Friday, June 15, 2018

Attack by Derb

Derb has come up quite a bit in my blog posting, but relatively infrequently in my DJ set mixes that I've making by random selection.  This is one of my favorite tracks of theirs.  There's a remix version that's also on the Works collection, but it's not necessarily better than the original.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Can't Have Enough by Hennes & Cold

While not one of my personal favorites of the Hennes & Cold works, you've got to admit that they just have an extremely competent catalog overall.  Even their mediocre songs with vocal samples from weird hip hop or R&B songs are good.  They're regular stuff, without those cheesy vocal samples, are almost uniformly excellent.  There's almost nothing by Hennes & Cold that I don't like (maybe "Born Blind" and "Shhhh!"—although even those aren't bad, just not as good).  Kai Winter's other major collaboration, Derb, is a bit more experimental at times, so it has some really excellent stuff and some... well, nice try material too.

His solo works collection is even more experimental, plus it includes a lot of earlier works, but it's also got some really great material.  But even as much as their own works, some of these guys are as famous for their remixes of other people's stuff.  (This is especially true of Scot Project, but all of the hardtrance big-shots make it true to a certain degree.)

Where I really first noticed Hennes & Cold was from their remix of "Retribution" by Titchy Bitch and the Fallen Angel.  Holy crap, that's a great song!  "I know over 200 ways to kill a man!"

Sadly, it's been so successful, that you can't even hear the original anywhere, because the Hennes & Cold remix is the only one that's available anywhere.  So I can't compare it, but it is what it is this many years after the fact.  Sigh.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

We Call It Acid by Organ Donors and A*S*Y*S

This slightly truncated version of the song is the best I can find on youtube, although you can hear the whole thing on spotify. (https://open.spotify.com/album/2PssKYtcCHrzs4xI5yM7pb)

This is another song that reinforces my central premise; to me, a year ago, this was a fairly typical acid techno song, of the type that I was familiar with from the rest of A*S*Y*S's output.  Of course, I was wrong about that, A*SY*S doesn't do acid techno so much as they do acid trance and hard trance.  Discogs calls this song electro house, and the youtube description calls it subground.

EDM is over-split and over-categorized.  Nobody really cares all that much about the finer distinctions between the styles.  And they're too finely defined if the same song gets categorized differently in different venues, or—as happens in the youtube comments section of a lot of these—people argue endlessly about what exactly it it.  Personally, I find that I like the trance structure with build-ups and drops, quite a lot, and I like the really hard sounds of hardtrance and some of the hardstyle when it isn't caricaturish and noise.  I'd probably find plenty to like in hardcore or gabber if I got into it, although given how much hardtrance and before that hardstyle blew up my collection, I'm reluctant to explore it much. (And my limited exposure so far hasn't been all that promising.)

I might even like a lot of British hard house.

But I don't worry too much about genre labels.  If some hard house makes it's way in, I hardly even notice, much less complain.  If some regular trance with boosted bass makes its way in and doesn't sound out of place, I don't care.  My DJ set mixes are mostly hard trance and acid trance, but feature a fair number of early hardstyle songs, acid techno songs, and even a few classic trance songs and subground songs here and there.

In fact, although I keep saying that I'm not really in collection mode right now, I do still keep finding more stuff.  I recently got a bunch more DuMonde tracks (which is funny; they were on my radar from the very beginning, but I put them on the back burner until just now) and I've filled up a few corners with Max Savietto (and his various aliases) stuff, including some new "Loop Hole" remixes from 2012 and a whole new collaboration that I'd missed, Evergray.  I earlier got a fair number of tracks from Resonate: The Brutal Sound of Hard Trance which was a British collection.  There's seven such collections, and I only did a cursory scan of the first one.  This collection says hard trance, but according to most, it straddles a line between hard trance and hard house a lot of the time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Race 2012 (Steve Hill vs. Technical Remix) by Luca Antolini

Luca Antolini, of the Saifam group, is one of my favorite trance artists, and his frequent collaborations with Steve Hill are phenomenal.  This isn't even my favorite of their work together (the "Contatto (RVRS BASS Remix)" probably has to take that prize; or one of the several "The Heat" versions.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Angel of Death [Hennes & Cold Remix] by Angel of Death

Angel of Death was another Kai Franz collaborative project. It only had a few tracks put out, but they're all really good.  "Angel of Death" was—unsurprisingly—probably the signature track (although I personally think "The H" is the best one.)

And when you get Hennes & Cold to remix it, you know it's probably going to turn out great.  This is a great track.

Ignore the picture.  That's another DJ; Yoji Biomehanika, who does a bunch of tech trance and other stuff. I'm actually not much of a fan of his, although I do have one Scot Project remix of one of his songs in my collection that's quite good.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Worm (Marcos Remix) by Steve Knight and DJ Ryze

Although I'm especially belated in discovering the English hardtrance scene, there was actually a fair bit of activity there—although a shocking amount of the stuff early in the millennium seems to be centered around three guys; Steve Knight, Mark Dearden (Marcos) and especially John Stembridge (Jay Walker, JK Walker, MTW, Apogee, various other aliases.)  In addition to their solo stuff, they also seem to have collaborated with each other (and occasionally others) in various guises as well.

There was another pole around the Tidy Trax guys, and some of their output is hardtrance, although there's also a lot of hard house and other stuff that is similar in that crew, but not the same as hardtrance.  Guys like K90, Guyver, Lee Haslam, Paul Maddox, etc.  In fact, it may be fair to say that hard house is more the focus of the Tidy Trax guys and some good hard trance was an almost inadvertent output.

The more modern British hardtrance scene, centered around guys like Alex Kidd, the Organ Donors, etc. tends to be more subground than traditional hardtrance, but the three mentioned above are doing stuff as good as anything the north Italians, the Germans, the Dutch or the Swiss ever did.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tiefenrausch (The Deep Blue) (A*S*Y*S Remix) by Kai Tracid

Kai Tracid was actually a member of A*S*Y*S during much of their classic output, but I think that this is clearly a remix by the other guy in A*S*Y*S, Frank Ellrich.  This is one of my favorite remixes of one of my favorite hard trance songs.

The NRG, or original mix is also very good.  The Oliver Lieb mix is, I think, kind of over-rated.  There's nothing wrong with it, it just... who cares?

This song is all about the NRG remix and the A*S*Y*S remix.