It was on some mixtape with acid tracks that a friend made for me, in the mid 90ies or something? Here’s one “hymn of my youth” for my series of songs to play loud.
Ah, trance music from that time. Techno and trance were electronic rock & roll. There was nothing intelligent about it. No lyrics. It was new, different, rebellious in its own way. And it’s good to have the memories of it.
Honestly, I had never heard of Shazz, or his trance alias Aurora Borealis before – the fact that this was the version remixed by Lunatic Asylum gave it a little more credibility, since “The Meltdown” was quite famous back then (to my own surprise, he continues to release music right until today, but both Aurora Borealis and Lunatic Asylum can probably considered one-hit wonders of the Euro techno scene).
It was the time when techno and trance audibly matured, evolving out of New Beat and the early “Technosound” of Fenslau and others, as well as those ridiculous sample collages unified by a 4/4 beat, into quite pleasing, hypnotic, hard but melodious electronic music.
YouTube does a surprisingly good job combining many of the most memorable tracks into recommendations when you play one: Cherrymoon Trax’ “The House of House“, Pete Lazonby’s “Sacred Cycles“, Emmanuel Top’s “Turkish Bazar“, Quench’s “Dreams” (that arpeggio/melody riff starting at 2:35, and the octave-up break at 4:07 that made everyone scream on the dancefloor), The Age of Love in the Jam & Spoon mix (what! a! hymn!), Marmion “Schöneberg“, etc. etc. – we all felt uncool (in other words, NORMAL), but samplers like “Trancemaster” brought bits and pieces of what we thought must’ve been in any cool DJ’s box of (still vinyl, at the time) records into our homes.
Of Aurora Borealis’ “The Milky Way” there’s the original mix too (of course) but I never quite got the appeal it must’ve had to some in the first place. The Lunatic Acid remix though… man, what a classic. I think it’s the mixture of these floating chord pads and the quite high BPM with the distorted bassdrum over that hypnotic beep that made it so appealing.
With all these old techno/trance tracks, you have to imagine standing in a dimly lit club, hypnotized by stroboscopes flashing through artificial fog at the pulse of the beat, feeling the bass punch your gut – surrounded by people who “dance” – they jump and smile, wave their hands in the air, grin at you stupidly, scream when the bassdrum kicks in, and laugh. Did I mention the smiles? It was pure bliss. A raw, primitive connection through music was shared on the dance floor, synchronized by the beat – turn off your stupid brain. No drugs were necessary to feel it.
And we went home at 5am in the morning with tinnitus ringing in our ears, watched the last bits of “Space Night” on BR3 to chill out, went to sleep as the sun rose, and spent the rest of Sunday trying to get in sync with the world again – not really wanting to…