A Voyage Into Trance: Mixed By Paul Oakenfold
Hypnotic Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/22/2001
I never was one who got into the club scene. My wardrobe was such that I would never make the cover of GQ - it's not often a cover model is overweight and unshaven, wearing an Anthrax "Not Man" t-shirt and ripped, faded jeans, as I did in college. I don't dance; as my wife would attest to at our wedding reception, I have what's called "terminal white man's disease". And with the stories of ecstacy being passed around raves like a bottle of Boone's Farm on Skid Row, I would definitely not fit in, since the only drug I abuse is caffiene.
So why do I like A Voyage Into Trance, a disc self-proclaimed as "a non-stop DJ mix" handled by turntable sensei Paul Oakenfold? Maybe because the music is indeed hypnotic, which is what the ultimate goal of this genre is to become. Maybe it makes me think of what a work like Tubular Bells would have sounded like had it been written in 2001. Maybe it is because Oakenfold does know just how to create a groove using the records in his crates to keep the energy going. Whatever the case, this is a surprisingly good disc.
To credit this disc strictly to Oakenfold is incorrect; all he does is take the work of 11 "trance" artists and spins them into an almost symmetrical pattern (with the occasional brief outro here and there). Besides, to proclaim Oakenfold the hero here would do an injustice to the artists whose music is featured.
But what's interesting is that who originally performed the music becomes second nature - and that's not intentional on Oakenfold's part. If anything, the work of such artists as Genetic ("Trancemission"), Total Eclipse ("Aliens"), The Infinity Project ("Feeling Weird") and Man With No Name ("Sly-ed," "Teleport") flows so well together that the groove becomes all-important. No disrespect is meant towards any artist featured.
A Voyage Into Trance is a unique disc in that you don't have to be into dance or trance music to appreciate what's going on within the boundaries of this disc. Yes, the structures of the songs and the instrumentation is minimal, but there is something about the music that lures you in and wins your mind over. It's quite refreshing, really.
I can't say that A Voyage Into Trance will make me go clubbing - hell, I still wouldn't make it up to the velvet ropes, much less past them. But Oakenfold's work on the turntables will make any listener - long-time followers of trance or first-time visitors - smile, and it makes this disc that much more special.