Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Cover Trance

Posted by DanceMaster on September 9, 2014

Cover*Trance
Release Date: 9/29/06
Price: 1886 yen

Uggh, here we go, the first awful Trance Paradise release. Truthfully, the track list isn’t too bad, but you have too look at it in context. This was originally scheduled to be Trance Paradise 5, but was changed at the last minute to become an excuse for repeats. So, instead of getting new tracks, we received songs that had just been repeated on Auto Gallery 2006. The only upsides were the new Delaction remix of “We Are the Champion” and the existing Delaction remix of “Everytime We Touch.”

Sadly, this release would be a harbinger of things to come…

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9Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Auto Gallery Tokyo 2006 presents “Drive On” Grand Dance Trax

Posted by DanceMaster on September 8, 2014

Auto Gallery Tokyo 2006 presents “Drive On” Grand Dance Trax
Release Date: 6/28/06
Price: 1886 yen

Released on the same day as Hime Trance 2, AGT 2006 was a tie-up release with a car show. It ended up being a sort of Trance Paradise Best, since it contained most of the non-Hime Trance EMI remixes from the Trance Paradise 1-4. It’s actually a really good collection of songs and serves as a nice counterpoint to Hime Trance. There aren’t really any new songs, though the Apollo and Digimind songs are “new” to the series at least.

Also notable is the short Eurobeat section at the end, including a new Y&Co. remix of “Willy Use a Billy…Boy.” It was the first time Y&Co. had done a remix for EMI in years, so it was quite a pleasant surprise.

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8Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Hime Trance 2

Posted by DanceMaster on September 7, 2014

Hime Trance 2
Release Date: 6/28/06
Price: 1886 yen

The much-anticipated sequel to Hime Trance tried to replicate the formula that made the first album so magical, but the song selection didn’t end up quite as strong.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first: “Everytime We Touch” is garbage unless it’s the Delaction remix. The Scarf mix uses the worst possible synths and it didn’t help that the song was overplayed at this point. Speaking of overplayed, was it really necessary to have “Mermaid” again? As much as I love Delaction, their decision to not include most of the vocals kept the song from being a truly great one.

The 6 new EMI remixes were a bit of a mixed bag. “Boys” and “Hero” ended up as incredible as expected, but the rest took a while to grow on me. My biggest issue is that instead of remixing Dancemania tracks, they chose completely random Saifam tracks that never even appeared on Dancemania. I was dying for a Bambee, Ni-Ni, or Jenny Rom remix.

DJ Kaya and Heavens Wire produced most of the new original songs on the album. Heavens Wire didn’t disappoint with “Doubt,” “Paya Paya” and “everyday, everytime” (My name is Gavin-desu!), but DJ Kaya’s Miu*Miu tracks were mediocre at best.

Hime Trance 2 would still be a good album overall, and nearly matched the first in sales, but the cracks were starting to show.

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7Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Trance Paradise 4

Posted by DanceMaster on September 6, 2014

Trance Paradise 4
Release Date: 3/31/06
Price: 1886 yen

Hot on the heels of Hime Trance’s success, Trance Paradise 4 marked a turning point for the main series, as it’s the first to be almost all Japanese produced. Hime Trance’s popularity meant 3 repeats from that album, but there were still an impressive 4 new EMI remixes. “Gasolina” is probably the most memorable of them all, since it’s so unlike most of Delaction’s other oeuvre. Misa’s soccer-themed “So So” would also prove to be an instant classic, so much so that many of OHC’s future remixes would try to mimic its sound.

The emphasis on Japanese trance that started with TP3 continued here with original productions from Delaction, Heavens Wire, DJ Tora, and DJ Kousuke. There’s an entire section of J-trance that my friend jokingly called the “school section” since it reads like a list of school subjects. Also noteworthy are two licenses from Universal, “I Want You” and “Reason,” that were both produced by DJ Kaya.

Pretty much the only missteps on the album are the awful Crazy Frog inspired “Axel F” (which is thankfully the shortest song on the album) and the bonus track, “Alabasta,” which just sounds like noise to me.

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6Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Hime Trance

Posted by DanceMaster on September 5, 2014

Hime Trance
Release Date: 1/25/06
Price: 1886 yen

In early 2005, I began work on a Dancemania fan mix called Dancemania Springs (an homage to Dancemania Summers/Winters). My idea was to make a bubblegum dance mix with female vocals only. Imagine my surprise a few months later when EMI decided to do the same thing, except with trance! Hime Trance, a.k.a. Princess Trance, was announced in late 2005, and I remember being blown away when I first saw the early track list. New trance remixes of Dancemania classics like “Butterfly” and “Dub-I-Dub”? It was like a dream come true.

The amount of effort that went into Hime Trance is pretty shocking, especially by EMI’s usual repeat-heavy standards. Up until this the Trance Paradise series had been limited to 2-3 EMI remixes per album, so to have SIX on this one release was unprecedented. This was my first exposure to Delaction and Nasca Joker, and their remixes of “Butterfly” and “Moonlight Shadow” were nothing short of extraordinary. Shohei Matsumoto’s Misa remixes were also fantastic, but that was to be expected. “Dub-I-Dub” was probably the only disappointment of the bunch. It has some awesome percussion, but the lack of vocals keeps it from really hooking into my brain.

My favorite remix on the album is easily DJ Tora’s incredible take on “Willy Use a Billy…Boy.” Keep in mind that EMI had included the 2003 trance remix on Trance Paradise 3, so I somewhat expected them to take the cheap route and use it again. Instead, DJ Tora delivered an absolute masterpiece, and to this day I don’t understand why the remix never showed up again on any other compilations.

Interestingly, the early list for Hime Trance also included remixes for “Cartoon Heroes” as well as Cut ‘n’ Move’s “I’m Alive.” The former would end up being remixed for Hime Trance 2, but sadly “I’m Alive” never did get a trance remix.

Hime Trance also saw the debuts of 4 original J-Trance songs: “Nobody Knows…,” “Stay for Freedom,” “Don’t Leave Me,” and “Voyager.” Other songs like “Love & Sunshine,” the Tsukasa duo, and the Big Kiss tracks made their debuts on other albums a few months earlier. The one thing they all have in common is that Shohei Matsumoto had a hand in all of them. He would continue to be a driving force in the series going forward.

Of course, this is an EMI album, so that means repeats. Thankfully, there are really only 4 repeats on the album (5 if you count “Banzai” as a repeat), and the songs they chose to repeat were all great. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” was a little overplayed by this point, but I commend them for choosing Cascada’s best song instead of the inferior and overexposed “Everytime We Touch.” And I could listen to “Another Night” all day and night, so didn’t mind it coming back with a massive 6 minute edit.

Hime Trance would go on to enormous sales, and ended up being certified gold in Japan with well over 100,000 copies sold. It also won the RIAJ’s Gold Disc Award for “Special Product of the Year.” Its success had a huge effect on the industry, with everyone suddenly rushing out cheap imitations (Erocawa Trance, Umi Trance, and my personal favorite, Hime Trance World). But no one, not even EMI, would be able to recreate the magic and perfection of this first release.

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5Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Trance Paradise 3

Posted by DanceMaster on September 4, 2014

Trance Paradise 3
Release Date: 9/7/05
Price: 1886 yen

This is going to be long, so be patient. B-be-be-be patient! DJ Tora’s instrumental cover of “Another Night” first appeared on Tokyo Rave 03 in 2004. I remember when I first heard it I thought, “This is amazing, but it would be perfection if they used Saifam’s vocals.” Lo and behold, my wish came true on Trance Paradise 3.

The second track, “Ki*Se*Ki,” deserves recognition for having huge implications on the series and the Japanese trance movement in general. Billed as a “New Project,” 4 Skips vs. Floorbreaker comprised Shohei Matsumoto (Heavens Wire) and Kazuhisa Hirota (Ace Closer, ZK). Their debut song, along with “Du-Du Di-Da,” were referred to as “hime trance” (princess trance) on the front sticker and the back cover, so the seeds of the future series were already planted here.

The trend of including original Japanese-produced tracks continued, with brand new songs from DJ Kaya, DJ Kousuke, and Heavens Wire. The European-produced tracks were also once again present, with tracks from All Around the Wolrd artists like Flip & Fill and Aquagen. EMI would lose the AATW shortly after this release, which changed Trance Paradise for the better (while making Super Best Trance worse).

What was new to the series was the inclusion of Psychedelic Trance. Now, I like the occasional psyche track, but I was glad that the series never really returned to the genre.

I already mentioned “Another Night,” but Trance Paradise 3 had quite a few other EMI remixes. I remember not being keen on DJ Ten and Ace Closer’s take on “What’s Up” initially, but it’s grown on me over the years. I’ve always loved the Kuroro mix of “Forbidden Colors,” however, even though I don’t recall if it was ever revealed who did the remix. “Banzai” also finally deserved to appear on a trance album thanks to a new remix by Heavens Wire. That said, “Willy Use a Billy…Boy (Trance Remix)” was the biggest disappointment of the album. I was expecting an epic new remix by DJ Kaya or some other Japanese producer, but EMI being EMI, they just reused the existing 2003 remix. Of course, they more than made up for it with the next album in the series…

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4Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Trance Paradise 2

Posted by DanceMaster on September 3, 2014

Trance Paradise
Release Date: 3/2/04
Price: 1886 yen

Now this is where things start to get interesting. Six months after the first Trance Paradise, the sequel dropped and changed everything. EMI ditched the FARM collaboration (though DJ U*Hey? would continue mixing most of the series) and commissioned loads of new tracks from Japanese artists, many of whom created new aliases for this release.

Whereas the Dancemania remixes ruled the first album, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by the remixes here. The choice of “I Believe” to be given the remix treatment still puzzles me, and “Samba de Janeiro” received a much better trance remix years earlier (I want to say K-Groove did it, but I may be misremembering).

Where the album really shines is with the new output from Japanese producers. Shohei Matsumoto produced “Neraiuchi” under his new Dank-One identity, and it’s easily my favorite with its random whistles and “Hadouken” samples. DJ Kousuke (a.k.a. Oriental Space), Remo-Con and DJ Kaya also produced new tracks.

The selection of European trance is also much better than the first TP. Cascada’s best track ever is present, and I’m also quite fond of Mysterio’s “Everlasting Love” cover. Notably, Almighty’s appearances on this album would be the last on an EMI compilation for a while. And I don’t care if “Halfway Around the World” isn’t technically trance. It’s an amazing remix and I could listen to it all day.

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3Sep

Trance Paradise 10th Anniversary – Trance Paradise

Posted by DanceMaster on September 2, 2014

Trance Paradise
Release Date: 9/1/04
Price: 1900 yen

I remember when Trance Paradise was first announced, I had somehow thought it would be related to EMI’s Happy Paradise eurobeat series. Alas, it wasn’t to be, but we ended up with something just as special. The very first Trance Paradise release was a collaboration between Toshiba-EMI and FARM Records (both label logos appear in the booklet and spine). FARM had licensed Misa’s “Banzai” a few months earlier for Mega Trance 01, so it’s assumed that’s how their working relationship began. There’s a pretty heavy reliance on FARM’s catalog in this first release, though EMI also draw a bit upon their All Around the World license to fill out the album.

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2Sep

Drive ga 100-bai Tanoshiku Naru 90s Best Deluxe – Digital Downloads

Posted by DanceMaster on August 5, 2014

Drive ga 100-bai Tanoshiku Naru 90s Best Deluxe (Driving 90s Best Deluxe)
Release Date: 7/16/14
Price: 1000 yen

Updated version of Driving 90s Best, now with more Universal. Available on iTunes Japan.

Previously this had artists like Me & My, Smile.dk, and Cut ‘n’ Move, but their absence here further confirms that EMI Japan no longer have the rights to them. At this rate I wonder if they’ll even bother releasing a 20th anniversary Dancemania album. 🙁

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5Aug

Drive ga 100-bai Tanoshiku Naru 80s Best Deluxe – Digital Downloads

Posted by DanceMaster on August 4, 2014

Drive ga 100-bai Tanoshiku Naru 80s Best Deluxe (Driving 80s Best Deluxe)
Release Date: 7/16/14
Price: 1000 yen

Updated version of Driving 80s Best, now with more Universal. Available on iTunes Japan.

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4Aug

Kaji ga 100-bai Hakadoru High Tension Song Best -Deluxe- – Digital Downloads

Posted by DanceMaster on August 3, 2014

Kaji ga 100-bai Hakadoru High Tension Song Best -Deluxe- (Cheer Up Songs Deluxe (House Keeping Edition))
Release Date: 6/25/14
Price: 1000 yen

Updated version of Kaji ga 100-bai Hakadoru High Tension Song Best, which removes songs from artists that EMI lost the rights to and adds more Universal artists. Available on iTunes Japan.

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3Aug

Dancehall Lovers Covers Best II – Final Release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on April 23, 2014

V.I.P. presents Dancehall Lovers Covers Best II
Release Date: 4/23/14
Price: 2100 yen

The latest edition of Dancehall Lovers features covers of hit songs, including the English, reggae remix of “Zankoku na Tenshi no Theese” that you never knew you wanted. This is a non-stop mix, and is also available (in mixed form) on iTunes Japan.

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23Apr

Dancehall Lovers Covers Best II – Pre-release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on February 24, 2014

V.I.P. presents Dancehall Lovers Covers Best II
Release Date: 4/23/14
Price: 2171 yen

New release in the long-running Dancehall compilation series, and the first release under Universal. It’s good to see them continuing EMI series, though I’m still waiting patiently for them to do something with Dancemania. Anyway, this latest edition of Dancehall lovers features covers of hit songs, including J-Pop and anime standards like “Zankoku na Tenshi no Theese.”

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24Feb

J-Pop the World ~J-Pop International Cover Collection~ – Final Release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on January 17, 2014

J-Pop the World ~J-Pop International Cover Collection~
Release Date: 1/15/14
Price: 2200 yen

A new J-Pop cover compilation from EMI. I was hoping we’d get new covers by Saifam, but instead it’s old covers by EMI and Universal artists.

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17Jan

Sweets for My Zippies!

Posted by DanceMaster on December 10, 2013

ZIPmania Special

The end of the year is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: Toy Day (otherwise known as Christmas) is coming! As a special present for Dancemania fans who are supporting the releases, I’ve got something special for people who have purchased either ZIPmania All Best Mix, ZIPmania Super Greatest Hits, or both. Just make a post in the comments with a link to a picture of your copy of the album and a little piece of paper with your username on it, or take a screenshot of your iTunes receipt (make sure to edit out any identifying details). I’ll contact you via e-mail, hopefully by the end of the year, with details on how to claim your present. Please no photoshops or printouts of the ZIPmania cover in a CD case. Unless they’re really good, in which case I’ll send you something for trying, lol.

10Dec