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Sunday Samples 155

January 10, 2010

Sometime this last week I decided to pull out my old Dune albums. There’s something about happy hardcore that’s incredibly cheesy and yet you just don’t care. It also reminds me of the Glu Glu festival I went to one weekend while I was in Budapest with the Clay Math Institute’s summer program. I knew before then that Europe had the good music, but I didn’t realize to what extent they didn’t appreciate it. Thousands of mostly European youth (mostly Hungarian, but drawing from across the continent) all dancing like drunk fratboys. It was enough to make my moves look good.

Okay so yeah. Dune. They were named after the Frank Herbert book, and I think my first introduction was through “The Spice”, off of their first, self-titled album, which is of course a reference to the book. As is common with happy hardcore, they did some interesting stuff with vocal samples that it would be a stretch to even call “lyrics”, as in “Positiv Energy”.

But they also had an actual vocalist in Verena von Strenge. She really came into her own within the project on their 1996 sophomore outing, Expedicion, on tracks like “Rainbow to the Stars”, which (as you might guess from the title) is locked in on the primal nature of the happy hardcore genre, and one of the group’s most bankable outings. Despite being broken up, they even managed to rework years later as “Rainbow to the Stars 2003”, with a video that calls nothing to mind so much as SyFy’s pop-space-operatics like Stargate or the miniseries remake of.. yes.. Dune. Cheesy and overdone, sure. But man, German women can sing beautifully in English.

Ride a rainbow to the stars
Keep the faith right in your heart
If you let your dreams come true
Then happiness will follow you

Life is just a game we play
Happiness is here to stay
If you want to win this race
There’s someone who can take your place

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