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Trance atlantic air waves

Trance Atlantic Air Waves (also known as TAAW), is a side project from Michael Cretu and Jens Gad. Only one studio album was released, The Energy of Sound, by Virgin Records in 1998. Most of the songs were cover versions but there were also three original songs: Addiction Day, Twelve After Midnight, L-42. There were three singles (and two videos) released to promote the album: “Magic Fly”, “Chase”, and “Crockett’s Theme”. The melodies on “The Energy of Sound” are braided with distorted electric guitars and layered synthesizers with scattered voices to create the closest physical sound could ever come to that of the elusive resonance of music as heard in a memory flash. In retrospect, sounds, faces, and memories always seem more beautiful, glorious and in general more dramatic than during their current occurrence or being. By the same token, Trance Atlantic Air Waves is a collection of memories, brought to the present with no illusion of newness or commitment to questions of reverence usually associated with re-visiting works of the past.

You either hum them lost in thought or you happen to hear them on the radio, on old tapes or a scratched old vinyl record. Melodies that have one major thing in common: there is no human voice to accompany them. But still these sounds add up to distinct images in the mind’s eye somehow like an imaginary video clip. They‘re classics quoting themselves. Instrumental compositions are magic in their own way:: they tell stories without words and a different one for each listener. What remains is “The Energy Of Sound”.

“For years I’ve had this idea to collect well known and famous instrumental hits of completely different genres and styles, to work on them and to put them together to a new entity on an album,” sound wizard Michael Cretu summarizes his project, a concept which sounds quite simple and yet daring. The 40-year-old artist knows exactly what he’s talking about – by calling Enigma into life, he created and produced the most important and most successful vocal/instrumental project of this decade. With Jens Gad, Cretu had looked for and found the perfect partner for his work. The 31-year-old Dane did not only play an important role as a guitarist and remixer for the two last Enigma albums – in the 80ies, he made himself a name remixing (Spliff, Münchner Freiher) and songwriting (Milli Vanilli). From the very moment Cretu had the idea for his new project he also had the name for it: TRANCE.ATLANTIC.AIR.WAVES – T.A.AW.

The intrumental classics had to fulfill high standards: their success had to transcend all cultural and continental boundaries and this already excluded a few sound evergreens from the list – for instance, the main soundtrack theme from “Der Profi” (The Pro) which is only legendary in Europe. After strict selection, only seven tracks out of 30 remained.

“Lucifer” – first top 10 hit by the Alan Parsons Project at the end of 1979, the project of the British producers Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson

“Axel F.” – title track from the Grammy awarded “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack (1985). A world wide chartbreaker and dance classic by Munich producer Harold Faltermeyer.

“Crockett‘s Theme” – Jan Hammer’s no. 1 hit for the American TV series classic “Miami Vice” (1985)

“Dance With The Devil” – this powerful instrumental track rocketed drummer legend Cozy Powell right into the international top 5 in December 1973.

“Magic Fly (Wonderland Mix)” – the French group Space had a magical one-hit-wonder with “Magic Fly” which went straight to #1 of the German charts and became “Hit Of The Year” in 1977.

“Chase” – Oscar and Golden Globe winning title track by Giorgio Moroder from the movie “Midnight Express” (1978).

“Pulstar” – pulsating and catchy classic by Greek instrumentalist and pop poet Vangelis, 1976.

In this era of simple samples, the term cover version has a very negative twang to it. T.A.A.W corrects this image. The identity of the originals remains – and they are not clad in ill-fitting rhythm or sound guises. As if there were no trends to follow, only the accentuations, emphasis, rhythmic lines were carefully worked on, sounds, arrangements and melodies were interpreted anew.. This impressive piece of work results in an organic entity of outstanding tracks that seemingly had no common ground. The album is complemented by three T.A.A.W instrumentals serving as “bridges” or “hinges” holding together the intricate sound web of the seven classics. “Addiction Day”, “Twelve After Midnight” and “L-42” combine sensual magic and stormy power.

T.A.A.W paints a new picture with many colors and hues: the patchwork of many styles becomes one many facetted piece: a vague idea turns into a clear concept. You can be sure that DJ culture will benefit from this meeting of the generations – global chartbreakers from the 70’s and 80’s transported into the world of sound of the late 90’s – for their future work. The “Chase” remixes by DJ Quicksilver and Nalin & Kane are very audible proofs for this.


The Energy of Sound (1998)