on 14 January 2006
The ridiculously talented and ever innovative Space Brothers first made their way into the public concsciousness in summer '95 with the joyously upbeat "Stay with me". Released under the pseudonym Ultrahigh, the track was a hit with Pete Tong and was soonafter signed to the Eternal imprint, securing a Top 40 position for itself. In 1996 the Space Brothers' career really took off upon the release of their staggeringly poignant "I am". Having originally surfaced on the Jackpot label, "I am" received a full relase on Warner and the sobriquet employed this time was Chakra. "I am" was the biggest progressive vocal trance hit of 1996 and became one of the Space Bros' biggest chart hits to date, peaking at number 23.
The following year the Space Brothers returned with their now legendary single "Shine". Featuring the vocals of Joanna Law, "Shine" was eons ahead of its time, and was itself the subject of an intense bidding war between Manifesto and Perfecto as to the rights to sign the track, Manifesto proving the successor.
The Space Brothers were always well known for recording under a variety of guises, including the aforemention Chakra (whose tracks included "I am", the soaring 1997 classic "Home", the criminally underrated "Love shines through" and the latterday "Doors". All Chakra releases featured Kate Cameron at the helm).
Other pseudonyms included Ascension, under which they released "Someone" on Perfecto in 1997, without doubt one of the highlights of their career; Essence, whose "The promise" became an overnight sensation in 1998; Klymax, with the lesser known "I've got a feeling", released on Indie label ZTT in 1996; Force Majeure; Lamai, whose stunning "Troubled soul" featuring vocals by Ursula (aka Dominique Atkins aka Grace) is one of the finest vocal trance records of the last decade; and of course Lustral, which featured Chicane chanteuse Tracey Ackerman. Lustral's heartfelt "Everytime" was one of the biggest trance records of late 1997, the Nalin & Kane mix in particular occasioned one Pete Tong to hail the track as 'the best song i've heard in the last ten years'. Lustral returned in 1998 with "Solace" and later released "Broken" in 2002.
As for the Space Brothers outfit under their own name, that continued unabated in 1997 with "Forgiven", the much anticipated follow up to UK Top 30 smash "Shine". Again featuring the lilting vocals of Joanna Law, whose dulcit tones also graced "The gift" - Way Out West, "Forgiven" became a massive hit in its own right and further cemented the Space Bros' reputation as forerunners in the vocal trance arena.
After a hugely successful 1997, the Space Brothers moniker was put to rest, albeit temporarily, only to be revived in summer '99 when they returned with a vengeance with one of the highlights of a very illustrious career, in the shape of the peerless "Legacy (Show me love)". This time featuring Kate Cameron, "Legacy" was an introspective yet hugely uplifting vocal trance classic featuring an earth-shattering, roofraising remix from Matt Darey. Following the success of "Legacy" the Space Bros' then released the equally massive "Heaven will come", featuring remixes by Olmec Heads and Lange.
Towards the end of 1999 Manifesto commissioned "Shine", the debut artist album from Space Brothers. Deemed something of an oddity in an age where trance acts come and go with but one hit under their belts, the fact that a pioneering trance outfit having achieved unprecedented commercial success in the UK, were able to write, produce and release a critically acclaimed artist album featuring their past hits and clutch of new tracks, is testimony to both to their talent, dedication, music capability and to the new life they'd breathed into the genre.
The album strikes a balance between blissed out downtempo excursions and high octane euphoria. Track 1, the crystalline "Your place in the world" falls into the first category, with Kate Cameron's exquisite vocal underpinned by sublime balearic infused production. Track 2 is the inimitable "Shine", featured here in its full length glory and sounding as contemporary as ever.
"This is love" is another downtempo masterpiece, this time featuring vocals by Perfecto signing Grace, whose 1995 smash "Not over yet" is still determined to be one of the best trance recordings of all time.
Track 4 showcases the runaway success that was "Heaven will come". Executed in a similar style to "Shine", "Heaven will come" was a revelation in vocal trance.
Next up is the quirky and instantly likeable "I still love you". Arguably the best track on the album "I still love you" sees the Space Brothers going down the funky house-trance route, as later popularised by Gabriel & Dresden
Track 7 "Forgiven", the Space Bros' second single, is another highlight, featuring the powerhouse vocals of '80s singer Joanna Law.
"The same journey" is another downbeat masterwerk that further showcases the Bros' chameleon like quality. Their third single "Legacy" is track nine, and is featured here in the form of the 'album mix', which differs from the club mix inasmuch as it is a plaitive downtempo offering whereas the club mix, as featured on the single release, is a much more joyous and less melancholy affair.
The slightly forgettable "Beyond the sun" marks the end of the album and really the only low point on the disc. It's not a bad track essentially, but when pitched against its nine predecessors fails really to hold it's own.
Now the real surprise with this album is that it features a disc full of glorious Space Brothers remixes, all cobbled together by ardent Space Brothers supporter and fellow fanatic, Paul Oakenfold.
Ten mixes, all full length, are included, the highlights being the awesome unreleased Matt Darey second remix of "Legacy", which really has to be heard to be believed; the also unreleased Lange remix of "Heaven will come", a truly stratosphere cruising affair as overhauled by fellow trance innovator Lange; the Space Bros own remix of "I still love you", executed in true euphoric trance style; the proggy Origin remix of "Forgiven", another unreleased exclusive; Planet Heaven take on "Shine" and do a sterling job of rendering the magical original even more so; the Tastexperience mix of "This is love" is absolutely spellbinding, akin in terms of sheer brilliance to their own work such as the mighty, Manifesto released monster "Summersault".
All in all a fantastic album, the remix disc really putting the icing on the cake. A must have for anyone who appreciates high quality, groundbreaking vocal trance music of the highest calibre.
on 3 July 2000
The Space Brothers offer with "Shine" a very good dance album indeed. And the reason this album is very good is mostly due to the fact that it is not only made of dance tracks, and the more down tempo ones are sometimes absolutely fantastic. Proof is the sublime "The Light", slightly trancey in the same way that made Hybrid's "Wide Angle" the most interesting dance record of the decade. Although the production here is nowhere near as good as the above mentioned Hybrid, there is a good vibe about the songs, from the anthemic and nearly twin tracks "Shine" and "Forgiven", to the opening "Your Place In The World" or "This Is Love". The remix album accompanying "Shine", mixed by Paul Oakenfold, is a further proof that The Space Brothers have the power to rule on the dancefloors.