Mar 23

The Big Reunion
Release Date: 3/8/13
Price: £6.99

Available only in the UK, this digital release features the tops songs from all of the bands involved in The Big Reunion. Included are four songs from Atomic Kitten, 911, and Blue that have appeared on Dancemania. Liberty X get only one track, and it’s not “Thinking It Over.” -_-

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Mar 5

Out of all the bands involved with The Big Reunion, Atomic Kitten made the biggest impression on Dancemania. Their first single, “Right Now” was absolutely huge in Japan. It first appeared on ZIPmania III in 2000 and would go on to appear as a playable track on Dance Dance Revolution 5th MIX. After “I Want Your Love” appeared on Dancemania X8 in 2001, Atomic Kitten wouldn’t be seen in Dancemania again until the EX series. During 2004, they became a staple of the series, with “Be With You,” “The Tide Is High” and “Ladies Night” appearing on various Dancemania releases.

The band actually released a 2004 version of “Right Now,” which was surprisingly never used for a Dancemania EX release.

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Mar 4

Despite being under the EMI label in Japan, British boy band Blue only appeared once on Dancemania. I actually remember being quite annoyed by “One Love” when it appeared on ZIPmania DX because it was too R&Bish for Dancemania.

In 2011, they represented the UK in Eurovision with a more synth-infused song than they were known for, becoming the second Dancemania-associated act to represent the UK (following Daz from Bus Stop).

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Mar 3

Dancemania 22 was an amazing album full of incredible Almighty remixes, but for me the standout track was Almighty’s remix of “Thinking It Over.” Sadly, it was to be Liberty X’s first and only appearance on Dancemania.

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Mar 2

911 were a boy band trio comprising Jimmy Constable, Simon “Spike” Dawbarn, and lead singer, Lee Brennan. They made their first appearance on Dancemania in 1998 with the song, “Love Sensation,” before following it up with “A Night to Remember” and “Party People…Friday Night” on various Dancemania subseries. They made their final appearance with “More Than a Woman” on the 2-disc set, Dancemania Delux 3. Oddly, one of their biggest hits, “Bodyshakin’,” has an awesome dance remix yet never appeared on Dancemania.

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Mar 1

Move over, Downton Abbey, ITV’s most addictive new show brings back the biggest UK pop bands of yesteryear for one more chance in the limelight. “The Big Reunion” is a new reality show featuring bands from the 90s and 2000s reuniting after years apart. The show follows them as they reminisce over the good (and not so good) ol’ days and rehearse for a one-off gig, later expanded to an areana tour.

The bands in question? Well, there’s Honeyz, 5ive, and B*Witched, only the last of whom I’ve heard of as the other two never really broke into the US market. However, as a huge Dancemania fan I was excited to learn that 911, Atomic Kitten, Blue, and Liberty X would also be participating. Over the next few days I’ll take a trip down nostalgia lane and revisit each band’s contributions to Dancemania.

Perhaps most excitingly of all, “The Big Reunion” has been a big success in the UK and will soon be licensed to other countries. The 90s movement is in full swing all across Europe, as evidenced by the return of 2 Unlimited, and I’d love to see the format spread to other countries and potentially bring back some other groups that played huge roles in Dancemania.

Feb 27

On this day, exactly 5 years ago, Kousuke Okamoto passed away at the young age of 31. Better known to trance fans as Oriental Space, Kousuke was a true pioneer of the J-Trance scene and his presence has been sorely missed. It was listening to “Magical Express” all the way back on the first Trance Paradise that got me hooked to J-Trance, and I wanted to take a moment to remember him.

If you’re a fan of J-Trance, you owe it to yourself to get the tribute album that was released to honor his works. Disc 1 is a megamix of his most famous works, while Disc 2 features remixes by Japan’s top epic trance producers.

Rest in peace.

Jun 1

As mentioned, 2012 marks the 7th birthday of Disko Warp and also serves as a rebirth of sorts for the label. Earlier this year all of Disko Warp’s Bandcamp releases became pay-what-you-want, and I recently conducted a short interview with the head of Disko Warp himself, Pete Ellison, discussing the changes as well as the future of Disko Warp.

Switching to a “pay what you want” model is a bold move. What prompted this decision? Was it a response to piracy? A desire to spread the Disko Warp brand? Or did a monkey accidentally press the wrong button at Bandcamp?

Pete: It’s a complicated answer. At the beginning of this year I just decided it was time for a change, and I wanted to really step back and look at everything I’d done with Disko Warp and see what’s working and what’s not working. It takes money and time to maintain a large catalog of releases for sale via iTunes and other distributors. A lot of our back catalog was actually costing me money to keep it up, and my business model that was working great for me when I started the label 7 years ago just needed to be ditched completely and rebuilt from the ground up. So I’ve drawn a line in the sand so to speak.

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Feb 1

It’s been a while since since the last one, but I’m hoping to make this a more regular feature in the future. Today the spotlight is on my current obsession, Daiki × ZK. This duo comprising DJ Daiki and Ace Closer have captured my attention with their addictive electro/house/trance remixes of pop hits, and I think they’re worthy of your attention, too. Check out the feature for some biographical info and a discography.

http://www.dancemania-ex.com/blog/artist-spotlight/daiki-×-zk/

Edit: It looks like R&B Boutique -in the party- 2nd Floor, which I posted about yesterday, will see the debut of Daiki × ZK’s cover of “The Lazy Song.”

Apr 19

DJ KennyI’m kicking off a new series of features focusing on music producers. First up is DJ Kenny: http://www.dancemania-ex.com/blog/artist-spotlight/dj-kenny/