TIP Orange landed in the summer of 1995, following hot on the heels of the incredible Yellow Compilation. This sophomore collection contains another strong batch of sizzling Goa trance classics: Angelic Particles, Mars Needs Women, Let There Be Light, Alien Airport, and Intellect among them. While it is much more diverse than Yellow, it is also far less consistent, with a handful of forgettable tunes and at least one total flop. Simon Posford’s reduced role in this compilation has a lot to do with it, but his absence also lets several other old school giants make their mark. All things considered, the Orange Compilation is a very strong effort for 1995, and contains several absolutely essential tunes from the dawn of Goa trance.
It is worth noting that this compilation was more widely distributed than many others of its day. Alongside releases like Order Odonata 1, Astral Projection’s Trust In Trance, and the Concept in Dance compilations, TIP Orange was part of the “first wave” of mass-produced releases that ignited worldwide interest in the emerging style of psychedelic trance music. It was released to instant acclaim, and while TIP’s Yellow and Blue compilations are superior, all three enjoy a nearly unparalleled reputation for greatness. As one early reviewer “steve c.” states on TRiP: “I just got this cd today and think it is mind shattering!”
The liner notes feature some freestyle psychobabble, straight from the demented mind of Raja Ram, that will give you a sense of those momentous times:
If you met an Alien, wouldn’t you want to know what got him high or what sounds did he dance to, or what was his language and what was in his stash box? …we speak Alien!! Now the secret is out. It has happened. The mothership has landed. We have entered the realm of science friction. Hyperdimensionalised, computers with feelings, molecular holograms floating in realtime… Exploding kaleidoscopic aural soundscapes. This music is from outaspace that you tune into through your innaspace. Wobbly, wriggly wiggly, crunchy, rubbery sounds that are probing psychotropical frontiers and tuning into our shamanistic resonances once again. The electric wizzards show evidence of the extending intergalactical family web… Creating deeper, richer, more powerful sounds with global pumpage, max peakage and high freakage for fluoropeans. Tipnotic, hi-altitude, anti-gravitational, feet propelling, follicle tingling sizzlers. Spiralling energies are forcing us onwards and upwards at full power, spinning us towards the glowing light. We have an understanding of spacial awareness and our dance space is the psychiatric couch. So let your self be Tiptonised and get hip to the tiptrip.
Now for some comments about individual tracks…
Doof leads the charge with the corny classic Mars Needs Women, a tune best remembered by the tongue-in-cheek sample usage. “Was it true? Could space monsters mate with Earth women?” The rhythms are raw and unpolished, churning along amidst frantic waves of rollicking 303s and frequent interjections—“it’s just three words… the message is: Mars needs women!”
Conflict is one of the very first productions from the notorious Green Nuns of the Revolution. They had previously released several vinyl singles, but this was allegedly their first exposure to the CD-buying public. This is not very well produced—the kicks sound like the muffled slap of a wet towel—but the shimmering intricacies of the vibrant acidic melodies will surely satisfy. It gains further merit from the intelligent use of layers—the precise technique by which Goa trance is elevated above the background hum of disposable dance music.
Astral Projection forged an immortal groove with Let There Be Light, a legendary anthem of the Goa trance movement. It opens with a long passage sourced from the Christmas Eve broadcast from Apollo 8 in lunar orbit: “in the beginning, god created the heaven and the earth.” From there, the Israeli duo weave a compelling tale of cosmic intrigue in the style that made their debut album Trust In Trance such a massive worldwide hit. Not much else needs to be said—this remains one of the very best psychedelic trance songs ever made!
Total Eclipse deliver a less stunning effort with A Little Bit of Heaven. It seems far less lucid than their other work on TIP in this era, and the same could be said in relation to their excellent debut album Delta Aquarids. This is an eerie journey through the darker realms of the early sound of Goa, making frequent use of a stage announcement from Woodstock: “there is always a little bit of heaven in disaster areas”.
Intellect is one of the best from the early years of Psychaos. The steady kick is hard and determined, acting in perfect harmony with the moody, sinister bass line. Joti builds on this appealing foundation by laying down a hypnotic array of emotionally poignant melodies, infectious acid riffs, and mystic atmospheric sounds. After an ominous introduction, it isn’t long before the storyline becomes completely captivating, and this early classic is likely to hold the listener’s attention in thrall for the duration. A famous sample from the X-Files can also be heard several times, and the words could hardly be any more appropriate: “my meddling intellect misshapes the beauteous forms of things… my mind is a tangled knot I can no longer untie”.
How does one even begin to describe the brilliance of Hallucinogen’s Angelic Particles? Have you ever heard music so powerful it brought tears to your eyes? Alongside LSD and Shamanix, this is considered one of the great triumphs of the grandmaster of Goa trance. Laced with gorgeous female vocals, a dizzying array of beautiful melodies, and some of the most mind-blowing transitions ever heard in trance music, Angelic Particles is an intensely uplifting all-time classic.
The Infinity Project collaborate with Martin Freeland (Man With No Name) on Alien Airport, melding their respective signature sounds with skill. The pulsing beat has a deliberate bounce to it, while the rest of the percussion is fairly sublime. Innumerable particles dance around in hazy spirals, pierced every now and then by a squealing melody. The sample inquires: “Do we really want to know about the future?” It might not rank up there with Stimuli or Mindboggler (Part 2), but this remains a great old track.
Einstein, also known as Brainman, isn’t quite up to the task of matching the quality standards of the rest of the TIP roster. On Nightlife he explores eerie soundscapes using dissonant effects and frantic drum programming. As a catalyst for an intense psychedelic experience, I would imagine that this unsettling monster of a tune would have done the trick, but I find it rather unappealing. Part of the reason has to do with the rather relentless drum programming, which leaves little in the way of breathing room. An interesting early experiment, but nothing more.
Voodoo People begins the final descent with People Are Strange, a mysterious exploration of Eastern themes and cosmic moments. The tempo is deceptively fast, as the intricate cerebral rhythms possess startling depths. Pan-pipe riffs and glittering melodies are delicately arranged on a sound canvas which is relatively sparse in comparison to the rest of the material here. Although it may lack the neural punch that propels several of these other tracks to all-time classic status, this one has also withstood the test of time.
On the last track Jackson collaborates with Nick Barber as Voodoof, dropping the tempo to a chilly 103 BPM. Thru may be considered an ambient finale by some, although I find the heavy rhythms and deeply hypnotic atmospheres quite entrancing. The eerie movement of crystalline melody across the foggy, moon-lit beats is simply stunning. Following up with a gradual rise of seething 303s, this song thoroughly satisfies. A rare treat!
The Orange Compilation served to establish TIP as one of the leading psychedelic trance labels in the world, second only to Dragonfly Records in 1995. With such wide distribution, TIP Orange is rightfully regarded as a key influence on just about every artist that has produced trance in the following decade. No old school collection should be without it!