Planet B.E.N. (Ben Wierzoch) composed Ant Invasion in 1993, years before the widespread popularization of Goa trance. This enduring masterpiece of psychedelic electronics predates the vast majority of classics we commonly associate with the genre. Unfortunately, its place in history is often overlooked as it wasn’t formally released until 1996, when the movement was already in full swing. With a bit of research, it is now possible to reassemble the lost history of this infamous tune.
In the mid-nineties, the legendary Mazzo nightclub in Amsterdam formed several record labels to showcase a diverse array of electronic music styles heard within their walls. Founded in 1995, the M-Track imprint was chartered to release trance and techno—most of which was written by local Dutch producers like Synchro (Jeroen van Garling), Cwithe (Jens Waldebäck and Anthony Koppenaal). Shortly after the formation of the label, Mazzo resident DJ Lucas released a CD mix entitled The Gathering Volume One. This marks the debut of Lorenzo Zoeter, the influential producer behind Sibilant, his solo project, and Metal Spark, a project formed alongside Lucas Mees (DJ Lucas) and Patrice Van Den Berg (Syrinx). Zoeter’s appearance on the scene coincides with a noticeable increase in the complexity and sophistication of the nascent Dutch “break-trance” movement, which arguably peaked with the release of Metal Spark’s Corrosive on Blue Room Released in 1998.
Sebastian Krüger (SBK), Linus Wessel, and Victor Harder began working together in the mid-nineties as part of the group Digital Sun, eventually releasing their full-length debut The Spiral of Power on Polytox Records in 1997. That same year, Wessel and Krüger founded Tarsis to explore a more progressive approach to trance music, emphasizing slow-building arrangements and (at that time) cutting edge production techniques. After signing with DJ Antaro’s Spirit Zone Records in Germany, Tarsis debuted on the Tathata II compilation with the original version of Atomic Children. Instead of merely elaborating on the melodic exuberance of the Digital Sun project, Tarsis challenged listeners with sleek, stylized grooves and subtle hypnotic effects. This paved the way for Vacuum in 1998, the first of several full-length albums from Tarsis.