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Weekend Rewind: 10 classic trance essentials to reinvigorate your weekend playlist

Weekend Rewind: 10 classic trance essentials to reinvigorate your weekend playlist

The 90s-early 2000s saw trance reach its peak popularity within the dance sphere. It was indeed a “golden age” of sorts, as the music had established itself as a credible genre at this point, enrapturing legions of fans with its hypnotic track arrangements, captivating melodic elements, and consistent quality. Artists at the forefront of the new movement such as Tiësto, Ferry Corsten, and Paul van Dyk became superstars, filling up huge venues effortlessly as people rushed to see the spectacles that were their live performances.

Songs written during this era not only influenced popular music, but also created a big enough impact to remain fan favorites that are heavily played within sets today. Looking back at monumental pieces that shaped this period in trance’s history, we dove into the depths of timeless and impactful classics to chose 10 essential anthems that will continue to destroy dance-floors for years to come.

Words by Christina Hernandez.

Da Hool - Meet Her At The Love Parade

“Meet Her At The Love Parade” was released two decades ago in 1997 by Da Hool, and has nowhere near lost its glimmer since. It’s catchy, sharp top-line proved an infectious addition to sets, while pounding percussion further ensnared listeners into its grasp. The piece went on top dance charts in various countries like Belgium, The Netherlands, and Da Hool’s native Germany. More recently, Nina Kraviz has been seen busting out the piece amidst her techno-heavy sets, where it fits rather well into her aesthetic.

Sasha - Xpander

Many might be quite surprised to find the prolific Sasha on this list. However, those that knew the legend back in his earlier days ought to be able to recall his earlier roots in trance. Alongside John Digweed, for example, the two released Northern Exposure 2 in 1997 whose “West Coast” disc was widely trance-centric. Sasha later released his groudbreaking Xpander EP in 1999, whose title track featured wildly memorable synth arrangements and eclectic accents that have led to it becoming classified as perfect and timeless classic among longtime trance fans.

Scott Bond v. Solarstone - 3rd Earth

Ethereal vocal samples and a grooving bass-line play a central role in “3rd Earth,” the widely-revered 2003 single by Scott Bond and Solarstone. The two demonstrate keen knowledge in casting a powerful spell over the dance-floor with this single, carefully weaving together each of its complex layers into a stunning piece of music that embodies the word “trance.” Solarstone still pulls out this single during extended sets, while back in its prime “3rd Earth” was heard frequently in and out of the club, and favored in particular by Tiësto.


Orkidea - Unity

The turn of the millennium was truly an incredible time for trance music. Also released in 1999  Orkidea’s widely-revered hit, “Unity” is among the ranks of lasting trance hits to be released in 1999. The Finnish maestro takes vocals from the haunting, “Host Of Seraphim,” and places them into a compelling trance canvas accented with exotic flute samples and a light, goa-inspired running bass-line. It caused mass destruction on global club dance-floors, whisking minds away from reality and into a futuristic dream world with each listen. “Unity” was later used in the film, The Mist.

The Thrillseekers - Synaesthesia

The Thrillseekers has been a quiet, yet hugely admired figurehead in the trance sphere for roughly two decades now. Even when he was first climbing the artist ranks, his potential shined through. In 1999 he released “Synaesthesia,” which continues to be a common addition to classics sets played by his peers today. The piece is uplifitng, yet driving, taking the listener through various melodic components and soundscapes that are glued together by persistent percussion and a central hook captures attention to the track’s surface.

Ayla - Ayla (Veracocha Remix)

Ferry Corsten had quite a few side projects going on around the year 2000, but his collaborative pseudonym Veracocha alongside Vincent de Moor stands out as one of his more notable ones, thanks to their mega-hit, “Carte Blanche.” However, Veracocha is also remembered for their well-crafted remix of “Ayla,” by Ayla. Corsten and de Moor made the piece completely their own, emphasizing and re-working the original’s hook into their very own with airy, arpeggiated synthesizers. The finished product is atmospheric as ever, making for a finalized composition that had no issues in moving large audiences during a set.


Matt Darey pres. Mash Up - Liberation (Ferry Corsten Remix)

Matt Darey was something of a vocal trance wizard back in its first wave of commercial success, scouting out top vocalists to belt out passionate lyrics over thumping, uplifiting soundscapes. “Liberation” is one such example of his talents coming into play. Enhancing the single, however, is Ferry Corsten. The Dutch icon maintained the vibe of the original, yet injected more energy into it by underlining the body with heavier percussion and adding in some more subtle layers of synthesizer which play perfectly into the passion oozing out of the track’s verses. The remixed was rinsed frequently in mix compilations and on the dance-floor.

Paul Oakenfold - Southern Sun (Tiësto Remix)

Paul Oakenfold presented a chilling piece of music in his light, breaks-laden piece “Southern Sun,” which later prompted Tiësto to transform into a brooding club piece that rips up the peak time. Scintillating bass-lines and soaring strings complement Carla Weiner’s powerful voice, causing a fervent response among listeners who are left with little much to do other than to let themselves be completely enveloped in the piece’s emotive energy as it washes over them. In the contemporary dance space, Tiësto’s “Southern Sun” Remake does a very effective job at eliciting joyful and nostalgic sing-along moments.

Andain - Summer Calling (Airwave Club Mix)

Airwave has always been something of a behind-the-scenes influencer, subtly inserting some of trance’s most well-crafted and forward-thinking tracks into the sea of mixes whilst keeping a relatively low profile compared to his superstar peers. This method certainly works; more often then not, his pieces are picked up and played out time and time again by acts across the spectrum, allowing him to slowly become a key actor in the scene. His remix to Andain’s “Summer Calling” was definitely live depiction of his skill at work. Having crafted a hauntingly beautiful, club-ready mix of the original, the piece became as ubiquitous as an Armin van Buuren hit on the dance-floor as his peers show no slowing of their support for a good deal of time after its release.

Signalrunners v. Mike Foyle - Love Theme Dusk (Mike Foyle's Broken Record Mix)

Signalrunners was the legendary project of Andrew Bayer and Alan Nimmo, and when the duo first paired with a then newcomer Mike Foyle for “Love Theme Dusk,” they composed one of the most breathtaking trance pieces to date. Featuring a goosebump-inducing piano melody as its centerpiece, Signalrunners and Foyle build a minimal, yet stirring track around it featuring lush, emotive synth harmonies and subtle touches of vocal samples to amplify “Love Theme Dusk’s” already highly emotional aura. The finished product immediately captured the hearts of international trance fans, and made such an impact that Armin van Buuren chose it as his opener for his Sensation White performance in 2005. Videos depict a crowd in complete ecstasy as the top-line washes over them.

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