance vinyl and while going through it found this belter – I know it better from mixes than in full but its mainly because of the buildup / synth break at around the 3 minute mark. A good, quality uplifting trance number that reminds me a lot of an even better Liquid track from 5 years earlier.

As it happens one half of the production team from EnMass died not long after this went to wax on a 2006 re-release – a crying shame considering the future that EnMass had on the Eurotrance circuit.

Smoove – Commin’ Back (Northern Soul Mix) [2004]
May 18, 2010

Dead Men’s Shirts by Smoove is an absolutely incredible album of dry wit, soulful beats and jazzy compositions. Its all done with a tongue in cheek nod to Jon Smoove’s home town of Newcastle. Over the past decade he’s put out a string of cracking singles, this being one of my favourites by a mile. Its absolutely huge bassline gets a big ole kick up the arse from a banging percussion section and Jess Roberts’ powerful yet soulful voice mellows the track creating a balanced stormer of a tune. Phenomenal.

You can download the whole album HERE and its well worth it, its fucking grand.