Trance

‘Magik One: First Flight’ (1997) – DJ Tiësto

‘Greatest DJ of All Time’ I think not, but the man must be saluted for his contribution to trance music. Churning out a slew of memorable mix CDs during the late 90s and early 00s, Tiësto exhibited the genre’s many shades. Whether it was the sultry vocal trance of his ‘In Search of Sunrise’ series, the darker, melancholic hue of the ‘Magik’ saga, or the harder, acid-steeped hysteria of the ‘Forbidden Planet’ compilations, he proved more than able to nail down a fluid mix.

After being blown away by the energy of ‘Magik Six,’ I decided to invest some time in the series’ first entry and while it lacks the live vigour of the sixth instalment, nevertheless it serves as a lush, absorbing journey through late 90s trance.

Listen to the full mix here:

 

‘Healing Dream’ is a smart opener with its sweeping strings and epic gong crashes providing an atmospheric start before a driving bassline propels the mix into motion. Later, a sombre breakdown with stirring piano chords elicits some early shivers.

 

‘Into the Sun’ turns to a more uplifting – if somewhat schmaltzy – mood. That lead synth has enough sugar to give you toothache, but you’ve got to like it just a bit. ‘Never Enough’ serves as a palette cleanser with its simple yet effective breakdown.

‘Program 1’s’ tribal drums lend some welcome variation while the tense synths on ‘Low Turbulence’ generate a dark, hypnotic aura that’s sustained by ‘Shell Shock’s’ spiralling melodies.

‘When She Left’ – one of Tiësto’s own productions – arrives next. Its lurching bassline, yearning strings and frantic synth breakdown all gel to form a melancholic brew.

 

‘L’Annonce Des Couleurs’ is indulged in its playtime and rightly so – that build-up one is one to be savoured.

 

The next track which is under another Tiësto alias turns the tempo up a notch with its robust rhythm and snappy percussion before ‘Back on Earth’ gives the heartstrings another yank with its forlorn chord progressions.

 

Tiësto’s own ‘Long Way Home’ keeps the drama high courtesy of its rousing pads ahead of the walloping bass and staccato synth of ‘Sync In.’ This hard phase of the mix continues with Club Quake’s stomping ‘Vicious Circles’ and undoubtedly culminates with the burbling bass and tantalising synth line of ‘Titty Twister.’

 

‘The Truth (Coufsat Mix)’ packs as euphoric a breakdown as you’ll find anywhere before ‘Blue Sky’ signals a meditative end to proceedings.

 

While the sound may be a bit outdated now, it doesn’t take long for your ears to adjust to the giddy, pulsating tempo of trance. Part of the genre’s charm is that it never took itself too seriously. With melody as its cornerstone, it aims to please – primarily music for dancefloors and summer days. If nothing else, it’s good fun.

Rating: 4/5

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