Given that the indulgence of the '90s has been an overriding theme in Groundislava's work thus far—from old-school R&B and hip-hop to overblown trance and techno (not to mention retro technology)—it's no surprise that he chose to walk us through a selection of his favorite rave anthems for the latest edition of our Hi-Five series. "The shit that really got me hooked on electronic music was uplifting trance during my days as a middle school kid with a 5 GB, first-generation iPod," says the LA producer, whose third full-length album, Frozen Throne, is due to arrive later this month via Friends of Friends/Wedidit. "Been listening to a lot of those tunes again lately, so I wanted to make this list sort of an homage to that real real rave shit."
ATB "Don't Stop"
This shit is one of my favorites of all time, and is definitely an absolute classic when it comes to trance music. I still remember hearing this shit when I was going to raves in high school (2006-2008), which is pretty wild considering it came out in 1999. It's shit like this that got me fucked up as a kid trying to make music, because I'd be putting 909 snare rolls and build-ups into every track, even like, chill-out shit. The classic ATB guitar sound is one of my favorite synth sounds of all time as well, and definitely inspired me to appreciate all the "real instrument"-type patches on my Yamaha SY77 and DX7.
Rank 1 "Airwave"
I don't think I would have gotten obsessed with dance music as a kid without this track. One of my best homies in middle school, this kid Sean Fujiyoshi (shout out if you're reading this bruh) gave me this compilation called Best of Velfarre Cyber Trance 2000. The whole compilation was the shit, but this track was FIRE. The chord progression is so emotional yet uplifting. When the filter finally opens up and the synth becomes 10 miles wide in that breakdown, I get chills. It's crazy to think I first heard this like, 13 years ago or something. I still have my iPod with the moving wheel from then, and I remember pulling this up so many fucking times on that thing. The alternate mix he did with Dutch Force definitely goes a bit harder, so I put that one there too.
Ferry Corsten "Beautiful"
I know this one is corny as fuck, but I remember hearing this at a rave in like, 2007, and just going so wild. I think it was a Together As One (LOL) event where he played with Deadmau5 (peep "Faxing Berlin" and "Not Exactly", he was actually making some great tracks around this time!) and Sasha and John Digweed. When he dropped this track, the room went so fucking wild. I rarely listen to this song anymore, it's ironically much more dated sounding than the ATB and Rank 1 tracks I mentioned, but whenever I think about trance music and raves and that whole culture, that night and this song pop into my head. The melody is really great too.
Guru Josh Project "Infinity 2008"
So this is a remake of the original from 1990(?), which is definitely the more classic track... but since this is MY list I'm putting this one. I'd be lying if I said the other one wasn't before my time. All that matters is that fucking saxophone and it's in both versions. This song is still fire. I feel like this is the definition of an ANTHEM.
So this track is realllllly cheesy, but I love it. What makes it an absolute necessity on this list, for me, is that it's not only a classic rave anthem, but also about my favorite video game of all time, DOTA (Defense of the Ancients), which I've been playing for the better half of a decade. The video shows them playing the game and includes samples from the game as well ("I hear you mon!"). His other single from the same time, "Boten Anna," is actually a better song in my opinion, but it's not as close to my heart since it's not also about DOTA. It does have a pretty cool concept regardless, with the lyrics talking about some girl he met in an IRC chat (Anna) or something like that. In the video they actually show him on an IRC chat client. If he put this out in 2014, he would be killing it on Tumblr and shit.
For some reason they remade both songs and videos a bunch of times, and made English versions, and they were NEVER as good. I don't actually remember hearing these tracks getting played by DJs much, but man did these get rinsed on my fucking iPod while I played DOTA… LOL. Only fuck with the versions that I linked here, those are the OG ones.