Tsunami is a one-off compilation assembled by Opher AKA India Drop for Kinetic Records, New York City. Although technically one of the first major psytrance releases from a North American label, the music is entirely European and Israeli, with a mix of exclusive and licensed tracks. The release was made primarily to advertise the Tsunami organization, then a major event promoter. It includes a wide range of styles with everything from hard-hitting techtrance to full-on morning trance and even a little psychedelic drum ‘n bass.
The compilation begins with an interesting offering from Zorba, a GMS side project involving, in this case, Riktam and Rossi of Lotus Omega and Systembusters. Licensed from TIP Records, The Deep delivers progressive beats with tribal percussion, glimmering melodies, and breezy atmospheres at 132 BPM. The results are very nice.
Chakra’s Deliverance shares little in common with his predominantly dark and twisted old school Goa trance offerings from previous years. This is far more sublime and minimalistic, almost Scandinavian in its serene austerity. An interesting work of pure progressive trance.
I-Zen is the solo project of Erez Aizen from Infected Mushroom. Voices is a great piece of morning trance, just what one would expect from Infected’s period of peak creative development.
Saiko-Pod teams up with rising stars Logic Bomb on Magnetic Force, an acknowledged dance floor classic of the Y2K era. Who could ever forget those crazy monkey noises? This is a very strong collaborative effort: ultra-psychedelic and highly recognizable.
Total Eclipse hybridizes psytrance and drum ‘n bass with the experimental Psychedelic Terrorist, a song nearly unparalleled in its frantic energy and breakneck pace. It sounded oddly dated even when it was released but I can’t help but appreciate the madness of it all.
The hollow droning kicks, razor-sharp percussion, eerie crackling atmospheres, and an absolute absence of melodies in X-Dream’s Aspirin make it a little tough to handle at times. It was something fresh and interesting at the time—there were few examples of this kind of extremely hard psychedelic techno on the market. Still, I think X-Dream has better work in this style.
Oforia breaks the zombie spell with Special Offer, a flamboyantly melodic song filled with a sense of doe-eyed wonder and irrepressible bliss. The cheese factor is bound to alienate some listeners but I happen to consider this one of Ofer’s great triumphs. However you may feel about it, this is undeniably original, and sure to arouse uncontrollable smiles even on the dance floors of today.
Yahel sustains the morning vibes with Reality, one of his last partially psychedelic offerings before veering into commercial trance territory in the early 2000s. I was never a big fan of his work and this particular track also isn’t to my taste.
Infected Mushroom deliver one of their finest works with Symphonatic, a legendary song that has graced dance floors all around the world. I remember nights where everyone at a party would be waiting for it, where the introductory sample (“a man with a bass just walked in…”) would elicit shouts and cheers and all hell would break loose. It hasn’t lost any of its shine in the intervening years—this is easily one of the top five tracks the legendary group ever released.
The compilation comes to a close with Morphem’s Hypnotone, a haunting classic originally released on Kiss The Future 1 from the now-defunct Atomic Records in 1998. I’ve opened a few sets with this track and it always sets the right mood for a storming night of trance. Gorgeous, hypnotic, and deeply entrancing—another all-time classic.
Tsunami is a noteworth compilation for several reasons. Not only is the music extraordinary, but it also reached many new listeners by virtue of being the most widely distributed release in North America at the time. The downside: there isn’t much of a sense of storytelling to the release. It jumps from one style to the next without consideration of any sort of coherent flow. No matter—given the quality of the music this can be overlooked. Tsunami is a wonderful compilation that has held up to repeated listening over the years. Recommended.