Archives for posts with tag: The Thrillseekers

After the fun of doing the double (i.e. both Sydney and Melbourne shows) for Solarstone earlier this year, we were excited to be doing it again, this time for The Thrillseekers – one of the very best producers in the game and a DJ who is guaranteed to deliver a great night, mixing classics and current smashes to great effect.

This was also our first visit to Voodoo at Home since late May, as we’d been away in Europe for most of the intervening period. Sneaking in just before the doors opened and finding the club with the lights up, we could see that a few changes had been made – the DJ booth is now closer to the floor, with a much narrower “stage” separating the crowd from the DJ. And the large stack of amps (or blocks of something) at the back right has gone, opening up the space behind. Minor improvements, I guess – but the video screens also appeared to have had another upgrade and the sound system has been overhauled too (although I had no complaints about the old system).

The set started with a progressive feel – not something that you expect with The Thrillseekers, but appropriate to the early part of the night. We heard tracks like Above & Beyond feat. Gemma Hayes – Counting Down The Days, Matt Darey presents Urban Astronauts feat. Kate Louise Smith – I See The Sun, iiO – Rapture and even Paul van Dyk – Another Way blended in with less familiar tunes that fitted the progressive groove as the club filled up.

It wasn’t long before the pace had picked up and we heard The Thrillseekers presents Hydra – Amber (surely the tune of 2016?!), The Thrillseekers feat. Stine Grove – Anywhere With You, Simon Patterson & Magnus – Evoke and The Thrillseekers – Just Because. The night went by almost in a blur as we were dazzled by great music. I was listening out for new tunes from the as yet unreleased album, Escape – but I don’t think I caught any of them! The night ended with Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix) and Chakra – Home. But the highlight for me was the unexpected treat of hearing Ferry Corsten feat. Betsie Larkin – Made Of Love for the first time in about 7 years!

The next day we flew down to Melbourne for round two. And, as with Solarstone previously, we enjoyed the Melbourne set far more than the Sydney one. Perhaps it was the additional time (none of the NSW lockout/curfew nonsense in Victoria) allowing for a much longer set? Whatever it was, I enjoyed the progressive early part of the set more and there was no doubt that he dropped some wonderful classics, not all of which had made it into the Sydney set.

The club itself, Studio 3 (part of the Crown Casino) was a good space, overlooking the Yarra River, if you could be bothered to look outside. The sound system was good and the laser show fantastic. Perfect for dancing to tunes like Who.Is – We.Are, Bedrock – Heaven Scent,  Solid Globe – North Pole, Solarstone – Seven Cities, The Thrillseekers presents Hydra – Amber (Skylex Remix), Stoneface & Terminal – Blueprint, The Thrillseekers vs Es Vedrà, Chicane – Autumn Tactics (The Thrillseekers Remix), The Thrillseekers – Synaesthesia (Factor B Remix), DJ Tim & Misbah – Access (John Askew Remix), John O’Callaghan – One Special Particle, William Orbit – Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix), Push – Strange World (2000 Remake), José Amnesia – The Eternal (Pulser Remix), Solar Factor – Urban Shakedown, Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (DJ Tiësto Remix) and Paul van Dyk – For An Angel (E-Werk Club Remix). This time around, my personal highlight was Energy 52 – Café del Mar (Three N One Remix).

Overall it had been a wonderful weekend – thanks to Genesis, Trancegression Events and, of course, Steve Helstrip – the one and only Thrillseeker! These open-to-close events are certainly proving to be a great antidote and far preferable, in my humble opinion, to the “pack ’em in”, “too many DJs” events that are becoming all too common these days. So let’s hope that they prove as successful for promoters as I think they are for the serious trance fan.



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  

This was the second time this year for The Thrillseekers at Voodoo, after his set back in February, when he shared the bill with ReOrder. This time it was for an extended, four-hour journey through the last 15 years of trance – and, knowing The Thrillseekers’ credentials when it comes to playing classics, it was a tantalising prospect for Sydney’s trance devotees.

2015.11.13-*It was an early start, to fit the four hour set into Sydney’s nightlife curfew, so we arrived around 90 minutes earlier than usual, slightly concerned that there might be a long queue delaying entry. Happily the queue didn’t hold us up for too long and soon enough we were inside and catching up with friends as Tonto and Toby Matrix warmed up the already busy, if not yet absolutely packed, dance floor.

2015.11.13-*The four hours of The Thrillseekers‘ set flew past as he delivered a tour de force of sublime trance from across the last 15 years. As well as a few tunes from the recent past, he dropped classic after classic, but not always the most obvious ones and it was a superbly constructed journey through progressive, melodic, vocal and uplifting trance, with even a small helping of psy!

And it wasn’t simply a chronological sequence, but a wonderful blend, swinging back and forth over the years. A mere tracklist of the tunes I made a note of cannot really do justice to how good this set was, but I’m going to give you the list nevertheless, together with a lot of videos and hopefully together they will provide some flavour of the magic spell that was cast!

2015.11.14-*John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky, Holden & Thompson – Nothing (93 Returning Mix), Cressida – 6AM (Kyau & Albert Remix), The Thrillseekers feat. Fisher – The Last Time, Andain – Beautiful Things, Tilt – The World Doesn’t Know, Andain – Summer Calling (Airwave Club Mix), Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes, The Thrillseekers – This Is All We Have, Oceanlab – Satellite (Original Above & Beyond Mix), Chicane – Autumn Tactics (The Thrillseekers Remix), Oceanlab – Breaking Ties.

Above & Beyond vs. Andy Moor – Air For Life

Super 8 & Tab feat. Julie Thompson – My Enemy

Ferry Corsten feat. Betsy Larkin – Not Coming Down

Vertical Mode – Deep Vibrations (Astrix Remix)

The Thrillseekers vs. Aly & Fila – Es Vedra

Reflekt – Need To Feel Loved (The Thrillseekers Remix)

Above & Beyond – Far From In Love

José Amnesia – The Eternal (Pulsar Remix)

Above & Beyond – Sun In Your Eyes (The Thrillseekers Remix), Skypatrol – Skyres, Plumb – Need You Now (How Many Times?) (Bryan Kearney Remix), Solarstone – Solarcoaster (Midway Remix) and William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix).

2015.11.14-*And for the “one more tune”, we heard Delirium – Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix) – a classic that never seems to tire.

2015.11.14-*With the usual fantastic production at Voodoo – great visuals and lasers and really good sound – and a wonderful vibe in the club, this was a truly memorable night and a reminder that Sydney can still put on a top night out for clubbers who like their trance. Another hour (or even two) would have been nice, but come 3 o’clock it was time to go home and start wondering if a trip to the Gold Coast or Melbourne for either of next weekend’s shows is somehow possible.

2015.11.14-*Thanks to Sylvain Whissell for the great photos – the shaky videos are all mine!

It was the weekend of my birthday celebrations and we started off with a visit to Voodoo at Home Nightclub for The Thrillseekers and ReOrder. What a great night it turned out to be! In the eighteen months or so since The Thrillseekers was last in Sydney, Voodoo has gone from strength to strength, with big improvements in the sound system and the visual spectacle.

We arrived shortly before midnight and took up our usual position, front right. Just before 12.30, The Thrillseekers took over from Thomas Knight and opened with Hydra – Affinity (Adam Ellis Remix). And over the next 75 minutes he took us on a wonderful journey of uplifting trance, with some great older tunes as well as some of his latest productions. We heard – We.Are, The Thrillseekers – Find You, The Thrillseekers feat. Aruna – Waiting Here For You, The Thrillseekers – This Is All We Have, Airspace – L’esperanza (Jordan Suckley & James Rigby Remix), Aly & Fila with Solarstone vs. The Thrillseekers feat. Fisher – The Last Fireisland, Gareth Emery feat. Bo Bruce – U (Bryan Kearney Remix) and Bryan Kearney – Say Nothing. It was a fabulous set by a great DJ.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 14.20.02
And since our previous visit, the visuals have been upgraded yet again. The screen behind the DJ is much larger and displayed some impressively weird images, as well as projecting images of the DJ in triplicate! And it looked to my eye as if the numbers of lasers has been increased too. I can’t think of too many nightclubs with such a great production set up anywhere I’ve been to.

After The Thrillseekers, it was the turn of ReOrder. Hailing from Slovakia, ReOrder is, of course, one half of Skypatrol (with Standerwick), but also a great DJ/Producer in his own right. We’d seen him at Luminosity Beach Festival last year, so we knew that he would bring a sense of fun and great enthusiasm to his set. Sure enough, he didn’t disappoint us and he played a great set that was every bit as good as the one we’d just heard from The Thrillseekers.

Opening with Armin van Buuren feat. Susana vs Photographer – Airport Shivers (Armin van Buuren Mashup), he kept up the uplifting tempo with tracks like Matt Bowdidge – Second Sun, Skypatrol – Folding Your Universe, Ørjan Nilsen vs. Standerwick – Between The Rays / Valyrian, Max Graham feat. Neev Kennedy – Sun In Winter, Darren Porter – The Void and Mohammed Ragab feat. Eli – Passionflower (ReOrder Remix). The absolute highlight for me was when he dropped a wonderful mashup of Aly & Fila feat. Karim Youssef – Laily (Photographer Remix) with Aly & Fila with Guiseppe Ottaviani – Brilliant People (Mark Sherry Remix). I’d not heard this before but it pretty much brought the house down!

As the clock turned 3 and the night drew to a close, ReOrder really wanted to keep going, but sadly that wasn’t to be and it was time to get home and rest as much as possible in advance of the second part of the weekend’s dancing the next day. It’s a real pity that Sydney’s ridiculous alcohol laws mean that clubs close so early and we can only hope that at some point soon the law is relaxed, because a night like this would have been so much better if it had lasted another hour or two.

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.

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.


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

I think it’s been a really good year for trance, despite what some people will tell you about it “being dead”. So it’s been a challenge narrowing it down to just 20 tunes. And impossible to try and rank those 20 – so, like last year, I’ve just listed them in alphabetical order. Please use the comments facility to let me know which tunes I’ve left out that you think I shouldn’t have!

SuncatcherAre We There Yet? (Always Alive Recordings)

This features on Solarstone’s Pure Trance V2 mix and is simply beautiful. Suncatcher is from Romania and a name to watch out for, if you like your trance pure.

Solarstone & Betsie LarkinBreathe You In (Solarstone Pure Mix) (Premier)

The original mix of this song is on Betsie Larkin’s 2011 album, All We Have Is Now, but Solarstone has weaved his pure magic over it and I just love this version. The Sneijder remix is also very good, but I couldn’t put both in this list and eventually plumped for this one.

Aly & Fila with Giuseppe OttavianiBrilliant People (Sneijder Remix) (Black Hole)

Aly & Fila and Giuseppe Ottaviani … with these brilliant people working on a track, you just know it will be fantastic. I love the original, but Sneijder has made it even better. Tune!

Maria HealyChatterbox (nu-depth Recordings)

Maria Healy is from Dublin and if this tune is anything to go by, she’s one to look out for in the future. There’s so much great music coming out of Ireland at the moment.

The Thrillseekers with York & AsheniDaydream (Will Atkinson Dreamy Mix) (Adjusted Music)

I’ve seen The Thrillseekers twice this year and whether he’s dropping classics or contemporary tunes, Steve Helstrip always delivers the goods. And although he’ll always be best known for Synaethesia, he is still producing top quality uplifting trance.

ReOrder & Ian Standerwick pres. SkypatrolFolding Your Universe (Future Sound Of Egypt)

This is going to be a lot of people’s choice as tune of the year, I suspect. It has an old school feel to it and I hope there will be more from Skypatrol next year.

Armin van Buuren feat. Emma HewittForever Is Ours (Solarstone Pure Mix) (Armada)

Armin’s new album, Intense, was predictably commercially focussed, with only a couple of nods to true fans of trance (Who’s Afraid of 138?! and Last Stop Before Heaven) but Solarstone picked up on this tune and gave it a Pure mix, which I really like, even if it is slightly cheesy.

Driftmoon – Howl At The Moon (Solarstone Retouch) (Black Hole)

Yes, Solarstone again. I have to confess that I love what he does, as you have probably guessed by now. This is another tune from Pure Trance V2, which is definitely my album of the year!

Solarstone – Love Theme from Blade Runner (Pure Mix)

Another tune from Pure Trance V2, this is a remake of the Vangelis theme from Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic film. And as ever, when Rich Mowatt gets his hands on a tune, it turns to gold.

Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet (Angry Man Remix) (Kearnage Recordings)

Adam Ellis is a name to look out for and his first release is one of those tunes that almost everyone was playing in their sets this year. The original mix is really good, but I think Angry Man makes it even better.

Charles McThorn – Oxydizing (Original Anthem Mix) (Redux Recordings)

I’ve never heard anyone play this, but I think it’s brilliant. I’ve not come across Charles McThorn before and I can’t find out anything about him either. Let’s hope there are more tunes like this to discover!

Solarstone – Please (Bryan Kearney Remix) (Black Hole)

It’s not often that remixers improve on a Solarstone original, but Bryan Kearney does just that, taking the BPM up to 140 and giving the tune added bite. I love it!

Sneijder & Bryan KearneyProper Order (Subculture)

Two leading lights in the Irish branch of Team 140 coming together to create a proper trance track. I think this is going to get a lot of plays in the next few months, and deservedly so.

Agnelli & Nelson presents A&N ProjectQuest (Adam Ellis Remix) (Subculture)

Whenever I tell people that this is possibly my favourite tune of the year, they all profess not to know it. Well hopefully this will change now.

Liam Wilson – Restrictor (Thomas Datt Remix) (Critical State)

We were very lucky to have both these DJ producers play at Digital Therapy recently and I really like this track. I hope you do too!

Dart Rayne & Yura Moonlight and Sarah LynnSilhouette (Allen & Envy Remix) (Amsterdam Trance Records)

Well, this is going to be many people’s first choice for tune of the year and it’s easy to see why. I love it and my only reservation is that perhaps it’s overplayed? I can’t remember when I last went a whole evening without at least one DJ dropping it. While hunting for the You Tube video, I came across the original, which is horrible beyond belief. So make sure you only listen to the Allen & Envy remix!

John O’Callaghan & Ronski SpeedSincerely JORS (Subculture)

I first heard this at Dream nightclub in Miami, when Aly & Fila dropped it. I love the way the way the melody rolls through the build up to the drop and then bounces you along with it through to the end. A very under-rated tune, in my opinion.

Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Angry Man Remix) (Perfecto Fluoro)

To be honest, there were a number of remixes of classics that came out this year that I really like, but this was the only one I thought was good enough to make the cut as one of my tunes of the year. There’s a lot of mystery and speculation about who Angry Man is and he always appears hooded and masked, to add to the mystique. But with tunes like this and sets like he played at Luminosity Beach Festival this year, his identity is bound to become much better known in future.

Matt Bowdidge – Still By Your Side (Adam Ellis Remix) (Mental Asylum)

I love this tune from our Aussie mate – especially the Adam Ellis remix. Don’t let it get to your head, Matt!

Aly & FilaTula (Future Sound Of Egypt)

Taken from my favourite artist album of the year, Quiet Storm, I just love this track. I could have picked several more tunes from the album in this list, such as Laily, Mysteries Unfold, Speed Of Sound, First Sun, Daydreaming, Fireisland (Chillout Mix), Brilliant People … but I’ll content myself with this one.

So there we have it … 20 amazing tunes. My draft list had 41 on it, so it was really hard to narrow it down. I’d love to pick a single winner, but if I did so today, it wouldn’t be the same as yesterday, or tomorrow, so they will stay in alphabetical order. Let’s hope 2014 is as good as this year!

It was a tantalising prospect: Juventa and The Thrillseekers at Home nightclub on Friday and John 00 Fleming (or J00F) at Chinese Laundry on Saturday. I knew little about Juventa, but Steve Helstrip, aka The Thrillseekers, is a true legend of trance, primarily for his classic tune, Synaesthesia, which has to rank amongst my all-time favourite tracks. John 00 Fleming has also been around a long time, staying true to his underground, pure trance beliefs, with a style that blends uplifting and psy. I’ve seen him several times, but never before for an extended five-hour set.

But first let’s talk about Friday night’s Voodoo event. It was clear from the start that the club was not very full and the upstairs balcony area had not been opened up. But it wasn’t deserted as Juventa started just on the stroke of midnight. The latest from the seemingly endless Dutch trance DJ production line, Juventa is just 18 years old, so inevitably his style is more towards the Anjunabeats / Enhanced style of today. But he gave his set a definitively trancey feel, without too much overtly electro influence. He even managed to drop in a couple of old Tiësto classics – Love Comes Again and Flight 643. I enjoyed his set much more than I expected – perhaps because I didn’t really know what to expect and was worried it would be very trousey. 

The Thrillseekers started at 2am and immediately the tempo moved to the 138 BPM, uplifting style that I love so much. After his fantastic classics set at Luminosity Beach Festival, I was really excited to hear him again so soon. And I wasn’t disappointed – he played just over two hours of amazing tunes, blending classics (like Solarstone – Solarcoaster, Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix) and Push – The Legacy) with many of his own wonderful tracks – Song For Sendai, Anywhere With You (feat. Stine Grove), The Last Time (feat. Fisher), Everything (feat. Stine Grove) and, of course, Synaesthesia. And just after 4am, he dropped a psy-trance track that blew me away – I’d love to know what it was. Eventually it had to end, and he closed with Veracocha – Carte Blanche: a brilliant way to finish a simply fantastic set.

Unfortunately, a lot of the clubbers who had enjoyed Juventa’s set didn’t hang around to find out how good The Thrillseekers was. It says a lot about the state of the local trance scene that the younger trance fans aren’t keen to see a legendary act such as The Thrillseekers and maybe they don’t have the same response as I do when the music becomes uplifting. A real shame, because a set like that deserved a full house and an amazing response. However those who did stay were well-rewarded and had plenty of space to dance enthusiastically to the great music.

The following night saw us back in the city, this time at Chinese Laundry, for J00F Editions with John 00 Fleming. The Cave room is not to everyone’s taste, but I like it. The sound is fantastic and the set-up with the DJ booth in the corner, unelevated, and only the simplest of lighting, means that it’s all about the music. It can get packed and very hot in there, but not on this occasion.

The only negative for me was that the security was so intrusive. I can’t remember seeing a yellow flouro coated bouncer in there before, but tonight there must have been five or six of them. One of them stood up on the barrier to the DJ booth all night, inspecting the crowd – it felt a little intimidating. And on several occasions, bouncers pushed their way aggressively through, without any hint of apology for knocking into people. And the only thing that seemed to worry them was people dancing in front of the emergency exit – it’s hard to figure out why that was a problem anyway. It’s never been like that before in the Cave and there was nothing in the behaviour of anyone there that remotely justified it.

J00F’s set was typical of his dark, driving style of trance. He gets you into a groove and doesn’t let go. But if I’m completely honest, I prefer to have more melodies in my music and, feeling a little tired after the amazing night with The Thrillseekers, I wasn’t overwhelmed by this set. Perhaps if he’d had less than five hours to take us on the journey, I’d have enjoyed it more. In the end, we decided to leave about an hour before the end.

After such a wonderful first day, I wondered whether it could get any better. But with a stunning Day 2 line-up and the official after party to come, I wasn’t unduly concerned. We planned to arrive earlier for Day 2, so that we could catch Agnelli & Nelson – but a mix-up over taxis meant that we only reached the beach in time for the start of M.I.K.E. Push‘s set on the Trance Classics stage (the day’s main stage). But it was still early and I felt that he was playing rather too progressively for my taste – certainly in the first half hour there wasn’t a hint of Universal Nation or Strange World. So we migrated towards the Flamingo stage for Menno de Jong.

We’d seen Menno in Miami and more recently at the Ministry Of Sound and we’re big fans of his. So hearing him play yet another great set was the ideal way to set up this second day of Luminosity for us. But once he finished, we headed straight back to the Trance Classics stage to see Steve Helstrip, aka The Thrillseekers. Opening with Delerium – Silence (Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix)he took us through a succession of cleverly chosen classics, perfectly mixed.

Chakra – Loves Shines Through, Reflekt – Need To Feel Loved (The Thrillseekers Remix), Ferry Corsten – Sweet Sorrow, DJ Tiësto – Flight 643, Solarstone – Solarcoaster and Art Of Trance – Madagascar (Ferry Corsten Remix) were just a few of the great tunes he dropped. And showing such tremendous enthusiasm for his task, he really got the crowd going. With the sun making an unexpected appearance, this set was simply wonderful and unquestionably the best of the weekend so far.

The Thrillseekers finished in time for us to wander back to the Flamingos stage for one of my favourite DJs: Solarstone. It was a tough act to follow, but Solarstone played a great set, covering all the bases from his new Pure album, through classics like Orkidea – Unity and his own Solarcoaster and Seven Cities, closing with the New Parisians – Jump The Next Train, which had the whole arena bouncing and punching the air. It was another brilliant set and right up there with the Thrillseekers. The weekend was maintaining the amazing standard set from the very beginning at Escape nightclub for Future Sound Of Egypt 300. Trance heaven.

We’ve seen Alex M.O.R.P.H. a number of times and he’s always opened with the Star Wars theme – until now. In fact he really surprised me with his set, which was quite unlike anything I’d heard from him before. Clearly he was inspired by all the uplifting trance at this festival and he played a set fully in keeping with all we’d heard so far. I was delighted when he dropped Binary Finary – 1998 (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix), but it was just one of several great tunes, such as Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Armin van Buuren – Shivers (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix) and Simon Patterson – The One. Some friends were saying it was the set of the festival so far – and although I wouldn’t go quite that far, it was definitely amongst the best.

Next up was Sean Tyas and I have to confess that I wasn’t excited about seeing him play. He’d not been good at the Judgement event in Sydney in February, nor in Ibiza when we saw him at Es Paradis in 2012. But today he was a revelation. Wonderful uplifting trance that completely changed my opinion of him. It was only a pity that we’d missed the early part of his set, partly to have a break and partly to see what was happening elsewhere. But I was happy in the knowledge that he was going to play one of the after party sets and I resolved not to miss a beat of that.

The day was now nearing its end, with the sun sinking in the sky over the sea. Just two more sets before it was time to head to the after party and two that I’d been eagerly anticipating. Firstly it was Jorn van Deynhoven. My friends have heard me time and again say how unbelievably wonderful his 5 1/2 hour set at Nevermind in Sydney in 2012 was. I won’t go into the details here, but it was a truly memorable set, the work of a real trance genius. Jorn had only just over one hour at Luminosity, so this set couldn’t be the tour de force that he’d given us at Nevermind, but it was not a disappointment. Photographer – Airport, RAM – RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix), Jorn van Deynhoven – Headliner were among the many great tunes he played as the sun set over the beach and it was dark by the time he finished with Daniel Kandi – Symphonica and handed over to Indecent Noise.

I only had the pleasure of hearing Indecent Noise play for the first time in February this year and this was only my second chance to catch him.  Of course I’ve heard loads of his sets that I’ve downloaded or streamed, thanks to the magic of the internet, but nothing ever compares to being there. I loved his set in Sydney (see earlier blog post) and he seemed like pretty much the perfect man to close the festival. And opening things up by dropping what must surely be the tune of the European summer, Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet, to start his set gave a clear message that he was not going to mess about. Sure enough, his set was the usual high-octane mix of uplifting tunes and the remixes for which he is so well known. Among many others, we heard Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Angry Man Remix), Commander Tom – Are Am Eye (John Askew Remix) and Matt Bowdidge – Still By Your Side. He also dropped several of his own tunes and it all combined to make for a great set to finish the day.

It was hard to believe it was all over. Two wonderful days of great music, in a great setting, with friends old and new from all over the world. Quite simply it was the best festival I’ve ever been to and providing it doesn’t get switched back to June, or another date that falls when we’re still in Australia, we will definitely be back for next year. Saying farewell to the beach, we headed off in search of the free shuttle bus to the after-party at Westerunie nightclub.

An hour later and more friendships made on the bus, we were at Westerunie just on the stroke of midnight. The first surprise was that Solarstone was not playing solo, but had been joined for a back-to-back set by Daniel Kandi. This wasn’t a partnership that I would have expected, but they were having a lot of fun and it seemed to work fine. Some of the tunes that hadn’t made the cut for Solarstone’s set at the festival made it into this set and the addition of some Daniel Kandi tunes and remixes made a really enjoyable hour – and probably exactly right for the after party.

At 1am, Sean Tyas took over and carried on pretty much exactly where he left off at the beach three and a half hours earlier. About ten minutes into the set he dropped Sean Tyas – Lift and from there on it was just a sublime, uplifting set. My conversion to being a fan of his was complete. Let’s hope it marks a permanent shift away from the style we heard from him on the previous couple of occasions we saw him play.

Flutlicht was due on next, but he’d clearly agreed a swap with Bryan Kearney. This was the first time I’d seen a Bryan Kearney set and he was really good, playing at a very high BPM, yet keeping the tunes audible above the beats. Unfortunately he had some major technical issues about 15 minutes into the set, but he managed to recover his poise and keep the dancers going right through till 3am and his handover to Flutlicht. We’d missed Flutlicht at the festival and I have to confess to knowing next to nothing about him. And on this occasion, the tiredness was really kicking in and we decided to call it a day and walk back through the park to our hotel.

Finally exhausted by the most incredible three days of music and partying, but with a warm feeling inside, we relaxed over a glass of wine and reflected on how amazing Luminosity Beach Festival is. The last festival we’d been to was Ultra Music and the contrast could not be greater. From the mega-sized, massive production but oversold event in Miami, where the other festival goers were either a complete mess or on the edge of aggressive, to this intimate event, where everyone was friendly, into the same music and the vibe was awesome from beginning to end. Watch out Amsterdam, we’ll be back for more Luminosity in the future. Next time we might plan a longer stay and relax in the city afterwards and actually see some more of what Amsterdam has to offer!