Underground Trance Review

Noel Megahey has reviewed the Region 0 release of Underground Trance. A fairly uninspired mix of generic trance music and psychedelic visuals. But with a budget price and a couple of CDs included, it might be worth a look.

There have been a number of successful attempts to adapt dance music to the DVD format. Underworld’s ‘Everything, Everything’ started the ball rolling and showed what could be done, mixing exciting visuals with a powerful 5.1 soundtrack, and Orbital’s ‘The Altogether’ has taken the format even further with more features and extras. DJ mix collections are big business in the CD format – witness the success of the growing Global Underground and Ibiza collections – but present rather more of a problem when trying to adapt them to the DVD format.

Underground Trance takes the unimaginative route, with visuals consisting mainly of club footage and CGI visuals, although it does try and vary the effects. The sound throughout is straightforward Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, although the ProLogic surround sound works quite well. The Underground Trance package consists of 2 x 74 minute CDs and an 80 minute DVD. The DVD is split into three parts:

European Mix
1. Yahel – Open Your Mind
2. Secret World – Psychopath
3. Impact – Modular Control

This 19 minute section features club footage with the associated colours and lighting and some computer generated visuals mixed in. It’s not clear who the DJ is doing the mix, possibly DJ Tiesto, who is credited on the cover for a “Special Appearance & Magikal Remake’.

Ibiza Mix
1. Transient – Chemistry (DJ-G mix)
2. Anthemics – Come To Me
3. Trance Society – Global Warming

This 16 minute section starts off with a cooler, chilled Ibizan sound, but reverts quickly to regular run-of-the-mill trance. The images of Ibizan sunsets, polarised colourisation of clubbers and various other psychedelic effects are very uninspired and the mixing isn’t anything special either.

3D Visual Mix
1. Yahel – Open Your Mind (Magikal Remake)
2. Scorched Earth – Trance Buddah (Club Mix)
3. Nervous Action – You Are The One
4. Massey – Full Stop
5. Europa – Danselon
6. De Fresnes – I Dream Of You And Me
7. DJ Mace – Nighttown mix
8. Kleptophonic – The Eye Of Goa (Club Mix)
9. DJ Motion – Sinners In Heaven Mix
10. Impact – Modular Control

No, it’s not really in 3D, just a constant 40 minute rush of colourful, kaleidoscopic ‘3D-style’ images and 2001-style light refractions. I can’t imagine anyone sitting and watching this, but possibly the idea is to play it at a party and create a club-like atmosphere with flashing lights and effects.

A game is included on the DVD where you have to match shapes in a sequence that they are displayed. This will keep you interested for all of about 10 seconds. I have no idea what the point was in including this and struggled unsuccessfully to make it work at all. After the first attempt the DVD will stop with no way of returning to the menu and you will have to re-load the DVD if you want to start again.

Two CDs are also included as part of the package. The first CD presents unmixed versions of the same material as the DVD, the second contains more original tracks of the same style. The music on the DVD and CDs is fairly generic trance, with nothing much that really stands out. Only Nalin & Kane, one of the few artists who continue to experiment and push trance into new areas, stand out on the second CD with a superb and typically long 11 minute remix of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’.

I can’t see anyone getting terribly excited by this DVD, but it’s a cheap package that gives you a reasonable quality DVD and 2 CDs. Looking at the credits for the tracks shows that nearly everything on the DVD and accompanying CDs was composed by Massey, M Vickerage or R DeFresnes and explains the lack of variety in the tracks – it’s not so much ‘house’ as an ‘in-house’ production. But for what it is, it’s not bad.


Updated: Sep 19, 2001

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