Review of Trance Mission by Paul Oakenfold

Paul Oakenfold is a legend and is releasing a new album titled ‘Trance Mission” that takes a new approach to some older tracks, some of the most popular tracks of all time. The album will feature 12 cover versions of some of his favorite trance records and after listening to the preview he does a great job. This shouldn’t be a surprise given the longevity of his career.

The term cover is often thought of when you see a local band playing their own versions of songs at a wedding or free outdoor concert somewhere. In the world of dance music we think of the words producing, remixing and mash-ups. Not cover versions. Oakenfold does just that though with this album creating his own versions of 12 classic tracks that are instantly recognizable by anyone who has listened to trance music dating back over the past two decades.

Paul Oakenfold’s ‘Tranceport’ in 1998 and his twelve Essential Mixes in 1999 are what got me hooked on trance and this album brings back memories of that era in a positive way. Some current fans may not have been born when some of these were originally released but that proves how timeless dance music can be.

“Theme for Great Cities”, “Cafe Del Mar” and “Dreams” are three instantly recognizable tracks that defined 1990s trance. The original elements are still in place that made them the classics that they are today.

“Adaigo for Strings” is often thought of as Tiësto‘s track but the original was first composed by Samuel Barber in 1936 and has been reproduced a number of times since then, not just by Tiësto (nothing against Tiësto, his version is a classic). In the YouTube description of this track Oakenfold said he thought about keeping the track off of the album but, “every time I took Adagio out of the proposed Trance Mission tracklist — it felt incomplete.” This version contains the classical piano but also adds the big room sound that is popular at festivals.

“Toca Me” is another 1990s track that as Oakenfold says, “was one of those tracks that you could play in any situation and the place would go off.” He also said it was the first track that he wanted on the final copy.

“Ready Steady Go” is a Paul Oakenfold original that has been remixed for the first time and he handed the reigns over to breaks producers Beatman and Ludmilla.

“Not Over Yet” was released in 1993 under the name Grace that was a side project between Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne and has had new life over the past 20 years with numerous remixes, most recently in 2011 by Protoculture and Max Graham.

Oakenfold describes “Awakening” better than I could and why he included it saying, “Every time I used to play this record I always imaged a killer breaks version so when I decided to add this to the final tracklist — that’s the direction I took it in. Still keeping the original drive and dynamics but with a breakbeat vibe.”

“Madagascar” and “Open Your Eyes” are two proper trance tracks that evoke some amazing emotion and melodies. These two tracks define late 90s trance.

Oakenfold describes “Hold That Sucker Down” saying, “Covering the record I wanted to do something totally different so decided to take a deeper spacey techno vibe.”

“Touch Me” is a stripped back version that is a perfect way to close out the album with its chill out feel to it compared to the original as a club hit. The original version was a hit in clubs in 2001 and is a track that has become familiar to fans of Markus Schulz who has often closed out his marathon open to close sets with the original.


Paul Oakenfold – Theme for Great Cities (original by Simple Minds)
Paul Oakenfold – Cafe Del Mar (original by Energy 52)
Paul Oakenfold – Dreams (original by Quench)
Paul Oakenfold – Barber’s Adaigo for Strings (Vocal Mix) (original by Samuel Barber)
Paul Oakenfold – Toca Me (original by Fragma)
Paul Oakenfold – Ready Steady Go (Beatman & Ludmilla remix) (original by Paul Oakenfold)
Paul Oakenfold – Not Over Yet (original by Grace – a project that featured Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne)
Paul Oakenfold – Awakening (original by Rank 1)
Paul Oakenfold – Madagascar (original by Art of Trance)
Paul Oakenfold – Open Your Eyes (original by Nalin and Kane)
Paul Oakenfold – Hold That Sucker Down (original by The OT Quartet)
Paul Oakenfold & Cassandra Fox – Touch Me (original by Rui Da Silva and Cassandra Fox)

Armada CD pre-order:
iTunes digital pre-order: Trance Mission – Paul Oakenfold


Full release: June 20th


Listen to a preview of the album here:

Direct SoundCloud link.

Or on YouTube:

Direct YouTube link.