Scooter – The Stadium Techno Experience
When I tell someone I may be spinning one or two Scooter tunes at a show, most folks look at me like I just told them I’m the Batman, and reply, “Really? Scooter? Why?” When I tell them why, I get a series of explosive spit-takes in return.
And it’s true. For a while, Scooter broke away from their happy hardcore roots, delivered a flying Fuck You to every critic who called them a cheeseball commercial techno outfit, and produced some of the best goddamn hard trance of all time.
The Stadium Techno Experience, released in 2003, really doesn’t have much to do with techno (sorry Americans, that word isn’t allowed here). Rather, we’re given an assortment of a few fairly standard Scooter party dance anthems that made them famous in the latter part of the 90’s, with the characteristic HP Baxxter shouting random words at the crowd, and sing-along choruses that give Scooter its trademark flavor.
And sprinkled in among those, we have majestic hard trance gems that are rare, and absolutely stunning. And when you hear them, you will not believe they were made by Scooter. Level One for example, samples Freedom by Chris Hülsbeck, and is unexpectedly epic, reminiscient of the massive stadium anthems of Rank 1, and has a darker sound that suits it well to underground raves and dark clubs.
Like Hypa Said, too, follows this vein of dramatic hard trance. With a vocal chorus that hearkens back to radio commercial jingles of the 1930’s, and sweeping arpeggios , it has an energy and intensity unlike most hard trance of the period. Really, it feels a lot like an Alphazone production: the bassline is grooving, it’s fast-paced, and the majestic melodies sound very much like the old Waterworld and Skywarp releases of the early 2000’s.
And of course, the album’s closer track, Soultrain, is a gem that shouldn’t be passed up by any connosieurs of the harder trance styles – it’s a pounding tune with a variety of moods, ranging from spacey breakdowns with pretty plucking synths, to intense piano melodies (it even includes breakbeats in the second breakdown, to give it some funky attitude!). The tune is fucking beefy.
For those of you who’ve never heard anything by Scooter beyond their latest attempts at hardstyle and house, or never caught anything after 1996, give this a listen. It’s a wicked hard trance album by a group who, regrettadbly, is better known for their cheesy productions, than the really solid powerhouses they frequently included alongside the cheddar.
H.P., if you’re reading this, call Jay Frog. Get him back. Give the world a little more of the badass Hard Trance you once made. Please.
For instance the song Level One. Greaaaaat stuff.