Boomshanka – Do You Have The Power (This Side Mix) [1993]
April 21, 2014

Comming from the seminal Cowboy records, I first clocked this track playing on Neil Macey’s Fantazia 92/93 NYE set. In itself, the mix is a classic as far as I am concerned, a real showcase of what the UK was doing with House music at a time when the whole dance music scene was fracturing into what we know now.

This track is easily one of those tracks that transcends genre’s though, a bonafide dancefloor destroyer. Its got everything that made that time so exciting like the exceptional electronic production and brilliant sample work. This track never feels overlong, just a relentless pounder thats got you locked into a deep ass sound on the dancefloor. Well, for about 5 minutes it does, it lulls you into thinking its another well produced Progressive banger. Them around the 5 minute mark, you suddenly notice the track beginning to build up, with glorious sweeping synth strings swirly around you and that stacatto vocal hook. All culminating in a fade that makes you think the track is over. But its not, nope, your about to get smashed in the face by a piano riff so uplifting that you and thousands of others will find yourselves swinging from the rafters, going harder, smiling wider than you have ever done before. What a fucking tune this is.

From Discogs
This record was one of my most wanted for years until I managed to get it ID. A very simply prog house tune with one of the most uplifting piano’s I have ever heard with the stuttering vocal sample “Do you have the power”. Was played out a lot by sasha early 1993.

Sunset Regime – You Gotta Believe [1993]
February 5, 2014

Differing significantly from what would become Ramos, Supreme & The Sunset Regime’s seminal “You Gotta Believe”, this version by onle one of that triplet I believe actually predated its better known brother by a number of months. It was featured on the excellent Twice as Nice compilation from Fantazia and is far more a snapshot of what was happening late 1992 than what came about in the early months of 1993. Its a balls to the wall hardcore monster with huge pianos and phasered to fuck ravey synth sections all mashed together with that superb female vocal guaranteed to have you swinging from the rafters.

You can now buy this on Vinyl for the first time since release as Fantazia records have started to release their Album only classics as standalone vinyl EP’s.

From Discogs
Fantazia Sampler EP 3;
Following on from Fantazia’s Sampler EP #1 (1992) and Sampler EP #2 (2005) which feature tracks from the album ‘The First Taste’, this EP features 4 tracks from all three of Fantazia’s hardcore albums released between 1992 and 1994 – ‘The First Taste’, ‘Twice As Nice’, and ‘Made in Heaven’. Tracks A2, B1 and B2 have never been released unmixed or on vinyl before. Track A1 was originally released on the Chromatic II EP which is hard to find and sells for a decent amount.

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.

Ratpack – Rat Pack- Looking Through My Window [1992]
April 17, 2012

Taken from the truly excellent “First Taste” album from Fantazia and what a classic this wound up being. Starting slowly, almost understated with some whistful lyrics before the bassline and piano kick in and its all vintage Ratpack from that point on. The boys caught a lot of flack for surfing the line between mainstream and underground but I dont know many that managed it so well. Sure, there’s a light whiff of cheddar in every track but I dont reckon you could call it Ratpack if it took itself too seriously. Awesome.

Desired State – Dance The Dream [1991]
August 29, 2011

I cant believe its taken me this long to get this posted. Probably because there’s not really any way im going to be able to actual do it justice. It is, without a doubt one of my all time favourite tracks, solely because of how Mad P introduced the Top Buzz set that kicks off with this track. Up until that point, i’d not heard a Top Buzz set, didnt really know all that much about them. I was heavily into my Sasha, Tong and other uplifting house DJ’s. I liked a lot of breakbeat but found myself far more familiar with the few more high profile releases. I dont know who gave me this tape, it had to have been about 4 – 5 months after the night, around the middle of summer 1992 and it blew me away. It remains still one of my all time favourite hardcore mixes of all time. Trying to describe it is pointless, give it a listen;

You know that mix, the only mix where you know every single line uttered by the MC? Yeah, thats this mix for me. But I am not alone in this, hell the set is so good, they played it almost song for song at Fantazia Westpoint ON.THE.SAME.NIGHT. If ever there was a mix that cemented Top Buzz in the hearts of Ravers, I think this might be the one. It certainly did me.

So back to the track? What makes Dance the Dream so great? Well, its got that pitch perfect piano break, starts with a no-nonsense buildup and mashes it together with a monster break and bassline. The synth riff is Straight Outa Romford, cheesy shape-throwing awesome but not overused. Its all about the piano in this track and what a piano riff it is. This version sounds great as it is, better pitched up about 10% as it is from Top Buzz.

Pretty much exactly what they did for this remix to be honest 🙂

So there you go. Probably one of the first tracks that ever truly blew me away, in no small part to Mc Mad P and the Buzz.

Friendly Fires – Live Those Days Tonight [2011]
May 23, 2011

Never heard much of the Friendly Fires before but if this uplifting electro number is anything to go by, there will be a whole lot more in the near future. Actually, the reason im posting this is because somebody over at XL got the cracking idea to cut all the free rave footage on Youtube together into a cracking complementary music video. Quality Dance Energy clippage, lots of Fantazia and Dreamscapes in there. Some Energy and Sunrise clips as well as some wicked gurners. Awesome stuff.

Audio Illusion – Submission [1992]
April 30, 2010

From Jungle on the one hand, we’ll surf the crossover tracks of late 92 hardcore with this arm waver leaning very heavily toward the happier side of Hardcore. Nothin’ but crowd pleasin’ pianos and a funky as shit bassline here!

From Discogs
An excellent, obscure but cheap & easy to find 4 tracker.
“Scrambled” is one of the best of the 4 songs, though the production lets it down a bit… one layer of drums beading with the others mid measure. Still, it has great frantic breaks with sci-fi background sounds and an addictive “it’s jungle techno!” chant. “Energy” almost has a kind of pre-intelligent jungle vibe to it. “Submission” was played by Easygroove in his Fantasia 92/93 NYE set, it’s a nice happy hardcore sounding track. All in all, plenty of deadly tunage for a single cheap piece of wax.

DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer – Dont Need Your Love [1992]
March 26, 2010

The A side of Alert & Slammer’s In Effect/Dont Need Your Love double AA 12′ never quite topped the truly epic In Effect in terms of pure arms in the air awesomeness. However, thats not to say this should be overlooked. Another one of the truly rocking late Happy Piano/Hardcore track before the whole scene descended into unstoppable levels of cheese. The acid riff is fucking crap in all honesty but the vocals & strings, ragga samples and break offsets it. As for the piano and vocal, well they bring a smile every time 🙂 Fantazia 92/93 Littlecote House, Slipmatt is what im talking about!

“‘ ‘ardcore jungle-ist! ”

From Discogs
The Slammin Vinyl boys really knew how to push their limited hardware to the limit. This release, strung together on an Amiga computer, sounds lo-fi as hell but is ironically a sonic marvel. There’s as much attention to detail as some of the best beard stroking electronica of the present day, with the tracks mutating in both arrangement and sample selection every few bars. Both tracks were unbelievable fast and manic for early 1993, and despite obvious samples (for example Spectral – Touch Somebody, Xpansions – Elevation and Bizarre Inc – Plutonic) they don’t sound like blatant rip-offs.

‘In Effect’ is the most played of the two, with it’s awesome thumping breakbeat intro which builds and builds into distinctive sections mutating from piano to hoovers, ‘Bad Boy’ ragga samples and that euphoric Bizarre Inc breakdown. Whilst the production quality and chipmonked vocals date both tracks, there’s a level of energy that few artists have managed to beat, despite access to superior studio equipment.

Sunset Regime – Ive Got The Real Feel [1992]
November 24, 2009

For me the best track on Fantazia’s First Taste album. Its got it all, rocking breaks, massive synths and a piano/ vocal break thats out of this world.

Delara just clocked me rocking out to it and told me im due to join the 21st century (she even did a nice running man for effect). If there was ever a track that would make me not want too. This would be it.

St Ives – The Pulse [1993]
November 10, 2009

Probably my favourite balls out gurner from the second awesome release of Fantazia records. Not as flat out fantastic as The First Taste but still an awesome album with this being a stand out for me.

The second album from top rave organisers Fantazia is a much stronger and varied proposition, opening with Ratpack’s simply blinding hardcore ska bouncer “Lords Of The Dance” before ripping through other rave specials like Ellis Dee’s “Desire” and DJ Vibes’ “Live 4 the Feeling”. All the tracks are new and fresh and on the first side flowingly mixed by Ellis Dee. The second side starts with Graeme Park on the decks working through some simple garage tunes before the tracks drift into trippy ambience with five cuts from the previously techno-oriented Orca team.