Recently I uncovered an old spindle of mix CDs I made somewhere back in the '01-'03 range, and have been listening to them pretty much nonstop. It's a weird kind of time travel, dredging up a wealth of nostalgia and memories of a period in my life where my chief concerns were video games, anime, manga, depressed binge eating, weed, and electronica. In many ways I miss that life, but I think that's only natural for any parent or grownish person. I also know it's a kind of "grass is greener" thinking, because I remember quite well that I was lonely, depressed, and miserable.
The only way I could ever go back to a life like that would be to leave my wife and kids, which is something I'm obviously not going to do, but I can still enjoy the music. I've been a devoted fan of electronica in general ever since I heard Prodigy's "Breathe" back in '98 or '99, and trance specifically ever since I heard TranceControl's "Atomic Dance Explosion" back in '01 or so. I know that most people tend to think of electronica as stupid, cliche beats that people dance to at gay clubs or raves, but somehow for me it hit an emotional nerve. It speaks to me in a way that a lot of other music doesn't.
I decided to write this note to highlight some of my favorite electronica and trance songs, and kind of explain what I like about them.
First up is the song that made me fall in love with electronica in the first place. I can remember the first time I heard this at my best friend Brett's house. For me, the pansy little white-boy nerd, there was something dangerous about this song, even more so than the Metallica and Black Sabbath I had been trying to listen to without my mom noticing (yeah, I lived in the kind of family where Metallica and Black Sabbath was the worst possible thing my mom could conceive of, and was music that nice, Church-going folk didn't listen to).
The Prodigy - Breathe
The Prodigy have a lot of really great music. I think everyone has seen the video to "Smack My Bitch Up" (queue Robot Chicken's M. Night Shyamalan: "What a twist!"), so I won't post that one. But one of their latest singles is just completely fantastic.
The Prodigy - Omen
Atomic Dance Explosion, despite having an incredibly stupid name, is the first trance song I ever heard. It really hooked me, and the more I listened to it, the more I loved it. I used to listen to it on repeat, trying to see if I could count the layered loops, or listen to only one loop the entirely of the song. Today, I understand that it's actually a pretty simple and kind of boring example of trance, but it was a perfect starting point. Ignore the visuals on this video, they are lame. Best version I could find, though.
TranceControl - Atomic Dance Explosion
The artist I found next completely changed my perceptions of what electronica and trance could be, and has stayed with me as one of my favorite artists of all time. He had perhaps the most impact on me in terms of why I'm such a huge fan of this whole genre. There is no one quite like Mr. André Tanneberger, better known as ATB. He had a distinct style of guitar imitation in his earlier songs that I really, really liked, and I kept on liking him as he kept on evolving. Here is a sampling of some of his works, going chronologically from his earliest to later tracks. Unfortunately I don't have his newer albums yet so I can't speak for how good they are, as I've kind of shelved my electronica stuff in recent years, mostly because my wife hates it and won't stop making fun of me for it. I'm getting back into it, though, so I'm sure I'll be getting his newer stuff soon.
ATB - Don't Stop!
ATB and The Wild Strawberries - Let You Go
ATB - Repulse (still one of my favorite songs, ever)
ATB - In Love With The DJ
ATB - Long Way Home
ATB - Ecstacy
Okay, that's it for part one. That's...a lot of music. I have a lot more I wanted to share, too. Part two maybe later today or tomorrow depending on my work load and my own inherent laziness.