ASTRALASIA. The Seven Pointed Star. Magick Eye MEY CD 18

            Astralasia, the best known artist on the Magick Eye label deliver a stunning 73 min set which boldly explores the upper reaches of the psychedelic stratosphere with great verve. For starters, the title track has all the classic ingredients combined by the mysterious Swordfish, into a coherent journey through the cosmos. On ‘Whirlpool - Kaos’ the excitement level is almost at fevour pitch and to prevent exhaustion the following ‘Secret Samanta’ is a slower thoughtful piece where superb rich electronic riffs are allowed to float by and mesmerise the observer, yet be prepared for the change because after five minutes into the experience, they turn the mixer taps on and a full blown trance follows. Exquisite. Even better is ‘God Forms On The Astral’ - a track to be enjoyed on headphones. Astralasia mature with each album, their next should be absolutely stunning. (Phil Brook).

 

WORM. Agogo. Nova Zembla NXO69

            There may be some people in the world who have not heard of the legendary Self Transforming Machine Elvis. One half of this duo has called himself Worm, which incidentally stands for wanderer on random memory, and he has dedicated this album to the Joys of dance where analogue synths and trancey beats combine to make a very good album. I was surprised when the first thing to be heard was the second track. What happened to the opener? The answer was revealed when I realized the title is Digital Silence. Thankfully it fades out after a few seconds! The other eight tracks by Stef Osadzinksky do exactly what he intended, the beats are just an even tempo to assist the happy dancefloor friendly notes. There is many a good melody an the tracks Utopia, Enjoi and Valhalla all perhaps a little optimistic in the title, but if you enjoy yourself on the way what the hell. One of the tracks is called ‘Euphoria’ and this is an apt statement to describe the album as a whole. (Phil Brook).

 

EAT STATIC Implant. Planet Dog Bark CD005

            The 2nd CD by Eat Static continues the bands fascination with UFO’s. The music is electronic thoughtful trance, not all played in the hi-energy mode that inspires the mind during those dark hours of the day. What makes them stand out from amongst others in this category is their careful formulation and production technique as applied to all the eight pieces, but special mention must be made of the 6th, Area 51 (Nucleonic mix) where a slower tempo is exceptionally effective in creating rather chilling vibes during the atmospheric ambiences. Don’t for a millisecond think that there is only one good track on this album as the rest are well up to standard and it is not so easy to pick the next best yet I am always willing to have a go - try ‘Uforic Undulance’ where a slow start builds majestically into a wondrous climax. If you liked their first album ‘Abduction’, then I will guarantee this will fit very neatly into your record collection. (Phil Brook)

 

SHAMANIC TRIBES ON ACID. Tantalus. Kinetix 12" KINT20

            Do you remember the 303 sound, that early machine who’s distinctive notes launched a thousand techno records? Well at long last it has been put to good use in accompanying the title track as it waves a path towards the Goa trance market. Erotic vocalist Tabatha Acid climaxes with an orgasmic chant on this 12". I’d better throw myself into a cold bath. The splendid flip side Fractal Splash enters through a psychedelic world of acid trance and journeys to the limit of an exhausting workout. If this foretaste is a representative sample from the album promised in the future, then lovers of trance will be dancing all the way to Goa. (Cavalier)

 

PANASONIC. Kulma. Blast First. BFFP 132.

            Hell of an odd album, and that’s saying something when you consider some of the gear that throws up the dust on our Welcome mat. Around half the tracks are quite, dare I say, trancey dance. The other half could be split into further quarters: one of which sounds a little like global interference, whilst the rest sounds like recorded sunspot activity. Panasonic are from Finland, which may well explain some of the weirdness. Saying that, though, I have genuinely heard a damn sight worse. I find myself agreeing with the quote on the press release from Mixmag, techno at its darkest, most twisted form. If old Nick had access to a mixing desk and could release an album, then this would, I reckon, sound remarkably like it. Panasonic have a wicked sense of adventure, and humour. (Dave W).

 

CHILDREN OF DUB. Rhythm Of Life/Nemesis. Magick Eye. EYE T 32.

            Another delightful chunk of dance-dubby-trance from the much under rated Children where these versions will not be found on their excellent second album called ESP. On the flip side is a trance reworking of the band’s first single released four years ago. It apparently has a much faster tempo than the original, yet the rich happy sounding instrumental bounds along in tune with members of the dancefloor fraternity. Turning the vinyl over, the two version of Rhythm Of Life are quite different, the Biorhythmic Mix is again well suited to the dancefloor and the other remix is the 101 Acid, which is less full frontal in it’s delivery attack and gives a somewhat false impression of being easy going. The band still retain their ability to make complex music sound so simple. Children Of Dub have musically speaking entered adulthood. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. The Wizardry Of Oz. Transient. TRANR611CD

    Australian trance may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this subtle(!) style of psychedelia is certainly growing in popularity. I found the humour of the opening track rather strange where a looped vocal sample gives instructions to kids on a nursery rhyme type soundtrack that eventually ends in electronic mayhem. The Antediluvian Rocking Horse have aptly chosen the title The Rhythm Sticks and if you could imagine the appropriate music to accompany this, then it is not quite what I expected to start the proceedings. Normality returns with the next track Warp Phaze by Parasonix, which delivers a good heavy beat plus plenty of weird yet beautiful electronic sounds. Probably the most infectious track is by Insectoids and their The Web. Try to avoid entanglement if you can! Tiny Little Engines by The Visitors, deliver a hi energy, rich typical slice of stompin trance that is welcome at any time in this household. Reflecta’s Itchy Witches Of Androgenetica (the Matsuri press release spells it differently and I don’t know which is correct) is one of those few pieces that absolutely ouze rich sounding samples to get the blood pumping through the veins. By the time the final track appears, you should be completely tripped out by the Flouro Conspiracy’s Ancient Suns. In fact this is the second offering by them and probably the best of the album. At long last, the sounds from down under have risen up above the crowds and hopefully this should guarantee greater exposure that is rightly needed. (Phil Brook)

 

SYRINX. Tremolo Heaven EP. Matsuri. MP30

            We have all relished British and German trance, then the Australian scene came to our attention, but the Dutch contribution has been somewhat over looked, that is until now. Syrinx is actually Patrice Van Den Berg who is one third of Metal Spark, I hope you are still with me, and he has a knack of combining acidic grooves with psychedelic trance to form the title track. The AA side entitled Slippin’ And Slidin’ consists of a steady beat with an abundance of squidgy psychedelia. Expect to hear more on the forthcoming Let It Rip compilation. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Visitation II. Magick Eye. MEY CD21.

            After the success of the first Magick Eye compilation, it was only natural that a suitable successor be compiled to satisfy the music appreciators of the electronic world. Once again only artists signed to Magick Eye Records appear on the ten tracks, but these are more than capable of providing compositions of sufficient interest for this reviewer to be able to justify the high marks that I have awarded. Children Of Dub start the proceedings with their Electronic Meditation, which is lifted from the Greed 12" and the version of dubby trance is always a welcome sound. A track by Under The Honeytunnel is included as a appetizer and the future first album should be well worth obtaining. Naturally there is a track by Astralasia included and the Alien Love Song - Out There Somewhere Mix is taken from the cd single. The only artist that I am not familiar with is a new signing to the label and the track Carpenter displays a differing aspect to most, an almost mediocre inoffensive start develops into a magnificent finish. I believe the forthcoming debut album by Black Hole will be very memorable if it contains more tracks of this high calibre. Shape Of Life by UVX the Minimal Mix was originally featured on the Acid Explorer EP (vinyl only) and is another noted ingredient of this good compilation. The best track that Mushroom ever released has the cheeky title of Slap Tongue Squeaky Bonk and it is included here. The final track breaks away from the general trance arena and The Big Fish by Another Green World is gentle ambient music taken from their excellent debut album. So, a number of rare pieces or mixes to add to your magick collection, this fine introduction (part II) to the world of Magick Eye music should be bought whilst you still can. (Phil Brook)

 

THE VISITORS. Reality Check & Catt’n Good Vibes EP. Matsuri. MP31.

            I have already heard some of the recorded output of the Visitors and it’s best described as multicoloured trance of a psychedelic nature that exhibits a glorious suntan from down under. There is a certain amount of humour combined in both the way the samples are assembled and also in the few spoken words used on the A side, Reality Check. I prefer the other side, Catt’n Good Vibes, with the mean rolling bass balancing the rather unusual cheesy solo. The mixing of these tracks shows that they have already found a distinctiveness all of their own. It more than lives up to it’s name. (Phil Brook)

 

PLEIADIANS. I.F.O (Identified Flying Object)- Dragonfly. BFLCD24

            High energy trance is not purely limited to being recorded in selected towns or cities. The Italian version is seldom heard, that is until now. The Pleiadians are surprisingly, a quartet consisting of Max Lanfranconi, Maurizio Begotti, Carlo Paterno and Andrea Rizzo and the seven tracks of glorious instrumentals was recorded at the their own studio in Milan. All the pieces are given sufficient time to develop into mature slabs of very intensive music. Maia, the opening track according to the sleeve should be one of the shorter pieces of music, but it actually lasts three mins longer and clocking in at a very respectable 10 mins, there is no time to get bored as the frenzied workout kicks in after a very slow start. Most of the other tracks follow a similar pattern and build into mammoth chunks where little time is available to catch one’s breath. The longest and final track Celaeno is probably the best mainly due to a slightly slower arrangement which allows the group more latitude within the genre to introduce more experimentation. The production and sound quality are excellent on the first submission from Dragonfly to the pages of Modern Dance. I hope this album will go a long way to popularize psychedelic trance not only as an art form but as music that commands respect. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Excerpt From The Databass. Matsuri. MPCD9

            How many singles of trance do you have in your collection and how many of them are on vinyl? If there was a gap to be filled the market, then this mid priced album could be just what you are looking for and the eight choice selections are from the ‘pioneers of the psychedelic techno sound’ (their description is an accurate one). The artists may not be household names, yet they are well respected leading lights and all provide powerful instrumentals that possess a much deeper attitude than the simplistic club dance music. In one of my previous reviews, I have mentioned the track Geomantik by Prana and this fine piece opens the excerpt files. The following by Doof sees him in the normal hyper active mode with I Think We Can Go To The Moon. On the third by Transwave, a good beat is quickly established so the rhythm can deliver a powerful trance punch to the lobes. Not surprisingly it’s the Black Thunder mix of The Rezwalker. The track by Typhoon (Overture) is another technicolor piece of headphone glory with lots of squelchy sounds laid on a hard beat that is ideal to nod the head to. The albums ends all too quickly with the Scientific Experiment by Manmademan (surely ladies will disagree with the name!) and this is an appropriate finale where all the sampled noises are placed to perfection. Not only is the recorded quality of a very high standard, so is the music. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Feel The Noyze. Matsuri. MPCD8

            This release is slightly different from the norm as it clubs together ten tracks to form a continuous mix of what is known as the Australian sound of psychedelic trance. It has all been put in place by Nick Taylor, a co-founder of Prana, who has now gone solo. He has carefully chosen a range of instrumentals to show the current state of club based electronica, be it ‘quirky electro bleep sounds’ (their descriptions always seem to be better than mine) of the opener by Soul Oddity called Fugue to the ‘dirty punky, naughty big beats’ of the final number Coz I Did by hardknoz. Taylor displays a good knowledge and technique of being able to combine break beat tracks such as the Germinating Seeds Of Doda’s Relentless Mutoid Monster Epic with the following high energy jazzy techno of Itchy Witches Of Androgenitico by Reflecta. Great name, even better title. Followers of Star Trek will love the sound clips from the Borgs incorporated into the track by Kinetic A.T.O.M which has the self explanatory title of Return Of The Borg and is an exceptionally groovy piece. The final track as already mentioned by Hardknox has less reliance on noise and more tendency towards inventive structures, even the noise in this instance is quite melodic. Obviously the album title is very appropriate and this cd deserves to be played in the manner required ie very loud. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Dance, Trance, & Magic Plants Otherworld. Transient. TRANR610CD.

            Where is the place to go to sample the live atmosphere created by some of the leading psychedelic trance artists? The answer could be found at the Otherworld. The monthly gig takes place at the Fridge, Brixton and the resident dj’s have compiled nine exclusive tracks that could be described as being typical of the music available. The music is not for those who wish to relax listening to gentle sounds, this is very much frantic paced trance for the hard of hearing as it has to be listened to at high volume levels. If the building doesn’t shake, then turn the music up. Particularly of interest is the third track by Cosmosis (Atom Bom!) in which the quiet start may fool before the bom bom of the drums drown out the bass. Intelligent trance from a highly respected artist. The seventh track is probably the best, perhaps due to the slower tempo which allows more inventive use of the machinery. Deviant Electronics are a name to watch closely. The S.E.T.I Project and Chris Organic manages to get a good riff or two flowing in this ten min piece entitled Floating Point. So a collection of new music played by artists who have appeared at the Otherworld during the last twenty four months and I feel assured that highlights from volume two will not be too far away. If you are heading towards middle age like myself, then turn your hearing aid up and enjoy the psychedelic world of the Otherworld, besides it’s much cheaper than a return ticket from Huddersfield to London. (Phil Brook)

 

HARDFLOOR. The Best Of. Harthouse. Eye Q. CD15

            Normally to release a best of album, the artists has to have been in the music business for a number of years and released lots of material so there is plenty of choice to make a very sound base to work from. Oliver Bondzio and Robert Zenker, the Dusseldorf duo have been together for six years and this double cd is split into two halves, the first contains only original tracks and the second allows their remixing talents to be heard. Their first ever release Once Again Back is included in this fine stompin side of music where techno/trance is the preferred operating area. The best known is Acperience, a fine tune in anyone’s opinion. It is somewhat surprising that these instrumentals have not lost any of their competitive edge, as some other artists work appear to have a very limited shelf life. So the first disc gets a very large nod of agreement, can the remixes continue to hold the reputation already earned? The opener is a house style rendition of the Rising High Collective’s, Fever Called Love and continues with a rather good mix of Blue Monday by New Order. The best is certainly It’s No Good by Depeche Mode which I can only describe as being superb. The ninth and final remix is Yeke Yeke by Mory Kante and this African inspired track is a fitting tribute to the skills of Hardfloor. These are probably more dancefloor friendly than the ten much harder tracks contained on the first disc. Subtitled It’s Definitive, it certainly is and what’s more it receives my seal of approval. (Phil Brook)

 

Shaolin Wooden Men. Trickster EP. Matsuri MP28

Free form jazz is relatively well known but imagine free form jazz trance that is inspirational! This is mainly due to the use of the full blown sax's ripping into every note and causing the musical equivalent of oblivion, and that's only the title track. The other three pieces operate in more accustomed territory whilst still displaying those influences of jazz. The final track Remember The Slime is as frenetic as trance ever becomes and is ideally suited to those clubs. Another rather special vinyl from the label who wish to continually challenge the traditional area of trance. Pioneering stuff. (Phil Brook) 

 

SPIRALHEAD. Space Time. Magick Eye EYE T 30

The second single from this duo, comprising of Mr Spiral and Dik Silver who operate in the trance musical sphere. They have apparently found a most convenient location to build a new studio - a disused public loo in Brighton. Their pedigree includes remixing material for other artists, and working under a number of guises, but have now joined together to explore their vast and somewhat diverse musical tastes. Both the A and the flip side Beyond The Blue, encourage the frenetic nature of hi-energy trance to belt out of the speakers. The clubs could go wild. A new album is promised in the future and this could be one to watch. (Phil Brook).

 

Total Eclipse. Collapsar/ Direct Nation. Blue Room Released BRO33

Another 12" vinyl from the Boys of Bordeaux, who loosely operate in the trance area. The A side has a slowish beat with unusual sound effects that at first seem disjointed and somewhat out of place, but after a few dozen bars it all fits very neatly into place. This is serious but hugely enjoyable music. If I could pick the next number one single then this would be it. The B side is different although it starts quietly, the trance rhythm thunders into action. I will call their type of instrumental music more thoughtful trance which is aimed at the clubber and the listener at home. A total eclipse is now not only worth watching but also listening to. (Phil Brook).

 

SEMSIS - 3i. Dragonfly. BLFT43

The A side of this 12” starts quietly before the beat livens up the pace. This duo have a special relationship with their musically equipment as they have a distinctive flare to obtain the best sounds and the frequency to apply. Whereas many in this line of operation just set the rhythm pounding to an automatic pre fixed tempo with little regard to exploration , they are not a run of the mill trance outfit. The results are always maintained within a very tight control and any thought of it running out of control and rioting should be dismissed immediately. Understatement is one of the key areas of their success by ensuring the hi-energy aspects are almost semi-hidden. They in fact strive for overall melodic control. Although my white label vinyl was slightly warped and part of it would not play on my turntable without jumping, what I heard was brilliant. (Phil Brook)

 

BLACK HOLE. A Touch Of The Carpenters/Two Million Pylons. Magick Eye. EYE T 33

The new signing to Magick Eye who have already released a track on the last compilation Visitation II (see separate good review) and also did a remix of Astralasia Seven Pointed Star on the single, this is their first single. Although CD fans will be disappointed as this is only a 12” vinyl, the two track gives a good indication of their preferred musical sphere in displaying the so called darker side of psychedelic trance. The A side, Two Million Pylons appears to have a slightly slower tempo and yet still manages to pack a punch and hits those vibes out with great authority whilst remaining melodic at all times. It would seem to me to be an ideal track to create an extended mix of. They possess the knack of allowing flexibility during the piece so development is not stifled. A great single from a band that have a worthy future. (Phil Brook)

 

JU-JU SPACE JAZZ. Mermadium Palladium EP. Matsuri. MP33

Not heard of them before? It is a name that must become more familiar in the future as they not only deserve that accolade but have some genuinely new ideas for the brave new world of music. If you thought that Australian music was only capable of blowing digeridoos in the bilabong then perhaps your ideas need updating. I have known for quite a while that the psychedelic trance scene was thriving down under but I did not realize that they could dictate new areas of operations rather than just follow the western lead. They produce a sound that is not particularly Australian in origin in fact it is difficult to imagine where this has been developed as it contains almost a world melting pot of styles all rolled into one. They say it’s psychedelic hip hop dub jazz with Massive Attack vocals. Get the aural picture? Of course you do. Although this is only a 10” vinyl and the B side only contains an instrumental version of the other side, the rich musical pickings are awaiting you pleasure. Both are a real pleasure to listen to but for my money the non vocal version is best. This is by far the best release from Matsuri that I have heard.

PS. I have a promotional copy of their new album called Shloop and take it from me they are certainly not a one tune wonder. (Phil Brook)

 

JOUJOUKA. Re-Psycle Frequency EP. Matsuri. MP32

This name might seams vaguely familiar from the long distant past because it was also used as the title of Brian Jones’ solo album. This 12” is somewhat different from the norm of psychedelic trance as the now well known style has mutated and musically married the newer styles such as drum ‘n bass and breakbeat. The duo of Tsuyoshi Suzuki and Takeshi Isogai has not only brought together new ideas but also a Japanese influence as the progression of instrumentals accelerates. The A side can also be found on the excellent Let it Rip Compilation (see separate review) and is a welcome mixtures of styles that forms a successful marriage. On paper the thought of Japanese drum ‘n bass mixed with psychedelic trance doesn’t appeal, yet the output is a lot better than you may have imagined. The AA side Ama No Kawa is lifted from the Return To The Source’s album Sacred Sites and the controlled thumping bass line is prevented from overtaking the mix by the fascinating rhythms and melodies that are amassed. This pair have demonstrated to me their potential to become important contributors to the musical new world order. (Phil Brook)

 

Shamanic Tribes On Acid. EP. Kinetix. KINT24

Jake Stephenson uses a number of different guises to record under and each depicts a certain type of electronic score that he composes. After the success of his last album under this moniker (which is apparently sold out) the continuation of the high energy end of the spectrum is displayed, where acid psychedelia is brought out into the open. The compositions are very complex where lots of sounds or notes are not used in the conventional way to make melodies but are formatted into loops that beguile the listener. No lush soundscapes here, as they are for musical wimps, just hard psychi trance that pummels the hearing of the individual. The A side features the well known 303 (Synth) exploding into mayhem , yet this is the softer of the two available where the titles Drugged To The Eyeballs and Armageddon from the B side proves that the music will beat you into submission. This is no easy trip, but his 4 track vinyl is a splendid introduction to pave the way for the new album entitled Acid Apocalypse. (Phil Brook)

 

BLACK HOLE. Time Stops Here. Magick Eye. MEYCD13

Yet another trance act destined to disappear into the black hole maybe? This new act posses lots of interesting ideas that can be easily translated into music which displays a range of skills that makes people sit up and take notice. They call it psychedelic trance from the dark side, whereas I just call it excellent! Their single released on 12” vinyl only contains a track from the album and a remix which deserves to do very well on the sales front. The opening track is just not what I expected , it’s slow moving and very broody with a large dose of menacing effects to make it one of the darkest trance inspired pieces that I have heard. It’s entitled The Masters Apprentice and it features some rather deep bass notes compensated by spacey sequences to slightly relieve the tension. The following track Jupiter’s Child is perhaps more in line with the current trance scene and is a typical beat driven affair. The first recorded outing of theirs that I heard was the track Carpenter on the compilation Visitation II, which is quite a hi-energy piece and confirmed their investment with Astralasia like riffs. Black Hole really excel when they are in a more experimental mood such as on Two Million Pylons, where they are not a slave to the expected beat or rhythm. The following track called This Is The Voice is also very evocative. The highlight has to be final track where a slower tempo allows an abundance of thoughtful interludes to inter play between the rhythms and melodies. I can see why this track was called Undercurrent. There are lots of debut albums released in any year, many offering potential for the future where, in the case of Black Hole this has already been achieved with album number one. Brilliant. (Phil Brook)

 

NERVASYSTEM & AETHER. Mineralien Myriad EP. Elektrik Orgasm Records.EOR001

The debut release of any new record label is always something to investigate and this white labeled vinyl delivers a sonic event that allows the followers of psychedelic trance to aurally wallow in yet more pleasing instrumentals. I like the label title and the music is as inventive as the heading suggests. For those not too sure, Nervasystem have appeared on the Matsuri label and the A side is a striking collection of all things bright and bold. The AA side by Aether is probably the more danceable number, where the pounding beat is delicately placed to facilitate the building of those infectious riffs and other melodic samples onto the well established foundation. Elektrik Orgasm has been involved in organising parties in the West Country during the last five years and if there is any justice in the world, this should be the beginning of a long partnership between excellent music and making it more available to others who cannot attend their events. (Phil Brook)

 

JU JU SPACE JAZZ. Shloop. Matsuri. MPCD11

Jazzy trance may be a difficult concept to get the head around, yet this Australian band succeed in delivering a very different outlook to their music. The opening track gives a format spoken introduction before the funk takes over. The fascinating use of brass sounding solo instruments is like nothing I have heard before and I can only describe this as bizarre. If you think the rest of the album is like this well think again. Unfortunately due to a production problem, I do not have any information regarding the track titles, but that should not spoil The World of Plant Ju Ju Space Jazz.. The 3rd track is a lo-fi hip hop style with distorted vocals on an industrial type guitar track searing above a pounding beat. The 4th is spacey, the 5th has a Latin American feel with lots of reverb and is almost a dub style at times. A very deep bass is the main aspect of the 6th. The 7th features scary sounds for less then a minute before the following piece takes over with it’s incredibly infectious hook lines where more spoken lyrics are used . The 9th starts with a harp, a slow bass and light drum pattern with reggae influences smattered across the piece which gives an overall jazzy feel, it’s really a mixed up piece that I enjoyed immensely. The final track is number 88(!), the others have three seconds of silence each and is really an improvisation of dum de dum bass and drums. They are exceptionally inventive and have already started a new trend which I absolutely adore. Gimme some more of this thing called Ju Ju Space Jazz. (Phil Brook)

 

YLEM. Distorted Reality/Lose It. Tokin. TNK004

It is never easy to get a new label off the ground and expect all the publicity just to fall into place. As you may have guessed this is only the fourth single from Tokin and this particular 12” vinyl spins at 45rpm. Distorted Reality contains a housey type of synth on an acid pounding yet relatively sparse beat that delivers a surprisingly happy overall sound. It is quite an commercial single for this type of music and the more you listen, the more you are bound to appreciate this. Turning over the record, Lose It starts quietly enough but don’t let it deceive as it quickly restores the faith with all the energy we have come to expect from trance. The memorable lead soars effortless above the basic multi-layered rhythms whilst not letting the beats ride above the quality riffs. Yes I do like what I have heard and this is probably the better track. You should remember their name (pronounced I-Lem) because they are going to be a major talent in the future.( Phil Brook)

 

UNDER THE HONEYTUNNEL. Electromagnetic. Magick Eye. EYE T34.

Although we have already heard a few choice musical items of the potential of this project on compilation albums such as Galaxy Tribe, this is basically one Lou Palmer who is a singer and songwriter with her band Honeytunnel. Her first appearance was aided by Swordfish but the debut single features collaborations with other Magick Eye artists such as UVX who have rendered a totally different sound to the drum ‘n bass of the previous offerings. The A side is trip hop with a almost frozen vibe that results in a catchy melody that is quite hard to link to any musicians and the attraction to it is as the title definitely implies. The AA side Lust & Wonder compiles vocal samples with breakbeat, a bit of trance, perhaps a smattering of drum ‘n bass and is very experimental. I love music that challenges whilst remaining tuneful and the prospect of an album of collaborations with different artists appeals. Lets hope it will be ever bit as good as this truly excellent single. (Phil Brook)

 

SHAMANIC TRIBES ON ACID. Drugged To The Eyeballs. Kinetix. KINT24

A 12” EP purely designed to hit the psychic senses into oblivion using full on beats to give the trance the harder attitude it sometimes needs. The four tracks are not for musical non entities, they proudly grab hold of the attention and you could just imagine the crowd going wild towards the end of a splendid live set. If the title track was not noisy enough then the following No Armageddon should provide a pleasant alternative to those heavy metal boy bands. On t’other side (A Yorkshire Expression ), aural prisoners are shown no mercy and the bass synths are left to clobber their opponents. For the record Extraterrestrial Lover and Exploding Psychedelic Rainbow leave the listener shell shocked and wanting more. Orb’s Blue Room are there. So in the end, I am still not convinced of exactly who this album is aimed at but sections should appeal to all listeners. It is still is an interesting collection of songs. It concludes with Bryan Ferry’s I Put A Spell On You and that spell may just entice you to exchange money for this atmospheric double. (Phil Brook)

 

GENETIC. Flood/Sonic Shakedown. Dragonfly. BFLT45

According to Dragonfly, 1998 is going to be their year and although it is still early, the omens are good if they can release more singles of this standard. It is comforting that psychedelic trance is in positive hands. Paul Jackson is working on his new album and if this is a representative sample, then it will be an impressive event. This double A sided 12” cast aside the over used repetitive phrases and inter workings and replaces them with more inspired and hence far less heard collection of sounds and melodies. Of the two tracks, Flood the Auratone mix is more progressive and after repeated exposure to these ears, is now my favorite. Remember the name, as this guy has lot of talent and knows exactly how to use it. (Phil Brook)

 

KILLING JOKE IN TRANCE. Love Like Blood. Dragonfly. BFLT48

For those who don’t take much notice of bands and styles, the mention of Killing Joke In Trance may surprise, it really shouldn’t as this label is owned by Youth. The ‘New’ album is going to be a collection of remixed material that would be filed under the dance section of record shops, and this tasty 12” is a pleasant preview of what’s to come. On one side is Love Like Blood the Live Deedrah mix and this features the more intelligent side of trance whereas on the flip side it’s storming all the way. Intellect, remixed by Johan of Juno Reactor is a full throttle, no holds barred assault of the ears. The forthcoming album will feature the previously limited released version of selected songs that will be clubbed together onto a CD. I for one can’t wait. (Phil Brook)

 

ESCAPEE. Learyness/Acid Stormer. Paradigm Shift Records. PARA001

He is an underground DJ who has a monthly residency at the Lakota And Club Loco in Bristol. If you like your trance with very large helpings of kick drum beats combined with analogue acid synths spewing out lots of squelchy noises, then this is just designed with you in mind. The A side features references to Timothy Leary with a vocal sample of his infamous phase “Turn on, tune in and drop out” and trance music is developing all the time with new tricks to keep the attention of listeners. The AA side is appropriately titled, where the 303 is allowed to bleep it’s way through this storming piece of psychedelia, where the complimentary lead lines and the squelch ridden melodies flow with the beat. I particularly enjoyed the change of drum patterns during the middle of this piece and this in my opinion is the slightly better track. There is a lot of unknown talent out there just waiting to come to the attention of the wider public and Escapee is a very good contender for that prize. PS Lets hope this brand new label is successful, after all it only needs your support.  (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Forever Psychedelic. Matsuri. MPCD14

Another large and exceptionally healthy dose of standard psychedelic trance is to be found within the fifth example of this current series of releases. I mentioned the word standard, but the meaning has to be given a certain amount of latitude, as nothing can really be described normal. Of the nine instrumental tracks, the names are well respected and provide quality pieces to keep the mind and body in sync. Prana can usually be relied upon, The output of Quirk is well above the norm and the final track by Dendron is a classic. You may not know that Dendron is one half of the excellent Eat Static, and his Sun-God really is a mean slice of big beats. The penultimate track by Scare Electric is especially welcome as it dispenses with the traditional format and provides lots of invention on Grind. I suppose it would be useful to compare this with the previous albums in this series, and although the only one I have not heard is Abstract Phase, I can say this continues the pursuit of achieving real quality of a particular style of music within 70 mins on a CD. With big beats and big cinemascope sounds, this is another Oscar nomination for Matsuri. (Phil Brook)

 

EAT STATIC. Contact and Contact Remixes. Planet Dog. BARK033CD and BARK033CDX

A couple of singles that take an extra terrestrial track from their Science Of The Gods album and provide a high powered instrumental medley as a result. It is customary to start with the radio edit and even this truncated mix is impressive. The following track is twice as long and is the original mix from the album. The final eight min segment on the single is the De Niro remix which shows how to make another version of a classic. On the Remix single, the three pieces are sufficiently different from the original. I particularly appreciated the Eat Static remix with its melodic overtones superimposed on a hard trance beat. The next section is by Jon The Dentist and this techno trance crossover utilizes all the space required to develop the beat to perfection. The suitable finale was recorded live at their Manchester concert during March 98 and is explosive in nature. Whether in the studio or on tour, this duo not only know a lot about music but have the ability to put that knowledge into practice. I have made musical contact. Have you? (Phil Brook)

 

BEAMISH/VOLATILE HEADSPACE/SILICON BASED LIFE. Volatile Nature/2 Warm Days In February. Mesh Recordings. MESH 001

A new label that specializes in releasing material that combines DJ and live artists from the trance scene. The A side is a full force, no holds barred attempt to mix enormous basslines with melodic passages that quite rightly envelops the body and mind and builds into a fever pitch event designed to rock the clubs. On the other side, Beamish and Silicon Based Life astound with a great title and an even greater musical achievement. The warmth generated is awe inspiring, the melodic hook lines tantalize and the percussion is as sweet as possible. This is the track to judge all others by. (Phil Brook)

 

COSMOSIS. Synergy. Transient. TRANR614CD

In the popular musical world of trance, there is a specialised area that features the psychedelic variety. This is perhaps more ‘trippy’ than normal, but additional substances are not needed to enjoy the excellent aural pleasures given by ex session guitarist and producer Bill Halsey, who has spent the last four years developing Cosmosis into a very coherent force to be noticed. His first album Cosmology (released on Transient, which incidentally I would be more than interested in reviewing) was release to media acclaim back in 1996 and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the new album. Of the eight tracks, only one has been previously released, so there is a lot of new material to savour. From the opening Track The Ultimate Sin, I knew that I was in for a musical treat and he proves the magical touch is in his hands. There is a special feel to the music, perhaps due to the spacious production, but it’s a glorious experience whilst the phones are plugged into my lobes. Why is that only a few composers manage to capture the infectious samples and create tracks to remember? I could highlight any track and write positively about it, but then I would be guilty of dismissing pieces that are equally worthy of words in print. The tempo changes and a blues style is incredibly displayed on Down At The Crossroads where a creaking rocking chair can be heard behind the spoken introduction before a ZZ Top type sound is placed on a trance beat. It’s brilliant and so is the rest of the album. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Dreamcreation (The Sound Of Freedom). Transient. TRANR619CD

Compilation albums are released for a purpose. One of which is to give exposure to a number of artists (nine in this particular instance) so the well known assist those that most people have never heard of. This is important because at the end of the day, exposure of their music to the public is the ultimate aim and in these days of commercialism, it is not easy to gain access. Now that I have stepped down from the soap box, I can reveal these psi trance instrumentals are in the top class. The opener by The Muses Rapt is a classic and his Spiritual Healing is unlikely to be bettered. Trance makers Laughing Buddha gets in on the act with Astral Traveller, which tests the listener’s ability to match the pace. Even Killing Joke’s Intellect displays a dark, brooding purposeful beat to compliment the occasional sweeter moments. This sound of freedom is to be welcomed. (Phil Brook).

 

ASTRALASIA. Snowman. Magick Eye EYECD38

As the radio stations recycle all those enjoyable Christmas recordings from decades ago, its a refreshing thought to know that there are a few new releases for this time of year. Astralasia prove that storming trance can indeed be dressed up with Xmas sounds that magically prevent this single from sounding rather bland. After the title track, a Nasal Red Mix is allowed to build to even greater heights. The final track is lifted from their excellent album White Bird and before you say anything, I will mention that it is a reworking of Your Calling (in this case the Full Throb Mix ) and is one of the more popular favourites played during the live sets. Incidentally, Snowman combines the vocal talent of rapper Mr Chu and the S’no Angels Choir and so must be a strong contender to be included on those elusive playlists. (Phil Brook)

 

PLANET DOG. Peel Sessions.  - Peel Your Head. Strange Fruit SFRCD 129.

    John Peel's Radio One Sessions are legendary for introducing the less well known groups to an appreciative audience and on this cd three different artists/bands were recorded at the Maide Vale studios. The technical recorded quality is very high, but does the instrumental music match? I think so! Banco De Gaia (aka Toby Marks) provides just two tracks: Gamalch and Sunspot, which fuse the eastern and western styles perfectly, combining great dance type riffs with samples from far away places. Timeshard are more in the trance department, especially on God Says No To Tomorrow, but on Oracle they display a much more mellow spacey side to great effect whereas Cosmic Carrot contains some beautiful sitar accompaniment. The three tracks by Eat Static are the final contribution to this long album. Area 51 deserves a special mention, as for me this is the most enjoyable outing, being HEAD and shoulders above the rest. So why no peel your head back to reveal your mind. (Phil Brook)

 

LIVE FROM VENUS.             Mandala Records MNCD 111.

            The eight trance missions have a total spinning time of 51' 28" with the tempo ranging from ambient to 128bpm in a mixture of keys. The instrumentation varies from the obligatory synths, drums, guitars to xylophone, cello and something called a djembe. Sometimes a cd comes along that has all the requirements to allow the body and mind to completely relax and it will probably taken only the first two tracks before this style of mind is reached. It is ever so soothing, but not to the effect of being repetitive or uninteresting and it may prove to be a great asset to insomniacs as there are moments of drum attacks. Live From Venus contains a selection of ambient, trance or dance and sci-fi dialogue sections complete the mission occasionally providing interference. Voo Ce Ver Kini Kini is one of the best for those cold dark nights when you're just about to go to bed. The sleeve notes says Music Can Save The World - let's hope so. (Phil Brook)

 

OPTICA.  Alkaline Spectrum. Kinetix KINXCD3.

            When reviewing cd's, the musicians are just names presented with an unknown personality. Optica are different because I was fortunate to conduct an interview with them. Jake Stephenson with the 'ph' and Brian Trower have been together for six or so years stylizing a high energy trance to transform the musical world. Composing music is a kitted out bedroom (minus the bed, of course). Whilst searching for old samples to compliment the instrumentals they have found the correct formula to keep the clubbers high yet still keep the reviewer enjoying their brand of electronic songs. The highlight of this cd is Energy Voyage that couples high frequency twinkly sounds with sub-bass notes and I am also rather partial to the excellent Techno Pigeons Eat Kippers, and the more spacey sounding finale Rising High. Also known as Ophic Eye, when the music is more for the after-chill set, you should not miss any opportunity to see them live or buy the music. P.S. An interview with the band and a review of the album Light Side Of The Sun will appear in the next issue. (Phil Brook)

 

DJ FOOD. Refried. Ninja Tune.  ZENCD 21.

            The recipe for Refried Food is to take a number of respected artists/bands and ask them to chose their fave track from the six year back catalogue of DJ FOOD. New reworkings are provided by themselves, Dr. Rockit and Wagon Christ, and remixed by Autechre and MCO. The outcome is generally an instrumental hip hop through the field of play, especially on Strange Taste, where prominent drums match the beat. Freedom (Fila Brazzillia Mix) has a very mellow feel which contrasts nicely with the trancey Dark Lady (Skint Mix). The Dr. Rockit mix of Half Step is infuriating because of the lo fi immature squeaky lead that lifts the piece from obscurity to brilliance. Complete with pseudo string orchestration, Turtle Soup (Wagon Christ Mix) is very tasty and I could mention others, but this review would exceed the space available. It does not provide instant appeal yet the appeal is there if you look for it. (Phil Brook)

 

GENETIC. We Are....Genetic. Dragonfly. BFLCD9

            Some albums are made by brand new talent whereas others feature artists who were in on the act from the start. One such musician is Paul Jackson, who‘s early work includes the classics Transmission & Oracle. Yes this psychedelic trance develops the theme from techno through dub and onto the drum ‘n bass scene. If that was not enough, then wayward funk beats against electro mayhem colide to prove that this guy is not stuck in just one groove. If the opener (Floor)was not another classic, then choosing any of the others toreplace it would be quite acceptable. On a scale of ten , the ten tracks receive close to maximium marks and the finale (Analogico) is one of thre most remarkable instrumental  that I have heard in ages. Trance is shifting and Genetic is engineering that change from the front. (Phil Brook)

 

COSMOSIS. Synergy. Transient. TRANR614CD

            In the popular musical world of trance, there is a specialised area that features the psychedelic variety. This is perhaps more ‘trippy’ than normal, but additional substances are not needed to enjoy the excellent aural pleasures given by ex session guitarist and producer Bill Halsey, who has spent the last four years developing Cosmosis into a very coherent force to be noticed. His first album Cosmology (released on Transient, which incidentally I would be more than interested in reviewing) was release to media acclaim back in 1996 and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the new album. Of the eight tracks, only one has been previously released, so there is a lot of new material to savour. From the opening Track The Ultimate Sin, I knew that I was in for a musical treat and he proves the magical touch is in his hands. There is a special feel to the music, perhaps due to the spacious production, but it’s a glorious experience whilst the phones are plugged into my lobes. Why is that only a few composers manage to capture the infectious samples and create tracks to remember? I could highlight any track and write positively about it, but then I would be guilty of dismissing  pieces that are equally worthy of words in print. The tempo changes and a blues style is incredibly displayed on Down At The Crossroads where a creaking rocking chair can be heard behind the spoken introduction before a ZZ Top type sound is placed on a trance beat. It’s brilliant and so is the rest of the album. (Phil Brook)

 

Various. Transient 6. Transient. TRANR613CD

     Has psychedelic trance run out of ideas, you may be asking? To answer the question, Transient records have positively commissioned another exclusive nine tracks that proves this particular part of the music scene is as vibrant as ever and continues to show the evolution of the psychedelic species. The album has been compiled by Pete martin, who has done an exempilary job in amassing some juicy chucks of trance to waft towards the listener with those hard healthy beats. The album commences with Psychaos, a DJ from Brighton who successfully combines all the best things into Chaos to Order. After another belting piece called Flooob by the American artist Lumen , the focus is on Germany, where Tim Schuldt’s Mummy Machine displays why they have such a flare for compositions. Spies is one French DJ Holeg and Partner Alex and they use the well known beats onto which they craft all sorts of squelchy sounds to make a rich package. Element over Nature have developed into a class act and Megabyte starts with lo-fi sound before the cosmic beats overtake the production. The last track by newcomer Coma is extraordinary and Eighth Hole features a rolling bass onto which electronic meandering are carefully placed and this is easily the best of the album. This is yet another enlightening compilation where the emphasis is placed on displaying the spectrum of instrumental music that fits into this style whilst still maintaining a high quality package. (Phil Brook)

 

ESION GOD. Looner Landscape/Psychedelic Meditation. Aquarius. AQUA12

            Jim Wood and Simon Berry’s world is full of big psychedelic beats and swirling noises that are just at the right tempo to get your mind into a spin. This 12” vinyl packs a mean bass with an abundance of percussive patterns and samples to make the sound appear larger than the club arena. Looner landscape in musical terms does not describe the barren moon, but rather an aliens’ headtrip (their words) and is filled with cosmic noises arranged in a semi familiar order to imply what might be found at the end of a long journey into an alien’s paradise. On the flip side is Psychedelic Meditation, which can only be described as a great monolith of trance. This is carefully structured to prevent the formation of any rigidity that may impede the body swaying to the beat. Not only is this a good record but all the profits are going to the ARD Foundation, an organization dedicated to the building of The Future Perfect State. Perfect music for a perfect world perhaps. (Phil Brook)

 

Sandman. Witchcraft. Matsuri. MPCD13

     Readers by now will know of my addiction to the Music of the Israeli duo Astral Projection and it should not be difficult for you to guess my thoughts on the latest album by Sandman, if I say that Izik Levy is also from that part of the globe. This electronic entrepreneur is I suppose a blend of Halluncinogen and Juno Reactor and he combines the darker forces of psychedelic trance with sweet hook lines to achieve a pleasurable mix. At first, the occasional listener might complain of the lack of variety between the eight longish tracks, but then that person will not have been paying attention as there is an uplifting feel to this album, perhaps this is due to the way he filters the sounds using analogue rather than digital techniques. For those musical experts, he uses a digital DX7 Yamaha and EPS16 Ensoniq sampler and the sound seems more natural especially on the percussion based third track Turtle Beach. The opener Perfect Stranger sets the scene with a slower tempo and almost funky grooves. Shockwave features clips from Babylon 5 and Bad News (New Way) uses delay techniques to give a slight haunting effect over the spoken samples that are mixed at quite a low level. The final track, Mushroom Symphony uses a menacing sound to complete the eight sections. The satisfying end result is all the counts and this reviewer has fallen under the spell. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Another Taste Of Transient. Transient. TRANR615CD.

            As the title suggests, this is the second installment of the musical history of Transient Records and instead of just lifting tracks from the previous albums, they have managed to squeeze onto the two discs, a number of singles. Not content with that, some are remixes, others are exclusives and there is a taster of what’s to come from future albums. So that’s the background, now lets get down to the trance. It’s really explosive,  thumping , mind numbing and totally unlistenable to delicate boy band appreciaters, but to the grown up modern day hippies or whatever you wish to call this catalogue of the population, then this album is just what we have been waiting for. Just picking a few outstanding tracks out , I will award special marks to the remixed Life On Mars by Astral Projections and the following piece by Cosmosis called Inter Galatic Fluro Funkster.  This double offers excellent value for money and amazingly the instrumental music matches the occasion. (Phil Brook)

 

SHAMANIC TRIBES ON ACID. Acid Apocalypse. Kinetix. KINXCD11

            After the electronic mayhem created by the previous release 303 To Infinity (which is apparently now sold out), the hyper active acid lovers have now another psychedelic trip to get the musical adrenaline flowing at warp speeds through the pathways of the mind. Forget about peaceful or tranquil sections to appease the public, this is set to upstage Jake Stephenson’s last outing with even more power packed into a 5” CD. With vocal samples competing against the abrasive psychedelic trance, the listener is left in no doubt that compromise will not be tolerated. The 11 titles are all aptly chosen to reflect the style. Shining examples being Acid Medusa, Mad Hatters Acid Tea Party and Exploding Psychedelic Rainbow. There’s no need to contemplate popping aural prozak when you can sample the real thing. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Excerpts From The Databass 2. Matsuri. MPCD21

            As you may have already noticed, this is the second edition in this series and it features nine chunks from the psychedelic trance world. It follows very much where the previous album finished and consists of instrumentals of great power. Most of the artists are well established and have already gained a healthy reputation for producing music at the quality end of the spectrum. So pin back your lugs for the wondrous pulsating beat of the opener by Transwave which is interspersed with quieter interludes. Helium is a very promising start to this album. There are a few full on, hard-hitting numbers yet these do not seem out of context. Astral Projection's Time Began With The Universe is just another great piece although it's it firmly beaten by Robotised by Quirk , which in my book is an outstanding conversion of musical ideas from mind to plastic CD. Add liberal quantities of Prana, Doof and Manmademan and you have another good excerpt from the databass.   (Phil Brook)

 

CELTIC CROSS. Hicksville, LSD. BFLCD31

            On the new label, which is part of Dragonfly empire, a down tempo musical effect is spun. Ultimate chilled out melodies display the slowed down psychedelic trance on LSD. The Liquid Sound Design commences with a fascinating collaboration between Youth and Simon Posford (who also records under Hallucinogen) with the guitarist from James, Saul Davies. The personal credentials are high and the instrumentals are perfect for those late night. The idea to blend the essence of Celtic traditional music with a dub inspired goa trance and make the nine tracks all memorable. It was so easy, in fact far too easy to just let the music flow and escape into a relaxed state where nothing was going to disturb the tranquillity. The title opening episode provides the statement of intent that carefully crafted melodies have been conceived by a tuneful ear or two. I love the fourth track, which transports the listener between acoustic guitar passages, dub inspired sections and weird electronica. If this is a typical example of what's to come, then I look forward to the millennium with open ears. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Transient VII. Transient. TRANR622CD

    The latest release in this series marks a departure from the previous issues with a bonus CD featuring all nine tracks placed in a continual mix, although this is limited to the first 5,000. So get one quick before you miss this special package. DJ Jean Borelli has chosen the tracks to represent the future of psychedelic trance and his choice is memorable. Apart from the quality of Astral Projection, Cosmosis and Slide, there are a few less well known artists who can keep up to the competition with ease and occasionally eclipse it. A sense of humour is displayed on Slide's Cartoon Land with cartoon style musical notations blending into those psychedelic riffs. Also of great note is the collaboration between Slide and the head of Flying Rhino Records DJ James Munro operating under the name of Fidget, who show that the two jobs can be done successfully and the result is a great track called Overdose. Yet again Transient have delivered the trance in a genetically modified form and VII is very palatable. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Progressive Trance. Millennium. MILL066CD

            This double album is packed full of musical niceties designed to fill those psychedelic dancefloors with beats for the new generation. That's the bold introduction, now more info. With over 150 min. of high quality music, then value for money is assured especially when names such as Cosmosis, Doof and Children Of Dub are included. The first track is an absolute belter, and although I am not familiar with Oood, I can say that Mind The Unwinding is one of the best instrumentals that I have heard recently. Even more surprisingly the track does not conform to the standard beat. On the second disc, there are more musical gems such as Children Of Dub's excellent dubby trance event called This City Never Sleeps or perhaps the trance meets ZZ Top bogie style of Down At The Crossroads by Cosmosis. If you have never heard The Star Above Parvati by Doof, then here is your chance to sample a 13-min superb lower tempo instrumental and I hope that I am allowed to say this is the star of the show.. Add another seventeen selections by artists ranging from Cwithe, Funkopath and Psyko Disko and these assist greatly in contributing to make this double CD set an important asset to your collection. (Phil Brook)

 

PSYBURBIA. Carmageddon. Matsuri. MPCD27

            Who says that Australian music is all set in the outback and decades behind the latest European sounds? Well this album is a raw mix of everything including unusual vocal clips which forms a truly breakbeat experience. It's all the work of producer Barrie Bardoe, who combines the latest trends in techno and heavy basslines interspersed with his own unique style to make a very different, but hugely enjoyable musical romp. There is a lot of tongue in cheek passages to reflect upon and the music varies from chill out to techno that is decidedly acerbic. The opening track Mushroom Messiah contains the catchy line of Jesus Christ is a mushroom interspersed with infectious rhythms. The following piece Beat Rapture has wondrous growling bass lines, haunting melodies and funky riffs. Add a track that combines psi trance with big beats on Fossil Fools and the experience is complete. Why use the album title? It's designed to spell out the increasing reliance of motor transport and the damage it's doing to the habitat. Whether you subscribe to that culture is your own decision, but I can more than suggest that you join the growing band of followers who possess this album. Remember the name and especially remember this album. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Tranceformer. Virgin.

            I'm not sure how the blinkered, true blue fan of one particular dance style would appreciate this latest outting, but for those who enjoy a bit of a mix in styles, this is it. Dance music has more subgenres than classical and jazz (like many styles, actually), from trance, house, acid, car alarm, hard core - the list goes on. This double compilation features a pretty good cross section of the dance community ranging from ATB, Tilt Invisible, Stoneproof, DJ Taucher, Johnny Shaker, there's loads! Not only, but also, there's a few exclusive tracks making this not just a cunning compilation. Like I've already said, for the blinkered, there's probably only a couple or three tracks that will appeal, but that's their loss. For those with a healthy aural appetite for dance, then feast your ears on this. (Dave W).

 

SHAKTA. The Enlightened Ape. Dragonfly. BFLCD35

            The psychedelic trance train continues its quest to find those golden beats within a hi energy instrumentals all rolled into a fun packed package. This is the debut album from Shakta who also records under the monicker Digitalis. The scene is progressing from the standard opening format of The Future Is Now (a typical storming selection) to the more developed Human Life with complex beats and psychedelic noises. The title track is slightly different as it uses acid lines and nonstandard cymbals patterns all interspersed with extracts of the flute to make an impressive piece. But the finale is the highlight for me as the dub inspired Brainwash Nation is less frenetic and gives opportunity for the inter meshing of sounds to be complete. This zoological trip by Seb Taylor should enlighten the most primitive of species - the unenlightened primates. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Music For The Year 2000. Millennium. MILL081CD

            Looking forward to the year 2000, Millennium releases a double album of music from their back catalogue. Rather curiously only the first disc is included in the promo, so this review will naturally exclude any comment of the 10 tracks on the other disc apart from the one by Jon Ryman, which I have heard previously and is very good. Commenting on the first disc I guarantee that this is a fine representation of choice tracks from their collection. It starts with the excellent Starseeds and closes with Loom's Anacostia Bay- between there are a number of very tasty cuts such as Slim by Fragile and View by Animal Zen. I still like Ju Ju's Evolution Revolution with its Tricky feel that combines growling basslines, uplifting chorus and Leftfield type rap. The album encompasses minimalist Swedish techno from Max Reich to a trance remix of Summertime by Quietman and if you can only afford to purchase just one CD from the Millennium stable then this is it. The album could be summed up by saying this electronica will survive the doomsday predictions and be alive and very well beyond the Millennium. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Trancelucent. Transient. TRANR623CD

            Are you one of those who are forever complaining about the price of CD's? If your interest in electronic music is trance then this is the album for you. Trancelucent is the first in a series of budget price releases from Transient. It contains ten tracks continuously mixed from some of the most exciting acts on the scene such as Astral Projection and Cosmosis. Both these artists offer remixes either by themselves or by others. The opening track is a real stormer, one that appears to be up-tempo and mixing classic lines with tight bass on Medicine Drum Vs Laughing Buddah's Written In Stone. After the very commercialised track by Twisted Angel, real audio quality appears on the fourth instalment by Slide & Lumen, where the beats are deeper and slower and awash with squelchy electronica. Clubbers will enjoy the offering from John OO Fleming & Russel Floorplay and probably find the following track even more accessible (Floorplay's Oh Yeah). When Cosmosis hits the airwaves, the sound is much heavier, with a heavy metal guitar type riff introduction to psychedelic trance. Although this album would not satisfy the most serious listeners, there's plenty here for the rest of us. (Phil Brook)

 

PLEIADIANS. Family Of Light. Dragonfly. BFLCD34

            Are Max Lanfranconi, Maurizio Bergotti and Andrea Rizzo Italy's finest in the psychedelic trance stakes? After playing this album you would say yes. The trio displays their whole repertoire during the 7 tracks on this album, ranging from the high energy opener Head Spin to the much quieter and thought provoking Seven Sisters. The third track Modulation, which lasts for over 15 min was specially composed for the Total Eclipse Party in Venezuela during February last year. One Man In Your Window, the beats are strong, the rhythms are harsh and the melodies replaced with squelchy samples. The final track Seven Sisters has to be one of their classier compositions due to the different musical shadings during the 16 minutes and I feel confident that this will rapidly become one of their major anthems. Dragonfly scores another success with the release of this album. (Phil Brook)

 

EAT STATIC. Decadance. Mesmobeat. MESMOCD2

            This duo are no strangers to the vibrant music scene since they deal a modern sequenced stream of instrumentals. The nine tracks on offer are a collection of rare and unreleased out-takes in other words live classics during the last decade. Of particular note is Inferno with its live big beat sound and Tangerine Dream type melodic riffs on an alien soundtrack and it is of course brilliant. After the Electro participation of Synapse, Outpost commences with a quieter spacey feel that builds into a moody piece on a heavy psychedelic trance beat. A distinctive toe tapper if there was ever such a thing! The following track Peristalsis is much more experimental with deep beats and strange electronica threatening the theme. The final track Zazmir is more commercialised and could be almost played in the clubs, but don't let that fact put you off as it just confirms their ability to delve into all different areas and it also happens to be the highlight of the album. Considering the nature of the album, you get what is expected and that means not many quieter sections, yet lots of up-tempo, hi energy quality trance music with an alien angle. (Phil Brook)

 

OZRIC TENTACLES. Floating Seeds. Snapper Music. SMACD809

            You may not know that the Ozric tentacles have been making music for the last fifteen years and it seems as though now is the correct time to release a dance remix album. So bring out the old and new in the remixing market. The new opens up the proceedings with Afro Clank, here the big beats Space Raiders perform the Dirty Mouse Mix and those beats are certainly impressive. Another Skint label favourite of the big beats is Sparky Lightbourne and their version of Neurochasm provides a different perspective of the original. The Ozrics are renowned for their very spacey instrumental rock music where the synths are just not gap fillers and somewhat surprisingly, the psi trance Hallucinogen gives a drum 'n bass treatment to Pteranadon. After Youth's rather pleasing indulgence of Splash and Eat Static's Strangeitude, those old timers System 7 do a brilliant job on Stargate with sounds similar to their Desire. The Propellerheads return to the big beat sound just in time for the finale that wallows rather neatly in a reggae and dub vein where Zion Train shows how well this music can be adapted to any format and is probably the highlight of the album. Not just another one for the collection, but one that you will want to listen to. (Phil Brook)

 

EAT STATIC. The Alien EPS. Mesmobeat. MESMOCD1

            Why should anyone get excited about EP's that were released in 91/92? Well perhaps if they were of limited origin i.e. only around 1000 copies only, then the music becomes more valuable. So take three EP's and a bonus track and you have the makings of a good album. Indeed its more than good and the instrumental trance with psychedelic overtones sounds as refreshing today as it probably did when originally released. The first of nine gets the blood flowing through the ear holes with Almost Human (Abduction Mix) and the quality improves with the next track Pupae, which combines menacing bass riffs, squelchy electronics and jolly good beats. The duo of Joey and Merv instinctively know how to develop a thumpingly good track such as Inaana and their fascination with flying saucers is confirmed on Another Planet. If catchy riffs are as important to you as they are too me, then you'll enjoy Medicine Wheel. On Fourth Dimension, they sample house, club and trance and mix it all together in their own brilliant style. Eat Static fans will find much here to savour and so will other listeners that are willing to give the time required to hear these classic nine tracks. (Phil Brook)

 

CORELLIAN. Fathoms. Flying Rhino. AFR048

            Our first delivery from the excellently titled Flying Rhino Records to grace this mag and what a sheer belter it is. Take Cass from the label in collaboration with Grant Collins of Darshan fame and full on psychedelic trance is what is expected. What actually appears is in fact much better and quite a surprise. The A side starts quietly, in fact very quietly and it's only at the point when I started to wonder if the piece was going to lift itself from being a minimal soundpiece that overdrive was selected. Many dark passages which resonate the centre stage contribute to an overall moody outlook. The flipside is remixed by Jimmy Van Mallegham and is more club friendly especially at the beginning, but just wait until the bass emanates from those bins - it's very sturdy and progressive. My initial reaction was oh just a standard number with little to commend it, but I soon had to retract those thoughts as it develops into a great chunk of trance. I am sure that we are going to hear a lot more of this duo and if not then WHY? (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. A Progress In Trance. Transient. TRANR624CD

            Subtitled Scandinavian trance and complied by DJ Anti, these nine cuts features some of the best psychedelic and hard hitting trance to come out of Sweden. You may be surprised to realise that this style of music is much more global than a few well-known clubs and Sweden has embraced this market with enthusiasm. DJ Anti is the head of Spiral Trax in Gothenburg, which specialises in home grown trance and this album, is an opportunity to promote their style. The first track by Atmos is the strangely entitled A. Pro.X, where the beats are much subtler than expected. After the three good openers, the turntable bursts out with Vibrasphere's Nowhere. This is not quite what I expected as this minimal trance has more of a techno cutting edge to it and this bodes very well for the future. Phoney Orphants obtain a solid beat quickly that allows plenty of opportunity for squelchy noises of the haunting variety to enhance the aural picture. It has all the right ingredients in the correct proportions as well. The Final piece by Human Blue is really the star of the show and apart from this rather splendid track Protonica, I am sure they have the ability to provide an abundance of good music in the future. Don't dismiss Scandinavian trance until you have heard all the evidence. (Phil Brook)

 

COSMOSIS. Intergalactic. Transient. TRANR625CD

            Although I have not been reviewing the output of Cosmosis from the very start , what I can say is that his last album Synergy was a huge enjoyable slice of psychedelic trance. Of the eight tracks that are featured here, five have not been released before.  The continual mix of these helps to contribute excitement on a musical level that is carved out by Bilbo Bagginz. The third track Telepathy, is somewhat unusual as it contains the traditional psychedelic trance beat within a club type rhythmic dance pattern. With the next piece, the beats are pounding and alien influences become more apparent as the instrumental drifts into Kinda Weirda. On The Spirit World, a minimalist trance feel is employed at the start before been overtaken by the less frenetic main section that still leaves plenty of room for noises of the spiritual world to enter these themes. The last track is the big one that aurally depicts Roswell and is by far the best. The rhythm track is just right for the weird yet strangely melodic passages that elevates this to be the highlight of the album. Cosmosis ought to do more tracks like this. Even though this album is mainly up-tempo, there are quite a few quieter moments and time passes very quickly. Cosmosis was the first signing to the Transient label and three albums plus ten singles later, the quality of music continues to set a standard that others will surely follow. (Phil Brook)

 

EAT STATIC. Crash And Burn! Mesmobeat. CD03

            It may only be their seventh studio album, but it will surprise many as the normal trance sound has expanded out of all recognition and the ideas presented represent a very big picture. The influences are exceptionally wide and varied. The opening title track may have a drum 'n bass beat, but the addition of samples certainly provides a jazzy impact. The next section entitled Love Truncheon can only compound the listener further as this Latin sounding track takes time before you start to notice the electronica. On the fourth piece Dervish Funk, which incidentally was co written with Will White of the Propellerheads and the changes to the expected sound continually challenge the listener. The following Nocturnal Umbra somehow successfully combines a brass section and a pyschedelic trance beat with a deep bass, which manages to instil a tranquil quality to a piece that  is actually an amazing hi-energy collaboration. Then it's all change again back to the Latin flavoured single Mondo A Go-Go. The final track Elixir, contains not only great beats but also an abundance of squelchy samples on a subtle electronic soundscape. According to the press release, they have had a wonderful time experimenting with the musical freedom to use either samples or traditional instruments thrown in with the odd bit of 50's Cuban bands and  put together this highly individual album that is bound to receive rave reviews. Christ! Even the Editor of this mag thinks that this is a good album and he is difficult to please! (Phil Brook).

 

VARIOUS. Meltdown 2000: New Trance-The Deep Mix. Virgin.

            Bit of a more serious kind of dance compilation. It dilutes the stronger, more serious tracks with some more commercial beats. Alice Deejay rubs shoulders with the likes of Space Manoeuvres and contains new material from the underground's finest artist. There's also 'classics' from the likes of York, DJ Jean and Mauro Picotto as well as the odd dance filler from Blank & Jones and DJ Hitch Hiker. It's a double album and like I've said, is aimed more towards the serious clubber, although not 'that' serious, cos it does contain the odd commercial track, and remixed or not, it's all down to labels, innit! (Dave W).

 

VARIOUS. Trance Anthems. Eurocom Music. ECOM021CD

            A double album where the cover picture of two dancing queens may lead you to think the contents are too lightweight for serious consideration. It is a good job that I have an open mind as although this instrumental trance has always one eye on the dance-floor, it also contains more adult aspects. It is not until the second track on the first disc by John OO Fleming that I realised this a was great chunk of pounding trance that suits either environment and Make Me Feel should prove to be a popular choice. This is only eclipsed by the following track where Astral Projection displays a sense of maturity on Liquid Sun. I think that we are likely to hear a lot more of Jupiter as the self titled track ranges from high intensity to quieter passages as is well worth finding out. If Jupiter is hard trance, then Disco Volante is even harsher. The best of the ten pieces on the second disc is not Moby's Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad although it's good but The Big Blue by Samui. You won't find a better trance anthem than this. This is not one of those continually mixed CD's and the music certainly benefits from this. If you're looking for something to fill the gap between the likes of an old timer like myself and the younger trance generation then here is the musical solution. (Flippy)

 

VARIOUS. Trancelucent 2000, Uplifting Trance. Transient. TRANR626CD

            With 16 tracks spanning a mid priced double CD of instrumental music aimed at the serious clubber or psychedelic trance listener, you instinctively know that it will live up to it's title. The first disc starts with a very heavy dose of Floorplay, taking in a pair of remixes and a track in their own right. It's all very happy with a serious side and a pulsating beat, which particularly on the second track by the White Knights builds into a dance-floor stormer. The highlight has to be by S2POR with Make You Feel which exceeds the dance-floor by using heavy melodica and extensive experimentation with beats and interplay between various chord structures. This is good - no it's much better than good. On the second CD, standing head and shoulders above the other seven tracks is the amazing Subtle Thrust by Purple & Lunar, whose name does not instantly inspire, yet the music does. Having said that, Astral Projection, Cosmosis & Shakta and the Laughing Buddha all produce the highest quality of uplifting trance. This is a no nonsense product at a very realistic price and this fact alone should guarantee positive sales figures. And what's even better is the music. (Phil Brook)

 

SHAMANIC TRIBES ON ACID. Future World. Kinetix KINCD14

     Anyone just listening to the first two tracks could be forgiven for thinking that this Future World is full of acid trance of an intense nature. This is certainly not the case as the following track displays the more interesting side of the Shamanics work. Having stated that, I need to redress the balance and say you would have difficulty in finding a much better example of the style than the opening track Sunrise Over Dopesville. Lovers of good beats, robust rhythms and succulent melodies of electronica will appreciate So Stoned mainly due to the ever so catchy riffs. Lying amongst all this acid is the fourth trip, Chilled Out On A Mountain, where the astounding layers build into one of the better tracks of the year. It contains lots of rich melodies that enhance the thumping beats, which are of course precisely controlled. The 7th track is pure brilliance, yes there are squelchy bits and throbbing bass line with the necessary acid moments and Kaleidoscope Resonance lives up to it's title. It is not the best track on the album as that distinction is left to the final Golden Dawn, where the bold announcement welcomes you to paradise. What more can I say except start making your holiday plans now. (Phil Brook)

 

ASTRAL PROJECTION. In The Mix. Transient. TRANR627CD

            Does the world really need another In The Mix album? Let's examine the facts: firstly this double CD is slightly different from the rest as Astral Projection's Avi Nissim mixes all their own material and secondly it features three new tracks, five new remixes of existing pieces and two tracks remixed by others. If you need a third reason why the answer to the question is yes, then its all to do with the price which is that of a single album. So onto the music, it's instrumental trance of a high-energy type without losing any of that all-important subtlety. The slightly less energetic Liquid Sun remix by Cass and Slide on the first CD is just superb, as contained within are catchy riffs, melodic moments and just damn good trance. If I were to highlight the best of a rather good bunch from the second, it would probably be Aurora Borealis where the aural display is very heavenly. This album is one to treasure especially when looking for something to play at a proper party. (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Trance Anthems. Eurocom Music. ECOM021CD

            A double album where the cover picture of two dancing queens may lead you to think the contents are too lightweight for serious consideration. It is a good job that I have an open mind as although this instrumental trance has always one eye on the dancefloor, it also contains more adult aspects. It is not until the second track on the first disc by John OO Fleming that I realised this a was great chunk of pounding trance that suits either environment and Make me Feel should prove to be a popular choice. This is only eclipsed by the following track where Astral Projection displays a sense of maturity on Liquid Sun. I think that we are likely to hear a lot more of Jupiter as the self titled track ranges from high intensity to quieter passages as is well worth finding out. If Jupiter is hard trance, then Disco Volante is even harsher. The best of the ten pieces on the second disc is not Moby's Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad although it's good but The Big Blue by Samui. You won't find a better trance anthem than this. This is not one of those continually mixed CD's and the music certainly benefits from this. If you're looking for something to fill the gap between the likes of an old timer like myself and the younger trance generation then here is the musical solution. (Phil Brook)

 

CELESTIUM. Rising. ASC.ASCCD1

            When I first hit the play button, I was confronted with absolute quietness, increasing the volume did little to improve the situation. Was this to be one of those ambient albums, I pondered. Of course my impatience was the cause, because it did not take too long before the pure trance at normal volume levels permeated from the speakers. It's all the work of Neil Stevenson, who with the vocal contribution of his wife Alison provides a quality sound. It has to be said that there are no proper lyrics in the conventional sense, just a sampled and deconstructed voice, which adds a slightly unsettling feel to the opening quarter hour set, Destiny. On the following piece Free, the listener is invited to enjoy good old-fashioned trance but there's nothing ordinary about this powerful stomper. Eye reminds me of a style similar to Underworld (meant as a true compliment) especially when viewed from the great beat that has a very complementary accompaniment. If you prefer psychedelic trance, then Quaballah although comparatively a short track clocking in at just over 8 min gives another facet of his style. Celestium don't believe in nicking samples from others as they do all their own and it shows. The last two pieces occupy approx. 22mins of your time and it is not wasted. Released over two years ago, this self-financed album retains vitality and some damn good trance. The Stevenson's are currently working on the follow up, which should be released during the spring, I for one look forward, to that. You can contact Neil via e-mail: celestium.rising@ukonline.co.uk or check out the website www.ambientmusic.co.uk/celestium (Phil Brook)

 

VARIOUS. Winter Chill 2. Hed Kandi. HEDK015

            Following in the footsteps of volume 1, this double album attempts to define the musical area of Winter Chill, in which downbeat tracks are chilled as though they're under six feet of snow. There was a surfeit of chill out albums last year and this label did not wish to become part of the crowd, rather stand above it. Amongst the mix of instruments and moody vocal tracks from the 29 artist/bands there are certainly a number of stunners. On the first disc, the well known Porcelain by Moby is included along with Deliver Me by the Beloved. I like the track Swollen by Bent, of which little about them is known although at the possibility of being proved wrong, they do seem to have a unique sound. The second CD kicks off gently with the superb track by Paul Van Dyk. This is almost drumming 'n bass trance and everyone should have a copy of Vega. Chilled out dub is catered for by Smith & Mighty who give Tammy Payne the opportunity to provide the vocal component. Tosca's understated Honey is another goodie but the stand out track is Rain by Night Traffic, who combines downtempo with sad vocals and cool guitars. Beautiful by Millennia Nova provides an incredibly catchy tune with deep bass.  The press release sums the album up perfectly. More chilled than a polar bears bollocks. (Phil Brook).

 

EAT STATIC. Prepare Your Spirit. Mesmobeat. MESMOCD04

     Another double album released so soon after their truly excellent Crash And Burn, they must be very prolific songwriters... Well actually this is their original debut album that was released on cassette and only available at their gigs and via mail order. Having the freedom of owning their own label has allowed Eat Static to respond to customer demands and release this album on CD for the first time without the need to persuade record executives of the benefits. There are 20 tracks included in which four have never seen the light of a recording medium. For first timers rather than fans, they left the Ozrics space rock arena to concentrate on space electronica or alien trance. On Fudge, the Ozric Tentacles roots are to be heard quite plainly on this exciting and vibrant track. Destiny displays a techno feel of an acid kind that is quite unusual for a trance act. The next piece Raga has Eastern influences, which is soon followed by the first of the 'new' songs, The Plot, which is traditional techno with vocal harmonisation. The finale on the first disc, Kinesis, must be heard. This is one of the never been released before tracks and I have to question why as it contains lovely deep beats, melodic passages of great depth and beauty, catchy riffs and is absolutely superb. The opener, Almost Human, on the second disc starts with a very good slice of melodic trance that has been honed to perfection. Forget about thumping monotonous beats as this contains inventive percussive sounds. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that Higher State is the title track as the opening lines contain the title phrase. On Woman Is Life, the less frenetic build up with more Ozric style keyboard riffs among robotic sections and vocal sampled passages all contribute to another highlight. Perhaps this was one of the origins of the cut up beat. Medicine Wheel is a great track that is ideally suited to a live gig and the last instrumental The Element is another superb track that has not seen the light of a CD laser before. The re-release of their 1992 album is timely although a few of the tracks now seems little dated in this fast developing market, the overall quality is still more than acceptable with a bundle of real highlights to saviour. (Phil Brook)

 

SEMSIS. Planet.b/w Soundvandal. Dragonfly Records. BFLT43

            Not all global psychedelic trance bounds along at a hectic pace and Ian Rive and Nick Smith’s latest offering on 12" vinyl is somewhat different from the norm. The A side Planet is a much more thoughtful instrumental which contains a lot of complex rhythms to create a fascinating final structure. It manages to give the impression of a slower tempo yet still remains within the club guidelines. The AA side is entitled Sound Vandal and is more typical of the aural pleasures awaiting the listener. I found the way they build the textures most refreshing by carefully using the minimum number required and not falling into the trap of over indulgment. I believe Semsis have got what it takes and lets hope a full length cd will be released in the future. (Phil Brook)

 


PAUL OAKENFOLD. Travelling. Perfecto. 503962360022125
This double album represents some of the best trance that Oakenfold has discovered during his global travels over the last year. So expect to hear tracks from as far away as Canada and Israel - don't expect to find these mixes elsewhere as they are truly exclusive. The opening moments of the CD by Velvet Girl confirms the quality. It lives up to the title of Velvet, as this smooth remix by Chiller Twist is complemented by staunchy beats and pleasant melodies. If you're looking for great vibes, progressive trance and imaginative beats then the brilliant mix of Jazzy M's Jazzy In The Way (Message In Tros Mix) will fit the bill. The Original mix of Melodica by Learna is assisted greatly by an almost angelic choir harmonising with a developing pounding beat. If you have not heard Bullitt's Cried To Dream (the Max Graham Remix) then you have missed a treat. On the second CD the highlight has to be the Oliver Remix of the excellent Utah Saints number Lost Vagueness. That is not to exclude the rather good opener Darker by Brancaccio & Aisher and the last piece by Element 4 where the original mix of Big Brother will satisfy many. Oakenfold is simply one of the biggest DJ's around and this Perfecto mix will not change that position, in fact it will only enhance it. (Philly)

VARIOUS. Mashed Mellow Grooves Two. Transient. TRANR628CD
Shocked was not the word to use. Was this the right CD? I was expecting instrumental music firmly embedded in the serious trance scene, yet the opening track commences with the spoken voice relating a moody story. The accompaniment, when it starts is very evocative and quite sparse and this enhances the chilled out theme of the rest of the album. The opener entitled The Poem by Zencats is a marvellous introduction to this ten track CD of absolute mellowness. After the aural warming of Quad’s Fusbares, the mood becomes more tense whilst still retaining that laid back feel with Silken Steel by Audioguys, who develops a simple melody into a memorable piece. The album is designed so that each track naturally flows into the next with minimum of fuss. The following features piano chords, vocal samples and heavy guitar notes with long sustain that blend perfectly on Afrodizziact 2000 by Free Science Vs Cry Cisco. If you fancy an Audio Massage then on the appropriately titled track Steam, there is plenty of warm humid atmospherics to lend a hand to the solid beat. The penultimate track by Lumo is only eclipsed by the brilliant finale by Darshan, where Grant Collins displays his musical flare for relaxing music with attitude. To say that I am impressed by his track Spectra is a modest understatement. Not all trance music is bang, bang, BANG as is beautifully shown here. (Philly)

VARIOUS. Transient 8 (Back With The Future). Transient. TRANR629R
This is a little more like the norm for lovers of the adult trance market with plenty of thumping beats and heavy rhythms. On closer inspection, this is not one of those standard packages that simply continue the trend without adding progression. Yes there are the copycat formula numbers like the track by Ticon, but I have to admit that Monkey Business is very infectious. I prefer to concentrate on the more obscure entries in this nine track package, such as Black Sheep by Phoney Orphants. This stretches the basic beat and melodies and catapults them into a new spatial dimension that is worthy of exploration. Son Kite also delves into the unnatural with the not so obvious Where's My Drum in which experimentation of the trance beat is fondly welcomed and the samples used are not from the common trance dictionary. The pick of the bunch must be Lo Scream by Human Blue, where the up-tempo beat combines with catchy riffs to make this a musically stimulating instrumental that you wish would never finish. Another good compilation album from Transient. (Philly)

VARIOUS. Classix II. Dragonfly.
After the original, there had to be a follow up and it again is in a double CD format. With an abundance of playing time on the eighteen tracks, there is bound to be some type of trance here for most lovers of this brand of music. The instrumentals rock to the trance beat and without a car alarm in sight, even our editor may like the odd track. The artists follow a familiar path, all being very respected within their field and there are some cracking melodies and trance workouts only waiting for you to discover. I suppose I could list all the best, but that would only be a personal opinion at the time and may be subject to change dependant on mood. As is usual with all this music, volume is important and this appears to breathe life into the intricate riffs. One of the least known acts, Bamboo Forest provide one of the better pieces as Xplorer weaves a complicated path of soundful deceit. Not all the tracks are full steam ahead as is proved by Out Of Sight by Shakta. Classix II provides plenty of opportunity to have a good time without having to leave your music room. (Brooky)

VARIOUS. Kiss The Future. Atomic. CD008
Progressive psychedelic trance fanatics will totally flip out to this mammoth 71-min outing from nine luminaries operating within this genre. For some, the beat maybe a little too repetitive and inaccurate statements such as they all sound the same proves that these reviewers have not listened to the music on offer. Instrumentals are naturally on the menu and there are some mouthwatering moments to be sampled. The opening notes are not quite in keeping with the expected as the sound of ping pong balls hitting the table tennis table act as a precursor to the familiar style, it naturally has the title of Ping Pong. The beats are always positive and in the case of the fifth track, use is made of extracts of old soundclips to give a mixture between hard trance and a cinematic style on The Dealer. Of the nine tracks of offer, my current favourite is the final track by Etnica who's Stimulate The Future possesses enough enthusiasm to fill any available musical boots. Here's To The Future! (Phil)

 

MARC VAN DER VLUGT. Behind The Scenes. Atomic. ATOM009CD

Although this CD opens with quiet almost ambient themes, don’t despair as these beats are substantially made and gives this hard trance an even more robust appearance. For those not familiar with this style of instrumentation, then this is the heavy metal version of techno where the power is contained within the loudness only. The force is not purely brute, but rather of developing rhythms that have a contrasting range and the acid moments that form an intricate web that are so wondrously displayed on the second track Elektrik by Synchro. Van Der Vlugt is a remixing DJ that cut his musical teeth with Marc Spoon and Sven Vath and presents nine tracks of cutting edge instrumentals. The repetitive beat of psychedelic trance has been modified with sufficient variation to prevent aural tiredness. The main thrust is so dominant that the tendency is to overlook the background sounds and this is so easy to achieve especially when using a Discman. This is one of those albums that benefit from closer examination. On the fifth track by the interestingly named Four Carry Nuts feat DJ Alex, remixed reflections of the Faith Healer fit neatly with a heavy metal guitar riff that grabs the attention on Halogen. With over 75-min worth of excitement how could you fail to be impressed? (TipTop)

 

EAT STATIC. In The Nude. Mesmobeat. MESMOCD5

Those pioneers are back, after the Crash And Burn of the last album, they return with 11 slices of pure fun. Having removed the shackles of a record company interfering with their musical aspirations, these guys show just what can be achieved and it's impressive. They used to be a class trance act and now have evolved into a multi-genre musical pairing of distinction. Essentially a duo, but they enlist the assistance of part time member Steve Everitt on such tracks as Invisible Third in which a jazzed up guitar offers a counter balance to the rest of the instrumental. The album starts in a most peculiar fashion with a very scratchy, very old Latin dance performance from decades ago giving way to the beats of the 21st century. The musical idea is perfect and the growling bass notes are exceptionally funky. The beats and rhythms get better as the album progresses and the lush orchestra melodies on Follow That Camel complement the ever changing sounds and this is only one of the highlights. As each track unfolds, the instrumental music just oozes magical quality and ranges from stompers to the delicate. The fifth track should delight rock fans with the lead guitar passages starting heavy and then becoming funky, before the electronica substantially changes the outlook. It may take a couple of listens for this music to get under your skin, but when it does there is no escape and you won't want to either. A potential album of the year? They describe the music as 21st Century electronica, where as I would just prefer to say its brilliant. (Brooky)

 

SHAKTA. Out Of Sight. Dragonfly. BFLCD46

The third album by Seb Taylor continues the trend set in the previous offerings. At least that is how it appears at a glance, but the psychedelic trance is developing and although you will find good examples of these, the changes are self-evident. The opener, Amazon is as hard as they come with its progressive beats and staunch rhythms; you will be hard pressed to find another contender for this slot. The material ranges from tribal beats through to dancefloor stormers and fascinating adaptations of the style. It is not until the fourth track Dirt Bouka that you realise that there is far more to these instrumentals and it's not all out attack. The following track Questions is a marvellous selection as it evokes quieter melodies on a wondrous slower thumping beat that provides musical adrenaline with ultra cool rhythms. He has even developed a humorous style especially at the end of the final track System 16, which is so out of character it will make you wonder if it is supposed to be an outtake from the cartoon Tom & Jerry. Don't underestimate the musical ability and power of this guy. (Philly)

 

VARIOUS. Aviation Terminal 1. Avatar. AVA006

This is the first in a series of psychedelic trance compilations from this label and during the 72 min spent in the company of this CD, you will sample nine extracts of very fine instrumental music. The most important aspect of this album is the fact that the material here is all exclusive. The nine tracks offer maximum effort and are not really designed for the first time casual listeners, having said that they should still be able to be appreciated by most forward thinkers. It commences with Cosmosis's Cave of Medusa in which the scene is set perfectly for the other selections. Pulsating beats and the familiar thud allows the many acidic moments to be enveloped by the catchy tune and the almost angelic harmonising chorus. Deliverance by Manmademan is an exceptional hi-energy track that fulfils its full on title as there could be no slacking during this section. Sanghi Jetti by Avatar gives more than the fare and is very attractive in the aural sense of the world. The music offers no startling developments for the style, yet it contains plenty of musical excitement to enrich the lot of the purchaser and as such is more than a worthwhile investment (Brooky)

 

VARIOUS. Trancelucent 2001 Uplifting Trance. Transient. TRANR630CD

The third in the popular Trancelucent series, which offers happy trance to the masses via a continual mix CD. There are so many of these about at this moment in time, why should this be any different? The answer comes in at least two parts, firstly three out of the dozen tracks have not been released previously and secondly, the music is pretty good. Cass and Slide set the scene with a vocal mix of Perception that combines all the qualities required to impress from track one. The compositional skills of Quirk are well documented within this magazine and it should not come as a surprise that their Tribodelic lives up to the high standard set by the previous albums. John OO Fleming puts his usual musical touches to the Pulsating Rhythm by Ultrasonik. Floorplay have a lot of credentials in this market and Jupiter have remixed State Of Mind to good effect. The album finishes in fine style with a Jon The Dentist remix of feel It by Twisted Angel. Uplifting trance is alive and well and an opportunity to visit the more serious side of the business without losing that happy feeling. (Brooky)

 

 

SVEN VATH. Retrospective. Warners. 857364372

So much has been said about this leading pioneer of German trance and his name is synonymous with quality both on record and as a DJ. At long last a retrospective has been released (thank goodness they did not use the greatest hits title!) that contains some of the highlights of his career. Taking in original edits to full length remixes by others, these instrumentals all posses that indelible German hallmark. The best remix has to be Underworld’s offering to the Harlequin - The Beauty And The Beast. He has collaborated with a number of other musicians such as Stevie Be-Zet as Zyon and with Ralf Hildenbeutel as Barbarella and none of the earlier works have lost their original potency. The well-known Vernon’s Wonderland is included although this version is the Future one. It’s not all dance music as Vath caters for the many differing styles within the electronica sphere, be it Electro or a more ambient feel. For someone wishing to dip a toe into this wonderful musical pool, this is the ideal place to get it wet. (PB)

 

 

MIND CONTROL. Magnetic Force. Kinetix. KINXCD16

By using the harder edge of tribal sounds beating against a natural backdrop of forceful trance, the listener is given little opportunity to rest. With an absence of flabby sounds emanating from the speakers during the ten tracks, this should not give you the right to dismiss this as yet another aural assault without value. The way the instrumentals are created in a distinctive style leaves you clamouring for more and that is achieved whilst listening to the first track Nothing Can Go Wrong. If I gave the impression that it's all at maximum force, then I'm sorry - quieter passages are included such as the beginning of Into The Light, but don't be deceived, as the power is more than tweaked. There's a large collection of sounds here and thankfully the same old themes are not repeated endlessly. Squelchy moments to enjoy are in abundance on Space Hopper. The beats are a little slower on Communicate, where sparsely used phrases are sampled from perhaps a B movie and employed to enhance the overall package. My favourite track has to be Spirals Of Infinite where the tempo is lowered to maximise the impact of the wondrous melodies. The overall impact of Hashish gives a very pleasant feeling with some great riffs vying with the explosive rhythms. This magnetic force is very attractive. (Brooky)

 

SPHONGLE. Tales Of The Inexpressible. Twisted. TWSCD13

My thoughts were dealt a blow when the expected became the unexpected. Hard-hitting psychedelic trance was definitely on my mind but the reality proved very different. Sphongle is collaboration between Simon Posford and Raja Ram, who undertake a journey through the world of music or should it be world music into all things mystical. This path allows them to collect influences from Turkish Opera to Latino percussion and these are used with absolute charm. On the second track Star Sphongled Banner (did I spot a clever play on words there?), the sounds of dub are encapsulated by the overtones of trance and even so this leaves plenty of space for many other styles to be incorporated in this truly global instrumental. It has many catchy inspirations to offer. The following track continues the theme of infectious material by including spoken words and tribal singing with a female chorus on a very funky bed of electronics. The Latino feel certainly pervades the track My Head Feels Like A Frisbee, this then mutates into the sound of the jungle where the pounding beats marvellously intertwine with laid back electronically deranged flute playing to form the perfect Sphongleyes. The styles are all mixed up on A Round The World In A Tea Daze with Indian type singing interspersed with string quartet and modern trance. My first review of a CD on the Twisted label and in this case thirteen is very lucky. Forget superstition, this is an outstanding album. (Philly)

 

ACID ROCKERS. Mind Set. Blue Room Released. BR102CD

Anyone playing the first track on this 8 track will immediately think not another album choked with full on psychedelic trance beats where the bass is incessant. Not that Weird World is bad in any way and once it starts to develop it is a glorious piece of trance. The inspiration for the rest of Mind Set really throws all those staid values to the wind, as musical exploration becomes synonymous with the Acid Rockers. Onto the next track Traveller, which blends from its predecessor and is basically very modern electro with funky guitar riffs and acid keyboard sections. It's only a tremendous inventive piece of music that generates real excitement. Interspersed with old spoken clips the instrumental music weaves a path from one genre to another, as the third track Inside is a magnificent drum and bass excursion into the moody sounds of the low life. Messages From Jupiter, with it's mean house beat proves that clubland slammers are well with their remit although you have to omit the drum 'n bass and psychedelic trance sections! Sounds of the jungle provides the backdrop for the next aural moment of delightful ambient before more drum 'n bass beats impart a much harder edge. The final electronic track samples some rather splendid effects on a very progressive beat that you should investigate immediately. I didn't realise that there is so much brilliant music available on this label. (Brooky).

 

VARIOUS. Psychedelic Underground 3. Garden Of Delights. CD030.

Garden Of Delights is a German label that's specialising is re-releasing rare German psychodelia, rock, blues and prog. Some of the bands are better known than others. The Psychedelic Undergound series is a way of introducing said bands to you, dear listener! What stands out so much from your regular 'sampler's is the booklet. Each track is given around a page each, with details of band, album and loads of other info, so if you like such and such, it comes from so and so album. A band called Tyburn Tall kick the album of with America (yes, the one that The Nice did), and to say it's live they do a pretty decent version. Rather than go through all the nine tracks, here's who I reckon stand out: Morpheus's Abflung; Try's Wreck On The Wing, Agitation Free's In The Silence Of The Morning Sunrise, and, for some strange reason, I found Siloah's Road To Laramy a real cracker! Great collections on their own, but for introducing you to the proper meaning of the word, this is all Krautrock, and some of it is bloody good: To order in the UK contact Ultima Thule, 1 Conduit Street, Leicester LE2 0JN. (Dave W).


VARIOUS. Trance 2001. Millennium. MILL100CD

15 tracks all mixed live in just one is are how this album is described. Dobbs seems to enjoy displaying the harder edge of trance and almost seamlessly achieves the crossover between the tracks. Although danceable, the beats are better appreciated in a more serious environment. The artists featured are not all that well-known although you may have heard of Metal Spark and Galaxy, the latter producing tranced out drum and bass Ibiza style! I used the word harder earlier, but this is not at the expense of losing melodies and rhythms. He just wishes to remind you that here is an uplifting set designed to encourage happiness and banish blandness to your furthest thoughts. Normally these continuous mix CD's become a tad too repetitive (just ask the Editor!) yet here the mixture is more diverse and the beats less tiresome. The opener is rather a quiet introduction by Recluse to the proceedings and although Tycho is relatively short in time the quality is still there to hear. The pervading thud, thud beat is not present throughout this record as the beats are intentionally dropped at certain points. Doubling not only as a great party album of 74 min., this fine collection of hot tunes raises the temperature. Ignore the occasional scratches just join the Millennium set. (PB)