Solarstone’s Pure Trance brand celebrates a decade plus of accomplishment with its tenth compilation release.
How do you cultivate what you care for? How do you put your money where your mouth is? Over a decade ago, Rich Mowatt — aka Solarstone — decided that trance needed a new rock from which to set forth. Pure Trance, a movement born from his perceived dilution of the genre’s sound, celebrates the inherent beauty of his vision for trance.
The concept broke beyond its shackles over the years since, gravitating around a core defining trance as a mood more than a set of stylistic traits. Pure Trance was not bound to genre limitations. Instead, it expanded to include progressive, breakbeat, and harder, more energetic sounds while retaining the strong melodies at the core of the label’s identity.
Pure Trance Vol. 10, as it is, represents more than simply a music compilation. It offers the sonic tapestry for Solarstone to lay out new foundations. The three mixes cultivate the pillars that represent the varied sounds of trance — from deep and raw to energetic and captivating. Solarstone’s release of the compilation captures the pivot point of trance as art form under his tutelage.
In celebration of the tenth volume of Pure Trance, and as recognition for the movement’s goals, let’s examine the success and failures of Pure Trance over the past decade.
Join in and get deeper in by grabbing your own copy of Pure Trance Vol. 10 by Solarstone!
Stream Solarstone – Pure Trance Vol. 10 on Spotify:
Pure Trance releases us by doing away with genre expectations.
Perhaps the biggest accolade of the compilation series is the depth of sound and moods it provides. Pure Trance, as a series, weaves the emotions of smooth deep progressive, emotive melodic trance, and a touch of excursions into broken beats. It is this variety — from the depths of progressive with Forerunners and Gai Barone, to the high-impact energy of Factor B, Bryan Kearney, and Sneijder — that provides fans a foundation for the search for emotions in their dance music.
As Solarstone set out to remind us, he mandates another mantra of today’s Pure Trance movement: “Be proud of what makes you feel good.” The compilation series underscores that exact emphasis. These are records that cater to the beauty of trance as a mood, not as a genre.
Solarstone, with help from those talents tapped along the way to support the series, weaves a veritable sonic tapestry of good feelings. It is about finding serenity on a dance floor, gliding to the grooves, and living in the moments collectively shared between nightclubs and festivals the world over.
In sharing that serenity, the floor is open for all join us in the moment of bliss. On this tenth excursion, Solarstone crafts three mixes that blend expectations into a blanket of sound ready for the cooler months.
Pure Trance offers an invitation to the unfamiliar.
The greatest issue trance must overcome is its own preconceptions of what it is.
Decades ago, the music marketplace tainted the word “trance” in ways the genre never really overcame. Pure Trance scoffs at this notion. Instead, the series excels at catering to both old fans and new by maintaining a subtle continuity. Solarstone’s history as a tastemaker spins a thread from the millennial heydays of the genre to the present. His taste always centers around fusing groove with melody in a way that entrances the listener.
He attracts new listeners by breathing life into trance with respect to general market trends. This includes signing new talent, of course. It also entails playing with the sensibilities of the old sound in a new package. Solarstone does not chase the modern pop trends in the genre. Instead, he weaves trance together with deeper cuts, allowing the edges of other genres to play with the whimsy of melodies that constitute trance.
In this tenth volume, Macker’s “Arrakis” plays somewhere between classic progressive house and melodic techno. The latter genre is currently in vogue, reflecting how Solarstone caters to new listeners. Solarstone’s “Stripped Retouch” of Barrett & Bridger’s “Classic Dreams” mixes nostalgia with modern sounds as well in a nod to older fans. Collide The Sky’s techno-infused remix of Solarstone’s own “Leap Of Faith” offers yet another example of the power of exploration in this most recent entry in mix series.
Journey is emphasized above all else.
Trance is at its strongest when it takes you on a journey. In our hectic world, it is easy to forget to take a moment to breathe and soak it in. After the global explosion of the big room movement, some of the subtlety of house, trance, and techno felt lost. The market focused instead on party atmosphere and big, energetic drops. These have their place, but did we sacrifice the emotion in music for the overabundance of “three, two, one, everybody jump!” moments?
Pure Trance brings us back into that original mode of engaging with dance music. Each of the compilations are a collective journey, starting mellow and rising to the feverish energy of peak hour. It is not about raging into the night, but absorbing the substance from moment to moment. The ebb and flow of the series, of each artist’s mix, not only tells a story, but paints the canvas of the mind’s eye with a place to safely lose yourself.
In volume ten, there are a few moments in particular that capture this. One example is how the blend of Standard Forms’ remix of Siskin’s “Connected” and Alucard’s “Moontribe” featuring Amara turns the space between your ears into an open field for frolicking. An interplay between 892NOW’s “Felt” and Lostly’s “Sawubona” opens the gateway to a new world, transporting you from the immediate to the possible.
The word “trance” has its limits.
There’s plenty to attract new listeners in Pure Trance Vol. 10. It is worth exploring how the word “trance,” and the compilation series, may alienate as well.
The genre’s fanbase tends to forget this. Trance, as a market, birthed from the maws of the techno movement of the late 1980s, which greatly expanded during the mid-1990s. This is the reason the anthems of the first wave play so well with sounds ranging from techno to peak-hour trance even today.
Acid synths draw listeners in, and triplet bass lines keep them on the dance floor. Take “Aurelion” by Chris Connely on the third mix as an example. It could easily fit into the lull of a techno set and bring listeners to the heavens thanks to its sweeping breakdown and buildup thereafter. Would a techno fan necessarily pick up Pure Trance Vol. 10 to explore the sounds within, though? Unlikely — purely because of the word trance.
The series nonetheless works to remedy this injustice. Whether it is successful may be a moot point, but the effort is clear as day. Solarstone’s efforts don’t go unnoticed, and its worth noting how his goal remains to shake foundations by consistently putting out good music.
Rising sonic tides meet the ears of divinity.
Solarstone’s work crafting ten volumes of Pure Trance over the past decade shines through the gloom. It’s a reminder that all good things come from the heart of emotion, that dance floors don’t have to be banging if they can take you on a journey. That being said, banging is exactly when they can be when the energy strikes right.
The Pure Trance movement is far from being over. After ten-plus years, its ready to write a new chapter, forged with the passion, love, and energy we all hold in our hearts. Let us band together, cast our nets into this sonic sea, and get lost in the pure journey of Pure Trance.
Solarstone – Pure Trance Vol. 10 – Tracklist:
- Stoneface & Terminal – Lose My Need (Robert Nickson Chillout Intro Mix)
- Solarstone vs. Aquarius – Arpeggiator Shards
- Pablo Gargano – The Breeze
- Macker – Arrakis
- Barrett & Bridger – Classic Dreams (Solarstone Stripped Retouch)
- Siskin – Connected (Standard Form’s Waiting for Stars Mix)
- Alucard – Moontribe
- Deepcry – Delta
- Sinful Biz – Magnetic
- The Conductor & The Cowboy – Feeling This Way (Siskin Remix)
- Leap of Faith (Collide the Sky Remix)
- Sherpa – Perception
- Yuji Ono – Reverie (PTX Version)
- Orkidea – Xciter (Deestopia Remix)
- Adam Nickey – Escape
- Allende – Fading Light
- Tim Verkruissen – Velvet
- Oliver Imseng – Metaversal
- Jimi Python – Dream
- Proteus – Lost Love
- Brian McCalla – Stones
- Solarstone and Super-Frog Saves Tokyo – Rust (Luke Terry Remix)
- Temple One – As the Sun Breaks
- Stoby – Sun is High (Greg Murray Remix)
- Dave Begic – For What It’s
- Luke Terry – Unconditional
- Slipstream – Forgiven
- Charles Tsai – Prevail (Solarstone Retouch)
- Bjorn Akesson – Language (Factoria Remix)
- Solarstone – 4ever (Photographer Remix)
- Wavetraxx – Million Miles to Go
- Chris Connelly – Aurelion
- 892NOW – Felt
- Lostly – Sawubona
- The Digital Blonde – Untitled Dub with Young Parisians – Jump the Next Train (Acapella)
- Super-Frog Saves Tokyo – Reactivate (Solarstone Retouch)
- Robert Nickson – Transcend
- Derek Ryan – Hatsuyuki
- LostLegend – Running Man
- Chris Johnson – Cocktail
- Solarstone ft. Lucia Holme – The Last Defeat PT II (Sam Laxton Remix)
- Solarstone & Super-Frog Saves Tokyo – Existence (Pierre Pienaar Remix)
- John Askew – Push It (Dawn Mix)
- Stoneface & Terminal – Lose My Need (Robert Nickson Chillout Outro Mix)