Friday, April 26, 2019

The Silent You [The Mystery Remix] by Unmark

It's debatable to what degree this trance record is actually hardtrance; it kind of straddles the line.  Unmark is one of a few solo projects of Marco Guardia, also known as Reverb,  Guardia is a Swiss DJ most famous as one half of both S.H.O.K.K. and of Flutlicht.  It's not hard to see him as the more productive and musical genius half of both, but maybe that's not really fair—S.H.O.K.K. has done plenty of good things since he left, for instance (although usually partnered with DJ Space Raven, or other team-ups and they've become, if anything, more... I dunno, they kind of blend into the landscape of modern hardtrance much more than they did before.)  It also seems that the solo projects of Guardia tend to lose their hardness and revert back to "normal" trance, so maybe he needed the influence of his partners, even if he was actually the real musical genius behind both of those outfits.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Second Chase [Extended Mix] by Dave Joy

Dave Joy was a reasonably big name in Swiss hardtrance, but he didn't really release a lot of tracks.  What he does seem to have done is release the same track over and over again in multiple remixes.  I think I have no fewer than fifteen of his first (and most well known) release, "First Impression", and surprisingly, most of them are really quite good.  With "Second Chase" he did it again, although I get the impression that this wasn't as big a hit, and it had fewer remixes over time (the number declined rapidly over time; by the time we get to "Fourth Joyride" not only had the titles become a bit silly because he couldn't figure out how to make the numerical thing work while still coming up with something as iconic as "First Impression" but there are also only two remixes of this available at all.

That said, Dave Joy also released some stuff under other aliases, and as team-ups with various other people (usually reserving a "band name" in that case, such as Schattenmann and Basic Dawn) and he also did a lot of remixes.  Notably, he really seemed to work to develop a specifically Swiss hardtrance scene, which I can certainly respect him for, even though I'm not Swiss at all.

"Second Chase [Extended Mix]" is a pretty good sampling of his general style, especially near the beginning of his career, but honestly, some of the remixes are more exciting, including ones by Alphazone and Kaylab vs Reeloop. (Yes, I know that Kaylab and Reeloop are actually two different aliases for the same guy.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Living Harmony [Alternate Mix] by Mental Miracle

Mental Miracle is actually a two-person north Italian duo who used tons of alternate names and aliases, although most of them are definitely in the hard dance styles and sit kinda on the line between hard trance and early Italian hardstyle.  (They do have a few more housey variations too, though.)  They'll pop up over time over and over and over again, often under different names like Skam, Schwarzende, DJ Kubrik, Omega Nine, Aikon, Darksucker, Tronik and more.  Much more, actually, although I think those names have the most tracks that are likely to come up.

It's curious that the north Italians are the ones who were most likely to straddle the line between hard trance and early hardstyle.  If you read the history of hardstyle on some place like Wikipedia, for instance, you don't get the impression that hard trance was a major influence; you get the distinct impression, in fact, that it came out of the gabber or Dutch hardcore scene.  There really is a lot of variation in various regions: hard trance in the UK came out of the acid scene and has a hybrid hard house sound to it, quite often.  Hard trance in Germany and the Netherlands and the rest of the Germanic countries seems intersect very little with hardstyle, and if it intersects with anything at all (which it often doesn't) crossing into hardstyle is usually a late occurring phenomena (although it does happen late, especially after hardstyle was quite well established.)  In the Italian early hardstyle scene is where it is almost indistinguishable from hard trance, quite often.

And more recently that's true too; if you look at newer hard trance artists, like Costa Pantazis, NG Rezonance, Noizy Boy, DJ W, etc. they describe themselves as hard dance artists on discogs, and their styles tend to be primarily hard trance, but heavily influenced and hybridized with hardstyle, hard house, hard techno, acid, tech trance, etc.  But the Italians were the first to make hard trance and hardstyle merge in a fuzzy spectrum.

Third Pleasure [Re-Mix] by Dave Joy

From the anniversary remix (which doesn't label the remixes the same as the original release does, so I used the title of the post with the original release remix title) here's another Dave Joy.  Kinda funny that randomization gave me a Dave Joy track right after a Basic Dawn track, where Dave Joy was the leading member of the group.

I have a lot of tracks by Dave Joy and his associated joint projects, but to be fair, it's not as many unique songs; there are a lot of remixes and versions of most of the really popular songs (especially "First Impression" and "Pure Thrust.")  I mean, I have 13 of the former and 12 of the latter, although those are clearly the ones with the most versions.  He's also got some great remixes here and there; especially DJ Dean's "Music Is My Life."

Pure Thrust [Substate Remix] by Basic Dawn

Basic Dawn is another project of Michael Hunziker (Dave Joy) with a few other friends, famous mostly for this one song, which has a load of versions of remixes.  This is one of the best ones, so it was nice to have it come up randomized.