Saturday 19 September 2020


Max Bill - Compression to Purple (1965)

It's been a bit of a week. And so I've pivoted to my usual listening in such times, albeit a little further. We're not going full ambient, but we'll come close at times! I mention a lot how much I love mid-late 90's to early 00's Trance in all it's EUPHORIA™ glory, but a large part of that is it's sister scene of chillout stuff; the songs intended to be put on in the room next door for all the folks coming down, or for you to wearily grab some orange juice from an Ibiza beach hut as you slowly work your way back to the hotel if you'll pardon the slightly romanticised imagery. A big part of why I love Trance in the first place is those actual euphoric breakdowns, and some of the chillout mixes of tracks are essentially never ending breakdowns. Case in point with another track I forgot I had, Solarstone's After Hours mix of Paul Oakenfold's Southern Sun. Full disclosure I haven't heard the original, but I've been looping this one for a couple of days now and I can't get enough of it. For its age I think it's held up fairly well, as have most of the chillout style mixes of the era, the mask only slips with that ATB-esque guitar that comes in every now and then.

Likewise with A:xus' Suite Disappointment, the digital EP comes with a ton of remixes but for me, my favourite comes at the very end. The Original Reprise as it's billed isn't the most complex mix in the world, like it's name says it takes a lot of elements from the original (which was full of gorgeous sounds anyway). But the key difference here is there is no beat at all, and I absolutely adore when tracks get flipped like this, just by removing that (admittedly amazing) 4/4 of the original just highlights the vocal performance and those melancholy lyrics that I've always liked. It reminds me of the Alexander Polzin chillout mix of Rippin Kittin in that respect which is another of my all time favourites. Tracks like this just beg to be used as a midpoint of a mix or something, I can already kind of hear the transition from the Reprise into one of the many other mixes in my head already.

I can't write a post about chillout without mentioning the elephant in the room. This one comes back into vogue once every few years, usually when it's featured on a soundtrack or as a streamer's intermission music or something. And not without merit, the tune is very good, if a little intense in parts for the 'chillout' label. Unfortunately I can only find the radio edit as an embed (I've been trying to shift away from Spotify see), which while it has enough to get your teeth into, it's just missing that crucial build up that makes the payoff extra sweet, it essentially cuts the song in half. Look up the full mix if you like what you hear. The original was actually a minor hit back in the early 00's over here in the UK, with Motorcycle (actually Gabriel & Dresden themselves, with vocalist Jes Brieden) only ever doing this one single and another solitary remix as was the style at the time. It's interesting to see tracks like this crop back up after years of quiet, especially when the resurgence in popularty sees it gain more attention in the USA and other places that it didn't originally, and it's tales like that which keep me blogging and sharing!

So ends our brief stint into trance come chillout after hours rundown, I hope these tunes help you have a minute of calm (maybe with the exception of Until The Rush Comes!). And as always: Stay safe, and enjoy the music.


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