Chicane: Behind the Sun

Behind the Sun

I can’t really call this an “album,” or a “CD,” because the only applicable term here can be “creation.” Whatever it is, it contains endless mystical grooves and pulsing dance variations the likes of which I have never heard in my life.

Chicane is a British bloke (Nick Bracegirdle) and he’s never released an album in the United States, despite the fact that his song “Strong in Love” climbed to the #1 slot on the U.S. Billboard dance chart in 1998 even though it was only available as an import single.

However, July 18 finally saw the release of a Chicane full length in the States, entitled Behind the Sun. You must buy it. Shall I tell you why? Well, Xtravaganza Recordings came up with this crazy new classification called “cosmopolitan dance music,” and the term definitely applies here. Chicane ever so gently brushes shoulders with hardcore rave music, but fully engages mystical off-beat rhythms, pouring this concoction into an epic dance song format (up to 10 minutes long!) fully equipped with different movements, both slow and fast. This is beautifully evident in “No Ordinary Morning,” a song that contains rowdy, synthetic drum beats streaming into something that sounds like the theme to The Neverending Story.

“Don’t Give Up” is another great song on this album, with (of all people) Bryan Adams singing. Obviously, this is a very different role for him, but it surprisingly suits him just fine. His voice melts into intense synthesizer effects, even though the lyrics are a bit too simple.

There are several other songs, such as “Low Sun,” “Autumn Tactics,” and “Andromeda” that all enact something very special in the way they match their titles to their descriptive nature in a kind of “electronic free-verse.” This is something that Joe Satriani accomplishes constantly in his instrumental guitar overtures. Very impressive indeed.

Behind the Sun has been all the rage on the European club scene, but in my opinion it only fits partly in that manner. The music of Chicane spins a glistening web, a glass portrait, that seems too fragile to be played in clubs. Perhaps that only adds to the allure.