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Top 10... Trance Anthems of the 1990s

TUNE! signs at the ready then...

it's time to take a swift glance back across a sound that was bigger than an Airbus A380, and capable of taking you to twice the altitude. As the millennium approached the engines only roared louder, with big names earning big money for entertaining big crowds in big rooms with even bigger expectations.

In reality though the genre played an important role throughout dance music's most expansive decade. Furthermore, the impact of trance's once dominant position in clubland can still be felt today, whether in the passion of the hardcore faithful, or the widespread reaction that followed and, arguably, contributed to the canon's fall from grace, wherein production dived into the understated moodiness that typifies today as a monolithic scene soured.

But there's more to our list than mere superclubs and blistering 135BPM anthems. After all, Ibiza's relationship with this now often underappreciated style pre-dates the mainstream explosion, and created a less wham bam, more blissed out, melodious interpretation, soaking the beats in sunshine euphoria, as anyone who has ever closed their eyes on a terrace to any of the following will know only too well…

Jam & Spoon - Stella (1992; R&S Records)

There's that feeling we remember. Despite hailing from a time when subtlety was not a common trait in electronic dance music this beautiful offering managed to break the trend. Some great remixes also emerged in the following years, not least Nalin + Kane's 1998 broken refit.

Humate - Love Stimulation (1993, MFS)

A case study for era-defining bigness not sounding too abhorrent in 2011's stripped back climate, the throbbing bass, complete with key change, set to strings and a huge piano melody are just three reasons why this managed to win a place in pretty much everyone's heart.

Chicane - Offshore (1996; Xtravaganza)

Perhaps Chicane's finest moment, certainly the one that's most at home floating on the airwaves above a Mediterranean shoreline. File under opiate, and more than a little hair-raising, while no re-appraisal should neglect to mention how 15 years on it doesn't sound too dated.

Three Drives On A Vinyl - Greece 2000 (1997; Massive Drive Recordings)

One of those tunes that refuses to drop off every Ibiza-themed compilation's tracklist. Skip back to when we first set ears on the instantly recognisable “Wherever you go, I will follow” vocal loop though and you understand why- talk about ticking all the right boxes.

Nalin + Kane - Beachball (1997; Urban)

If a track begins with someone saying “Let's go to the beach”, while the chorus talks of getting ready to fly and the bassline bounces along like, er, a beachball, chances are said dubby trancer will go down well on the White Island. This proves that point both pleasantly and effortlessly.

Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar 98 (1997; Hooj Choons)

Call us clichéd, we honestly don't care if it means this bomb gets included. Taking its name from Ibiza's legendary sunset spot, once those first chords begin to pluck even a recluse will recognise what's about to happen- potentially overdone, always warmly received.

BT - Godspeed (1998; Baby Records International)

Female vocal stabs drop while filtered snares roll, for a moment it could almost be a nu-breed garage-dubstep cut. It isn't, but don't let that disappoint you as what follows nods towards the darker, more hypnotic and hallucinogenic qualities of trance while remaining chart friendly.

The Aztec Mystic - Knights of the Jaguar (1999; Underground Resistance)

Can this feature? The gods of techno will no doubt strike us down with a thunderous plague as this isn't really a trance affair. It does, however, boast sentimentality, and it's an outright anthem of the laser-reaching variety, which we think goes some way towards validating our decision.

Solar Stone - Seven Cities (1999; Hooj Choons)

Away from the popular Atlantis Mix's desert island chants there was a wall of synth that grew and grew, making the original impossible to resist, with Oakey considering this a weapon of choice back in the days when he had an infinitely impressive arsenal, and rightly so.

Sasha - Xpander (1999; Deconstruction)

In ‘the year of trance' The Man Like and Charlie May served up this scorching classic. Carving the perfect proggy edges onto a space age, synth dominated score it's almost exactly what you want to hear sans brain cells at 6am following four hours of build. Enough said.

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