'This is my church...this is where I heal my hurts' proclaims Faithless frontman Maxi Jazz on the first track of Trance Nation: The Collection. And as he says it, he absolutely nails the reasons why trance is the biggest genre of electronic dance music in the world and why it inspires such a fervently loyal fanbase. To its legions of fans across the world, trance IS their religion and the one thing they can turn to when they need inspiration; it's no coincidence that so many trance tracks have religious references in their names - For An Angel, Send Me An Angel, God Is A DJ, Fly Like An Angel, Godd. The exact appeal of trance is a complex thing, but as a lifelong trance obsessive I'd have to say that for me it lies in the sheer emotion of the music, its unrivalled ability to transport you in time and space to somewhere completely and utterly different. As a uniquely melodic genre, trance is music that enables you to really lose yourself, forget your troubles, change your mood. If you need it to soothe your soul it can do that, and equally it can make your heart hurt with its sheer beauty, power, intensity. Its versatility is incredible, its euphoria invincible. Whether vocal or dub, driving or ethereal, trance is truly unique in its ability to bring your emotions to the fore and enhance them.
Not to mention the fact that, pure and simple, trance just makes you want to DANCE! Which brings me neatly to the other totally amazing thing about trance - the people. You just don't get a friendlier, more up for it crowd than at a trance night. The atmosphere is totally unique, because everyone in the room is loving the music, and THAT'S what they came for - not to prove how cool they are, not to wear stupid sunglasses, not to sneer at the unwashed masses. I can honestly say that I've met some of my best friends through trance nights! And it's no wonder that since the birth of Twitter, trance fans have become known simply as the Trancefamily - one word that sums it up perfectly, united in their devotion to the music they love and each other..
And it's exactly that emotion, that devotion, that power and epic element that Trance Nation: The Collection sets out to encapsulate. And what a way to go about it...leaving you in no doubt that you're in the hands of the masters by putting together the biggest anthems that the trance world has ever seen! CDs 1 to 3 took me on a trip down memory lane to so many happy times - those moments when you're in the middle of the dancefloor, looking around at your mates and seeing a whole room full of people smiling back at you while going for it absolutely no holds barred. Straining hands in the air, reaching for the lasers, feeling like your heart's about to explode with happiness and your face is going to crack because you're smiling so much! From Paul van Dyk's legendary 7-hour sets at Gatecrasher through sweaty underground raves to heady, hazy nights at Amnesia in Ibiza, this album is full of those peak time big room anthems, those core 12-3am moments, the tracks that bring back all the biggest, most defining milestones in my trance clubbing history so far..
And it definitely ain't over yet - as CD4 proves! Featuring future classics from some of the most talented of the new trance generation - including Gareth Emery, Marcus Schossow and Jonas Stenberg - alongside established DJ heroes like Armin van Buuren, Tiesto and Ferry Corsten, this is a stunning showcase of trance's powers of resurrection. And long may it reign over dancefloors worldwide - I for one will always worship at its altar, and as the song goes, you're not alone....
Trance Nation: The Collection is out now - get your copy here.