01. Rank 1 - Beats At Rank-1 Dotcom (Extended Mix) [06:58]
It was the summer of Euro 2004 and a pretty Greek summer at that: not only did the Greeks take the Cup right before our noses (ARGH! Scolari you tw*t!), that year Sensation White’s theme was all about the Greek gods. My brother had just acquired the Sensation White compilation and was giving her a spin. We enjoyed the typical epic intro to the CD and enjoyed the first track -The Anthem 2004- as well. The Rush boys sure knew their anthems and it’s a shame they never had a collab with Piet and Benno back then: I am pretty positive it would have been a Classic to remember! Anyway! The next track was being mixed in. And that track was B@R1DC.
02. Rank 1 - After Me [07:06]
It was ID&T compilation time again in January 2005! My brother had bought the Innercity 2004 as well as the Trance Energy 2005 compilations and as it was becoming a tradition by now, we went to check them out together. Both “claimed” to have some new Rank 1 material, the Innercity CD2 containing After Me and the TE comp claiming to contain “Johan Gielen vs. Rank 1 - Dreamchild” (it later turned out this was a track listing error: even though Benno and Piet are mentioned in the credits for this track I read on their old message board that they had given the track to Johan who then completed it with Jim Hermsen a.k.a. Outback. But enough about that!)
As it kicked in an interesting bassline backed by breaks was introduced with a gentle pad revealing hints of the magical melodies that were to follow, be it in an interrupted pattern. I remember that my brother commented years later that the slightly techy percussion used for the beat might have lied at the basis of Top Gear: The reverbed effects and techy sounds were already present in AM. Ahum! Anyway! Beautiful strings are revealed as slowly the breakbeat fades and a male voice starts singing "All I can feel is the truth (or truce?) coming after me, and all I can find is the love". Though in later years I would grow quite a dislike for male vocals in Trance based tracks, After Me's vox worked surprisingly well with the melody. Slowly we heard a sort of pluck melody filtering in the background and as the vox stretched the "looooooooooove" part, a quick snare play unleashed the beat, bass and pluck melody into a great melodic whole that sent me off to images of the sun setting and the sky turning into a colourful mix of yellow, orange and red. The melodic magic of this Rank 1 Masterpiece got me right away: an instant fave! To my great joy, that Innercity 2004 cut had parts missing: so when my brother got the full 7 minute version, there was still some interrupted strings play after the main part: yummy!
For years I had wondered who was behind the vocals until I ran into an iVibes article some time ago where it was speculated that Benno himself was behind them. It was then that I started paying attention to his voice-overs on Radio Rush when it hit me that it HAD to be him. When I discovered that (about two/three years ago), I was amazed at how he managed to execute the vocals to match the track so smoothly! Who knew mr. De Goeij had vocal talents? Big up, Maestro.
One Heck Of A Homerun-E.P.
Though these two E.P. tracks had reached me throughout the space of about half a year, they easily became back to back favourites of mine and were at the foundation of my Rank 1 fandom long before I had even heard the Symsonic album (or Opus 17 for that matter). Looking back at all the releases that have followed since I am glad that they’ve always maintained one basic thought behind them, or perhaps two: