Electric Universe was originally a collaboration between German producers Boris Blenn and Michael Dressler, who left the project around 1997. One Love, their debut offering, is a cosmic collection of unpretentious analog trance and breakbreat soundscapes. Nothing here is overly complex; the arrangements are simple and straight-forward, and the production style is smooth and hypnotic, but there’s no shortage of charm and nostalgia for anyone who appreciates the naivety of early trance music. There are a few weak tracks on the album but most of these tunes have held up quite well over the years, and this is obviously superior to Blenn’s solo effort, the Paradise Connection album, released that same year. With bubbling acid lines, emotive melodies, and shimmering atmospheres, Blenn and Dressler capture the essence of the old school vibe. Highlights: One Love, Virtual Landscape, and Electronic Pulsation.
One Love is neither difficult nor challenging. There is little variation in terms of rhythm or melody within any given song, but somehow–perhaps through the innate simplicity of Electric Universe’s compositional style–the album’s propensity for repetition almost never hinders the flow of the music. There is always some kind of hook for the mind to grasp; some sort of lead to follow. When the conditions are right, a transcendent sense of “travelling without moving” seems entirely possible. This is what the old school sound is all about!
The eponymous album opener is a classic slice of dreamy “space age” Goa trance originally written in 1994 after Blenn and Dressler attended the inspirational VooV festival in Germany. One Love is to Electric Universe what LSD is to Hallucinogen: an early break-out hit that defined the group’s sound and established them as one of the most promising acts of early Goa trance.
Out of Time draws the listener deeper into the cosmic mystery at the heart of the album. Whereas One Love begins with the main theme in full bloom, the first few moments of this piece are much more haunting. As the sharp acidic tang of the leads pierce the darkness, the pressure builds, and the journey truly begins.
Orange Night incorporates light breakbeat rhythms into the existing cosmic trance template. Bubbling acid lines and nostalgic melodies combine to yield another solid trance experience, but it isn’t quite as effective as the two previous outings.
The shorter tracks have their weaknesses. Both Equilibrio and Galaxia suffer from pacing issues—they drag, overwhelm, or don’t quite manage to flesh out their central ideas. They sound convincing in context yet don’t quite hold up under scrutiny.
With Electronic Pulsation, the tempo drops, and the album slides into the deeper end of the spectrum. The slick drum programming heard here is perhaps the best of the album; Blenn and Dressler employ a number of appealing hooks in the arrangement of the pulsating rhythm of this song. The pristine acid lines are just as refined; beautiful melodies waver in the air like shining crystals transformed into sound. Aside from the title track, this is the best trance tune on the album.
Virtual Landscape drifts along, pregnant with hidden meaning and significance. Again, despite the rather simple composition, the sum is much greater than the parts. A luscious piece of downtempo electro breaks with an entrancing vibe.
Visiting Venus has long been regarded as one of the finest old school chill out songs, and I would have to agree. Backed by a bass-heavy set of electro-breaks, this song sways with serene melodies and smooth atmospheric sounds. There is a very visual quality to this music; it seems tailor-made to inspire thoughts of alien worlds. Gorgeous.
Nexus rounds out the album with another strong piece of ambient trance. This piece evokes the feeling of floating in a tropical sea; sparkling atmospheres flow in and out with luxurious ease. It provides a satisfying finish to Electric Universe’s first full-length album.
One Love is one of the finest Goa trance albums of 1995. With its soft analog sound, luxurious atmospheres, and blissful melodies, this cosmic trance gem has withstood the test of time. Admittedly, the album is not perfect; it sags toward the middle, and it certainly could have been much more polished. Considering the year of release, these deficiencies are easy to forgive—after all, Blenn and Dressler were still learning the ropes at this stage. Anyone with a taste for the cosmic style of old school Goa trance is likely to love this album to pieces. Good luck tracking it down!