Various Artists

Platipus Records: Ultimate Dream Collection

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Some day far in the future, music students may be able to take classes in the history of techno -- and if they do, this album may well be part of the required listening material. It features several of trance's first and most famous heavyweights: Art of Trance, Union Jack, Robert Miles, Catalyst, etc. The compilation starts with a straightforward mix of Miles' supercharged megahit "Children." "Tempest," written by Salamander and mixed by Union Jack, is early ambient trance at its finest. The loops and sampled sounds are simple yet very effective. Build-ups and breakdowns are perfectly placed and engineered, making this song more interesting than some of the others, in spite of the fact that it doesn't have any kind of hooky keyboard loop. Quiltman's "Plastic Gourd" earns the distinction of being the song with the longest intro -- it takes a full three minutes for the beat to kick in. Aboriginal vocal samples and a vaguely tribal drum loop also make the track the most experimental of the compilation. There are two versions of Heart of Trance's song "Octopus," including the hard-hitting, hypnotic original mix. Listening to this compilation makes you think of cavernous warehouses and vast fields crowded with thousands of people -- in other words, the heyday of the rave scene, before electronica split into innumerable subgenres and went completely mainstream.

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