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I bought this album because I fell in love with "Children" and I was desperate to hear the rest of the album.
The album as a whole is very much a trance album. It has stomping beats and addictive riffs that you can't help but play over and over. It's a perfect driving CD and it's perfect for playing in the house when you need a bit of motivation (usually when doing the housework LOL). The two tracks that stand out to me the most are "Children" and "Fable". "Children" was the song that threw Robert Miles into the spotlight back in the 90s. It's supposed to be a song that is played at the end of the night to "calm" clubbers down. Maybe this is true as the song starts off slow then explodes into a massive trance anthem. The video is of a young girl looking out of a train's window as it speeds through the city. It's a haunting song but it's one that I never forget and this version on the album is even better as it's the extended version.
"Fable" is another stomping trance anthem that was a great partner to "Children". Although the song isn't as well known as it's rival it's still a fantastic tune and the bassline is so addictive.
This is a great trance album and it's a great album to just chill out to.
A great trance album.
I have to say, 'Children' is one of the best dance records of all time. Proof that you don't need vocals, just a decent melody and a good beat and you can win your audience over. It was a brave move, but the single went on to be huge across Europe, giving Miles a number two hit in the UK and a good grounding for the release of his debut album.
Who is he?
Italian DJ and producer Robert Miles favours instrumental piano based music, dance orientated.
On this album:
The stunning 'Children' starts in a haunting fashion, with a piano on its own playing just a few notes, then a thunderclap follows and a drum roll starts to build in the background. You can feel the start of something big looming. Then it explodes, full force. The piano breaks into a wonderful uplifting melody and the kick drums power away, driving the track. You will get lost in the luscious melody and halfway into the song you will be taken aback at how the piano sweeps over you. Simply stunning.
If you liked that track, head for 'Fable' which offers more of the same, only using a slightly different riff. It is a sell-out, but if it works once, why not milk it a bit. Another dreamy piece of piano dance pop.
'Fantasy' is calmer, but benefits from a mellow sounding vocal sweep which gives the song an ethereal edge. Think Delerium and Airscape and you will be on the right track. It is quite rambling and needs a stronger riff, but the relaxing melody will wash over you.
Only 10 tracks and a reprise of 'Children' lets this down, I would have liked a few more vocal based songs, but if you're after some stirring Italio-dreamy trance then this will suit you.
Robert Miles will always be remembered for writing perhaps the most iconic piece of trance music in history; Children - which isn't exactly a bad thing is it?
The track has to be one of the most remixed and covered tracks in music history, but few know it was written by Robert in response to photographs of child war victims his father had brought home from a humanitarian mission in the former Yugoslavia.
Aside from this rather substantial track, the layers of rippling synth combined with piercing keyboard notes and gorgeous female harmonies (most notable in the stunning Fable) creates a relaxing chill out mood, and an album which has far wider appeal than the dance floors. Although Children understandably always grabs the headlines, the rest of the album has a lot to offer and despite being a touch repetitive in a few places fans of trance and electronica should find plenty to enjoy.
Robert Miles first conceived the idea of his ground breaking record "Children" after continually watching horrific news reports. The main road through the island of Ibiza also happened to be where a number of the biggest clubs were - and still are - located. Countless young lives were lost on the road, as loved up clubbers would make their way home from the clubs in the early hours of the morning, only to be mown down by psychotic drivers, off their heads on who knows what. The love of Mediterranean teenagers for their scooters was also highlighted as a major problem. Such teenagers were highly vulnerable to the dangerous traffic, as they would often ride with virtually no physical protection and more often than not in a high state of euphoria from the mixture of drugs and music that they had just tasted in the clubs.
The song Children was therefore dedicated to all these young people whose lives were being tragically wasted. Robert Miles believed that a period of more chilled out, mellow dance music would calm the kids in the clubs and would leave them in a much fitter state to go home after their night out. This is chilled club music at its most poignant - music dedicated to saving the lives of the clubbers who would enjoy it so much. In Miles' own words:
"This album is dedicated to all those people who seek emotion, reflection and peace in music....It doesn't take much...You only need to close your eyes.....And let the music take you away."
Of all the club music albums that I possess, few are as mood-driven as this one. I seldom listen to this album, simply because it is strangely emotional. This is not an uplifting album in the conventional manner as the music is generally very sombre. This is my ultimate chill-out album. When I'm stressed out or unhappy, I simply slip this disc into the player, sit down and relax. This is the most important thing when you listen to this album; if you play it at the wrong time it will be boring, repetitive and possibly very depressing. It's also a wonderful album to play if you're lying in bed and need something to help you unwind.
Only one track on the album features a conventional vocalist (One and One) featuring the vocals of Maria Nayler, whose career has since failed to escalate in quite the way many imagined it would. One and One is still in keeping with the dreamy, piano driven house music of the rest of the album, but has a more conventional structure that brought mass appeal in both the charts and the clubs. It's definitely one of my favourite tracks; Maria Nayler's vocals seem to complement this style of music so well. (Another track worth listening out for elsewhere is Maria Nayler's duet with Sasha - Be As One - a classic track).
The album spawned three singles - all of which made the top 5 in the UK - Children, Fable and One & One. There are two (not entirely dissimilar) versions of both Children and Fable on the album, though it has to be said that I get the impression that they were included for reasons of quantity rather than quality. Most of the tracks on the album are over six minutes long, so even with a track listing of 9 songs this would have been a fairly lengthy album. There is little merit in reviewing each track independently as the formula is almost identical for each (a steady, progressive beat, coupled with a simple piano instrumental, all coupled with various dreamy, trance-like sound effects). If I'm honest, the whole album is a little too much in one go for me and five or six tracks is about my limit. The music is consistently catchy though; even now I occasionally find myself humming a tune that I eventually work out is one of the tracks from this album.
So is a whole album of this music gratuitous? In many ways, yes, it is. The album is arranged rather like an epic. Although the tracks aren't exactly mixed (in DJ terms) they do virtually run from one into the next without a pause. For chill-out purposes, you could probably enjoy the 12" single of either Children or Fable but I personally think that some of the better, more haunting tunes were never released as singles, and so I still enjoy the album more. Around 1996, when this was released, the whole piano house concept took off in a big way, with Italian producers spawning new records like a production line. Only Robert Miles seemed to have any real empathy with the music though - the rest of the stuff was generally very unmemorable.
Following the success of Dreamland, Miles made the classic mistake of taking a bit of a break. When he returned with his follow-up, 23 a.m., the piano house movement was over and he attempted instead to migrate his sound towards more conventional house music. Sadly, he was infinitely less successful with this, and his name rapidly bombed out of both the singles and album charts. Nonetheless, Dreamland remains a memorable part of my music collection - and is a fond reminder of previous Balearic holidays.
You can download the album at iTunes or purchase the CD online for around £7.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
5 In My Dreams
6 Princess of Light
7 Fable (Dream Version)
8 In the Dawn
9 Children (original)
10 Red zone