The final stop on the Trance Europe Express arrived just before 1996 came to a close. The editorial from Sarah Champion – which references the beginning of the following year – describes it as “a genre-busting compilation where anything goes. This is a collection of low-ridin’ future skank, dubbed-out rumba, Detroit-flecked funk, twisted hip hop, abstract jungle, nocturnal electronica, jazz-soaked techno soul and future house.”
It’s a long way in for Glamorous Hooligan and the slow build of Breakin’ Knees. Some say a soundtrack waiting for a film that doesn’t really catch fire. Getting better is Ian Pooley’s pleasant Detroit-flavoured diversion Picture Palace, albeit nothing can ever top Chord Memory. Next is Orlando Voorn’s squelchy electro gem Solar System before the eletechno noir of Andrea Parker’s Unconnected. Dense layers of beaty angelic delight. Meanwhile DJ Trace samples Vangelis beautifully on the shimmering breakbeat gem The Beacon – plus gives a good interview about this day job at 611 Records and settling into life in the US. It’s followed by Buckfunk 3000’s most jittery The Return Of Alphonzo, scattered in the jungle.
The Advent’s City Limits remains a Belgrave Square memory; industrial techno with some austere vocal samples. Next are Random Logic and the precise building beats of Katafolka. Shimmer under the continuing aura of reverb. And then Kirk Degiorgio under the As One moniker with the harder Detroit beats of Doctrine To Dance. The text reveals his scathing views towards “most people’s” taste. In the wake: Christian Vogel & the uncompromising gloom that is Doke. CD1 then concludes with those great Danes, Future 3 & the icy meets organic synths of Vase K, reminding me of a faster Ghost Box. Mind how you go.
Disc 2 starts with B. Low and Where Are You Coming From, imbued with the spirit of early electro of the Streetsounds variety. This is timely as a feature on said genre pops up which has a nice link to the nu variety. Next are Zulutronic and the plastic glam-techno of Zululeptic before Outcast’s hypnotic Peach Taxi. The text confirms a relationship with Shed Seven, an almost Balearic feel. Good quote on the scene: “Now in every club, you get one type of music – if you want another, you go to a different club.” Marshall Jefferson & The Lumpheads drop A New State Of Being which doesn’t really move me while The Other Side by Carl Cox ploughs the same anodyne furrow as his At The End Of The Cliché LP. Movin’ on up and cutting loose with Slam and the almost funky beats of Soul Power.
Q4 sees Russ Gabriel’s lush 303 monster Rare Is The Groove with its funked up machine rhythms and sinewy cinematic beats. He founded the Ferox label; I wonder was it named after Umberto Lenzi’s classic film. Next are Killer Loop (Mr C & Layo Paskin) and the faceless Genre, like something you’d hear in Tag. Meanwhile Slab feature the Drum Club’s Lol 🙂 but Rabbit Moon’s fails to catch fire. Look back in anger indeed. I had more hopes for Dr Rockit – surely a Herbie influence – but Take Off just doesn’t do anything for me. Equally turgid are Statis and the half-hearted But Not Quite. What does it all mean? Last tune of the series falls to Neil Landstrumm and the moody techno of Eavesdropper. It’s the best in the last 20 minutes but we’re left the sense that the series just went on too long.
Outcast – Peach Taxi
Andrea Parker – Unconnected
DJ Trace – The Beacon
Lest we forget
Russ Gabriel – Rare Is The Groove