From Orion to JODA, the career of one of the most interesting artists of the last twenty years
Exactly twenty years have passed, year 2002, since the hits “Destination” (with Roxanne Wilde) and “The Theme” (under the pseudonym Jurgen Vries) climbed the UK singles chart: this is the story of one of the most influential trance music producers (and not only) of the last two decades which in recent months has returned to make people talk about itself thanks to a surprising and rediscovered collaboration and much more.
The career of the London producer Darren Isaac Tate had actually already begun two years earlier, in 2000: “Eternity”, under the pseudonym Orion, captured all the trance energy present in clubs around the world in those years: a balearic guitar, a long suspended atmosphere and a powerful psychedelic trance chorus pave the way to success: but 2000 for Darren is not only the Orion project: that summer comes the collaboration with Judge Jules and Julius O’Riordan for the super hit “It’s My Turn” under the Angelic project, he was also behind this famous success, repeated the following year with the tracks “Can’t Keep Me Silent” and “Stay With Me”.
It’s 2003 and Darren embraces a new precious collaboration, this time with Jono Grant of Above & Beyond (who were on the launch pad for the final consecration): the purely trance and emotional sound of the track “Let The Light Shine In” conquers all lovers of the genre, becoming one of the most explanatory tracks of the genre in those years: it will then be Shirley Randall to support the song, adding her voice and the refrain “You are my guide, You are my life, You take me to a place, Where I can shine” becomes legendary: in the same year, will also be released by them “Noctural Creatures”.
In 2004 the voice of Andrea Britton appears in Darren’s projects: for “Take My Hand” (under the alias Jurgen Vries) and especially for “Winter” (as DT8 Project), both tracks characterized by a refined trance sound, synonymous with a further artistic maturation that will even lead him to successfully experiment with house music, with the hit “The Sun Is Shining (Down On Me)” (top 20 in the UK Singles Chart): multiplicity that will be expressed in the album “Perfect World” from 2007 in which trance and progressive elements are combined with house and ambient rhythms.
In a musical panorama that over the last decade has suffered from the excessive demand for “numbers”, many times to the detriment of quality and a sort of “globalization” between musical genres, Darren Tate is among the artists who have managed to remain in his own “territory” but still giving himself the opportunity to continue exploring: with this philosophy, Darren has come to the present day, still giving us a precious trance repertoire and at the same time, opening himself up to the opportunity to explore “old and new electronic sounds”.
As a demonstration of what has been said, some of the tracks of recent years such as “On My Own” (with Lustral) “Grains”, “Carry On”, “Cycles”, “Broken”, “Leave It All Behind”, “Forever” and the last “Half Awake”, all tracks characterized by a well-kept sound between progressive and trance that we particularly appreciated; the spotlight, however, in this 2022, undoubtedly remained focused on two particular projects in which Darren Tate reconnected with his friends Jono, Paavo and Tony of Above & Beyond:
The first, the ambient / classic soundtrack curated by Darren Tate and Above & Beyond for the documentary “The Last Glaciers” that took viewers to Antarctica, the Alps, the Andes and the Himalayas and beyond, exploring the causes and effects of climate change around the world, released in March and the second, the new musical project together with Jono Grant of Above & Beyond called JODA, in which the two artists tried their hand at experimenting with the synthwave and downtempo sound with a strong reference to 80s music and the singles “We Find Ourselves”, “Closer” (feat. Robyn Sherwell), “Shape Of Your Heart”, “Dark Strings”, “Try” and the album released on August 26 that bears the name of the project (on Anjunabeats), absolutely confirmed the expectations.
The pandemic and a severe global lockdown have led many artists to take the choice between two paths: to remain still or to experiment: we hope that the elegance with which artists like Darren Tate still enjoy experimenting and at the same time wink at the music of the past, will be an example for all other artists who want to produce exciting and quality music in these times that still appear dark and in which there is still a need for good music.