Archives for posts with tag: Orkidea

img_3249Back from an extended break in London, The Netherlands, Italy and Ibiza, it’s now time to get back into writing my reviews. But first things first, I need to catch up on what I did while I was away. Finding time to write up every event proved too much this year, and once I’d let it slip, I decided that the best thing would be to write up a single review covering every event of the summer in Europe.

img_3256First up, of course, was Luminosity Beach Festival, of which so much could be written. As always, it was the perfect blend of wonderful music, amazing sunsets, meeting old friends, making new friends and dancing to trance across three stages. So many highlights, as always, but there were a few that I have to mention.

  • The Thrillseekers, who opened with Sasha – Xpander (a bold move), and just got better and better, over three wonderful hours.
  • Orkidea, of course, who opened the new stage on the Saturday, warming us up perfectly for the day’s musical treats ahead.
  • Signum, who played another brilliant set and surprised me when he dropped the wonderful London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (Solarstone Remix).
  • Liquid Soul, whose deliciously melodic psy-trance was perfect for the time of day.
  • John O’Callaghan, playing possibly my favourite tune of the year so far: Ludovico Einaudi – Two Trees (John O’Callaghan Remix).
  • John 00 Fleming, ripping apart the new stage as only he can do.
  • Paul van Dyk on classics day as the sun set. How good it was to see him back in action!


The festival gets bigger and bigger each year, and perhaps as it does so it loses a little of its charm and intimacy. But it’s still streets ahead of anything else in the world for trance fans and next year’s tenth anniversary, with an extra day’s music to enjoy, has been put firmly into our diary (tickets and accommodation already secured).

Back in London we had the chance to catch the latest dance:love:hub night, at Brixton’s Club 414. Sadly, The Digital Blonde had to cancel, but we still had a great time dancing to some warm, melodic psy-trance, courtesy of Jon Cockle, Façade and others. These events are notable for the friendly vibe and the brilliant decorations of the intimate 414 really made for a special night.


Our annual pilgrimage to Ibiza took us to Amnesia for Cream and what a great night it was too! Without a doubt, Amnesia is my favourite club in the world, despite the ridiculous bar prices. Jordan Suckley played a really good warm-up set, which I probably enjoyed more than I would a peak hour set in his normal style. Paul Oakenfold relied a bit too much on EDM drops over old Perfecto classics in the first half of his set, but got it spot on in the last 45minutes – so much so that I forgave him for what had gone before!


Paul van Dyk
, in his element as the Cream resident, played even better than his Luminosity set and showed that his remarkable recovery from the life-threatening fall at ASOT750 is all but complete. And then Aly & Fila tore the roof down with a brilliant set that showed Fadi at his absolute best. What a moment when he dropped The Thrillseekers – Amber (ID Remix) and we got to hear the other contender for tune of the year on the sensational Amnesia sound system!


At the other end of our Ibiza trip we were hugely disappointed when the news came through that Solarstone had broken his ankle in Majorca and was unable to play either the Connect Boat Party or the Connect Pure Trance night at Es Paradis. Still, the show must go on, and Sied van Riel was flown in to cover. He played back-to-back with Alex Ryan on the sunset boat party, which is definitely one of the best things about Ibiza.

Version 2The Pure Trance night went ahead without Solarstone, and there was a disappointing turnout for what proved to be a night of superb trance. Orkidea opened with a wonderful 90-minute set, Sied van Riel played a wonderfully trancey set and John 00 Fleming played one of the best two hours I’ve ever heard from him, closing with Tiësto – Suburban Train and Brainbug – Nightmare. With plenty of room to dance, we had a brilliant night.


In between the big events that bookended our week on the white isle, we managed several trips to the wonderful Tropi bar, making friends and dancing to tunes played by DJ Ange, Nathia Kate, Amy Parnell, Paul Stone and others. There really is no other bar like it, anywhere in the world and we even left Eric Prydz at Café Mambo early just to get back to Tropi!


Back in the UK and there was time for an overnight trip up to Manchester for the last ever Majefa night, at Sound Control. The main room of the club was absolutely rammed and, with little ventilation, it was a real sweatbox. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed John 00 Fleming’s set – very different from the tunes he played three days earlier in Ibiza and I’d really love to know whose remix of Binary Finary – 1998 he dropped.


After J00F it was time for M.I.K.E. Push Live – and despite the heat and the short amount of time he had to play (55 minutes), what an incredible set he delivered, including Plastic Boy – Silver Bath, Push – The Legacy, Push – Strange World and finishing with an amazing live rendition of Push – Universal Nation.


We also caught a bit of Matt Darey’s set in the downstairs room and really enjoyed listening to Ryan Hamer in the bar, especially when he dropped Sean Tyas – Lift. The after-party was a bit of a let down, because instead of the billed 4-hour set by Akira Kayosa, he shared the DJ’ing with at least three others and it was such a mess that between them they managed to mix from one tune back into the tune they’d just played.

Our final event of the year before we flew back to Australia was Wax Format at the Magic Roundabout at Old Street roundabout in London. A mostly outdoor venue meant that the sound lacked a lot of punch, but it’s actually a great setting and has a bit of the feel of Sydney’s Greenwood, without the religious buildings! It was a good chance to see lots of our London trance family and friends for the last time this year and the only slight disappointment was that Richard Durand’s set, whilst full of classics, such as Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Armin van Buuren – Communication and Binary Finary – 1998 (Paul van Dyk Remix), didn’t really live up to its In Search Of Sunrise billing. After Richard Durand finished, Sam Mitcham played a really good set to call a close to our musical tour.

So that wraps up the last three months. Hopefully I’ll be getting things back to normal now, with a dedicated review of each event I attend.

It’s always pretty tricky narrowing down your favourite tunes and when you look back at previous years, you realise that some you loved then don’t seem so good with hindsight, while you seem to have missed out some amazing tunes altogether.

So I’m not going to claim this is a definitive list, but an attempt at listing the tunes that had the biggest impact on me in the last twelve months. I’m deliberately excluding mash-ups (so no place for the wonderful Ferry Tayle mash-up of Good For Me and Nubia) and re-works of old classics (so no room on the list for Dan Stone’s rework of Matt Darey’s I See The Sun or Robert Nickson’s update of Spiral).

I’ve done my best to ensure that I’ve only included tracks released (as singles or on compilations) since 1 January 2015 – but it’s always possible that something on this list appeared in 2014, but escaped my attention until later. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading the list, which is in alphabetical order, and maybe listening to some or all of them!

Stuart Millar – Airplein (Peter Steele Remix)

Standerwick feat. Jennifer Rene – All Of Us 

Giuseppe Ottaviani – Crossing Lights 

Aly & Fila vs The Thrillseekers – Es Vedra 

Paul van Dyk & Mark Eteson feat. Tricia McTeague – Heart Like An Ocean (Aly & Fila Remix) 

Peter Steele – Mantra 

Ciaran McAuley – Maria

 
Aly & Fila vs Ferry Tayle – Napoleon 

Solarstone – Nothing But Chemistry Here 

Solarstone & Iko – Once (Solarstone Pure Mix) 

Sean Matthews – Paradise (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix) 

Orkidea – p:Machinery 

Thomas Datt – Prana Flow 

Scientific Harmony – Purgatory (Angry Man Remix)  

UCast – Ramp 

Orkidea – Revolution Industrielle 

Factor B – Sacrosanct 

Factor B – Stratos Galaxias 

Amir Hussain – To The Lost 

The Noble Six – Undimmed  

What a great year it’s been for trance. As well as some fantastic music, I’ve been lucky enough to attend festivals, boat parties and club nights around the world in six countries and three different continents! It’s really hard to compare a night out in Sydney with a festival set in the Netherlands, so there’s no ranking or order to this selection, but I have managed to whittle it down to ten fantastic nights/sets/experiences that will linger in the memory for many years. Actually, on a quick recount, I’ve only narrowed it down to 11, but that will have to do, as none of these deserves to be left off the list.

I’ve written about them all before, of course, so I’m not going to go into detail about each one. Rather, I’ll quickly summarise something about each that made it special.

In chronological order:

Simon Patterson at Voodoo, Home, Sydney – 21 February
This was the best Voodoo night so far. They’d fixed the sound, there was a great turnout and Simon Patterson delivered the goods in a three-hour tour-de-force late into the night (this was before the ludicrous new curfew law was introduced in Sydney). 

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Aly & Fila at Club Zouk, Singapore – 12 April
This was an unexpected, last minute treat, made possible by Ste and Ellen, and by Stuart – so big thanks to all three. Casting around for something to do at the end of our five-week SE Asian holiday, we discovered that Fadi would be playing in Singapore and all we had to do was get ourselves there from Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to fantastically cheap flights, we had a brilliant night and made new friends. And of course the music was sensational.

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Orkidea 1991-2000 Classics Special at Luminosity Beach Festival – 6 July
The whole festival could be listed here, as there is really nothing to compare to Luminosity Beach Festival for trance. But Orkidea’s set at the start of the third day stands out above all the others (and there were some amazing sets played). From Saltwater to Unity, it was goosebumps all the way and, without question, the best set I’ve ever been privileged to bear witness to.

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Aly & Fila on the Driftwood boat party, Ibiza – 28 July
Driftwood boat parties are the best thing about Ibiza and Fadi is not the kind of DJ to dial up the same set for sunset as he does deep into the night, so there was a completely different feel to his set from the one we heard in Singapore. As the overcast afternoon cleared up into a glorious, brilliant sunset and We Control The Sunset filled our ears with joy, there wasn’t a better place to be, anywhere in the world.

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Pure Trance Ibiza with Orkidea, Solarstone & Giuseppe Ottaviani at Sunk, Privilege, Ibiza – 29 July
I’m a huge fan of Solarstone and his Pure Trance brand of music. So a night in Ibiza which also included sets from both the collaborators on the first two volumes of Pure Trance was the perfect follow-up to the previous day’s boat party, as well as the chance to make new friends with fellow trance fans.

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Future Sound Of Egypt 350 at Ministry Of Sound, London – 22 August
Our last night in London for the year and only possible because we’d extended our stay so we didn’t miss it. The awesome Ministry sound system in The Box, with Solarstone and Aly & Fila playing great sets and our first chance to hear Standerwick play would have made it a top night anyway. But getting a chance to chat to Rich Solarstone and Ian Standerwick as well, not to mention the set from John Askew, make this probably my pick of the year as far as clubbing is concerned.

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140 with Jordan Suckley and Allen & Envy at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 6 September
Our first night out in Sydney after we got back and this was an unexpected surprise. I’d been disappointed by both Suckley and A&E when I’d seen them in Holland, so the fact that they both played really great uplifting trance sets in a lovely, intimate venue made it a real treat. I hope there will be more 140 nights to come.

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J00F Editions with John 00 Fleming at Chinese Laundry, Sydney – 13 September
I’ve seen John 00 Fleming several times over the years, but this was easily the best, at least for me. The Cave isn’t everyone’s idea of a great room for dance music, but it’s simply perfect for J00F. No fancy light show, no stage for the DJ to be worshipped from, nothing but a great sound system and, now, improved ventilation. I’ll never forget the moment when I realised he was dropping Tiësto – Suburban Train, one of my all-time favourite tunes.

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Aly & Fila The Other Shore Tour at the Metro, Sydney – 4 October
This is the fourth entry for Aly & Fila on my list, but probably my favourite. Having seen him four times already in 2014, I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong. Fadi played a wonderful set, moving through psy-trance into uplifting and tore a hole in the roof of the Metro. He wanted to play another hour and it was a real pity that the only people there who didn’t want him to were the venue’s management, even after he offered personally to foot any extra costs!

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Digital Therapy with Ferry Tayle at 122 Bar, Sydney – 8 November
A really small, but completely packed out underground bar was the perfect setting for another great Digital Therapy night, with Ferry Tayle making his debut appearance in Sydney. The intimate setting, allied to awesome uplifting trance and great mixing made this one of the best Digital Therapy nights to date.

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RISE with Craig Connelly, Photographer, Harmonic Rush and Binary Finary at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 27 December
This night is still very fresh in the memory, as I write. But I think it deserves to be included as the mix of psy and uplifting trance worked so well in a great venue, with stunning lasers. It looks to be the start of something very good for trance in Sydney.

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Lastly, this is a chance to say thank you to all my readers and wish them season’s greetings. And a special thank you to the photographers who have so kindly given permission for me to use their photos – Luke Davids, Anne d’Antimi and Alan Donaldson. Not forgetting all the awesome DJs and promoters for making it all happen.

Now … bring on 2015!

Anyone who thought trance was dead must surely have realised their mistake in 2014. Unless they’ve had their ears tuned in the wrong direction, they would have heard so many amazing tunes that narrowing it down to a top 5 or even top 10 is just too difficult; certainly it is for me.

And to top last year, when I listed my best 20 tunes of the year, this year I’m going one better … so here are my favourite 21 tunes of 2014, in alphabetical order – choosing just 21 tunes was hard enough; ranking them would be nigh on impossible.

Aly & FilaAltitude Compensation

From their third artist album, The Other Shore, which is simply fantastic. Too difficult to choose just one, so this is the first of five tracks from it that I’ve put in my top 21.

SilvermineFlying (Solarstone Pure Mix)

From Solarstone Presents Pure Trance V3. Another amazing compilation/mix from Solarstone, packed with great tunes, expertly mixed by Solarstone, with Bryan Kearney on mix duties for the second disc. And this is the first of six tunes from it in my 21.

Aly & Fila feat. Jaren For All Time

Another from The Other Shore, this is a great uplifting vocal trance tune in classic Aly & Fila style. I love it!

Aly & Fila vs. SneijderFull Throttle

The third tune from The Other Shore, this time in collaboration with the brilliant Sneijder. This is a great 140BPM tune that seems to be played by a lot of great DJs at the moment.

John O’Callaghan feat. Jennifer ReneGames (Standerwick Remix)

You can rely on John O’Callaghan to produce a number of great tunes each year, but it’s the Standerwick remix that really stands out for me. What a year it’s been for Standerwick – I’ve loved so many of his originals, collaborations and remixes. This is just one of five of his tunes that I’ve selected for my 21.

LyctumGreece 2000

This year I’ve really started to appreciate psy-trance, but I have to admit that I don’t know much about it, really. This is the first of three psy-trance tunes I’ve chosen and it’s a remake of the all-time classic from Three Drives On A Vinyl. It’s a bit different and I love it!

Liquid SoulI See The Spirit

More psy-trance, from one of the producers who I’ve really got into this year. Hearing John 00 Fleming drop this in the Cave was one of this year’s highlights.

Sied van Riel vs. StanderwickIn A Perfect World (Solarstone Pure Mix)

That man Standerwick again, this time in collaboration with Sied van Riel and given the magical Pure touch by Solarstone. This is simply wonderful!

The Thrillseekers & StanderwickLike They Used To

For months after Renee and I first heard this tune in the download of Standerwick’s set at ASOT650NL, it was just IDID and we were desperate to find out what it was, as we loved it so much. Then it was released in Aly & Fila’s Trance Nation compilation CD and we were delighted to learn who made it. I don’t think it’s had the recognition it deserves and hasn’t been played nearly enough. Another example of Standerwick as the emerging talent of the year!

Liquid Soul & DJ DreamLiquid Dream

More psy-trance and more Liquid Soul. It was great to hear Aly & Fila drop this at the Metro in October.

Gai BaroneMr. Slade (Solarstone Pure Mix)

This is a lovely tune, again from the wonderful Pure Trance V3. It’s one of those tunes that seem to get better every time you hear them.

Aly & Fila with Ferry TayleNubia

Aly & Fila’s album is full of wonderful tunes, but this one just might be my favourite. I’m a big fan of Ferry Tayle, who played great sets this year at Luminosity Beach Festival and at Digital Therapy in Sydney. I could listen to this tune again and again and again.

Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila Remix)

Aly & Fila worked their magic on this tune which was played seemingly everywhere earlier this year. It’s still really good, I reckon, and yet another A&F tune in my list, on top of all those taken from their album!

OrkideaPurity (Original Mix)

What a wonderful tune this is – probably Orkidea’s best since Unity; and I’m sure it will be considered a classic in due course. Hard to choose between the original and the Sneijder remix, but I’ve opted for the original. I almost put both in my list!

EcanoRun (Z2 vs Neptune Project LSD Remix)

Like Greece 2000, this is a very old tune, but it’s been given an acidic twist by Neptune Project and Solarstone included it in his Pure Trance compilation. It’s the perfect end to disc one.

No video for this one, but you can listen on Soundcloud here.

Aly & Fila with Skypatrol feat. Sue McLarenRunning

My final selection from The Other Shore and bringing together Standerwick and ReOrder (Skypatrol), Aly & Fila and the vocals of Sue McLaren. Such a great tune.

Pink FloydShine On The Dark Side Of The Moon (Neptune Project’s Out There With Pluto Mix)

Is this by Pink Floyd or is it by Neptune Project? Probably the latter, really. I usually loathe trance remixes of rock tracks, but maybe Pink Floyd’s music is more appropriate to the trance treatment than, say, Coldplay? Or maybe Pink Floyd is just much better than Coldplay in the first instance? Either way, this tune blew me away when I first heard it and it was also great to hear it played through the sound system at Space in Ibiza. This might be my favourite tune of 2014.

Standerwick & ReOrder pres. SkypatrolSkyres

Skypatrol first came to everyone’s attention last year with the awesome tune Folding Your Universe. And although this isn’t the next tune off the rank, it’s definitely the next one of the same calibre. I’m really looking forward to hearing this live … maybe we’ll get a Skypatrol tour of Australia in 2015? Here’s hoping!

Solarstone & OrkideaSlowmotion III (Solarstone Remix)

The third in this series of collaborations between the original Pure Trance collaborators is, in my humble opinion, the best so far. There are three versions: the original mix plus remixes by Orkidea and by Solarstone. They’re all fantastic and the Orkidea remix is an epic that clocks in at 13 minutes 22 seconds. The Solarstone version isn’t as long, but just edges it for me as the best of the three. But they’re all gold.

Ferry Tayle feat. PoppyThe Way Back Home (Dan Stone Remix)

France hasn’t been noted for its contribution to the trance music scene, but Ferry Tayle is right up there for me as a great producer and DJ. As noted above, he played wonderfully both times I saw him this year, and I love this track. There’s also a good remix by Matt Bowdidge and the original mix on Ferry Tayle’s album, The Wizard, is good too, but I’ve chosen the Dan Stone remix for my list.

Will Atkinson Victims

This is probably many people’s choice of tune of the year, and I’m sure it’s one that we’ll keep hearing for some time yet. It’s archetypal uplifting trance and the kind of tune that you can’t help loving if you’re a fan of the genre. Sadly I missed out on the chance to see Will Atkinson this year, but hopefully we can put that right in 2015.

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Our annual trip to Ibiza is always filled with musical treats and this year was no different. Except that there were quite a few differences this year in Ibiza, with Armin van Buuren taking his A State Of Trance shows from Monday nights at Privilege to Thursday evenings at Ushuaïa, while Markus Schulz took up residence at Amnesia on Sundays. Ferry Corsten has moved his Full On Ferry night from Eden to Space. And the Driftwood team have launched a new trance night, Sunk, at Privilege’s side room, the Vista Club. Finally, Gatecrasher have taken over and renamed Eden, with trance scheduled every Monday night. The only fixed star in the firmament is Thursday night’s Cream at Amnesia.

So when we booked our six-night stay, we knew that there was probably more to see and hear than even our eager appetites could manage. Thus we turned down the opportunity to see the New World Punx on the night we arrived, knowing that the following day’s Driftwood party would be worth preserving our energies for.

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Driftwood 
is my favourite thing to do in my favourite holiday destination. What more can you want than 100 or so trance aficionados on a boat in San Antonio bay, listening to proper trance on a Funktion 1 sound system, as the sun sets? This was our third time aboard Driftwood and the routine is now very familiar. Gathering at Itaca bar, exchanging tickets for wristbands (which also got us into Sunk the following night for free), a couple of warm-up drinks and then walking along the harbour front to the boat and climbing aboard, ready for the music to start. And taking a while to get used to dancing on a rocking boat!

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And what great music we were treated to! After a nice warm-up by Alex RyanMina (from Fady & Mina) played a great set, including his remix of Aly & Fila – Your Heart Is Mine. But we’d all come to hear Aly & Fila play, and Fadi did not disappoint, playing so many great tunes: Alt+F4 – Alt+F4, Oakenfold – Southern Sun (DJ Tiesto Remix), Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila remix), Chicane – Autumn Tactics (The Thrillseekers remix), Above & Beyond – Sun In Your Eyes, and, of course, as the sun set, Aly & Fila feat. Jwaydan – We Control The Sunlight. And after an overcast afternoon we got a brilliant sunset, as if to confirm that Fadi really does control the sunlight!

After Driftwood, we headed into San Antonio’s West End, to relax over drinks at the Tropi Bar, served by the one and only Oscar, and chatted to the new friends we’d made at the Driftwood party. We skipped Gatecrasher, having heard that the rostered DJs were unlikely to appear and the club very likely to be nearly empty. Not long after our visit to Ibiza, we learned that Gatecrasher had crashed and closed the doors. A shame that a great trance brand has been brought so low.

Tuesday night was one I was really looking forward to, ever since I realised that we were going to miss Pure Trance in Sydney. To make up for that, we were lucky enough to time our trip to the white isle to coincide with Pure Trance Ibiza, courtesy of Sunk, at Privilege’s Vista Club. With Orkidea, Solarstone and Giuseppe Ottaviani on the line-up, we didn’t want to miss a minute, so we were banging down the door to get in just after midnight.

Orkidea‘s set at Luminosity had been so wonderful, but this time he wasn’t going to be playing classics, so it was our first experience of a normal opening set by him. And what a wonderful set it was, awesome progressive tunes, like his remix of Tilt and Paul van Dyk – Rendezvous, edging up the energy level steadily till he closed with his remix of Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun.

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Next up was Solarstone, who started by dropping his Pure remix of Orkidea – Unity, a nice touch and a great transition from one set to the next. I loved the set, heavily laced with his own tunes like Solarstone & Clare Stagg – Jewel, Solarstone – Pure, Solarstone – Please, Solarstone – 4 Ever and possibly my favourite track from Pure Trance Volume 2, Driftmoon – Howl At The Moon (Solarstone Retouch).

The Vista club at Privilege is a much-improved space since our last visit, two years ago, when it was little more than an unadorned side-room, with the CD decks and mixers set up on a temporary table. The sound is great, as are the lasers and lights generally.

Following Solarstone, it was time for Giuseppe Ottaviani. Although Giuseppe was in fine form, playing a banging late night set, for some reason the crowd began to thin out, and as a result the room was fairly empty by the time he closed with Paul van Dyk feat. Plumb – I Don’t Deserve You (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix) and Giuseppe Ottaviani feat. Vitamin B – Waiting on Someday.

After a quiet night on Wednesday, we were ready to return to the fray on Thursday for Cream at Amnesia. There’s always a fantastic atmosphere at Amnesia and a packed main room dance floor enjoying the music as well as the lasers and famous ice cannon. We arrived early to take up a good position – on the recommendation of some new friends we abandoned our usual spot on the step in front of the DJ booth for the podium at the back of the room. Although this gave us a great view, I don’t think the sound was as good in this spot, so later in the evening we found ourselves back in prime position on that step!

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After the warm-up DJ, it was Paul Oakenfold who got the main event rolling, but I really didn’t like his set at all. His mixing has never been his strong point, but in the first half an hour or so it was the big room EDM tunes that he was playing that grated more than the mixing itself. Later in his set the tunes improved – KhoMha – The Dark Knight, Darude –Sandstorm, PPK – Resurrection, Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun, Paul Oakenfold – Café del Mar, John O’Callaghan – Big Sky – but the mixing didn’t and the overall effect was of a set being “phoned-in” and, although I hadn’t really expected that much, I was disappointed.

Paul van Dyk was next and he took the night to another level. He combined his technical expertise with some wonderful tunes, both new and classic to create an amazing energy and he had the main room buzzing throughout his set. Amongst the many classic tunes he dropped (maybe more than usual because we were celebrating 20 years of Cream at Amnesia) were Paul van Dyk – Time Of Our Lives, Giuseppe Ottaviani – No More Alone, Paul van Dyk – For An Angel, The Thrillseekers – Synaesthesia, Binary Finary – 1998, 4 Strings – Take Me Away, Randy Katana – In Silence, Underworld – Born Slippy and Paul van Dyk – Home.

5am arrived and it was time for John O’Callaghan to take us through till the close. At this time of night, there’s no messing around with JOC. It’s 140+BPM all the way. For me, this was the best set of the night. At 7 o’clock he was still going strong – along with at least 200 clubbers, determined not to leave until forced to. Along the way, we’d been treated to tunes like Vincent de Moor – Fly Away, Paul van Dyk & Giuseppe Ottaviani – Far Away, Ferry Tayle feat. Poppy – The Way Back Home, Flynn & Denton with Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name and Rui de Silva feat. Cassandra – Touch Me. We left blinking and searching for our sunglasses as we headed for the usual bunfight for taxis.

Friday night was our last night before flying home to London and we decided to take a late trip out to Space to catch Full On Ferry with Ferry Corsten and Aly & Fila. Last year, we had enjoyed Ferry’s set immensely as he transitioned from the EDM of Showtek through to uplifting trance to hand over to Fadi, by playing all his trance classics. This year, however, it was a very different experience. Perhaps because Space is a mainstream club, or for some other reason, but Ferry showed no interest in playing anything other than commercial mainstream EDM and, although the messy Space crowd were lapping it up, the room was by no means full and I found the music awful. The only hint he gave at what he is capable of was in the short section where he played back to back with Fadi, when he dropped Punk and Sweet Sorrow.

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With a crowd all set up to hear commercial tunes, Fadi did his best to rescue the night, but a lot of the people there were not interested in staying to listen to trance and the vibe in the room suffered as the place emptied. We heard some great music of course: Pink Floyd – Shine On The Dark Side Of The Moon (Neptune Project’s Out There With Pluto Mix) sounded fantastic played on the Space Discoteca sound system … and it was good to hear Fadi drop Rapid Eye – Circa Forever and Oceanlab – Satellite. But compared to other occasions when we’ve seen Aly & Fila, this didn’t rank among the best – primarily down to the venue and the crowd.

Another year in Ibiza and lots of great music and dancing. It can be expensive, of course, but we usually find ways of keeping the costs down so that we can afford to come back year after year. As always seems to be the case these days, Driftwood was the highlight. But Sunk shows a lot of promise, Cream is always special and we hardly noticed the fact that we missed out (by choice) on seeing either Armin or Markus Schulz.

Roll on 2015!

 

20140719-171905-62345633.jpgNearly a fortnight has now passed since the festival finished and we bade farewell to the United Nations of trance families. Old friends and new, from countries as diverse as USA and Finland, Australia and South Africa, Israel and Iran, The Netherlands (of course) and Brazil. And all assembled on the edge of a windswept North Sea beach to celebrate a common love of trance. If you are a fan of real trance music, this is quite simply the best festival anywhere in the world. Which is why people travel from far and wide to share their passion for the music.

20140719-172123-62483383.jpgThere are so many things that set it apart from other festivals – think about the things that you don’t like about the festivals you’ve been to recently … well Luminosity is free of these irritations, whether it be commercial EDM or roided-up bogans (to use a great Australian term), causing mayhem with their showy, aggressive posturing and inability to control themselves after a few beers. There are some things that are annoying … the toilet wristband principal among them … but it’s silly to whinge about minor issues when everything else is so good.

Of course, there are two stages and fantastic trance DJs playing simultaneously on both, so inevitably you miss out on lots of great music, the consolation being that you hear great music and sets on the other stage. The list of DJs whose sets we missed would make a great festival line-up on its own. Sean Tyas, Menno de Jong, Simon Patterson, Lange, Andy Moor, Oliver Lieb, Eddie Bitar, etc. And we couldn’t catch all of the sets of many DJs, drawn by the rival attractions on the other stage.

20140719-235354-86034586.jpgFriday 4th was the day everyone was gathering from around the world. Meeting friends at Schipol Airport and catching up as we caught two trains out to Zandvoort and checked ourselves into the hotel. Only just time to unpack before heading to Club Fuel on Bloemandaal beach, the festival site. Switching strategically between stages we managed to catch some of Allen & Envy (yes, they did drop Silhouette), Activa, Christopher Lawrence, James Dymond and John 00 Fleming.

20140719-172702-62822236.jpgEarlier we heard the whole of Signum‘s set, which was, perhaps unexpectedly, the highlight of day one for me. It was hard to pull ourselves away from J00F’s excellent set, but we were so keen to see Angry Man over on the Sunrise Beach stage that we left before the end. And after Angry Man, we stayed for Bryan Kearney, who played a fantastic set to close the Sunrise Beach stage that night.

After a few late vodkas back at the hotel, we dragged ourselves up in the morning and went in search of lunch. Finding a friend celebrating her birthday, it was the perfect opportunity to start the day with some prosecco and blow away the cobwebs from the night before. We hurried to the beach to make sure we didn’t miss any of Driftmoon‘s set. I’m such a fan of the Howl At The Moon track that Solarstone picked out for his Pure Trance Volume 2 CD that I really wanted to hear what a full set of Driftmoon tunes would be like.

20140719-172826-62906042.jpgAnd while all the women were commenting on the eye-candy factor, I was bewitched by the ear-candy. It was such a great set and when we met him later, we discovered that he’s a really nice guy too, clearly enjoying playing his music to appreciative trance lovers.

Driftmoon handed over to Re-Order (a fellow Slovak and one half of Skypatrol with Ian Standerwick). What a great time he had, and so did we, as he played a rollicking set of tunes and having a great time behind the decks – obviously a real character.

20140719-234348-85428044.jpgAs the end of Re-Order’s set approached, we moved across to the Copacabana Beach stage for Arctic Moon. The start of his set was assailed by technical problems, but he soldiered on and soon hit his stride, jumping around with delight as much as the crowd when he dropped Armin van Buuren – Communication. I’m not a huge fan of the way he brings indie tunes into the trance arena, for example his mash-up of REM – Losing My Religion with Arctic Moon & Bryan Kearney – Dreamers and Dreams. But I’m obviously in a minority as most people loved the way he drew the set to a close.

Ferry Tayle took over and we enjoyed the half hour or so we heard before switching stages to catch Aussie Matt Bowdidge. Perhaps because he’s a friend, I sometimes feel slightly reluctant to shower too much praise on Matt, but I think we have very similar tastes in music and I always love his sets. This time he played a number of new tunes of his, but the fact that they were unfamiliar to me hardly mattered as I just loved everything he played. He even managed to drop one of my favourite trance classics, Sean Tyas – Lift, perhaps in acknowledgment of the fact that by dancing to his set, we were missing out on seeing Tyas himself. As I said, I always enjoy Matt’s sets, but this was the one I enjoyed most so far.

20140719-234548-85548856.jpgAfter Matt’s set, we caught Manuel Le Saux on the main stage and the end of Johan Ekman on the smaller stage. But we were just killing time before Adam Ellis, whose productions and “The Void” podcasts have really caught my ears in the last 12 months. And I wasn’t disappointed – even though I had been warned that his mixing wasn’t top notch, the choice of tunes was so good I didn’t even notice and against tune selection, mixing skills matter far less, anyway. His remix of the Thrillseekers feat. El – The Last Time was great to hear, as was his remix of John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky. And it really didn’t matter that he didn’t play his own Napalm Poet. It was a great conclusion to another wonderful day.

Sunday was all about the classics on the main stage and we knew we had to be on time for the start at midday, so that we wouldn’t miss a note of Orkidea‘s 1991-2000 opening 2 hour 45 minute set. We duly arrived to hear Chicane – Saltwater (The Thrillseekers Ambient Remix). It was the first of many great moments as we heard so many tunes that brought us out simultaneously in goosebumps. He moved from New Order – Blue Monday into Three Drives – Greece 2000. From Armin van Buuren – Blue Fear into BT feat. Jan Johnston – Mercury & Solace. From Bedrock – Heaven Scent into Sasha – Xpander. And finally from Energy 52 – Café del Mar into Orkidea – Unity.

20140719-234733-85653241.jpgThe whole set was mixed beautifully and as the crowd grew and everyone became more and more beguiled, it became apparent that we were sharing one of those special moments that don’t come along very often. I’d go as far as to say that it was the best set I’ve ever heard live. I was completely transported and utterly blown away by Orkidea. In a festival of the quality of Luminosity, it’s hard for one DJ to stand out so clearly above the others, but this was one of those occasions that you know will live forever in your memory.

After Orkidea, we had to do something very different and luckily we could switch away from the classics stage to hear Jaytech on the Sunrise Beach stage. We enjoyed his progressive tunes and, together with a break from the music while we chatted and caught up with Jimbo once he’d finished, this gave us suitable refreshment to return to the classics stage for Airwave‘s Bonsai Classics Specials set.

20140719-234846-85726086.jpgI’d never heard Airwave play before, but he completely won me over with his great tunes and infectious smile. Many of the tunes weren’t so familiar, but he dropped Push – Universal Nation and Push – The Legacy, two of my favourites, and lots of other great tracks, including many of his own productions and remixes. I loved it. On any other day it would probably have been the standout set, but on this occasion, there was no shame in being second best behind Orkidea.

It was clear that Super8 & Tab‘s Anjunabeats Classics set was eagerly awaited by many of the festival attendees, but as they gathered behind the stage, waiting to take over from Scott Bond, it became clear that many of their fellow DJs were also keen to hear what they would play. This is one of the features of Luminosity, that the DJs hang around to hear each other as opposed to rushing home, or sitting in the green room. But more than any other set, the sheer number of them gathered in the wings indicated that this was the set everyone – DJs and fans alike – wanted to hear.

20140719-234950-85790228.jpgAnd no-one was disappointed. It was a wonderfully nostalgic journey through the great years of the Anjunabeats label. Perhaps the early part didn’t quite catch fire, but the second half was thrilling and everyone was delighted by the way they moved from Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base – Razorfish, to Super8 & Tab – Helsinki Scorchin’, Oceanlab – Satellite, Luminary – Amsterdam (Super8 & Tab Remix) and Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – Alone Tonight.

After the delights of Orkidea and Airwave, this was more wonderful music on the best of the three days of the best festival. If I seem to be struggling to come up with enough superlatives to describe this day, it’s because words really can’t do justice to the experience. Find and listen to these sets, but remember that nothing beats hearing them live, among so many friends and fellow enthusiasts of trance. And make sure that if you ever have a chance to go to Luminosity, you grasp it with both hands. It will be a life-enhancing, if not life-changing experience.

We also caught The Thrillseekers and Jorn van Deynhoven before the end of the festival and Adam Ellis back to back with Jordan Suckley at the after party. We finally called it a day while Indecent Noise banged out some harder tunes because the afterparty venue was too hot and the sound was awful in the only part of the club where we could breathe.

20140719-235530-86130882.jpgThe Thrillseekers had been the highlight of my first Luminosity Beach Festival in 2013, but this time, despite dropping some great tunes, I felt he never quite got into his stride. Maybe I was audiologically saturated by Orkidea, Airwave and Super8 & Tab? While I liked the tunes, the set as a whole failed to excite me as it did last year.

Trying to summarise this festival is an almost impossible task. There are so many great things about it. The music, the vibe, the people, the sense of community, the way the DJs are just another part of the crowd. Meeting friends you haven’t seen for ages. Making new friends you know you’ll keep for good. The absence of idiots out to spoil others’ fun. The sheer quality of the music. This is the best festival in the world for trance fans and if you haven’t been, please put it at the top of your must-do list. I am sure you won’t regret it.

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Many thanks to the wonderful Alan Donaldson Photography for the use of his brilliant photos.