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Sublunar Oracles Remixes


Safe Trip
ST022D | 2021-10-08  
Back in 2019, Safe Trip delivered a much-needed reissue of Trans-4m’s previously overlooked 1992 debut album, Sublunar Oracles, an ambient house and ambient techno masterpiece from Belgian brothers Stefan and Dimitri van Elsen. Now the label has decided to dip into their archives again to offer-up an EP of remixes and alternative versions, none of which have previously been available on digital download.

When it was originally recorded in 1991 and early ’92, Sublunar Oracles was tailor-made for chill-out rooms and horizontal home listening. Yet when it came to promote the album, the van Elsen brothers and the label they were signed to, Buzz, decided to deliver two 12” singles featuring new versions aimed squarely at dancefloors. It’s these revisions, which have long been in demand on vinyl, that make up the bulk of this digital download release.

The set begins with a chunky remix of album favourite ‘Arrival’ which was first released on vinyl by Safe Trip back in 2019. Full of bubbly bass, shuffling breakbeats, shimmering ambient techno motifs, chiming lead lines and hazy astronaut chatter, it’s a genuinely kaleidoscopic revision tailor-made for sunsets and sunrises. It’s followed by the 1993 ‘Moon Mix’ of ‘Amma’, a feverish, tribal-tinged club revision that’s as luscious, melodious and loved-up as any ambient techno track recorded in the early 1990s.

The EP also boasts two sought-after reworks from the duo’s 1992 single Dencity, both of which brilliantly re-imagine the gentle ambient house track for the dancefloor. There’s the ‘Urban Tribe Mix’, a bolder and heavier take featuring crunchier, weightier drums, gently psychedelic electronics and New Jersey garage style organ stabs, and the ‘Club Mix’, where saucer-eyed chords, echoing bleeps and energetic piano riffs help drive the track forwards.

Closing out the EP is previously unreleased track ‘Butterflies’. Recorded during the same period as the album at the van Elsen brothers’ home studio in Antwerp, it’s a starry, slowly unfurling ambient delight in which waves of attractive, undulating synthesizer sounds, yearning chords and deep space electronics dance away atop a shuffling, soft-touch drum machine beat. While it may have been shelved in 1992, it’s every bit as immersive and tactile as anything on Sublunar Oracles.

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