1999 is widely regarded as THE year of trance, when so many of the great classic tracks were first released. Our opinions of the ‘classics’ now is distorted by nostalgia, the distance of time and our knowledge of what has been released in the 14 years since then. So what did trance lovers think at the time, when these classics were still new and fresh?
I have unearthed some reviews first published in 1999 at the now defunct www.mixology.co.uk, courtesy of Google Groups. Like watching an old home movie from when you were a kid, here are 8 voices from the past reviewing familiar favourites and the odd track that you may have forgotten. Enjoy!
Art of Trance – Madagascar
” Now here’s a tune which has already created a name for itself in previous incarnations, but never like this. When it left the studio of Ferry Corsten, aka System F an already a minor deity to many of us, it would never be the same. Ferry’s distinct and mega effective multi-layered glossy synth riffs suit this track perfectly, raising it to a whole new level and raising every hand skywards in the process. Already one of the trance classics, this has reinforced it’s position on the must-have list. Transa turn in a half decent mix on the flip, incidentally, though completely overshadowed by this outstanding performance! “
ATB – 9pm (Till I Come)
” It’s been some time since I’ve heard the sort of buzz this one has created – so many people have asked me about this tune over the last month that you get the distinct impression this one is not only a huge club anthem, but a major chart smash in the making on a commercial level. Basing itself around an ultra-hooky, portamento slurring simple main riff, this sounds very much like the kind of track that explodes AFTER Ibiza, this one is set to do it all before Ibiza even gets going, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fly straight in at No.1 over here. Essential for any dance fan’s collection, and clearly one of THE biggest dance tunes of the year – nuff said! “
Blank & Jones – Cream
” The deviants at Deviant are on to a sure fire winner here! Despite only two mixes on this major release, both are in demand and bastard good as each other. The original plunges down into a moody euro sea of trance. It features a limited dose of 303 tampering, waterery basslines and the smoothest of breakdowns. Paul Van Dyk drives into pole position with a much harder interpretation. Seamless chord changes are what make this tune, leaping up and down as they approach boiling point in every breakdown. The main break gets deep, synth stabs stir, the keyboard is teased, the strings embrass and wallop! The kick is surrounded by all the madness, all of which follows a phenomenal melody and superb production.
Now also circulating are remixes from Evolution, and ATB, who remould the tune with their own distinctive and mega-popular percussion and sound. Still, that original is the definitive one that’s making clubland go crazy! “
Gouryella – Gouryella
” Huge! Hands-in-the-air heaven! Ferry Corsten really has gone way beyond merely flavour of the month and the entire world is going crazy over anything bearing his name – and rightly so. As phenomenal as his previous “Out Of The Blue” single, this continues where he left off and joins it in the race for top three tunes of the year. Well, not so much a race as much as an inheritance. Make sure this is in your box – there are no excuses! “
Mauro Picotto – Lizard
” This is undoubtedly an underground classic which may weedle its way into the nationals. For its own notoriety it may be better for the track to be held back for some time to create true classic status. Described as a kind of Josh Wink goes to Europe and ends up at the Love Parade this is a truly large nine minute monster. Its crowning glory comes about seven minutes in, when the breakdown is followed by single finger synth chords – fantastic. Also included is a shorter version, the DJ friendly edit, which is provided by Tall Paul, as well as a self explanatory Trance version. “
Sasha – Xpander EP
” The busiest man in DJ-ing, takes time away to be creative in a manner that doesn’t involve pleasing thousands and thousands of people week after week. You would have thought that after his recent contributions to the Global Underground series, the man might have let rip a little.
‘Xpander’ does nothing of the sort and like many other Sasha tracks clocks in at a kaleidoscopic eleven minutes and thirty seconds, and is pure, untarnished, epic trance at its best. Xpander is the ideal antidote to wind down on, after all those outdoor summer extravaganzas. If you remove the first four tracks from his Global compilation and then add an angelic riff, you will find yourself not even close to the sheer splendour of this tune. This is firm evidence that Sasha is well and truly on his way to attaining respect as an artist, as well as a DJ.
‘Belfunk’ keeps up the momentum but is slightly more experimental than its predecessor; a strong rolling bass line provides a robust foundation, whilst a multitude of sounds wander in and out, with no temptation to follow any sort of formula throughout. ‘Rabbit Weed’ and ‘Baja’ gives Sasha the chance to indulge in the ambient and breakbeat side of his soul with breathtaking results; ‘Rabbit Weed’ certainly would not sound out of place on the last two Orbital LPs. The Xpander EP harks back to the days when it was cool for clubbers to dance to something other than 150bpm, four to the floor trance, ideal for those 5pm come downs. “
The Space Brothers – Legacy (Show Me Love)
” After being in demand for new material, the Space Brothers recruit Matt Darey to give this epic tune even more justice in the clubs across Britain. The club mix is far too commercial for me, I’ll leave that to your own judgement. The Darey mix on the other hand unifies all those peak time, hand’s in the air moments which set a good night on fire. Renowned for his heavy basslines and uplifting emotional strings, there is no exception to this mix. You’ll be launched at speed into another epic breakdown as Darey uses all the important elements of the original to guide us on another memorable journey. It’s a lengthy mix, as are most of his remixes, but when trance comes at you this good, let it play . “
Yomanda – Synth & Strings
” The highly talented Paul ‘Wand’ Masterson resurfaces in yet another guise. Thanks to a copy being placed in a few of the right hands some weeks ago and the fact that this is truly a masterfully simple but effective club anthem, this has already become one of the most talked about tunes nationwide with still a good couple of weeks until the release date – to say this will be a monster hit is therefore a good contender for ‘Understatement Of The Year’ award. Paul knows just the right little hooks and riffs that hit the right places, and for this one he jumps between two killer ones – a basic little tinkly climbing euro riff that will get right under your skin, broken up by a badly looped up but ultra effective little one bar disco riff. Joe Fandango filters the hell out of it for a great alternative mix to hang back with until you really have slaughtered the main A-side. Essential ammunition for your box and 1999’s equivalent of ‘The Bomb’! “