/ Terra Incognita

Earth Nation is one of many projects from the prolific German trance and ambient producer Ralf Hildenbeutel. Although guitarist Marcus Deml is credited on most Earth Nation tunes from the same era, this album appears to feature only Ralf’s solo productions under this guise. If you’re already familiar with the Eye Q Records sound you…

/ Nerv

Formed in 1994 by Austrian producer Michael Kohlbecker and Pascal Mollin (who later left the project), Eternal Basement achieved some notoriety with the release of Taking Place in You on Sven Väth’s legendary Harthouse imprint. This full-length follow-up features several fast-paced tracks in the hard trance style popular at the time, but the bulk of…

/ G Spot

Jochem Paap explores the more atmospheric side of ambient techno on G Spot, his sophomore album. Clocking in at just over an hour in length, this album is book-ended by a pair of fantastic techno-trance hybrids: the sublime Ping Pong (which wouldn’t sound out of place in an old school Goa trance set); and the…

/ Oto

Fluke were among the biggest names in UK progressive house in the early 1990s. As with their compatriots Leftfield and Underworld they began branching out into more radio-friendly breakbeat and trip hop as the middle of the decade approached. Oto (Greek for “ear”) is a rather brief album that captures them in transition. Bullet is…

Aural Float / Introspectives

Aural Float was formed in 1994 by Gabriel Le Mar, Pascal F.E.O.S., and Alex Azary to explore the deeper end of electronic dance music. On Introspectives, their debut, they combine elements of ambient, electro, and dub techno to create sublime and hypnotic soundscapes that seem to go on forever. Indeed, this album only contains five…

/ Embody

Canadian industrial pioneers Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber, better known as Front Line Assembly, quietly released several albums under the name Synaesthesia in the mid-90s. With this side project they turned their attention to dark ambient and glacial chill out, picking up where they had left off with Delerium, which was rebranded as a radio-friendly…

Code / The Architect

This smooth and highly-refined album features an unusual blend of ambient techno, deep trance, and electro-industrial pop produced by Code, an obscure quartet from the UK. There is an obvious human touch to these compositions, and what vocals can be heard here are often whispered and always unobtrusive. The group cedes considerable airtime to the…

VA / Platipus Records: Volume Two

The second label compilation from UK dream trance pioneers Platipus Records is absolutely packed with classic tunes. All of these were previously released on vinyl but it’s great to find them in one place. Man With No Name provides the biggest highlight with his epic remix of Octopus, and Simon Berry’s many contributions (seven in…

/ Twisted

Twisted sent seismic shockwaves throughout the scene when it was released on Dragonfly Records, and its many-layered lysergic soundscapes continue to dazzle and bewilder listeners today. Although Simon Posford’s timeless debut album is renowned for being one of the darker examples of Goa trance circa 1995 there are many moments of sheer unadulterated euphoria, often…

/ Last Train to Lhasa

Last Train to Lhasa is perhaps the most ambitious album in Banco de Gaia’s extensive discography. The original release was a double-CD, but there are many other versions floating around, including the definitive 20th Anniversary Edition released on four discs in 2015. So what have we here? Ambient techno meets world music, essentially. It is…

Mantaray / Numinous Island

Numinous Island is a collaboration between ambient techno and trance producer Susumu Yokota and psychedelic trance pioneer Ray Castle, one of the original DJs at the beach parties of Goa in the late 1980s. Produced in Tokyo in the summer of 1994 (a studio session that also yielded the Sonic Sufi album Sacramental), this album…

Basilisk’s Essential Selections: Introduction

This post introduces my Essential Selections project, a sprawling series of lists of music I enthusiastically recommend, or at least find interesting and noteworthy. The scope of the project is quite broad: it spans the entire history of underground electronic music from the late 1980s to present and includes any sort of music I might…

/ Beyond the Infinite

Ben Watkins’ second album as Juno Reactor is a collaborative extravaganza drawing upon the burgeoning talents of Paul Jackson (Genetic/Voodoo People), Stephane Holweck (of Total Eclipse), Mike Maguire, Johann Bley, and Jens Waldebäck (Cwithe). The album is named for the final sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and most tracks are anchored by clever samples…

/ Hypnorhythm EP

Despite being listed as an “EP” or “mini album”, Transwave’s debut on Step 2 House Records clocks in at 63 minutes in length, more than enough time to demonstrate the raw talent of French producers Frédéric Holyszewski (later known as Deedrah) and Christof Drouillet (Absolum). Most of these tunes sound rough around the edges; the…

/ Desideratum

Desideratum is a mammoth 2CD album released under the name Synaesthesia. Behind this project is the prolific Canadian duo Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber, better known as Front Line Assembly and Delerium. It is similar in style to Embody, also released in 1995, but has a slightly different range and temperament. Here the producers continue…

VA / Trust In Trance 2

The second edition of Trust In Trance is an important milestone in Israeli trance history. Although billed as a compilation featuring four separate acts, this release was the work of three producers: Lior Perlmutter, Avi Nissim, and Yan-Iv Haviv (with a guest appearance by DJ Jörg Kessler on the eternal Mahadeva). In their shifting permutations…

VA / TIP Yellow

The debut compilation from TIP Records captures the essence of Goa trance in all its shimmering, hallucinogenic glory, at its moment of stylistic genesis. No formal name appears on the release but initial test pressings described it as the “Yellow LP”. Nowadays we generally call it TIP Yellow or the Yellow Compilation, as it was…

& / Planet Luv

This curious album unites the skillful audio manipulations of Mind Over Rhythm (Alan C. Hill and Dave Hill, presumably brothers), who provide roughly two-thirds of the material, with several contributions by IDM legends Plaid. The style is firmly rooted in the British tradition of warm, analog techno experimentations, focusing more on regular beat patterns than…

Guy Sebbag & Gal Carmy / In Trance

In Trance is an obscure early Goa trance album by Israeli pioneers Guy Sebbag and Gal Carmy. Although Carmy has few other credits to his name, Sebbag regularly collaborated with Israeli heavyweights Har-El Prussky, Yan-Iv Haviv, Avi Nissim, and Lior Perlmutter (better known as Astral Projection). Despite these associations this particular album is often overlooked,…