Once again ecstasy and the rave scene are back in the national media spotlight. Magazines such as Time and television news shows have all done pieces on the “dangers” of raves and ecstasy. These news stories all seem to forget that raves are not a new thing, having started back in England’s “Summer of Love” in 1988.
Raves are also getting the Hollywood treatment this month with the release of Groove, that had the honor of being one of the first films picked by a major studio at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie depicts a night at a San Francisco rave. While the movie may not be able to portray the intense experience a rave can provide, this is something the soundtrack to Groove (Reprise) doesn’t lack. Not only is the CD a near-perfect DJ mix of techno, it’s also a great primer, or as the album puts it, “the ultimate time capsule,” of techno music.
Mixed by WishFM, the set replicates a high-energy set at a rave. The album opens with movie dialogue between planners of the night’s rave getting ready to set up shop in an abandoned warehouse. This flows neatly into funky house track by b-15 Project called “Girls Like Us.” WishFm mixes the soundtrack just like a DJ would, starting slow to let the energy build.
Next comes a 70s-disco-sounding “Champagne Beat Boogie” by Boozy & Swan that goes back to the original techno sounds of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and the work of producer legend Giorgio Moroder. The booming bass bubbles just like the champagne in the title. The set then goes into trance territory with songs like “Duke’s Up” by W and “20 Minutes of Disco Glory” by DJ Garth. These tracks are built almost solely upon beats and rhythms, and it’s impossible not to get the urge to get up and move as you listen. The minimal synth washes add to the hypnotic feel of these songs.
WishFM hits the peak of the party with a set of three tracks in the middle. One is by techno legend Orbital called “Halcyon +On +On.” The beats pound in pure 4-on-the-floor house time while a diva sings huskily over top. It’s a classic of techno and house music and does a perfect job taking the listener inside a rave that has hit its peak. All that’s needed is a killer light display to complete the effect.
Orbital’s track segues into “Anomaly-Calling Your Name,” which is re-mixed by Ferry Corsten. This is the perfect rave/dance anthem with its repeated line, “can’t you hear the floor calling your name,” over a high-energy house track.
Next in the hat-trick is Bedrock (a.k.a. legendary DJ John Digweed) and “Heaven Scent.” Digweed, renowned for both his solo work and work with trance superstar Sasha, pulls off another high-energy piece that keeps the level of the soundtrack high. It is filled with grandiose-sounding synths and fast beats. Anyone who’s been to any club or rave will hear this and smile.
There are a couple flaws with the Groove soundtrack. The main one is that all the songs start to sound the same after a while. However, the purpose of this CD is to recreate a night at a rave. People go to raves to dance and party, not to listen to particular songs. As long as the music is fast and energetic, it does its job, and the techno on this CD does this in spades.
There also could have been more big names on the CD, such as techno-masters Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, and Armand Van Helden, instead of so many smaller names.
Despite these small flaws, fans of techno and the rave scenes and anyone looking for a great CD to leave on and dance to at a party are going to want to pick this one up.
This CD, released June 20, is slated to be the fist in a series of DJ compilations based on music from Groove. This is a great way to start.