The origin of how I fell in love with music—started to truly appreciate it and be a hardcore listener—is rather unusual and, to be a tad bit sentimental, perhaps also emblematic of the early twenty-first century: As a young boy in search of combo videos for the likes of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Capcom vs. SNK 2.
It was a whole different era in Internet time. My family had known only dial-up for most of my pre-teens, and only recently had we gotten the cutting edge in connection speeds: Cable! Not that DSL bullcrap; we got the top dog.
In lieu of YouTube, which wouldn’t exist for about four more years, I often looked to good ol’-fashioned P2P filesharing client Kazaa (the alternative to the likes of Shareaza) to get my fix of combo videos. Cumulatively, they were the source from which I began to independently form my musical tastes.
However, there was one single video so formative of an influence, seeing it was practically the moment I went from treating music as a casual curiosity to something worth as much dedication as my beloved video games. It just so happened to be a short, primarily A-Groove demonstration for Capcom vs. SNK 2.
The combos themselves were overall just aight, nothing way too extraordinary. Rather, what caught my attention the most was that it was soundtracked by these two beautiful-sounding dance songs which I would later find out were part of this kind of music called trance. The second song used was a remix (though I didn’t know it was a remix at the time) of “The Tube” by DJ Tiësto, whose mix CDs like Nyana and the Magik series would eventually give me the wide view of trance music that would make it my first genre obsession.
And the first song?
Capcom Vs. SNK 2
This masterpiece from Vincent de Moor and Ferry Corsten, collaborating together under the moniker Veracocha. You notice how the combo video starts off with the solo piano melody that builds up to that majestic synth line? That was when I knew: “I am in love with whatever this is, and I need more of it.” Nothing before that moment ever captivated me the way this did. That was when I officially fell in love with music.
I still believe, no lie, that it is one of music’s greatest moments. Yet it’s a mere single element of an incredible whole. Every bassline, synthesizer, and piano sounds gorgeous. The whole thing goes by in an epic sweep—the full seven-minute version is the only version that exists, no radio edits allowed—complete with a masterful three minutes of build-up before the main synths bring in peak euphoria. And I’m pretty sure little me’s mind was blown upon first hearing the piano melody come back with the song at full speed.
Put simply, “Carte Blanche” is one of the best tracks of the late-90's/early-2000's period of trance music, practically an encapsulation of everyting appealing and wonderful about it. I was incredibly lucky to have found this when I did.
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.