I guess it was only a matter of time until we had a trance revival. For whatever reason, I had always felt a shameful affinity towards the genre. It was almost too honest, too unashamedly passionate, to be worthy of ‘serious’ or ‘proper’ appreciation. The name itself, and many of the accompanying sub-genres (euphoric-, stadium-, and epic-trance), make no attempts to hide their intentions. They produce music of pure feeling. No degree of cynicism survives on these dance floors.
But as with many genres of the 90s, trance has been recently abstracted into new, less familiar forms. Lorenzo Senni is one of the first names to mind here, but there are also echoes of this with TCF, Amnesia Scanner and Jesse Osborne-Lanthier. This music cherry-picks trance’s sweetest fruit (the fuzzed-out synth pads, the building of ecstasy, the cavernous reverbs) and makes these features primary focus. There is a feeling that within this new context, away from the commercialism of Ibiza and Ministry of Sound, trance can be enjoyed ‘guilt-free’.
The latest release from nascent imprint Petrola 80, Safe Following Distance, is so called in reference to the growing ubiquity of internet surveillance and the death of privacy. But it could be also easily in reference to trance itself. As with Lorenzo Senni’s ‘Rave Voyeurism’, this EP is littered with uncanny sonic references to ’90s euphoria. Listen to the pads on ‘A Distance In Between’ (reach for the lasers!) or the towering arpeggios that conclude ‘New Partial Freedom’. But these are made from an epistemic distance, like watching a genre, a scene, or a party from afar.
‘Safe Following Distance’ will be released on April 20th with Petrola 80 as a 12” vinyl and digital download.