Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium|
Remember "The Day"? Well, back in it Select magazine used to encourage their readers to assemble compilation tapes for which the magazine editors wrote a set of brief liner notes. I thought it was an idea worthy of ripping off.
Mauro Picotto - Like This Like That
In addition to incorporating the hard, pounding techno noises Mauro has always been so celebrated for, this tune features, well, a tune, and a killer one at that, as a warm analog synth bit eventually gives way to a spectacular keyboard run.
Rimini Project featuring Scandinavia - Sounds Good
Rimini Project are an Austrian group named after an Italian city who have a blonde singer named "Scandinavia." That's about as pan-Euro as you can get. "Sounds Good" is another one of those upbeat Eurodance numbers. It is also another perfect representative of the "la-da-di" trend in Eurodance. Wonderfully, the official website's title bar reads: "Rimini Project - an european pop group" [sic].
Martay - Gimme All Your Lovin' 2000
What could be better than licking chocolate syrup off of Alizee? How about listening to the marriage of a big chunk of ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'" to a female UK rapper named "Martay"? I assure you, the experience is comparableand not as messy.
Kim Lucas - All I Really Want (Eiffel 65 Mix)
A shimmering piece of Europop delight with the requisite pretty Eiffel 65ish piano melody. Video features guest appearances by the aliens made famous in E65's "Blue." A shorter version of the tune is better (the full-length is both fuller and lengthier than necessary).
Alice DeeJay - The Lonely One
Alice DeeJay brought Eurodance to America in a big way with Who Needs Guitars, Anyway? "Better Off Alone" is the essential track, but I always preferred "The Lonely One," wherein the old dance cliché "take me higher" has never sounded so glorious. Huge, epic trance chords (maybe a bit too strongly reminiscent of Agnelli & Nelson's masterpiece "Everyday") and upbeat lyrics (just two lines repeated ad nauseum) deliver everything the Europop clubber could possibly desire. "You don't have to be the lonely one!" Judy sings. Therapeutic, indeed.
System F - Exhale
The highlight of Ferry Corsten's first album (Out of the Blue, released under the name System F) is this tune he co-wrote with fellow Dutch trance DJ legend Armin Van Buuren. This is an epic trance monster to die for, with soaring chords and relentless energy. It is the soundtrack to the greatest chase scene never filmed.
Astroline - I Close My Eyes
Cheery Eurotrance tune features upbeat female vocals and more dum-dee-dum style wordless filler. Peter Luts, who was pulling the strings behind this project, eventually found bigger success with Lasgo, but this song has a joy Lasgo too rarely exhibits.
Kaci - Paradise
Here's a bubblegum cover of a 1982 song originally sung by Phoebe Cates for a poorly-reviewed movie of the same name (later covered by Mihaela Runceanu in 1987 in Romanian). It gets a pumping Motiv-8 remix, which seems to draw some of its inspiration from Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly score. These and several other remixes were once available only outside the United States (in dance-unfriendly America we were stuck with boring old "Spanish language" versions and a radio edit of the Motiv-8 mix). Now at last they're available in full panavision glory on iTunes.
Planet Funk (Planetfunk) - Chase the Sun (Extended Club Mix)
A sunsplashed, ethereal dance tune with a girl who sings in such a high voice that her lyrics are practically indecipherable. This is one of those rare trash tunes where even for the casual fan the full-length version is superior to the radio editit just breathes better, and has enough going on during its seven or so minutes to keep you fully engaged. The video was spectacular, a sort of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" homage, and you can watch it on YouTube. Worth noting: back around 2001 a lot of videos, including this one, fiddled with adding sound effects or altering the sound of the song itself, supposedly to integrate it more into the "film," but more likely to discourage music bootleggers from taping the music off the television.
Liza da Costa - Banana Coco
Liza da Costa, former recording partner of the inimitable Captain Jack, really shines in her solo ode to the "Banana Coco," "a drink you will remember." Contains tympani-fueled swing beats that make this a good companion to Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5." But "orange juice" doesn't rhyme with "Kahlua"! Shut up!It does if you pronounce it "orange juice-ah"! I believe this is the only Liza da Costa single that there ever was.
Mono Culture - Light of My Life (Fragma Radio Mix)
This is your typical romantic blue-eyed trancer replete with the requisite pledges of everlasting love, unwavering devotion, etc. When the woman sings, "Dreams can come true," to the sound of the beat slipping back in, the romantic in you will likely be screaming, "YES! DREAMS CAN COME TRUE, MONO CULTURE GIRL!!!" Your neighbors might complain, but fuck 'em. 'Cuz dreams can come true!!!!
Sash! - Together Again
Sash! insists on an exclamation mark after his name, and after giving us the trash trance triumphs "Ecuador" and "Encore un Fois" I'll give it to him. No, I take it back! (Sash) I give it to him! (Sash!) I take it back! (Sash) Enough. "Together Again" tugs at the heartstrings, what with its lovely chords and passionate female vocals. And speaking of those vocals, when the singer slips into another language...err, what language is that? Why, it's Danish, my friend. And who knew that Danish could sound so beautiful? Sash! knew, you dumb fuck!!!
Safri Duo - Played Alive (The Bongo Song)
One of the mightiest, best-loved, and oft-played dance songs of the era; it boasts frantic live rhythms atop a trance beat, courtesy of a couple of classically trained percussionists. The song was heard everywhere in 2001, including a drainage pipe on 6th Street.
Captain Jack - Iko Iko
"Iko Iko" gets the Captain Jack treatment. Captain Jack, whose schtick was to appear everywhere dressed in Yellow Submarine-style Navy clothes (hell, he even covered "Yellow Submarine"), was very probably mentally ill. Today he's deadand we miss him. His songs are familiar to Dance Dance Revolution fans everywhere. All hands on deck! Ready the umbrella drinks! Let the party begin! Oh, except that it's over. On to Volume 2.
Scooter - We Bring the Noise
Used by demolitionists to take down buildings. The swirling electric guitar sample cuts cleanly through struts, the bassline contains the collapsing structure so as to cause the least damage to its surroundings, and the shouted motivational vocals herd people out of harm's way.
Tomcraft - Bipap Song
Next time you're in the bedroom with your significant other, put some underwear on your head, crank up DJ Tomcraft's "Bipap Song," and dance around flashing "thumbs up" in time to the beat. You will look adorable long after your confused lover exits the room. UPDATE: Sylver's 2006 song "Make It" includes a sample of the wacky nonsense vocal which is plucked either from this song or utilizes the same source material.
Angelic - It's My Turn (Original 12" Mix)
DJ Judge Jules remixed Sunscreem, then wanted more moola for his work. Penny-wise Sunscreem turned down his mix. Mr. Jules spun his version on Radio 1 anyway. Sunscreem complained. Mr. Jules took all the Sunscreem out of his mix, threw in his wife's voice, and created the superior, goose-bump evoking Angelic tune "It's My Turn (Original 12" mix)." A long strange trip for one of the most beautiful dance anthems of the last few years. Note: Groovilicious/Strictly Rhythm release's version of the 12" mix is a full minute longer than the "Original Mix" on Serious Records.
John Davies - I Promised Myself
John Davies's cover of former Levi's jeans model Nick Kamen's "I Promised Myself" is perfect pop for your David Hasselhoff-loving German mother. Hammy beyond belief, but awash in Euro-glossy perfection. If you lip-synch to it, don't forget to include sweeping arm gestures. More recently the A*Teens have covered the track, and Nick's also issued a re-release/update.
Cassandra - Rien ne va plus (rouge mix)
Italian songstress singing in French; she has a bit of a weak voice--is she the producer's girlfriend? But the music is catchy as hell, and today serves as a wonderful reminder of an older, lost era of Eurodance music. I believe there is also a French Cassandra who sang Europop; not the same artist as this one.
Paffendorf - Where Are You?
A really stupid-voiced guy in Paffendorf asks "Where Are You?" then flushes you out onto the dance floor with the best two-note melody I have ever heard. Like shooting fish in a barrel, baby.
Dominica - Gotta Let You Go
1995 (original)/2000 (re-release with new mixes)
"Gotta Let You Go" was originally released in 1995. Its charming organ sound screams "classic house." 2000 saw a re-release of the single with the requisite remix updates (presented here by DJ Tonka and Phil Fuldner [with support by a then relatively unknown Moguai, interestingly], and DJ Antoine vs. Mad Mark). The Tonka mixes are the best (they stay truest to the original formula, whereas Fuldner's take seems a bit more meandering), but thankfully the CD single contains a re-edit of the true original version and the original club mix, which are still the best versions of all.
Shaft - Mucho Mambo (Sway)
Seduces you like a dark-haired island woman with a flower behind her ear. Tropical sounds married to pounding electronic beats = mambo music that you don't have to know the mambo to dance to. This 1999 classic was updated in 2001 by Mellow Trax, who gave things a trancier flourish. Two other Shaft singles followed which utilized exactly the same production formula, also to good effect. But this is the essential Shaft tune.
Lou Bega - Mambo No. 5
All hail Lou Bega, the one-hit wonder! "Mambo No. 5", that paean to women named Monica and Erica and Helga, etc., charted big in Germany before it made its U.S. debut on the Oprah Winfrey Show. It is a cornerstone in the history of successful Eurodance crossover tunes. But in the interest of full-disclosure, there's some dispute over whether there is actually a mambo beat in this one. Samples heavily from a 1952 record by Perez "The King of Mambo" Prado.
N-Trance - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?
After successfully tackling "Stayin' Alive," N-Trance took on Rod Stewart's oddly spelled "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" (is that even phonetic?) and transformed it into something meatier and beatier. Hmm; the song is also featured on the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack. Must be good!
Chyp-notic (Chypnotic) - I Can't Get Enough of Your Love
Chypnotic, some sort of a German boy band, delighted pubescent Euro girls in the early 1990s. They are perhaps most famous for their mellow, mid-tempo dance cover of Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U." Another single, also of the mellow, mid-tempo variety, was "I Can't Get Enough of Your Love," which ably demonstrates their appeal as you do that slow, soulful electric slide in your living room.
Manhattan / Cellular - Impulsion (Large Mix)
Discogs has a note appended to one of the releases stating that the song's distributor made a mistake and mis-credited the song on the stickerwow; if that's true, that really sucks for the original composer. According to that note, the true author was Cellular, not Manhattan. In any case, the tune contains a breathtaking keyboard progression; 16 bars before it repeats, and wondrous all the way through. The absence of vocals (save an occasional, breathy, "Touch the sky") adds to the appeal. This is what epic trance should sound like.
Baccara 2000 featuring Michael Yuniversal - Yes Sir, I Can Boogie '99
1970s Eurodisco legends Baccara return with a 1999 revamping of "Yes Sir, I Can Boogie," which comes complete with a rapper (Michael Yuniversal) who assures us that Baccara is "new and improved," presumably because of his own presence.
Blümchen (Bluemchen) - Bicycle Race
Cute Blümchen made happy hardcore into the pop sound of Germany during the mid-1990's. "Bicycle Race" is a stunning cover of the Queen song. Listening to it is a bit like getting a tooth drilled by a big, bouncy bunny. Every Eurotrash fan should have Blumchen's greatest hits (entitled Für Immer Und Ewig).
2002 12/2003 01