The first time I heard this track was in the fall of 2000. I was getting myself well established in my area as a DJ, and had gotten hooked up with a prominent local crew, throwing and playing several shows. You’ve probably heard me mention the crew, Collective Intelligence, on the podcast, from time to time. We had a knack for throwing shows, big and small, with really diverse lineups.
At one of these shows, I happened upon a DJ I’d never heard of, playing a really repetitive, psychedelic, atmospheric subgenre of trance that I hadn’t really paid that much attention to, up to that point in my DJ career, but for whatever reason, I decided to stop and give this DJ my ears (and feet) for a bit. At some point in his set, the DJ drops ‘Lithium’, by Paragliders.
I was instantly hooked. I was so overwhelmed by everything about this track, I could barely even dance, though I still managed to keep a bit of a “raver shuffle” going as I was mentally consumed by this track. The texture and layers of the pads, the thump of the kick drum, the subtle percussion elements, the plucky little bell-synth melody…it was like it had some primal effect over me and I just couldn’t get enough of it.
At the time, I was playing mostly house, progressive house, and what “trance” I was playing would have been classified more as “vocal” or “progressive” trance (think Alice DeeJay, Fragma, ATB, SM Trax, Blank & Jones, etc). I had no idea what I was hearing at the time with this deeper, more emotive, minimal-but-not track that had me…well, in a trance…but I know I loved it, and over the next few years, it was a sound I strived to incorporated in to my own trance sets.
Paragliders, as it turns out, is only one of the several aliases used by the great Oliver Lieb. To me, out of his entire catalog of AMAZING music, this track, still, is the quintessential piece of Oliver’s that I hold all of the rest of his music up to as a comparison. I’ve been a huge fan of his, for years.
When a lot of trance artists and labels started pulling away from the huge supersaw synth and vocal anthems in the trance world to go for more of what we referred to as the “prog” sound, no one could ever really deliver it, quite like Oliver.
He’s still very active, opting for more techno and tech-house productions than trance these days, but I think it’s great he’s still doing his thing, and doing it very well. If you’re interested in checking out his more recent work, his SoundCloud link is here.
I hope you enjoy this track as much as I have over the years. I loved it so much I scored it twice on vinyl, just in case something ever happened to one of them. The best part? He did 2 variations of the song (though he just numbered them 1 & 2, rather than calling one an original and the other a remix or VIP).