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

Hime Trance 4 EP – DJ Sampler – Digital Downloads

Posted by DanceMaster on February 4, 2010

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4 EP – DJ Sampler
Release Date: 2/3/10
Price: $10.32

First a sales update. Hime Trance 4 debuted at #71 on the Oricon charts, with 2,439 copies sold. By comparison, Hime Trance Anime*Mix! debuted at #24 with ~6,000 copies and Hime Trance Best moved 16,000 units in its first week. So, yeah, not that great. I’m thinking that those numbers are decent enough for at least one more release, but even then I’m not so sure.

Still no word on whether EMI will release a download selection, but in the meantime, Shohei Matsumoto has released an EP on iTunes featuring 3 of his original songs from Hime Trance 4. The best news is that it appears to be available worldwide! It’s $1.29 per track, and unfortunately there’s no discount for buying the whole EP, so it’s $10.32 total. Remember, you don’t need a credit card to buy from your local iTunes. Just walk on over to the nearest supermarket and grab an iTunes gift card. This is your chance to support Hime Trance! Now let’s hope he releases a Hime Trance 3 EP so we can finally get the full version of MA*GI*CA*.

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4Feb

Hime Trance 4 – Review

Posted by DanceMaster on February 1, 2010

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

It’s been a long 2+ years since Hime Trance 3. The wait was more than worth it, however. In addition to new songs from Hime Trance mainstays like Tsukasa, Kei, and Misa (who makes her return after being left off Anime*Mix), we also get brand new Saifam remixes and licensed songs from popular J-Pop artists. It all makes for an extremely satisfying CD that rivals Anime*Mix and perhaps even the first Hime Trance in terms of pure enjoyment.

The last entry in the main series, Hime Trance 3, was full of repeats and songs that weren’t trance. EMI have seemingly learned their lesson, as Hime Trance 4 contains only one true repeat (“Stay,” which was featured on Trance Paradise Best) and one non-trance song (“Miku Miku…”). Another problem with Hime Trance 3 was that it only had one Delaction song, and it was a repeat at that. Hime Trance 4 has four new Delaction songs, which automatically makes it the best album ever.

The bad news is that it’s not selling all that well at the moment. The last HT release, Anime*Mix!, debuted at number 24 on Oricon’s weekly sales chart, but it’s looking like HT4 won’t even break the top 30. Heck, right now Wa Euro Best 2 is outselling Hime Trance 4 on Amazon Japan. EMI actually put some effort into this release, so if you have any interest in seeing the series continue then do consider picking up a copy. It’s available at CDJapan, HMV, Amazon Japan, Yes Asia, and JPopHelp. No word yet on whether a Download Selection will be available, but I’m certainly hoping for it.

Full review after the jump.

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1Feb

Hime Trance 4 – Update

Posted by DanceMaster on January 25, 2010

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

Preview videos are up! The first video exclusively features a few of the album’s Japanese-language tracks and has some adorable “Jasmine” art. The second video showcases a few other songs, but the sound quality isn’t all that great.

“Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru [Shiteyanyo] (Hime Mix)” sounds a lot like the original mix, which makes me worry that “Boy” won’t really be remixed, either. But they have to remix “Coconut,” right? Right!?

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25Jan

Hime Trance 4 – Final Release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on January 16, 2010

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

Track lengths have been announced and it looks like most of the tracks got healthy edits. The Lil’B song gets the distinction of being the longest track on the album, though Tsukasa’s “Shin Ai” isn’t far behind. Some songs got the short end of the stick, however. While I’m happy that I’ll only have to endure ~2 minutes of “Santa Maria,” the new remix of “Coconut” is the shortest track on the CD, coming in at a paltry 1:22. Hopefully EMI will release a Download Selection so we can hear full versions of these songs.

It’s still unknown who’ll be doing the “Hime” remixes of “Boy” and “Coconut.” However, Shohei Matsutmoto has been confirmed as the producer of the Gavin and ari tracks. Also, making his Hime Trance debut is the one and only king of Rock-Trance, N.O.-SYO!!! He’s collaborated with Kei for the original song, “Somebody’s Voice.” I know Kei has been itching to sing another original song for a while now, so it’s great to see her get her wish.

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16Jan

Hime Trance 4 – Update

Posted by DanceMaster on December 17, 2009

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

Album of the year.

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17Dec

Hime Trance 4 – Update

Posted by DanceMaster on December 10, 2009

Hime Trance 4Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

It’s Jasmine!!! Still no final track list, but updated descriptions are saying that it’ll feature trance remixes of popular Eurobeat songs, which may mean some Wa Euro Best crossovers. There was a rumor a while back that Nagisa would be appearing on Hime Trance, so maybe that’ll come to fruition.

CDJapan also claim that a first-press bonus will be included. If past releases are any indication, it’s probably just a sticker sheet again.

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10Dec

Hime Trance 4 – Pre-release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on November 18, 2009

Hime Trance 4
Release Date: 1/27/10
Price: 1886 yen

It’s been over 2 years since Hime Trance 3 came out, so it’s about damn time that we finally got Hime Trance 4! This actually comes as a huge surprise, as it’s been quite a while since the last Hime Trance release, and I would’ve expected an Anime*Mix! 2 before another entry in the main series.

01. Shuuketsu no Sono e (Delaction Remix) / Tsukasa
02. Eternal Blaze (Delaction Remix) / Tsukasa
03. Barbie Girl / Savannah
04. I Should Be So Lucky / A.Kay-B.J.
05. Coconuts (Remix) / Smile.dk
06. Licky Licky (Remix) / Crispy
07. Boy / Misa
08. Cinderella / Delaction
09. Without You / Delaction

So far it looks like it’ll be a Delactionfest, with at least 4 Delaction songs/remixes planned. “Eternal Blaze” will be repeated for the third time in the Hime Trance series, but it’s so awesome that I frankly don’t care. Tsukasa will be back with a new song, however, with a Delaction remix of the anime theme, “Shuuketsu no Sono e.” Delaction will also be contributing two brand new songs: “Cinderella” (would’ve been more appropriate on Hime Trance 3, no?) and “Without You.” With Delaction being so prominent on this release, I’d be shocked if they weren’t the ones mixing.

Next up are a couple of Saifam remixes. “I Should Be So Lucky” would be great with a Delaction remix à la “Toy Boy,” though I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t just use the Kylie version since she’s still with EMI. “Barbie Girl” is the more interesting of the two, especially given Aqua’s recent comeback. A 4 Skips vs. Floorbreaker mix would be absolutely ace, as long as they keep all of the lyrics this time. 😉

Smile.dk return to Hime Trance with a new remix of “Coconut,” which is rather shocking. It’s far from my favorite song, and it’s never even appeared on Dancemania nor released as a single in Japan. I would’ve preferred something from Party Around the World if possible, but given the proper remix “Coconut” could be a lot of fun.

Crispy are a surprise inclusion, since they used to be signed with Victor Japan and not EMI. It’s possible that EMI have picked up the rights to their back catalogue. It’s a little odd that they’d choose Crispy over a more established Dancemania artist like Bambee, Creamy, or Ni-Ni.

Finally, there’s Misa’s “Boy,” which could pass as trance in its original form. I’m still pretty pissed about “Dam Dariram” on Hime Trance 3, so they had better spend the money to get “Boy” remixed.

As for what I hope will appear, I’m still yearning for an epic trance remix of Creamy’s “I Do I Do I Do.” Bambee’s “You Are My Dream” is also on the top of my wishlist, as is Ni-Ni’s “Spacy Crazy Girl.” Oh, and give us a REAL trance remix of “Dam Dariram”!!!

Pre-order at CDJapan.

18Nov

Hime Trance Anime*Mix! Sales

Posted by DanceMaster on February 5, 2009

Anime*MixHime Trance Anime*Mix!
Release Date: 1/21/09
Price: 2171 yen

The good news is that Anime*Mix is selling better than Tsukasa Mix. The bad news is that the sales still haven’t all that great. In its first week out it moved about 6,000 units, and during week two it sold an additional 4,000. Hime Trance Speed, by comparison, sold 9,000 copies in its first week out, then 12,000 more the second week. I think Anime*Mix’s sales are enough to continue the series for a while, but if things don’t pick up Hime Trance could go the way of Dancemania. 🙁

5Feb

Hime Trance Anime*Mix – Review

Posted by DanceMaster on January 26, 2009

Anime*MixHime Trance Anime*Mix!
Release Date: 1/21/09
Price: 2171 yen

Album of the year! Okay, it may be a tad early to make such a bold claim, but Hime Trance Anime*Mix! is at least the best trance release to come out of Japan in quite a while. Unlike the last 3 or so Hime Trance releases, Anime*Mix! has a very good ratio of new songs to old. And while there are a few repeats, almost all of them are exceptional and are worthy of being repeated. If you’ve soured on trance because of the constant repeats, then Anime*Mix may well reinvigorate your love of trance.

Anime*Mix! brings together some of the best trance producers Japan has to offer. Delaction and Dank-One once again bring their A-games, while newer artists such as Redalice and CMS help to add a dose of freshness. Unfortunately, the booklet is light on credits, so it’s hard to tell who produced some of the tracks.

Not only does Anime*Mix! have a wide array of producers, but it also has an equally diverse set of vocal talent. Hinax and Mepomi are among the artists making their Hime Trance debuts. Meanwhile, Tsukasa and Kei, both reigning trance queens, return with awesome new material. The only “hime” missing is Misa. 🙁

Interestingly, while the first half of the album is a standard 145 BPM, the second half speeds up significantly. At first it goes to 150, but soon reaches around 165 before ending at 180 BPM. Methinks that if there’s a Hime Trance Speed 2, a good chunk of the second half will be repeated.

Sales have been decent so far, though from what I can tell it’s tracking slightly below Hime Trance Speed. I certainly hope sales improve so that we can guarantee a sequel. EMI are pretty much out of anime songs to repeat, so a potential sequel would be 100% new material.

Order at CDJapan. First-press copies come with stickers, but all copies will come with a lyrics booklet.

Full track-by-track review after the jump.

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26Jan

Hime Trance Anime*Mix – Update

Posted by DanceMaster on January 7, 2009

Anime*MixHime Trance Anime*Mix
Release Date: 1/21/09
Price: 2171 yen

The official Dancemania website has been updated with Hime Trance Anime*Mix info. Pay no heed to the 1/14 release date; the official release date is still 1/21.

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7Jan

Hime Trance Anime*Mix – Final Release Info

Posted by DanceMaster on December 22, 2008

Anime*MixHime Trance Anime*Mix
Release Date: 1/21/09
Price: 2171 yen

One new song from Tsukasa!
Two new songs from Kei!!
Two new songs from ari/Aya!!!
Two new songs from Chika!!!!
Two new songs from mint!!!!!
Gavin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As Kylie would put it, wa-wa-wa-WOW! The only Hime Trance queen missing is Misa!

There are, of course, some repeats. Six tracks are from previous releases in the Hime Trance series. EMI also chose to license one song from Quake’s Speed Anime Trance Best series. Thankfully, it turns out to be one of the best: Florence’s “Komm, susser Tod.” Still, 7 old tracks out of 21 means that 2/3 of the album is brand new. That’s the largest percentage of new tracks on a Dancemania/Trance Paradise album in quite some time.

I’ve also been informed by DJ Tomoe that the princess on the cover is modeled after Rei Ayanami from the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. Hooray for copyright infringement!

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22Dec

Hime Trance Tsukasa Mix – Review

Posted by DanceMaster on November 24, 2008

Tsukasa MixHime Trance Tsukasa Mix
Release Date: 11/12/08
Price: 1886 yen

I was fully expecting to hate this based on principle alone. After all, less than half of the album is actually new, and how many times have we heard In My Heart now? It’s as if there are two constants in J-Trance: In My Heart and Sousei no Aquarion.

After giving the album a few listens, however, I have to admit that it’s convenient having all of the Tsukasa tracks collected in a nice little package (emphasis on little). In My Heart, Mermaid, and Prologue have long since been played out, but Kira Kira, Precious My Love and Kimi e no Omoi still have an air of freshness about them so I don’t mind listening to them again.

As for the new tracks, they’re all surprisingly exceptional. Eternal Blaze leads the way with Delaction’s melodic synths combining with Tsukasa’s cute vocals for pure aural perfection. Meanwhile, “Dear…” and “Love & Joy” have been given new remixes that breath new life into these old songs. Merry Christmas finishes the non-stop mix with a sweet, Engrish-filled Christmas song.

The first 6 tracks run at a constant 145 BPM, then it ramps up to 160 BPM for Prologue followed by ~175 BPM for Love & Joy. Merry Christmas finishes things off at 140 BPM. None of the transitions are particularly noteworthy, but since most of the album is 145 BPM, Team Cha-Meshi easily managed to make the non-stop mix seamless.

First-press copies came with (useless) stickers, but all copies come with a lyrics booklet. It’s rather surprising how much English is actually in these songs, though you’d never know it based on Tsukasa’s pronunciations. She’s actually admitted that English is difficult for her, and that she sings it all phonetically.

Sadly, Tsukasa Mix has not been selling well at all. Whereas Hime Trance Speed sold 9,000 units in its first week out, Tsukasa Mix has sold well under 2,000 copies after one week. If you ever want to see a Kei Mix or Misa Mix, then please support the Hime Trance series.

Full track-by-track review after the jump.

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24Nov