QuoteGive trance a chance! We’ve done house, techno and drum & bass, looking at their top 100 most important tracks, that have contributed to the birth, growth and evolution of those genres. Now it’s the turn of trance, a style so loved and derided in equal measure.
Love it or loathe it, it can never be written off, as it’s been hugely influential on all kinds of artists. Probably no other style of dance music has been so liberally lifted from, in terms of atmospheres, melodies, riffs, sounds, and feel. From Gui Boratto and Marc Romboy to Zomby to Araabmuzik to Oxia to Rustie to Anja Schneider to David Guetta, it’s been a fuel for the fire — whether that’s through defiance, outright thievery, playfulness or because we all had a connection to the genre in our youth: nostalgia.
Some of these tracks still sound incredible today, stargazing, kinetic, powerful. Some of them are just great boshing club tracks. Some are dated in the extreme. But all have been hugely important.
In compiling our list, with the help of DJs, writers, experts and friends, we’ve attempted to look at the beginnings, and the tracks that gave rise to the evolution of the genre through its many permutations. We’ve tried to represent all aspects of trance, including some tunes that might be controversial to some. But all in some way encompass the trance sound or feeling.
01. JEAN MICHEL JARRE - Oxygene
Les Disques Motor 1976
In the mid 1970s electronic music was still an alien concept for most listeners. Though it had been in existence for decades and had begun to infiltrate popular consciousness through Delia Derbyshire’s eerie theme for Doctor Who, few consumers were drawn to the idea of an electronic artist or album. French original Jean Michel Jarre changed all that with his mid-’70s motherlode ‘Oxygene’. A 40-minute ambient work, its dreamy, twinkling synth echoes, orbiting arpeggios and central ultra riff laid the foundations for what later became the dance music form of trance. Though dated now, its at the time futuristic sounds and crucially, its galactic sense of the sublime, prefigure the euphoria that would be felt so strongly on dancefloors 20 years later.
02. TANGERINE DREAM - Love On A Real Train
German synth stargazers Tangerine Dream hit on something special when they minted this proto-trance beauty for the soundtrack of early Tom Cruise movie Risky Business in 1983. They had already made a major name as one of the few electronic acts to gain widespread popularity in the 1970s, their heavily electronic sound associated with the krautrock movement but more way out and tinged with a new age element. ‘Love On A Real Train’, with its subtle oscillating riffs, gorgeous progression through tinkling bells, and rising, chills down the spineinducing counter melodies, was both cinematic and Balearic. Possessed of a serene calm, it may have been missing a 4/4 beat but all its components would become prominent features in the trance sound to come, heavily inspiring massive hits like Chicane’s ‘Offshore’ in the ‘90s.
03. KLF - What Time Is Love? (Pure Trance Mix)
KLF Communications 1988
As KLF mythology has it, ‘What Time Is Love?’ was christened after the provocative pair’s first shared ecstasy experience. Curiously anticipating the oncoming effects of a recently imbibed tablet, Bill Drummond turned to his KLF compatriot Jimmy Cauty and poetically enquired, “What time is love?”. Soon to find out, the pair resolved to distill the communal euphoria of that sacred warehouse rave experience into an endorphin belting trance missive. In the ‘Pure Trance Mix’ of said tune they achieved that aim with staggering precision. Part anarchist post-modern pop, part stadium dance juggernaut, part ecstasy-as-audio expression — and 100% trance anthem.
04. FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON - Papua New Guinea
Jumpin’ & Pumpin’ 1991
For all their technological innovations and experimental psychedelic posturing, Future Sound Of London’s cultural legacy can essentially be boiled down to three words — ‘Papua New Guinea’. All tribal inflections, muted euphoria, wordless vocal moans from up above and rolling breaks, ‘Papua New Guinea’ was like a world music rework of golden age hardcore… but sounded like nothing else of its time. FSOL’s only undeniable classic, it remains a timeless totem pole of its era.
05. THE HYPNOTIST - Pioneers Of The Warped Groove
Rising High 1991
The late Caspar Pound made his name in hardcore but also laid trance templates with studio wiz Pete Smith as The Hypnotist. ‘Pioneers...’ entered the world as the ‘Planet Rock’-biting breakbeat rave flip of ‘This House Is Mine’ before its trance makeover as ‘Pioneers Of The Universe’ two years later.
06. JAM & SPOON - Stella
R&S/Outer Rhythm 1992
A duo that went on to create many a trance hit, Frankfurt team Jam El Mar (Rolf Ellmer) and Mark Spoon (Markus Löffel, who sadly died at age 39 of a heart attack) were veritable pathfinders for the genre, whose later remix of Age Of Love’s ‘Age Of Love’ is probably the epitome of the sound at its height. But this surging, phasing, riff-laden epic had the warping juxtaposition of melodic beauty and kinetic rushy energy down pat, its synthetic Flamenco guitar parts and multiple interlaced melodies, not to mention breathy voice, a transcendent genre blueprint for years to come. Marking a bifurcation from the harder boshing direction techno was taking, it was an early indication that something different was happening.
07. HARDFLOOR - Acperience 1
Yes, Hardfloor were a techno act who arguably made their name with a funkier acid sound, but this early tough-asnails, acerbic monster was elephantine in its impact on what was crystallising as trance. Hypnotic, a helix of sulphuric strands, its rising to the crescendo of an almost orchestral symphony of 303 squelch and drum builds is a strobe-stuttered masterstroke of mindmangling that would inspire the harder forms of trance and LSD obsessions of Goa and psy trance.
08. BARBARELLA - The Mission
Eye Q 1992
Before Cocoon, before minimal/ maximal, going back to the start of modern-day electronic music as we know it, Sven Väth was one of the leading worldwide advocates of trance. ‘The Mission’ featured on Sven’s 1992 album ‘The Art Of Dance’, was recorded with Ralf Hildenbeutel as Barbarella — named after the kitsch late ‘60s Jane Fonda sci-fi movie — and released on one of the labels he co-founded (Eye Q, sister label of Harthouse) — instrumental in pushing techno and proto-trance in the early ‘90s. Beginning with a sweeping synth, ‘The Mission’ soon takes up a Teutonic stomp while keeping the panoramic synth line throughout. A few lines sampled from the Barbarella movie in the drop added to the other-worldliness. An Omen fave.
09. COSMIC BABY - The Space Track
Although 1993’s ‘Heaven’s Tears’ would mark Harald ‘Cosmic Baby’ Bluchel’s peak breakthrough, this opening track on his ‘Stellar Supreme’ debut album perfectly introduced the classicallytrained prodigy’s meticulous, expansive visions, also displaying the kind of simple keyboard riffs, heavenly chorale and warm strings which characterised Berlin’s early trance sound.
10. ARPEGGIATORS - Freedom Of Expression
In the early ‘90s, Sven Väth’s Eye Q and Harthouse labels led the field as German trance wellsprings, their immaculate torrent of trailblazing, genre-defining tunes flying out of UK record emporiums such as London’s Fat Cat into the hands of eager DJs, who found the headstrong sound of Frankfurt and Berlin’s underground sweat-boxes translated beautifully to the UK’s more happening clubs. This phenomenon was perfectly encapsulated by Arpeggiators (Thorsten Adler, Maike Glock and Thomas Wedel), whose seat-ripping analogue growl, jagged stabs and jackhammer 150bpm stomp was effectively offset by sexy female intoning and a haunting string drop, ensuring maximum carnage.
11. SECRET KNOWLEDGE - Sugar Daddy
Sabres of Paradise 1992
An original punk in the late ‘70s, Kris Needs threw himself into acid house after he returned from the US where he’d lived from 1984-90. Hooking up with singer Wonder, he was put in a studio by Andy Weatherall alongside engineers Gary Burns and Jagz Kooner, who would later be in bluesy tech act The Aloof. Starting with Wonder’s sultry vox acapella, ‘Sugar Daddy’ soon unfolds into a hypnotic, voodoo alien proto-trance groove. Influenced by acts such as Leftfield and Underworld that Kris had been losing it to, Needs — like them — would subsequently continue down the progressive house (first incarnation) route. “It was a delicious but swiftly-abused new electronic trouser mutant,” he says of this early ‘90s tech-trance sound.
12. LEFTFIELD - Song Of Life
Hard Hands 1992
Neil Barnes and Paul Daley’s hugely influential tunes as Leftfield were tagged as progressive house at the time, along with acts like Drum Club, Underworld and labels like Guerilla and Cowboy, and indeed their beats
13. GIPSY - I Trance You
Glasgow’s legendary 23rd Precinct record shop has been cited as the birthplace of progressive house, with the first three releases on its Limbo imprint selling over 20,000 copies apiece. These included Graham ‘Gypsy’ Drinnan’s cut-and-paste romp, whose masterstroke was including the T-word in its title before the widespread abuse began.
14. RAMIREZ - Hablando
A repetitive accordion refrain gave some Latin flava to this tech-trance beast by the Spanish production team for DFC Records. It soon goes wibbly, into almost early psychedelic trance and utilises an extended high-pitch synth note a la ‘Age Of Love’. A blend of exotic feelgood party vibes with heads-down Teutonia, ‘Hablando’ was picked up by Paul Oakenfold and later in the midnoughties revamped by Umek.
15. AGE OF LOVE - Age Of Love (Watch Out For Stella Mix)
Wrapped in cosmic, space-age groove and icy Bladerunner synths, Age Of Love’s eponymous proto-trance epic is the defining, evergreen trance classic that even the uber-cool techno hipsters admit to liking. Still championed by the likes of Laurent Garnier and Richie Hawtin as a melodic, end-of-night anthem to this day, the definitive ‘Watch Out For Stella Mix’ represents an era when Sven Väth was a tie-dyed trance DJ running labels like Harthouse and Eye Q and trance — for a brief early-’90s flashpoint — was arguably the most futuristic, innovative electronic sound on the planet.
16. ENERGY 52 - Cafe Del Mar
Eye Q 1993
Named after the infamous chillout bar in Ibiza, the emotive, upwardsweeping synth could almost have been lifted from a chillout record — in fact, it’s based on 1983’s ‘Struggle For Pleasure’ by minimalist Belgian composer Wim Mertens, later used in arty Peter Greenaway movie Belly of An Architect. German pair Paul Schmitz-Moormann, aka Kid Paul, and Harald Blüchel, aka Cosmic Baby, lifted the melody and launched it off into space via intricately-woven keys and boshing beats. Legal wrangles with Eye Q meant that the two original mixes never saw a proper release until 1997, when a reworking began cementing itself in the consciousness of all serious late ‘90s clubbers thanks to repeated rotation in Ibiza, use in rave movie Human Traffic and so on. A classic.
17. POLTERGEIST - Vicious Circle
Although known as an oasis of deep techno, the Platipus imprint also made a splash with trancier outings such as Simon Berry’s dynamic energiser, which skilfully built to midway liftoff through acid quacks and hippo bowel bass. Simon is better known as Art Of Trance, of ‘Kaleidoscope’ and ‘Madagascar’ fame.
18. UNION JACK - Two Full Moons & A Trout
Platipus/Rising High 1993
The work of Simon Berry, aka Art Of Trance and Platipus Records co-founder, and Claudio Giussani, who went on to start Urban Shakedown with Aphrodite (and later Micky Finn), the original mix galloped off in a trippy proto-psy stylee — interspersed with choral voices and psychedelic digital sequencing. The first half of late Rising High boss Caspar Pound’s remix was lighter, more spiritual — as if produced for the afterparty — before it too galloped off into the outer galaxies. Beautifully hymnal.
19. HUMATE - Love Stimulation
Operating in Berlin from 1991 (with Deutsche Schallplatten Berlin as parent label), Manc ex-pat Mark Reeder’s MFS (Masterminded For Success) was one of the city’s earliest proto-trance sources as clubs such as Tresor and E-Werks thrived and the Love Parade gained enough momentum to dictate the latest anthems. MFS also provided a home for Paul van Dyk after he’d arrived from East Berlin, his first big remix becoming his swooning treatment of Oliver Huntemann, Gerret Frerichs and Han-Jorg Schmidt’s emotional tour de force of poignantly melodic bassline, ghostly female vocal and climactic piano tearup, itself already a trance milestone.
20. BEDROCK FEAT. KYO - For What You Dream Of
Nick Muir, a keyboard player with folkpunk group The Men They Couldn’t Hang in the ‘80s, got into rave production and teamed with DJ John Digweed for this awesome progressive pile-driver. Featuring a subdued Carol Leeming, aka KYO, on vox, it was more about the use of trancey pads, gated synths and slamming beats — and those firefly keyboard ‘E sounds’. Later used in the club scene in Irvine Welsh/Danny Boyle’s brilliant Trainspotting movie.
21. JUNO REACTOR - Laughing Gas
Ben Watkins’ Juno Reactor created one of the most seminal tracks of the ‘90s when he blueprinted the Goa trance sound with a massive kick drum, molten synths and mysterious vocal bites. He hasn’t stopped since, with Juno Reactor now one of the world’s biggest electronic dance acts (though overlooked in the UK).
22. EAT STATIC - Forgotten Rites
Planet Dog 1993
Joie Hinton, Steve Everitt and Merv Pepler were members of crusty psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles, famed for their cosmic instrumental jams, before they headed in the logical direction of trance with their Eat Static project, a natural corollary of their previous work. Though sometimes denoted as “crusty techno”, the kind of music they would play at events like Brixton Academy raves Megadog was spacey head-messing stuff, driven by 4/4s but more concerned with astral communion and consciousness expansion than the funk. Still, ‘Forgotten Rites’, with is percussive groove, star-searching riffs, and didgeridoo-esque bass, would lay the groundwork for psy trance.
23. RISING HIGH COLLECTIVE - Fever Called Love (Hardfloor Mix)
Kings of acid trance, German duo Hardfloor — aka Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker — took the vocal squelchy prog house feel of the original and bolted on emotive synth and a squiggly 303 acid line for a definitive rework. This wasn’t so much prototrance as quite simply one of the finest early trance tracks ever made. Hardfloor really do deserve massive props in the genesis of trance.
24. CJ BOLLAND - Carmargue
When there is an original production this majestic in his discography, it’s a minor injustice that CJ Bolland is best — and sometimes only — remembered for Armand Van Helden’s admittedly iconic remix of his ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’ track. Sculpted in an era when techno and trance were Siamese twins rather than distant cousins, ‘Carmargue’ is a cinematic, end-of-night synth symphony that is both perfectly engineered and effortlessly, epically melodic. Like so much of R&S’s musical output in the early ‘90s, this was lightyears ahead of its time and represented and rhythms were closer to the funk of house music in the main. But look closer and Leftfield were constantly experimenting. This epic may deceive with its dubwise, breakbeat-laden intro, but when that bubbling acid line speeds up, its Eastern chants, sunrise pads, and phased trance riffs all point to its vital is mportance as a seminal trance classic.
25. DRUM CLUB - Sound System
Renegades from Castlemorton and Spiral Tribe, Charlie Hall and Lol Hammond helmed the same-name London club night so important for the development of progressive/trance, and produced this (amongst other great tracks) — all fluttery ascending/descending bleeps, hazin’ n’ phasin’ angelic choral murmurs, a chuggy bassline undertow and insistent beats. The light female vocal refrain “Turn it up, the sound sound system” could’ve been taken from their old free party days, but this was more tripped-out than bosh. Epic.
26. U2 - Lemon (Perfecto Mix)
Second single from U2’s dance-infected ‘Zooropa’ was handed to David Morales and tour DJ Paul Oakenfold for credstoking club resprays, which initially appeared as a thousand numbered promos. Oakenfold kept Bono’s falsetto while introducing trance-lite synths, opening the door for the ‘90s’ lucrative rock-dance remix frenzy.
27. CYGNUS X - The Orange Theme
Eye Q 1994
While Harthouse turned up the pressure, sister label Eye Q traversed more symphonic stratas, rarely better shown than on Mathias Hoffmann’s dark trance masterclass. He had formed Cygnus X the previous year with Ralf Hildenbeutel, debuting with ‘Superstring’, going it alone by ‘The Orange Theme’, which caused major ructions with its mixture of ethereal luminescence and turbo-kek groove power. The track got its name and melody from Wendy Carlos’ ‘Title Music From A Clockwork Orange’, based on Henry Purcell’s ‘Music For The Funeral Of Queen Mary’. Much reissued, it was abysmally heisted by Deadmau5 in 2008 for his dreary ‘Clockwork’.
28. UNDERWORLD - Dark & Long (Ride The Train)
Junior Boy’s Own 1994
Another massive dance act who’ve subsequently defied genre with their many styles and reinventions, Underworld, aka Rick Smith, Karl Hyde and Darren Emerson were — like early peers Leftfield and Drum Club — tagged as progressive house. But this particular mix of their breakthrough single, from the classic ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ album, has all the hallmarks of a trance leviathan. The speedy beat, dark bubbling bass riff and massed choral voices tease something special, and when those ambrosial, huge rays of synth sunlight burst through the dark, we could be waiting at the pearly gates of trance heaven.
29. THE MAN WITH NO NAME - Teleport
Youth’s Dragonfly imprint did more than any other label to give the Goa trance sound an early UK foothold, spotlighting names such as Total Eclipse, Hallucinogen and British producer Martin Freeland, aka The Man With No Name, whose stroboscopic robo-gobbler acid anthem was reissued by Perfecto’s Fluoro offshoot in 1996.
30. DRAX - Amphetamine
After starting Trope Recordings in Mainz, Germany in early 1993, Thomas P. Heckmann gained respect and a following for his minimal technoblueprinting Drax series. Whipping up an electric storm with spikey riffs, alien plumbing and trance elements, ‘Amphetamine’ found a UK release on the fearsome Prolekult imprint in 1995.
31. MOBY - Hymn
Not as big a hit as some of the wee vegan’s other early tracks like ‘Go’, ‘Hymn’ nevertheless reached No.31 in the UK — but it was the tech-trance mixes that came first. A piano version and amended cut appeared on 1995’s ‘Everything Is Wrong’ album on Mute, but only after dancefloors everywhere had been illuminated by the tranquil delights of the dancefloor mixes. With strings played by cherubs, a full choir of angels on backing vocals, and Moby himself intoning “This is my dream” every so often, ‘Hymn’ caused raptures on the floors. Coming in four different mixes, the European mix was perhaps the one. Moby got some flak for his unfashionable Christian God-bothering, which he later renounced — but even the most hardened rationalistic atheist can’t deny the spirituality of this.
32. PAUL VAN DYK - For An Angel
Emerging from East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, Paul van Dyk was a fairly prolific producer throughout the ‘90s and when he accepted a Gatecrasher residency in the UK in the late ‘90s, he was arguably the most famous trance DJ on earth. He originally released his masterpiece ‘For An Angel’ as a track on his debut ‘45 RPM’ album on the MFS label in 1994, but he later refined it for the late Rob Deacon’s Deviant label in 1998 — cracking the UK Top 30 in the process. More driving than the original, intricate melodies and gated synth bass helped set the template for accessible trance tracks that would come to dominate club-land — and soon the pop charts — around the Millennium time.
33. MANDALA - Astralia
Created by Nexus 6 duo Raymond Beyer and Tom Weyer, ‘Astralia’ typifies the cold, hot-wired trance beast accelerating out of German labels such as Noom as the ‘90s progressed. Often exceeding 150bpm, these teeth-grating pitched-up exercises, which usually paused for a string-soaked pitstop, effortlessly careered into happy hardcore.
34. GREEN NUNS OF THE REVOLUTION - Conflict
By the mid-1990s, The Infinity Project were among the UK’s prime Goa trance exponents and their TIP imprint one of the main outlets. Formed in 1994 by Dick Trevor, Matt Coldrick and Neil Cowley, the Green Nuns were renowned for spiking their pulsating fluorowhoopee with full-on lysergic overload, as captured here.
35. HALLUCINOGEN - LSD
UK producer Simon Posford, aka Hallucinogen, produced possibly the defining psy-trance track (or Goa trance, as it was known back then) when he dropped ‘LSD’. Posford also founded Twisted Records, and ‘LSD’ became one of the Goa anthems early on in his production career. Popularised by hippies dwelling in that south-western state of India, the Goa trance scene spread to Europe and tracks like ‘LSD’ — all freewheeling 303 and digi sequenced psychedelics — bedrocked the sound for many a DJ and trustafarian party-goer. Meeting acid evangelist Raja Ram, the founder of TIP Records, Simon soon formed Shpongle, concerned with more of an ambient psychedelic vibe. “I don’t listen to psy-trance anymore, it was all starting to sound the same with very little innovation,” he said recently.
36. FAITHLESS - Insomnia
Some might baulk at classing ‘Insomnia’ trance but this tune by Sister Bliss, Maxi Jazz and Rollo paved the way for a particular kind of stadium-sequestering dance sound that the trance megastars excelled at as the ‘90s drew to a close. The funky percussive bump and spoken word rap from Maxi initially mark this as a fun though nondescript piece, but when that immense riff emerges it’s game over. The lead line at the track’s heart is maximalist, brash, loud, dramatic and possessed of a specific synth sound that would be used time and time again to unite ravers in sweaty, um, bliss at Ibiza’s enormodromes like Privilege and beyond.
37. BBE - Seven Days And One Week
One of trance’s greatest crossover success stories stands as one of the biggest selling dance tunes of all-time. Created by France’s Emanuel Top and Italy’s Bruno Sanchioni, it started life as the first single off their ‘Game’ album on Top’s Triangle label, the golden showers of flickering synth lines defining a short-lived genre called ‘dream trance’. Immediately hot, the buzz was so huge the producers reportedly wouldn’t listen to offers below 40 grand. Released on Positiva, it reached No.3 in the UK, going silver after selling over 200,000 copies and gaining further fame as the theme music to a TV holiday show.
38. DA HOOL - Meet Her At The Love Parade
While Da Hool’s tune references Berlin’s mass gathering on Unter Den Linden, still one of the greatest-ever tributes to the unity of dance culture, the charms of ‘Meet Her At The Love Parade’ are a little more throwaway. However, it’s a record that has endured for a reason. A chart hit right across Europe, while the riff borders on Eurotrash, it’s just so hooky and addictive, and cuts through just as much now as it did in the mid-’90s. The pulsing groove that sets in after the intro makes this one of dance music’s seminal crossover hits.
39. LSG - Netherworld
Hooj Choons 1997
Frankfurt’s Oliver Lieb made his name in the ‘90s for beautifully-constructed trance-shaping techno, his Spicelab, Paragliders and LSG projects appearing on Superstition and Harthouse. ‘Netherworld’’s dense maelstrom of heaving jungle creepers and radioactive synths reached No.63 in the UK charts when released on UK trouser bastion Hooj.
40. TILT - Rendezvous
With a little help from Paul van Dyk, Parks & Wilson’s finest hour has become perhaps the most purloined trance melody of all-time. Its six-note arrangement has been riffed off, reinterpreted and outright half-inched by dozens of producers (including Tilt themselves two years later on Hooj’s ‘Invisible’).
41. BT - Flaming June
‘Flaming June’ is one of those iconic classics that keeps coming back again and again. Most recently there was a storming progressive rework from Anjunadeep, and BT via himself with a trousey ‘Laptop Symphony’ rework. All the remixers are drawn to the same thing; how the energy of ‘Flaming June’ simmers and builds, before finally breaking into one of trance’s most seductively beautiful melodies ever. BT recorded it alongside Paul van Dyk in 1997, and says the inspiration for the enigmatic title came not from the 19th century painting of the same name, but rather a cab driver cursing at the sweltering summer weather.
42. NALIN & KANE - Beachball
Urban Urban 1997
Two years before the Dutch decided trance could stand a few extra BPMs and a touch more elevation, the Germans were still its masters. Nalin & Kane produced one of the sub-genre’s most understated over-grounders. So subtle was it, in fact, that it took a beefed-up Tall Paul remix to properly boost it into the back of the net 15 months later.
43. THREE DRIVES - Greece 2000
Massive Drive 1997
Originally out under the rather clunky artist name Three Drives On A Vinyl and sleeved in a supremely ugly cover, on arrival ‘Greece 2000’ had some convincing to do. Its persuasive drums, chunky percussion, dark grooves and chiming, highly catchy call-andresponse style riff (actually a studio box preset) stood it in the best of steads. The less said about the follow-up ‘Turkey 2000’ though, the better.
44. BINARY FINARY - 1998
It may have looked a bit naff at the time, but there was something boldly prophetic about Binary Finary calling this driving epic ‘1998’. Trance was the default sound of the UK’s neon nation, Sheffield’s iconic Gatecrasher was their mecca, a then-unstoppable Paul van Dyk their chosen God and this anthemic, turbo-charged rush was their national anthem. A repackaging and rework as ‘1999’ recaptured the same highs, even being used to open the new Millennium by the heavenly van Dyk at Gatecrasher’s infamous Don Valley Stadium spectacle — the dizzying, bubble-bursting peak of the trance takeover.
45. SYSTEM F - Out Of The Blue
With Ferry Corsten as their lynchpin,
System F’s ‘Out Of The Blue’, Gouryella’s ‘Gouryella’ and Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’ all arrived within weeks of each other. Instrumentals, with riffs that seemed to stretch up for days, trance’s evolution had become a revolution. Distributors’ phones rang off the hook as record shop counters were hammered (often literally), while the labels and ageing record presses creaked to meet demand. None of them went Top 5 or even 10 in the UK (landing in what former-Positiva/then-Incentive boss Nick Halkes termed ‘the trance trench’ (the UK’s top 20). The dye was cast though — the Dutch were coming!
46. PUSH - Universal Nation
S+M Records 1998
While his Dutch friends favoured explosive, occasionally over-the-top synth explosions, Mike Dierickx aka Push opted for a deeper, darker path on his scene classic ‘Universal Nation’. Still packing an anthemic punch, there was a bittersweet tinge of melancholy and scifi darkness to the track’s unmistakeable — and heavily remixed — melodies. Another Gatecrasher classic.
47. LIQUID CHILD - Diving Faces
The second big hit in its first five releases for the suddenly very popular indeed Neo Records, ‘Diving Faces’ was a masterclass in goose-bump riffs and rippling chord structures. Hit-and-run producers, Jürgen Herbarth & Tobias Menguser never recorded under the same artist name twice. Liquid Child was their single exception, reluctantly squeezing out a rather weak-willed follow-up a year or so later.
48. ART OF TRANCE - Madagascar
Following a good few mid-’90s years enjoying a very healthy following, Platipus’ initial peak culminated with them feeding Robert Miles’ ‘Children’ to Deconstruction, within touching distance of many a European No.1. By the time ‘Madagascar’ arrived though, the label were in the shade of continental Europe and its invasive 12” import boom. Dutch start-up label Transk, spotting the miss, lured an on-fire Ferry Corsten into a (supposedly very lucrative) remix deal. One spectacular tease of a breakdown later and ‘Madagascar’s legacy was squared away. It also gave Platipus a bump back into the spotlight, in good time for their 100th release, featuring further mixes of ‘Madagascar’.
49. GOURYELLA - Gouryella
A driving, almost didgeridoo-esque pumped-up spiralling intro soon adopts a scything noxious emission and arpeggiated synths. About three minutes in, emotive cinematic synths and strings join the fray before an epic breakdown — before epic breakdowns were really a thing. Then back in with the feelgood communal love vibes. Gouryella means ‘heaven’ in an aboriginal language. But whatever happened to Gouryella’s two young Dutch producers — Ferry Corsten and Tiësto?
50. MAURO PICOTTO - Lizard
Nukleuz’s industrial-like 12” output had been calling for a hit long before ‘Lizard’ scuttled from its woodwork. Their hard mandate had been against the spirited mood of the meeting throughout ‘97 and ’98. Change was always around the corner though, and in late ‘99 ‘Lizard’’s rock-hard rim-shot percussion, darkly demonic one-note basslines and tight, frenetic riffs connected.
51. ATB - 9PM (Till I Come)
Kontor Records/Data/Ministry of Sound 1999
With almost every set of A&R eyes scanning the Dutch skies for the next big hit, one pair at least were looking elsewhere. Scooped up from Germany’s commercially savvy Kontor Records, it was the first track signed for the thenjust-opened Data Records. Possibly one of the most successful first-move A&R coups of all-time, it was clicked over to parent label Ministry and was atop the UK charts but five weeks later. Not exactly adored by trance-onistas these days, as much for ‘9pm’’s winsome pitched guitars as the rigidly formulaic hits that followed, its importance in showing trance’s commercial capability is hard to overstate.
52. WILLIAM ORBIT - Barber’s Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix)
Strings ain’t what they used to be, and arguably haven’t been since ‘Adagio’ quirked its way out of nowhere and into the hearts of the tranced-up masses. The holy unpredictable trinity of 20th Century quartet-master Samuel Osmond Barber II, avant-garde electronic music adventurer William Orbit and Ferry Corsten put this away clean. A UK Top 5 and undying reverence from the trance frat should’ve seen ‘Adagio’’s case open and closed right there, but Armin, Tiësto and most recently Oakenfold have all subsequently put their twist on it.
53. SIGNUM FEAT. SCOTT MAC - Coming On Strong
‘Coming On Strong’ and its predecessor ‘What Ya Got For Me’ were anomalies for Tidy Trax’s otherwise hard house mandate. They represented, though, the flipside of the harder trance times, with hard dance tapping-up and into trance’s system. ‘Coming On Strong’ was quickly bestowed a certain infamy, sound-tracking Kevin & Perry’s Go Large arrival behind Amnesia’s decks.
54. BLANK & JONES - Cream
Mo’Bizz Recordings 1999
Blank & Jones’ trance-time was shorter than most (they departed for their greater love, lounge & chillout 10 years ago). Not before they dropped ‘Cream’ into the genre’s equation, though. An ode to Liverpool’s lauded club night, they, along with Paul van Dyk, ATB and latterly Kyau & Albert began to balance the German’s trance books against the marauding Dutch.
55. CHICANE - Saltwater
We could have chosen ‘Offshore’ with its Tangerine Dream riffing, but instead, the ersatz spirituality of ‘Saltwater’ wins the day in terms of its influence. Featuring Maire Brennan’s almost hymnal vocal from Clannad’s modern-day Irish folk song ‘The Theme Of Harry’s Game’, paired with that familiar bass pump and diaphanous drifting pads, the sparkling arpeggios at its heart all point towards a moment of bliss: an urge to transcend the body, and to a unitedness with fellow ravers on the trancefloor.
56. SASHA - Xpander
Sasha would probably baulk now at being anywhere near a Top 100 Most Important Trance Tracks list, but in the 1990s his progressive house sound would often overlap with deep trance. ‘Xpander’ is unashamedly trancey: all the requisite elements are present, like arpeggiated synths and gated pads, and even the unzer-unzer beats. This 10-minute opus was massive at the time, and a big influence on the No.1 trance DJ in the world in 2014 — Armin van Buuren. “The lower BPM may surprise people today, but this was and is actually a dancefloor destroyer — it still sounds amazing today,” Armin tells DJ Mag. “Some call this progressive, some call it trance, I just call it... magical!”
57. DARUDE - Sandstorm
16 Inch Records 1999
Inane, insane, unique and undeniably anthemic… the unmistakeable synth sirens of Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ rattled through Europe’s harder trancefloors and onto the commercial airwaves — and ultimately charts — with the veracity of its namesake. Whilst arguably crude in its approach there was a maverick creativity and quirk at its heart, which stood it apart from the pack. A copycat follow-up —‘Feel The Beat’ — was hastily assembled and reeked of major label cash-in. A milestone/millstone for Darude.
58. ARMIN VAN BUUREN - Communication
The brilliant ‘Blue Fear’ all-too-subtly announced the arrival of one of trance’s future overlords in 1997. Van Buuren had to wait another two years before Cyber and AMM’s release of zeal-filled synth-fest ‘Communication’ caught the very peak of the Dutch trance invasion, landing Armin with the first of many a big hit.
59. RANK 1 - Airwave
Free For All 1999
Minus a vocal hook, instrumental trance regularly needed two or even three goarounds to permeate the consciousness of Joe Public record buyer. Not ‘Airwave’ though, which landed its chart slam-dunk, first time out. Pioneering the beloved-to-this-day side-chain compression effect, its innovative holdit-back production and smash-zoom stadium-style finale was/is about as effective as they come.
60. BT - Mercury & Solace
With trance biting at the heels of progressive house’s established preserve in 1997, ‘Flaming June’ was the track fans wanted BT to make. Deeper, cooler and more linearly akin to his prog-house roots, ‘Mercury & Solace’ 18 months later was likely more the one he’d been inclined to.
61. HYBRID - Finished Symphony
Forgotten heroes in many ways, Welsh breakbeat outfit Hybrid were visionaries of their time and sculpted a — wait for it — hybrid that was entirely their own. Drawing on the more atmospheric essence of UK hardcore and breakbeat culture and updating it for their time, the defining seams to their sound were the addition of widescreen cinematic orchestration and an epic but very classy melodic sensibility. Their standout classic, ‘Finished Symphony’ wrapped all this up into a heartswelling, string-laden epic that found an adoring home as the trance family’s curveball, end-of-night favourite.
62. INFECTED MUSHROOM - Psycho
Seemingly to make way for the Dutchies, the end of 1996 had seen Goa put largely, prematurely and unceremoniously out to pasture. For some though, enough Goa meant not nearly enough. Largely offscreen of the perceived main trance scene, Infected Mushroom’s ‘The Gathering’ album arrived to begin a five-year Goa-to-Psy conversion-cum-fight-back. Single ‘Psycho’ was the first of numerous catalysts.
63. SOLARSTONE - Seven Cities
Hooj Choons 1999
UK veteran Solarstone recently founded the ‘Pure Trance’ movement as a reaction to the sticky tentacles of house and EDM getting a grip on the trance scene. And the majesty of his eternal golden era anthem ‘Seven Cities’ is as good a summation of those ideals as you’re ever gonna get.
64. LOST WITNESS - Happiness Happening
Ministry Of Sound 1999
Along with Sakin’s ‘Protect Your Mind’, ‘Happiness Happening’ is as much remembered for introducing the scene to the minor-phenomena of the Lange remix. Every bit as fluffy as the boots of the ‘Crasher kids who kicked it up the charts, ‘Happiness’ was the start of a feel-good trance arc that finally hit the wall, two years later, with ‘Castles In The Sky’.
65. SASHA AND EMERSON - Scorchio
It’s hard to do justice to just what a massive pairing this was at the time. Rewind back to 2000 and Sasha is riding high as the superstar pin-up of the progressive house heyday; quite possibly the most instantly recognisable DJ name of his generation. Darren Emerson, meanwhile, is a driving force within stadium techno pioneers Underworld — then at the peak of their globe-conquering fame. Neither strangers to epic melodic moments (think ‘Xpander’ or ‘Born Slippy’ for starters), the duo’s blockbuster collaboration actually opted for a more understated, summer-soaked melodic touch and housier, groove-soaked backdrop than either of those tracks. But the obvious uplifting vibes and genre-smashing approach saw this adopted as a sunshine anthem across the trance, house and progressive worlds with equal passion.
66. PUSH - Strange World (2000 Remake)
Despite numerous well-received releases, Belgium’s Bonzai Records were in danger of missing the flight in 1999. Mike Dierickx’s early Push & M.I.K.E. works proved to be their salvation. Big room trance it might have been tagged, but with their nagging, catchy, repetitive riffs and darker, longer production techniques, coupled to hyper-harmonic riffs, ‘Strange World’ et al began to loosen the euphoric trance stranglehold.
67. DELERIUM FEAT. SARAH - MCLACHLAN - Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix)
‘Silence’ started life in 1998 as a fervently in-demand, Fade-remixed darling of progressive house. Underfoot though, club-floor times were fast changing — something not lost on ‘Silence’s licensors Nettwerk Records.
68. CRW - I Feel Love
Nukleuz/VC Recordings/Virgin 2000
Mauro Picotto flexes his trance muscles under a different alias here. ‘I Feel Love’ was a joyful trance number that first surfaced in the late ‘90s, at a time when that kind of simplicity was still slaying them in the clubs. Later in 2000 it also made a big impact in the UK charts.
69. STORM - Time To Burn
Figuratively and literally, a storm was brewing in the largely genial rivalry between the well-established Postiva and the across-the-river arrivistes Data Records. ‘Odyssey To Anyoona’ aside, post-‘Stella’, Jam & Spoon’s mid-’90s fare was no longer breaking new ground. Then, in ’98, the hard, minimal, catchily agitated riffs of Storm’s ‘Storm’ rocked up, promptly inked for minor chart acclaim by Positiva. A tweak to the formula, a mild change in trance’s wind direction and 18 months later, Storm duly stormed back. Another round of cheque-books-at-dawn (won by Data), and ‘Burn’ rode the cusp of hard-trance’s wave straight into the UK Top 5. The big-money-signing trance wars were on.
70. FREEFALL FEAT. JAN JOHNSTON - Skydive
Alan Bremner and Stress Records’ new golden boy, Anthony Pappa, were the men behind ‘Skydive’. Seeking to slip more trance into their system, without ruffling their hawk-like progressive bedrock’s highly ruffleable feathers, Jan Johnson’s inclusion proved its masterstroke. Much-loved after BT’s ‘Anomaly’, her tones were surreptitiously ticking all the right crossover boxes for planet trance too.
71. JAMES HOLDEN - Horizons
Silver Planet 2000
If James Holden’s breakthrough blissout ‘Horizons’ was laid down today, it would probably be called melodic techno, epic minimal or some other equally nonsensical faux-highbrow name; anything but the dreaded T word. Back then it was simply lauded as a masterclass in ‘deep trance’ and was instantly adored by trance, progressive and deeper DJs alike — whether Tong, Timo Maas or Tall Paul. More lush, textured and dreamy than his subsequent Border Community innovations (and arguably far less indulgent), ‘Horizons’ came out of nowhere to announce the overnight arrival of unknown Oxford University student James Holden. A true dot-joiner and a beautiful remnant of a bygone era in many ways.
72. TONY DE VIT - The Dawn
Tidy Trax 2000
‘The Dawn’ perhaps wasn’t the best trance track of its generation, but its importance and unique innovation earns it its place in the 100. Thrown into the amphetamized, hi-speed, super-hard netherworld mix of London’s Trade, its arrival was one set against bereavement. With minute-ormore breakdowns considered virtual floor-heresy, trance was the antonym of Trade. Starting life as one of six tracks on Trade Records’ self-titled EP series, it marked a stylistic diversion de Vit never had the chance to repeat. Released post-humously two months after his death, it became his swansong, and amongst the de Vit devoted, ‘The Dawn’’s sweeping pads, chords and uplifting riffs took on a higher meaning and poignancy.
73. TIËSTO - Suburban Train
Magik Muzik 2001
A ‘journey trance’ classic and undoubtedly one of Tiësto’s finest moments in the studio, ‘Suburban Train’ may seem a tad quaint in its simplicity more than a decade later, though it’s worth remembering how many trance producers have tried and failed to catch the same kind of lightning in a bottle. The emotion of the record just builds and builds, before unleashing unfathomable amounts of grandeur when that breakdown finally drops. Before returning to that same frantic intensity again... and again. You cannot even fathom how many hands ‘Suburban Train’ inspired to reach for the lasers.
74. COSMIC GATE - Firewire
Data Records 2001
One of the classics that defined the shift into the muscular, tougher-edged ‘hard trance’ era, ‘Firewire’ was such a formidable hit for Cosmic Gate that to a degree, they spent years trying to live it down after their sound moved on. Its staccato riff is utterly distinctive, but its true appeal came from crowds being ready for something different after the Gatecrasher era.
75. 4 STRINGS - Take Me Away
‘Take Me Away’ couldn’t be any more “Dutch trance” if it tried. The 4 Strings classic is another trance record that wears around the edges due to the formulaic dross that’s come in its wake, though it deserves no less credit cos of that. There’s genuine trance majesty going on here.
76. MARCO V - Simulated
One of the real tech-trance classics, and genuinely innovative for how it weaved techno rhythms into the trance frame, ‘Simulated’ foreshadowed the formidable innovations we’d hear from the likes of Marco V, M.I.K.E. and the legions they inspired. ‘Simulated’ set the template.
77. PPK - Resurrection
Perfecto Records 2001
‘Resurrection’ arrived in the new Millennium, though possessed the kind of enigmatic charm that had more to do with the enigma of mid ‘90s anthems like ‘Children’. The central melody was so alluring and mysterious that it could have been lifted from the symphony of a classic Russian ballet; and as it turns out, it was lifted from the soundtrack of a ‘70s Soviet-era film Siberiade. It was a genius move, with Paul Oakenfold and his Perfecto Records stable seeing the value too, and it eventually climbed to the formidable heights of No.3 on the UK charts.
78. YORK - Reachers Of Civilization
The mesmerising appeal of ‘Reachers Of Civilization’ has hardly faded over the past decade, a mix of slowburn ambience, a Balearic breeze sunset and finally, straight-up dancefloor appeal; and let’s not forget the mystery that vocal sample evokes. It originally opened Tiësto’s first-ever ‘In Search Of Sunrise’ mix in 1999, and basically set the tone for the series for years to come, before hitting even bigger on re-release in 2001.
79. SYSTEM F - Dance Valley Theme 2001
Have a listen, and you can basically hear the drum & bass breakdown echoing through the valley that hosts the enduring Dutch festival every year. Showcased on a live recording that was released as a retail compilation that year, it’s another testament to Ferry Corsten’s innovation. As the quality of Sarah McLachlan’s vocals inched into the system, Tiësto hit the accelerator, serving Nettwerk an astonishing 11-minute-long, mix-compbaiting remix bonanza.
80. FERRY CORSTEN - Punk
One of the big ones. A shot of amphetamine in the arm for a scene starting to flounder, ‘Punk’ was literally years ahead of its time when it came to drawing on the kind of ‘80s thrills that would eventually transform the entire dance scene. What was so memorable? The distorted shouts of “digital punk” led into one of the most sassy, punchy riffs ever heard in a trance record; memorable enough to be remixed to the point of nausea over the years. Corsten ditched contrived emotion in exchange for fist-pumping thrills. However, his real innovation was that stunning electro breakbeat that rock n’ rolled into the breakdown. Exhilarating dancefloor thrills.
81. TOMCRAFT - Loneliness
Kosmo Records 2002
Munich mainstay Tomcraft eventually steered towards house with Great Stuff Records, though his electro-trance adventures earlier in the decade were ridiculously ahead of their time, no more so than with ‘Loneliness’, which also boasted a truly enduring vocal performance.
82. RALPHIE B - Massive
A galloping, wiggly, cerebral anthem of the early noughties that was big for Tiësto back when he played trance, and also with Armin in the early days of his A State Of Trance radio show. Linear and intricate at first, this scene staple breaks down into an epic hands-in-theair mood moment before slamming back in. “This was at the peak of the trance movement in the early 2000s,” says Armin. “It has everything in it that a lot of people call ‘trance’.”
83. MOTORCYCLE - As The Rush Comes (Gabriel & Dresden Sweeping Strings Remix)
The original, with its floaty trance diva vocal by Jes Brieden, was just a pretty good accessible trance hit, but Gabriel & Dresden’s own remix — Motorcycle was a G&D alias — stretched it out into a languid, life-affirming 10-and-a-half minutes. Giving the tune space to breathe, it allowed the recipient to delve deep into its enveloping sound — and if the recipient happened to be on ecstasy, the lyrics may have held additional meaning. This string-filled progressive trance opus still holds not a whiff of cheese — it still absolutely holds up today.
84. TIËSTO - Traffic
Magik Muzik 2003
Tougher, more driving, far darker and with a major wing-clip to the euphoria that the now-cosy-with fan-base expected, in late 2003 ‘Traffic’ caught planet trance coasting. Perhaps the first smoke puff for his exodus six years later, at the time it was simply seen as a lightning-quick, on-the-pulse response to the embryonic tech-trance sound simmering throughout the Benelux.
85. OCEANLAB - Satellite
By 2004 trance’s barometer had at long last begun to swing somewhat more appreciably in the UK’s direction. That was in no small part down to three plucky university chums and a label that had rigorously carved out its own more melodic (and perhaps more English) sound. As ever though, trance’s age-old lack of hook-em-in vocals was proving a barrier most thorny. Above & Beyond’s arrived-at solution lay with Justine Suissa, who had already proved her vocal mettle on Chicane’s ‘Autumn Tactics’. A string of club smashes and an album followed, but it was ‘Satellite’ — a UK national top 20 — that’s proved the quartet’s most enduring.
86. AGNELLI & NELSON - Holding Onto Nothing (PvD Mix)
Irish hitmakers Agnelli & Nelson were always strong at crafting those euphoric burners, and worked with Irish vocalist Audrey Gallagher for the first time here. However, PvD’s remix gave it that extra futuristic drive, largely thanks to that pummelling trance bassline.
87. NATHAN FAKE - The Sky Was Pink (James Holden Remix)
Border Community 2004
Debut ‘Horizons’ had James Holden caught at a stylistic crossroads in 2000. Too much the latecomer to trance’s oeuvre to register as out-and-out pioneering; similarly the following, heel-cooling prog-trance wind held only limited appeal for the auteur-natured producer. By 2003, subversion followed by exit became Holden’s modus. With new signee/prodigy Nathan Fake in on the plan, Holden’s sixth release on his Border Community label was the proverbial ejector seat. His wildly discombobulated, kaleidoscopic hurdy-gurdy-like rework of Fake’s ‘The Sky Was Pink’ subverted trance to the nth degree. His final ‘Dear John’ to the sub-genre, it’s a somewhat sobering farewell, trance still chin-strokes over today.
88. WAY OUT WEST - Killa
Solaris Recordings 2005
Though it wasn’t associated with the genre at the time of release, the grandeur of Warren and Wisternoff’s classic sounds pretty damn trancetastic a decade later. Tribal chants, a symphony at their disposal, and a buildup that was four minutes long…’Killa’ is dramatic and beautiful.
89. SUPER8 & TAB - Helsinki Scorchin’
Prior to collaborating, the Finnish duo already had 20 years of history in the Helsinki scene between them, though hooking up to form Super8 & Tab led to something special. Their debut single ‘Helsinki Scorchin’’ was good enough to solidify the partnership immediately, a template for the ‘nu-trance’ sound that welcomed in a healthy tendency towards the groove.
90. BOOKA SHADE - In White Rooms
Get Physical 2006
At 126bpm, ‘In White Rooms’ doesn’t sound like your typical trance record. Because it’s not. Technically deep electro house, calling Booka Shade’s icy masterpiece ‘trance’ is likely to anger more than a handful of strictly house heads. However, there’s no denying those rising power chords three minutes in — if they don’t make your eyes roll into the back of your head, nothing will.
91. OXIA - Domino
Call it techno, call it progressive. Trance isn’t an automatic touch-point for fans of Oxia’s monolithic minimal track. Despite that mid-tempo kick-drum and throbbing bassline, however, it’s that mind-mangling arpeggio riff that makes ‘Domino’ such a cerebral beauty. A hit with trendy Berliners when minimal techno was all the hype, don’t be fooled — Goan trance lovers have this on vinyl too.
92. DEADMAU5 - Faxing Berlin
Cast your mind back, before EDM stormed the States. Deadmau5 made music that house and techno followers over in Europe could really enjoy. With the Euro-cheese of Sash! turning kids onto indie and punk during the late ‘90s, the early part of the ‘00s saw electronic dance sounds return underground. Tunes like ‘Not Exactly’ and ‘Faxing Berlin’ saw Deadmau5 resurrect the metallic melodies of trance, re-packaged in understated form. ‘Faxing Berlin’, with its sidewardsglancing title, threw back to trance fans but with a modern-day twist. Joining the dots between tech-house, electro and trance, those deep euphoric stabs stole hearts in Ibiza and beyond, at a time when dance music was waiting in the wings, poised to win over the globe all over again.
93 MICHAEL CASSETTE - Shadow’s Movement
Finnish producer Michael Cassette’s take on progressive trance recognised something ingenious that hadn’t really been tapped into previously when he emitted this gargantuan track, played by DJs across the board at the time of its release. With melodies central to the trance sound rather than rhythm, he harked back to arguably the greatest decade for electronic pop melodies, the 1980s, with the wistful, epic riff at its sweet centre working on a nostalgic as well as dancefloor level. Its heavy electro bass judders gave it club crunch, and you couldn’t help but be reminded of Owen Paul’s ‘You’re My Favourite Waste Of Time’, a guilty pleasure if ever there was one...
94. NATHAN FAKE - Outhouse (Valentino Kanzyani Remix)
Recycled Loops 2007
Technically not trance at all, this huge remix is remembered as a minor minimal techno masterpiece of 2007, during the peak of the latter style’s popularity on the White Isle. But the reason it’s made this list is that it typifies the sneaky and clever use of trance motifs in other genres. Loved by many but derided by purists, the trance element Trojan Horse of tracks like Slovenian Kanzyani’s take on Nathan Fake’s tune works as a nostalgia nod for former fans of trance who’ve “moved on”, and as a tacit acknowledgement by the producer just what a potent tool those cathedral-sized synth melodies can be — especially when mangled and made all wonky and wrong, as they are here...
95. MARKUS SCHULZ - The New World
Given its apparent 10-year-long ubiquity, it’s hard to picture that trance still had lands and minds to win over in 2008. ‘The New World’ aptly became the talisman for its final, complete penetration of Eastern Europe. Produced as his first-of-many anthems for the region’s beacon Transmission events, Markus Schulz’s starkly bleeping, darker and more dystopian base sound had found its calling. To-date Schulz’s most successful track, ‘The New World’ appeared to inspire the hotbed production scene across Poland, The Czech Republic and most notably The Ukraine that remains to this day.
96. GAIA - Tuvan
In 2009, following a long stint of more commercial and vocally oriented productions, ‘Tuvan’ was the track that the trance-niks needed to hear from Armin. Instrumental in its instrumentalism was long-time collaborator and new Gaia member, Benno de Goeji (of Rank 1 fame). Its voracious reception has prompted the pair to revisit the collaboration each year since.
97. ARTY & MAT ZO - Rebound
By the time ‘Rebound’ was conceived, trance was fighting a rearguard hearts and minds battle against a half dozen other rapidly advancing sub-genres. Arty and Mat Zo’s credentials were both well established by 2011 and with heightened times for trance, it called for comparable measures. The idea of a “combined forces of the nu-skool” production was thus floated. ‘Rebound’ dazzlingly summed Arty and Mat’s sounds, mixing melodic feeling with distorted grind into a ground-recovering haymaker of a track. Its lionised reception was entirely foreseeable; its onward ‘adoption’ into the works of a certain hi-viz US producer, far less so.
98. ABOVE & BEYOND FEAT. RICHARD BEDFORD - Sun & Moon
Probably frustratingly, for many years Above & Beyond’s most important contribution to trance wasn’t one track, but their sustained and brilliant 10-year body of work. Outside of OceanLab, A&B’s canon was awash with inch-closeto strategically important trancers. So the surprisingly late entry of 2011’s sing-a-long titan ‘Sun & Moon’ probably came as something of a weight-off for the trio. With latter-day defining classics in the shortest of supply by the second decade of the 21st century, the opening shot from ‘Group Therapy’ finally gave them their most-importantrelease-of-the-year gong.
99. HOT CHIP - Flutes (Sasha Remix)
Last Night On Earth 2012
Officially Sasha had long since moved on from his trance days, the likes of ‘Xpander’ and his collaboration with Darren Emerson ‘Scorchio’, when he delivered this mammoth mix of electropop favourites Hot Chip. Unofficially, it’s quite clear the man named Alexander Coe still harbours a penchant for (admittedly pared back) mega riffs and spiralling atmospherics, as shown on this incredible remix.
100. TEN WALLS - Gotham
Mario Basanov’s darker new alias garnered him one of the biggest tunes of last year. But its glinting central riff, emerging ominously like a onyx ziggurat from the fog, pointed as much to trance as it did minimal techno. Slowed down, sure, but ‘Ten Walls’ indicates there’s an appetite for the particular aesthetics and transcendent energies of trance still — beyond the confines of its derided but endlessly mutating form.
Source: DJ Mag