Paul Oakenfold - The Goa Mix 2011
The beach shacks should be up by now, the Kingfisher chilled to icy perfection, the markets starting to throb. As another season slips into second gear, Goa veterans will remember Oakenfold's pioneering set fondly...if not a little vaguely. That said, it built enough love over here to show that you didn't need to be there to be there. The two hour set, largely credited with taking trance into the mainstream, came about as a Radio 1 Essential Mix in 1994 and it remains a benchmark of the genre. Oakenfold set himself the challenge of building variation into his set, the kind of ebb and flow that many resident DJs at the time were missing, often letting the floor die after bpm flat-lined. Even played wildly out of context (driving, in the rainy UK, under the influence of nothing but love), you can see why The Goa Mix has retained its near mythic reputation. It parades a cannily wrought sense of journey. Purists may wince at the tweaks and additions but every time the DJ takes it down, you can see the waves of euphoria gathering on the horizon. The presence of Vangelis' 'Blade Runner' theme - "Like tears in rain ..." - and Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings' attest to the former. The inclusion of the likes of Saint Etienne's 'Only Love Can Bring Your Heart' and PPK's 'Resurrection' are evidence of chart friendly beats used to drive the set through the higher gears. Largely avoiding the dubious charms of psy-trance and slipping in a bit of progressive house, The Goa Mix is cool, accessible and, just as its origins suggest, essential.