I reviewed Paul Oakenfold's 'Trance Mission' release for 365 Mag, ahead of it's release tomorrow! Arguably Paul’s first artist album since 2006, this new release is an album of 10 covers- not remixes- of Paul’s favourite tracks of all time and one which sees him returning to his roots. Click here to read it, or scroll down below!
Review // Paul Oakenfold- 'Trance Mission'
Electronic enigma Paul Oakenfold, has held onto his legendary reputation as the godfather of trance for decades, perfecting and showcasing his craft across institutions including Radio 1 and Cream - but with archetypal anthems such as ‘Ready, Steady, Go’ under his belt, not to mention putting pen-to-paper composing grandiose film scores for Hollywood blockbusters and back, no introduction should really be needed.
Building up a fresh interpretation of timeless trance classics for the double disc release of ‘Trance Mission’- aptly titled because “it's filled with a selection of my favourite trance records from the last 25 years and it’s been a bloody mission to finish”, as the man himself states - Oakenfold has taken a calculated, concentrated approach to reinvent this twelve-track journey. Utilising “nothing except the original riff” to compose his covers, rather than simply remixing, he delves layers deep into reinventing these iconic listens of yesteryear… but will it leave a bitter taste in the mouths of lovers of the genre, or will he be capable of reigniting the ecstasy felt first time around?
From the get-go, it is clear to dissect that Oakenfold’s track selection has been plucked from a notion to appeal to appreciators, of whose stomachs will flutter at the mere sight of titles such as ‘Theme For Great Cities’ and ‘Touch Me’… but this is your official warning that these are certainly not the old favourites, we’re used to. Take the infamous ‘Café Del Mar’, by no means a genteel listen, that spirals progressively harder in 2014 than it ever did back in the early nineties when showcased by Energy 52.
Contorting into a dense, wonky working thanks to chopped vocal whispers of the infamous Ibiza venue that manages to stealthily creep into the listener’s subconscious despite brazen production that cannot be ignored- an applaudable effort of skill and insight is highlighted in its rawest, familiar form here, but of course it’s not as if we expected anything less.
As a man passionate about his art that has never censored the euphoria present at the heart of trance - who says Oakenfold should start now? Re-producing Fragma’s ‘Toca Me’ with a crisper undertone that accelerates energy and unforgivingly nudges up the high-octane BPM, further more so than its predecessor, every asset of his personality flows through the very veins of this release. Big-room drops and elongated build-ups that deviate away from traditional trance standpoints, don’t deduct from the ethos felt at the centre come his pummelling edit of Grace’s ‘Not Over Yet’, allowing the instantly-recognisable vocals to be positively isolated, projected into taking centre stage.
Marrying a hybrid of cinematic workings and no-nonsense, unadulterated anthems, it’s clear of his aim to infuse the album with individual flair, making his statement accessible as an introductory tool, without tarnishing the genre’s heritage; an epic task he does successfully manage to execute, from beginning to end.
Undeniably set to instigate interest across younger generations of whom may not have been able to experience the definitive period of trance at it’s peak, but are familiar with the history of these tracks in numerous forms, ‘Trance Mission’ is set to not only reinstate the historical importance of Oakenfold’s character as a heralded DJ, but also the positive, seminal role that this release will impact upon the future resurgence of the genre.
Words by Yours Truly X