It’s 1999, I’m 15 years old and I’m starting to discover my true personality. My taste in music, film, hobbies and even the type of girls I fancied were starting to properly develop though I never realised it at the time. So there I am watching the crappy old CRT TV and on comes this advert for an album, playing a song I had heard before on the radio but had never discovered the title of. This was in the dark days when internet connections were slow, limited and most of all feared by parents like mine. Regardless, I couldn’t simply find the song on-line someone had to know it in real life or, I could just buy the album for (I thought) some band called Euphoria.
What I discovered was the song was by Faithless. Euphoria was the name of the compilation and the song that I had heard was Insomnia. The track on the advert was a phenomenal tour de force for Faithless and I ended up a little gutted to find that the one song I had bought the album for (on cassette no less) was a disappointing version. I’d just spanked about £15 quid on the thing at my local Tesco (while mum was doing the weekly shop) so I naturally wanted to get my moneys worth. And so I listened to the first cassette to gauge its worth and found myself completely and utterly in love.
The first track was by Karen Ramirez Looking for Love and I fucking loathed that song when I heard it on the radio. It was too slow, too loved up and just dull (as I’ve got older my tastes have changed a little but being a teenager my attitudes were more black and white). So instead I used to fast-forward past that track until one day I realised that after a minute and a half the song starts to descend into a full on rave. It’s an eight and a half minute remix of a track that bears almost no resemblance to the original – which is great as I clearly hated it. Even better, after 3 minutes of build up the song samples a section of Paul Van Dykes For an Angel (again a track I had heard but had no idea who it was by). And then 4 minutes in it utterly transcends from generic loved up fodder into an utterly relentless trance track – uplifting, soaring, highs and lows building like a fucking symphony. I was enamoured and I couldn’t stop listening as the track just kept building and building; the vocals and the bass line working together in a constant assault on my senses. And then as the track reaches a crescendo, the familiar sound of For an Angel steps up the the plate and smashed my sense out of the room. I had discovered trance music.
Years on and many trance albums later I can comfortably state that I loved dance music. From chilled house to happy hardcore I just loved how dance music could be woven together by a DJ and could play like a story that was appreciated almost uniquely by every listener. Of course I was a teenager so I missed the point that I should have been dosed to the eyeballs with ecstasy and raving out under lasers on some abandoned airstrip. But nevertheless I loved the music because it helped my teenage spirit to soar.
To this day I still love trance music though its glory days seem long gone. Super clubs are dying, Paul Van Dyke, Ferry Corsten and Tiesto are all in their 40s and tastes have evolved. My tastes certainly have broadened too (you can thank Muse and Linkin Park in 2001 for that change) but the one recurring theme is that music has to stir my soul in order to make me like it; and I got that from trance music. From the sadness of Samuel Barbers Adagio for Strings to the bass-y thrum of Jeremy Soules music in Total Annihilation I had opened my senses to emotional music that barely required any lyrics to work.
It’s now 17 years since I bought that album and thanks to the wonders of the Internet you can listen to the whole first CD here. All the tracks are on there except for Faithless ironically. Not that it matters because you need to go to track 13 and crank up the volume to fully appreciate what 2 minutes of finely crafted dance sounds like. Then listen to the whole fucking thing while you’re next walking down the street and just start throwing shapes at random strangers. Gurn as well and they’ll probably start raving out like you’re at a silent disco raging on ketamine. OI OI!