Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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

I continue to explore the intersection that happened between about 1998 or so at the earliest and maybe 2005 or so on the late end between hard trance, acid and early hardstyle.  Very different stuff than the 80s synthpop that I grew up on (in some ways, anyway) but clearly descended from aspects of it too.  One thing about trance that is great but also... not... is the fact that the beats are pretty predictable.  By that I mean that it starts off lean, builds up, has a big drop, then has a beatless soft interlude, before building back up to another big drop and then kind of "leaning out" again near the end.  This is part of the reason why I like the intersection; some of the other stuff, especially in remixed form, isn't quite so predictable.

Anyway, Kai Tracid is one guy, who apparently founded Tracid Traxx record label, which as you can guess focused on trance and acid, although the hardstyle sound grew out of this same community or like-minded German and Dutch DJs.  A*S*Y*S*, whom I've talked about before, was on the label; it appears (from vague commentary on discogs as well as song credits) that Kai Tracid was probably an early member of the band, and co-wrote some of their tracks (like "Acid Nightmare" among others.  When he went solo with Kai Tracid, he seems to have become more "trancy" rather than the much more overtly "acidy" sound of A*S*Y*S*.  But since A*S*Y*S* was still on his label, even as he was no longer associated directly with the name, they've clearly kept in touch, and A*S*Y*S* did this awesome remix of Kai Tracid's "Tiefenrausch (The Deep Blue)".  In fact, it's clearly the best version of the song, in my opinion.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Derb by Derb

I always like the voyage of discovery, and where it leads me—even for works that are rather older.  During much of the 80s, I was on a merry chase for material by Visage, for instance, after having heard of them in a library book, but struggling to find anyone who could get a copy of their seminal first eponymous CD for me, even by mail order.  Little was I to realize that it was shortly to be re-released in wide distribution, of course—but then, little was anyone to realize that the internet was about to make the most obscure releases widely available anywhere.

Of course, we now have almost the opposite problem; there's so much stuff available that it's easy to get lost trying to figure out what's even out there.  And as I explore styles of music that I may not have been paying attention to the first time around, I can often have circuitous trails into finding songs that maybe weren't really necessarily obscure to fans of the style... but which were to me.

As an example, I've spend a lot of time lately (and by lately, I mean for about four or five years, although I had quite a bit of stuff from before that) exploring the continental techno scene of the late 90s and early 2000s; some classic trance, hard trance, acid trance, and stuff like that in particular.  While I don't necessary consume it at a rabid pace, I've been steadily picking up new tracks here and there since about 2012-2013 or so.

So here's one story of a winding trail.  I'm a fan, of course, of New Order.  I also remember the track from Blade where the blood came out of the sprinklers in the slaughterhouse vampire rave... although it took me quite some time to recognize that it was actually the Pump Panel Reconstruction Mix of "Confusion."  For many years, I assumed (as many people still do, for some reason) that it was a Chemical Brothers song, or perhaps Crystal Method.  That's what one of my next door neighbors told me, and I assumed that he knew what he was talking about.  I wondered why I couldn't find it anywhere, though.  Heh.

Once I finally got it correctly identified, I realized that it had been sampled a few times and included in other songs, the best of which (in my opinion) was Caribbean born Dutch trance artist Randy Katana's (Randy Joubert) "Play it Loud."

Later as Youtube and Spotify came to be the way that music is most often consumed, I found bootleg remixes that are pretty fun, including one that remixed "Play it Loud" with "Flight 643", a Tiësto trance classic.  I wasn't aware of "Flight 643" actually, although I'd heard of Tiësto (also Dutch; real name Tijs Michiel Verwest) mostly from his remix work after he became more mainstream.  But "Flight 643" was a brilliant example of early 2000's hard trance (I guess if I played old FIFA games in the early 2000s, I would have heard it, apparently.)  Any, while gobbling up what I could of "Flight 643" versions, I found a "reworking" of the track by John Christian, which is probably my favorite.  I liked it so much that I looked for more John Christian, and the first thing that turns up for most if you're looking for him is his electro-house track "The Grimm."  "The Grimm" has a part in the middle—my favorite part, which is sampled.  Youtube comments suggested that it was sampled from the Alpha Twins "Smack".  This may be true, but probably not—"Smack" samples "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy and... "Derb" by Derb.  The main synth line from "The Grimm" that I really loved was, it turns out, "Derb."  This makes Derb seem pretty obscure, but I'm not sure that that's really the case.  It was familiar and popular enough to be re-released with new remixes and stuff in 2014 (although decidedly indie).  I'm picking one of those remixes to highlight today; the Richie Romano remix.

If you're looking for the original, you can also get on this same single, or you can get the original single, where curiously it's named "Derb (Derbus)" to avoid confusion with the different version of the song called "Derb (Dernimbus)".