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Mixed in Edinburgh, March 2011
(76:53, 142 MB, V0 VBR MP3)
Style: UK Acid Trance
Direct link to the mix:
01. Disco Volante – Moonraker (Man With No Name Remix) (Transient)
02. Nuw Idol – Ikon (Zoom)
03. Sandman – Dunes (PRC 046) (Rabbit City)
04. Chris Liberator – Soul Mantra (Prolekult)
05. Razor’s Edge – The Zoo (Sourmash Remixes ’95) (Metropolitan)
06. Pi.Bert – Atmosphere (K90 Remix) (Metropolitan)
07. X-Cabs – Neuro (Bellboy)
08. Crashforce – Re-Energize (Tide)
09. Interactive – Amok! (Chris Liberator Remix) (TEC)
10. D.R. Base – Don’t Stop (Tinrib)
11. Cybernaut – Hydrophonics (Intastella)
12. K90 – This Is The Future (New Horizon Mix) (Telica)
13. Choci & Mark Sinclair – Out There (Choci’s Chewns)
14. Demonic Emotions – Stuck On A Space Trip (Jon The Dentist Remix) (TEC)
15. Star Power – Nothing Can Save Us London (Truelove’s Lectrolux Remix) (Stay Up Forever Remix)
16. Pablo Gargano – Everyone’s Future (Eve)
17. Ramos, Supreme & UFO – Judgment Day (RSR)
18. 1st Airborn – Blaggermaster (UK44)
19. Helix & Fury – Sanctus Dominus (XY2)
20. Lab 4 – XL5 (Pod)
21. Rob Vanden – Gates Of Oblivion (GBT)
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I remember reading once that the music that really stays with you through life is the music you love when you are 17/18.
I can believe it.
Take the music featured on this mix – these UK acid trance records hold a very special place in my heart, having soundtracked my first nights out raving at London parties like Escape From Samsara, Pendragon, and Techtonic. Not that it was necessarily my favorite music right away – those of you who have read my other essays here at Sonicrampage will know that when I was 15-17 I was a full-scale junglist, or at least as much of one as an upper-middle class white American expat could be!
My friends, however, were not, so given that I was always outvoted, if I wanted to go out and party with them, I had to accept we’d be hearing something besides jungle.
Which in our case meant that we ended up going out to trance events, since that’s what the older brothers of my group of friends liked to rave to. Like a lot of other teenage boys, we were very heavily influenced by these older brothers, since they were older, more confident, and just generally seemed a lot cooler and more mature than us. Unsurprisingly, this influence led to us picking up a number of their habits and tastes, both good and bad.
Smoking = bad
Banging hard trance = very good!
Admittedly, the hard trance thing was not so good right at the beginning. I was a junglist after all (“that shit’s not from the streets, maaaaan” … as if I was from the fucking streets!), but since I didn’t want to sit around at home on my own, I had to learn to tolerate that hippy nonsense.
As you might have guessed, in the end I learned not just to tolerate it, but to love it with a fearsome passion!
Dan Durnin and I at Vicious Circle, Sheffield, 2002
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The story of me and this music really started with the first club night I ever went to, which was an Escape From Samsara event at the Fridge in Brixton back in September 1996, not long before my 16th birthday. If you remember Samsara from when it was a weekly event, just think how long ago it was that it was a monthly … just thinking about it makes me feel totally prehistoric (although not as bad as seeing teenagers on the streets and thinking “why did their parents let them out dressed like that!”)
As you can see from the photo above of me at 18, I always had a very, um, ‘youthful’ appearance, so frankly it was no surprise when I got knocked back at the door! In the end, I hung around long enough looking pathetic and complaining that my friends were all inside that the bouncer took pity on me and let me in.
I’m not too sure I was actually ready for the full power of the experience … it’s one thing to hear trance on a tinny boombox in a hotboxed bedroom, cherry holes on the floor, stupid posters on the wall, ears pricked for the tell-tale sound of parents coming in the door, but really truly another thing to hear it on a big system in a heaving club, with hands in the air, smiles on faces, and lasers strafing. Fuelled by nothing more than a few sodas, I hit the floor and just went for it.
That, properly, was the start of my love affair with hard trance’s magical combination of relentless 4/4 kickdrums, sizzling 303 lines, and intense melodies.
Playing at Milk, Brixton, Summer 2002 … not sure about the goggles!
Every now and then people ask me how I find the time/energy to do so many mixes.
Which is flattering, but actually the wrong question, because the trickiest part of the whole process is writing the accompanying blog post.
This mix, for instance, was done back in the middle of March without too much trouble, but I have been scratching my head ever since about the essay. Funny, because it wasn’t too hard to get the tunes together, nor to find an hour in which to bang it together (this is actually the second version, since I screwed up the levels the first time I recorded it).
The hard part has actually been writing this post. This is often the case, largely, I suspect, because I write for several different reasons which can be occasionally tricky to balance.
On the most basic level, I take a certain amount of pride in providing a full package – not just a single mp3 mix bunged up on Mediafire or wherever, but both whole and split versions of the mix, with a cover, a cue file, the tracklist, and a (hopefully interesting) essay. Usually (but not always!), I like to explain the thinking behind the mix, since there is a thought process behind each mix – I never just randomly pull out tracks and bang them together, but instead I’m trying to tell a kind of sonic story (and if you’re interested in a more in-depth exploration of this theme, read the essay I wrote to accompany my Rampage Audio 6 mix).
On another level I’m also writing for the pure selfish pleasure of writing. I’ve always loved to write, but I have found that it can sometimes be difficult to do so regularly, through a combination of procrastination and the difficulty of picking the right topics. Therefore, writing for this blog has been a good way to force a little discipline on me as a writer. Also, in a funny way I feel that the pressure is off me to write amazing incredible essays because to be completely honest most of the visitors to this site are here strictly for the music. Someone writing for a text-focused publication doesn’t have that luxury.
The third reason why I write is that, especially with the mixes of older material, I want to catalogue my memories of the British underground dance scene as it existed in the late 90′s/early 00′s, especially for the scene surrounding the kind of acid techno/trance that I’ve featured on this mix, which was both too underground for the world of superclubs (and just think … all those Crasher Kids in uv gear with Mitsi symbols on their faces are probably married with kids by now!) and yet not cool or progressive enough to be of interest to serious music critics in the same way that the London hardcore continuum is. I think that scene was pretty interesting as a socio-cultural phenomenon, and also because I think it’s kind of disappeared from cultural memory, and I want to make sure that at least some knowledge of it survives.
The Twatted Tour hits Dancevalley, Holland, 2001
In a way, it’s funny, because it’s only now that I’m in my 30′s, married, and a father, and now no longer clubbing that I realize how big a role the scene actually played in my life, and how so many of my fondest memories were from the whole hard dance scene.
A few things that make me smile to think back to:
- Frantically dialling United Systems at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night to find out where the night’s squat parties were going down
- Whiling away a lazy Saturday afternoon at a record store listening to tunes and chatting to the guys (always guys) behind the counter. A partial list of some of my fave stores from back in the day: Kinetec (Central London), Dragon Discs (Camden), Elite Records (Victoria), Basement Vinyl (Kilburn), Mad Records (Soho) and Pendragon Records (Brixton)
- Being in a heaving club and seeing everyone everywhere dancing
- The pure rush of a snareroll crescendoing and the beat kicking back in full force … cliche or not, you can’t ignore that power
- Meeting people and becoming inseperable best mates for the night; of course, you’d never see them again
- The friendliness and camaraderie that you would never experience in more fashion-conscious circles
Hell, even a lot of the things that sucked at the time have become amusing in retrospect – like trying to dance in clubs so hot that sweat was running down the walls and raining from the ceilings, or standing outside clubs flyering in arctic conditions to saucer-eyed loons.
Even though those days are well in the past now, I still have the records, and I still have the memories, and since I consider myself very fortunate to have experienced those times, nothing makes me happier than sharing that feeling with you.