Trance Europe Express 3 (Volume, 1994)

The blue artwork of Trance Europe Express and Trance Europe Express 2 is replaced by something more autumnal for the third volume. It arrived shortly after the college year started and was the first album I played when the clocks went back that October.

“There is no law except the law that there is no law.”
We begin with Air Liquide who hailed from Germany not France. Chromoplastic was recorded at the ’94 Love Parade, a sinister piece with a Michael Caine like voiceover and a sci-fi, almost spooky feel. Alien fear. The background from You Tube: “He told me that they once were touring in the USA, might be in ’91 (sorry my memory leaks) and they were waiting in a hotel lobby while a documentary about UFOs was shown on the screen. He took his dictaphone and recorded those samples. Which became this track.” It leads nicely into 808 State’s Mondonet, a harder number than the generally accessible Gorgeous era. Graham points out in the interview that “things are generally retro at the moment…and that can be harmful to creativity.” Email and the internet, impossible to avoid. Soon we will be able to buy music through phone lines. And we moved so much to the decadent techno of Banco De Gaia’s Kincajou, “doing” rhythm without a care.

Still we go deep on Luke Slater’s 7th Plain (Pearl). He cites Cybotron’s Clear as his all time favourite and it shows. Working in tandem are Pulse and Cariño (Silencio), an old skool trance banger reeking of 3.00am hedonism. Just looking at the adverts for Plastikman’s Plastique and Moby’s Feeling So Real really takes me back to the Moyne Road flat, both played heavily there. You should heed Iltapirii when listening to Joey Beltram’s fantastic Judgement: “With this you can smell the dusty concrete, the citron flavoured smoke and see the strobe banging, without being there. These kind of tracks are for those times of the night you think you can’t dance anymore and then boom, you get all the energy back you have lost during the last few hours and you can’t help but go with it.” Orb supporters, Sun Electric are next with the almost tropical house sound of Whoshe neatly melding into the intense Energy from Holy Language. All this plays out with a feature on Berlin’s Love Parade to be read. “Being on the decks and seeing all the people going crazy.”

Resistance D from Frankfurt. The late Pascal Dardoufas (sadly died May 2020) and Maik Maurice. Unknown is a savagely wicked tune, building up steam gradually like all the best intelligent techno. Moving on into the world of Rephlex and Kinesthesia’s fizzy trippy Lave Trader; Chris Jeffs heavily influenced by Buffalo Gals and IOU. Brace yourself for µ-Ziq’s Roy Castle – “I like distortion” (Mike Paradinas) – and its jazzy flecks surrounded by acid mutants. CD1 then ends with a selected ambient work (not half) called Cunt from Richard James’ alter-ego Caustic Window. The text has a funny story about them carelessly losing equipment at a Heathrow airport restaurant before eventually getting to their Ravestock destination four hours late. AFX’s set is cut off half way through – issue about not signing away performing rights. But they got to hear Quoth. King of the floor splitters unite.

TEX winter wear is advertised; a black long-sleeved t-shirt with an image on both sides. CD2 begins with Microstoria, sorry Modest Mouse, actually Mouse On Mars and the so stuttering glitch of Maus Mobil. Equally restrained are Ultramarine and the neat benign electronics of Before – which seems to be exclusive. There’s some esoteric samples on San Fran, a creation from Coco Steel And Lovebomb while William Orbit’s pioneering Barbarik mixes dislocated beats and almost ethereal voices like The Unexplained’s flexi-disc Voices Of The Dead. This leads into Inner Space’s beautiful Araqua, arresting and gilded beats. Thanks Ian Fletcher. Elsewhere Link is Mark Pritchard (also on Artificial Intelligence II) and the totally amazing Avatar is buried here. Engineered by Tom Middleton, it still plays like something from beyond the sun. Glorious. And keeping the dream alive are Nuw Idol with the frantic Ancient Memory. From goth to electronics, the logical journey by DJs.

After a six page feature on the affects of the Criminal Justice & Public Order bill, The Grid set the scene with the rather unremarkable Big Foot. A rare misstep here, all is forgiven with the stupendous Sex And Gender (Alter Ego), a favourite of Paul Chillage. Minimal 5.00am beats, a dawn voyage. Next the wonderful Biosphere with The Third Planet complete with Martian Chronicles’ samples. A pure winter melody, I remember walking through snow with this on the headphones, the amber sunrise of Maynooth in late 1998, crunching to the train station. Elsewhere Infinity AKA Juan Atkins drops the very nifty shapeshifter i-94 while Eddie Fowlkes’s Track 4 also increases the tempo giving us all a second wind. We end with a short take on EBN’s 3:7:8, produced by Jack Dangers with some great breaks and bass. Remember the psychedelic video that aired on MTV in the mid-90s. The last word: “It brings back plenty of vibes from that era, where it seemed like anything was possible and genres were colliding on all fronts.” (Ben Abstrakt)

Favourite tracks
Biosphere – The Third Planet

Air Liquide – Chromoplastic

Alter Ego – Sex And Gender

Lest we forget
Link – Avatar

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