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Leftfield – Leftism

Leftfield established themselves as one of the leading producers of progressive house before branching out and experimenting with breakbeat rhythms on their widely-acclaimed debut album, Leftism. Despite jumping between genres and embracing an eclectic set of influences there’s nothing overly daring or experimental to be found here, a quality that probably contributed to its mainstream commercial appeal. Smooth and…

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The Chemical Brothers – Exit Planet Dust

Exit Planet Dust might not be the most compelling album from The Chemical Brothers, legendary acid house and breakbeat manipulators from the UK, but it has aged nicely, even accounting for nostalgia. Despite tempos trending toward the low end, this album still packs a punch, as the brothers work it out with brawny beats, clever sampling, and hints of…

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Total Eclipse – Delta Aquarids

The debut album from Total Eclipse, a French triumvirate formed by Stephane Holweck, Serge Souque, and Loïc Van Poucke, is one of the finest products of the golden age of Goa trance. Every song exudes their signature sound but there’s an incredible variety of moods explored across this uniformly excellent album. From dark and menacing to…

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Drome – Dromed

Dromed is a deep dive into downbeat, dub techno, IDM, chill out, and ambient produced by Bernd Friedmann , also known as Nonplace Urban Field. Although diverse in style and approach, the album is united by an emphasis on intricate details and darkly mysterious atmospheres. Some of the strongest tracks sound like forays into softly-whispered trip hop reminiscent…

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Download – Furnace

Download began as an outgrowth of the infamous Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy. Furnace, their debut album, was released as the group was being torn apart by creative differences and personal tragedy; band member Dwayne R. Goettel died of an overdose shortly after primary recording was complete. Against the backdrop of this bleak origin story this album spans…

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Union Jack – There Will Be No Armageddon

Union Jack is a UK trance act formed by Simon Berry (Art of Trance) and Claudio Giussani (Terra Ferma). Their debut full-length album gathers up several of their peak-time dream trance hits as well as an assortment of downbeat and chill out tunes. The production style is quite simplistic and not particularly detailed, but there are many moments…

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Etnica – The Juggeling Alchemists Under the Black Light

I’ve never been much of a fan of Etnica’s debut album—most of it sounded too tinny and insubstantial for my liking—but the deluxe re-issue on DAT Records in 2018 made me reconsider my long-held view that this album isn’t very good. Even though it was rapidly eclipsed by Alien Protein (1996) and especially I.F.O. (1997, under their Pleiadians…

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The Infinity Project – Mystical Experiences

Before Shpongle there was The Infinity Project’s Mystical Experiences, a full-length exploration of realms of sound that would eventually become “psychill”. Although ambient and downtempo electronic music was nothing new, seldom before had it been expressed in such a multi-dimensional fashion, with the sounds of galloping horses and samples about objects drifting through outer space vividly conjuring specific mental…

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Paradise Connection – Paradise Connection

Boris Blenn’s only full-length release as Paradise Connection features an assortment of analog sound experiments spanning an enormous tempo range. Much of the album dwells at the deeper end of trance, with simplistic arrangements that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the ambient techno labels of the early 1990s. Highlights include the euphoric 160 BPM adrenaline rush of…

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Elysium – Dance for the Celestial Beings

Hypnotic, tribal, and richly atmospheric, this pioneering techno-trance album from Danish producer Kristian Thinning remains one of the classics of the genre. There is an alluring softness to this album, a haunting sense of mystery that keeps me coming back year after year. Sampled chants, drums, and instrumentation give this album a worldly feel (ages ago we would have…