It should be no secret that I’m a fan of electronic music. You name the sub-genre, I’ve probably listened to it at one point in time, or even currently do on a regular basis. However, my favorite sub-genre of electronic music is by far that of “Trance,” or to be even more specific, “Progressive Trance.” Personally, there is nothing better to encourage me to focus on whatever task I have at hand, whether it is homework, driving, or even thinking. It is my “brain music,” so to speak.
At the pinnacle of my love for “prog-trance” is the British composer and producer Nick Bracegirdle, who operates under the pseudonym of Chicane. Although he seems to have faded away to relative obscurity in recent years, Chicane was at one point in time a pioneer of modern electronic music, with hits in the 1990s and early 2000s such as “Offshore,” “Saltwater,” “Don’t Give Up,” and “Poppiholla.” Although not everything that he releases could be considered the progressive form of trance music (in fact, many of his songs cannot), the non-progressive songs all serve the notion that Chicane is a very versatile producer and songwriter.
His newest album, technically not even released yet in commercial form (so far, it’s only available as a box set, but is set for commercial release in April), is titled Thousand Mile Stare, and is positioned as a follow-up to his 2010 album Giants, which was a return of sorts to his early sound. However, it has a much different, much more relaxing feel to it than Giants did—something that shouldn’t be looked down upon at all.
Thousand Mile Stare begins with a somewhat gentle, piano-focused progressive trance song, then moves onto its title track (which has a sort of dance feel to it) and onto what is one of the most beautiful vocal tracks I’ve heard from any genre, titled “Playing Fields.”
The rest of the album is much the same mix of relaxing-yet-upbeat songs, with the exception of the first—and so far only—single, titled “Going Deep.” This song is a complete blend of trance and 90s rap, and although many “hardcore” Chicane fans aren’t a fan of it, I am. It follows along rather well with the focused feeling of the rest of the album (despite the rap), and bundles the two seemingly-opposing genres together quite brilliantly, if I say so myself.
In short, Thousand Mile Stare is the perfect album for people who want to be productive or who want to relax. It’s a paradox then, and rightly a good one. I definitely recommend this album when it comes out in April. It’s a solid A.