10 in 10 is what trigaX and Kevin C have been looking into. These are their views on the top 10 most influential albums within dance music, see if you agree, and perhaps you have a few comments about them?
We have decided to put together a so-called 'top 10 most influential albums' of the past 10 years. Although a very subjective topic, the below have been arguably set as some of the benchmarks of dance music since its release and up till this date it has still been putting an impression on our speakers and soundsystems alike.
The albums who made the final top ten, showcase some of the finer mixing, innovation, and renewing the whole scene by being lightyears ahead of other compilations and albums.
We started by making a list with albums who have been the topic of a lot of discussion, whether it was renewing, why it would be in the top ten, or why it shouldn’t be in the top ten. We had about 30 albums to choose from. And by means of elimination we started reducing that number to ten.
It was a hard task, going from thirty to ten, and giving good enough reasons why the album shouldn’t be up there, but after a lot of discussion, we present you the final ten ( and 2 runner-ups) with some comments from trigaX and Kevin.
In no specific order:
Renaissance 1 - Sasha & Digweed
DJ Tiesto - In Search of Sunrise 2
Sasha & Digweed - Northern Exposure 1
Sasha GU 013 - Ibiza
Paul van Dyk - Vorsprung Dyk Technik
Leftfield - Leftism
Massive Attack - Protection / Mezzanine
Hybrid - Theme From Wide Angle
Robert Miles - Dreamland
Way Out West - Way Out West s/t debut album '01
2 Many DJs - As Heard On Radio Soulwax
BT - Ima
1. Renaissance 1 - Sasha & Digweed
trigaX: Top duo Sasha & John Digweed, who were responsible for the progressive march in the 90’s, deliver in 1994 what is called ‘the first clubmix’ ever. 44 songs going from M People to Spooky, from Sunscreem to Age Of Love, spread over 3 CD’s.
This is the very first edition of a long line of highly praised compilations, representing Renaissance. And of course it’s Renaissance, just the name is a synonym for quality productions, releases and CD’s.
The artwork, the text on the gatefold, and just the entire feel off the album, make this album one of the most sought after compilations ever, this is an essential item to all Sasha & Digweed lovers, or just anyone who appreciates good music!
Kevin: For those of you who have been relatively new to dance music or have not been paying attention may not be familiar with this absolute masterpiece from the two guys who arguably started the trance thing off with their fusion of house and progression in what some have said as the single most influential house and dance compilation ever to reach the shelves.
And even though the CD is nearly a decade old, it never fails to bring back the memories of the Renaissance sets from the early 90s where the combination of acts such as M People, Ian Ossia and the early Diggers and Sasha sets in Mansfield.
2. DJ Tiesto - In Search of Sunrise 2
Kevin: One of my personal favourites, this has represented some of the finest epic and euphoric trance that has come through the compilations over the years and Tiesto chose not to go with the route of following 'every other compilation' in this journey through 14 tracks.
A bit of progression a bit of uplifting, and I believe this to be Tiesto's finest compilation or mix I have ever heard and I am sure many will agree with me on that one, with a great tracklist to go with it.
trigaX: Dutch DJ Tiesto (aka Tijs Verwest) is behind the In Search Of Sunrise albums, which already is at its third instalment.
The whole idea behind the ISOS series, is to catch the mood, when you are somewhere, relaxing, enjoying yourself with a drink, taking things easy. And Tiesto succeeded with this album. Called one of those albums which has been saturated with emotions. What can you expect with such songs as Perception, Touch Me, Dreaming, Eugina, …
3. Sasha & Digweed - Northern Exposure 1
trigaX: Again an album by Sasha & Digweed. This is another timeless album which could have been released a few months ago, and you wouldn’t even know that this was in fact made in 1996.
Two CD’s, two atmospheres to it. 0° North starts off with a song using David Attenborough’s voice, and is just the tip of the iceberg. This CD includes some of the finest songs ever made, like Out Of Body Experience by Rabbit I The Moon, Morgan King, Future Sound Of London and much more. Ambient, emotional, atmospheric, soul-stirring, and still sounding like it was made yesterday.
The second CD, 0° South, is completely different, much harder, and includes a myriad of songs which are still among the elite of best-produced songs ever. Wavespeech is one of those songs that just got a facelift to make it look older, but when you actually want the Junior Vasquez mixes. And of course, Underworld is representing with Dark & Long, which was also on the soundtrack of Trainspotting.
Kevin: One of the most sought after CDs after the Renaissance 1 CD, S & D bring up an elaborate and unique tracklist to add onto their Northern Exposure journey which they started off in the mid 90s and this album released in 1996 highlights the quality of their work and this has been set as one of the benchmarks to many dance compilations to this date, featuring some of the finest artists of our day; God Within, Future Sound of London, Pete Lazonby, Humate and Underworld all on 2 discs with some of the best mixing you will ever hear.
The mixing on this album is so smooth and so pinpoint that it is often hard to determine when the upcoming track begins to come in. Thats how good it is and if you have yet to hear this masterpiece, this is one for yesteryear, this year and many years to come I am sure.
4. Sasha GU 013 - Ibiza
Kevin: Yet again, Sasha's prestige and influence on the dance floor has been transferred into yet another masterpiece on the Global Underground label with this stunning GU 13 double CD from Ibiza.
The likes of Bluefish and Natious are have represented part of the foundation in which progressive trance and progressive house lies within today and some have argued that out of all the Global Underground journeys which we have taken, this has been one of the best if not the best out of them all.
This album represents the sound of Europe and also the sound of developing progression in North America and has yet again set a benchmark for this fusion of throbbing progressive beats and melodies.
trigaX: The thirteenth instalment of the infamous Global Underground series sees Sasha at work again. And he made it an album that won’t be forgotten for a long time.
The way Sasha worked on this album isn’t an ordinary mix, he prolonged each song, with a fluent mix, making the album seem like one big, long song.
When you ask someone who is into progressive trance “What’s your favourite GU” then 9/10 people are gonna say GU013. This album had a huge impact on a lot of people, even people not into progressive got converted.
This album also gave Sander Kleinenberg’s production career a boost, by having 2 of his songs on this album: Sacred and of course, the o so beautiful My Lexicon. Other songs that are featured on this album include Xpander (yes, the big Sasha song!), Heaven Scent, Nothing Left (Orbital at its finest), Stage One (Quivver doing his thing), …
This is an essential album!
5. Paul van Dyk - Vorsprung Dyk Technik
trigaX: An excerpt of Paul’s remixes he did during 1992 – 1998. When Paul didn’t reach the status of superstar DJ yet. When he was just a DJ, doing his thing.
Spread over 3 CD’s are most of his remixes he did during that period, building up his DJ career, trying to become what others were, an international well-known DJ, and look where Paul is this year? A headliner for about every party / festival he DJ’s at.
Kevin: One of my first albums and definitely one which has left one of the biggest impact on my speakers ever since. This collection of Paul van Dyk's greatest remixes from the 90s signifies the best productions he has come out with and personally, I believe that this album has created standards for some producers in their own remixes. The diversity which exists within the perfectly percieved productions stretches across tracks such as Dina Carroll, Tenth Chapter, Denki Groove across to Tori Amos, bringing in just about every major artist in electronica in the 90s the world has seen. Some material on there has never been released on its own right and has been said to be a nice 'gift' to many of Paul's supporters over the years, and with his second VDT coming forward in a month or so, could this be any better?
In my mind, Paul has been at the forefront of dance music since the early 90s and his representation across all genres afar as house, techno, trance and breakbeat has influenced more than just a few producers and punters out there.
6. Leftfield - Leftism
Kevin: Leftfield's Leftism, an album released not too far in the distant past but has already caused a huge impression on DJs and Producers afar and awide with their electro productions which puts itself solidly in the center of dance music without verging on House or Techno or Trance, but definitely one which everyone has heard sometime in recent months.
This album follows on from their awesome "Not Forgotten" in the early 90s which was marked as a pioneer itself within the house and dance scene and this album only escalates their influence on club culture world wide. Magazines, websites, and people alike have noted this to be one of UKs finest exports in music and I would not argue with that for one second.
trigaX: Leftfield’s first album was a direct hit! Released in 1995, this album was a big surprise to Leftfield themselves, and to anyone in the industry. The impact it had was much more then at first anticipated. Leftism is a varied and solid album which nestles comfortably alongside the likes as The Prodigy and Orbital, but influencing the music with their own unique sounds, and impressions.
It's a beautiful creation, 11 tracks of masterful electronic creation which demand to be listened to over and over again. No fillers on this album, each song represents its own world, going from techno, to vocals with former Sex Pistol singer John Lydon.
If this album isn’t in your CD collection, then I advise you to go to the store, and look for a copy, cause this will change your way of thinking about music.
7. Massive Attack - Protection / Mezzanine
Kevin: We have decided to put both of these albums together as they represent that same movement in electronica and with "Protection" following on the heals of their "Blue Lines", this electro trip hop combination has set the tone for house, ambient and even breakbeat artists today who have noted their influence from within these 2 albums; Mezzanine and Protection.
The range of vocal talents used and including such great tracks such as "Teardrop", "Angel", "Weather Storm" and "Karmacoma", the selection is diverse and catching to say the least, with numerous movies, soundtracks and sets scored with some of these finest tracks over the years since "Protection's" release in 1994
8. Hybrid - Wide Angle
trigaX: Breaks combined with trance. But not just any sort of breaks or trance. Mike Truman combine these two very important elements and forms songs which are beyond credibility, Finished Symphony is a perfect example of that: a stunning melody, breaks which make you forget you’re alive, and more.
This album is the beginning for a whole new genre, a genre which crosses boundaries of melodies, breaks, emotions, …
Kevin: Hybrid, the breaks trio bring upon their debut album in this stunning set of breaks, stomps and melodies which puts this album at my personal top list. Although not primarily a fan of breaks, this album transgresses across Breakbeat, Trance, Vocals and House; if I had to say it, it is Way Out West with more breakbeats. The orchestral sounds combined with lucid breaks have influenced individuals and artists worldwide to supplement their house or trance tracks with breakbeats to add a bit of flavour to their own productions or their musical tastes.
With beautiful tracks such as "Theme from Wide Angle", "Finished Symphony" and "Snyper" pioneered by DJs such as Dave Seaman and Brian Transeau in the middle Renaissance days, Hybrid's sound is new and always has been at the forefront of music, putting them near the best.
Having over 100 remixes and productions under their belt, this album brings about the best of what they are capable of and perhaps will be seen as a benchmark for their upcoming album.
9. Robert Miles - Dreamland
Kevin: You all know Robert Miles, and many of you heard "Children" on the radios when you were undergoing dance music infancy. It has definitely been one of the tracks which has put me on the trance wagon and its placency within "Dream Trance" arguably set off the trance saga of the late 90s in front of artists/DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, Solar Stone, Lustral, the Hooj crew and others.
Although since Roberto's mass media debut with "Children" and "Fable" he has been lying in the dark, he has made an attempt at another breakthrough in electronica with his more recent "Paths" single which didn't quite turn out as big as his album but proves that Roberto prefers innovation.
I think few of us would argue that this is truly an exceptional album and trance/dance fans of this generation will always keep this album / single in mind for years to come.
trigaX: June the 7th 1996 was the beginning of a whole new creation. The birth of dreamtrance is attributed to Robert Miles, with such hits as Children, Fable and One And One (vocals by Maria Naylor). It soon became obvious that the music Robert Miles produced wasn’t your ordinary music.
Children went on to become one of those songs which could convert people who didn’t listen to ‘dance’ music. It had the power to overwhelm people, and make them realise that there’s much more behind music then you can grasp at first sight.
Throughout the entire album, pianos are used in a way to transfer emotions which are oozing with each song. This is a very diverse album, which was the pioneer for dreamtrance.
10. Way Out West - Way Out West Debut Album (Live)
Kevin: Jody Wisternoff & Nick Warren hailing from Bristol UK has been in the industry for much of the past 10 years with their hugely well recieved combination of breakbeat, house and trance. With influences within hiphop, house and various other electronic genres, Nick & Jody have all the influence they need to further influence the industry with their first album which encompassed so many great tracks which have been overlooked by a lot of individuals.
The reason for this choice is that both Jody and Nick are innovators in the industry; from Nick Warren's Global Underground regime to their fiery productions and remixes, they have done something which no artist has done, by combining the realms of house, trance and breakbeat all in a truly melodic and clubby affair.
With tracks such as "Blue", "Ajare", and "Drive By", this album was not intended for the bin when it was released and contains some of the finest tracks in industry today.
They have always been favourites of mine and I believe them to be favourites of many others out there as well.
2 Many DJs - As Heard On Radio Soulwax
trigaX: This album has been in the makes for over 3 years, and it’s not your everyday put-in-the-stereo-and-dance album, but it is much more then that.
The idea was that the Dewaele Brothers (the two brothers responsible for this project), who are originally ‘rockstars’ (they have a group called Soulwax), made an album which surpassed every other album ever made. And they tried their best, and the outcome is better then anyone could anticipate: over 40 songs, a lot of samples, and then a ton of songs which didn’t get to be in this huge project.
And now, it’s being called as one of the most renewing, innovative albums that have emerged over the last years.
BT - Ima
trigaX: The debut album from Brian Transeau that gave BT name recognition. Songs like Nocturnal Transmission, Loving You More, and Blue Skies showcase the true geniality behind BT, a mastercomposer. Composing music which have a divine voice.
And of course, the bonus CD is just too good to be true. Sasha at the wheels of steel, turning all of BT’s songs into one long sit-back-and-enjoy-the-ride mix.
Kevin: Not only is there a superb collection of the best of Brian Transeau in this truly inspiration and momentous voyage over, although only a few tracks, tracks which have created a definitive base for future trance and progressive tracks. Brian has moved himself to give 5 superb tracks instead of 14 so-so tracks, and combine this with a special mix by Sasha on the 2nd disc, we have something of a wonder.
Since the early 90s, BT has been at the forefront of dance music, putting forward his superb productions of the highest quality, collaboration with Sasha, Paul van Dyk and other greats of the industry to produce some of the most astonishing tracks around. In this album, "Quark" and "Divinity" and not to forget, "Sasha's Voyage of Ima" are truly beautiful pieces of work.
If you have not been able to listen to this, or feel that older trance is bad, then I suggest you think twice.
So what do you think about these albums? worth the mention? definitely agreed? leave your comments!