Thomas Bangalter’s Trax On Da Rocks Still Sounds Fresh 25 Years On

Released shortly after the success of Gym Tonic & Music Sounds Better With You, the Trax On Da Rocks series returns to the underground…

1998 was a busy year for Thomas Bangalter – after the explosive success of Daft Punk’s debut album Homework the year before, he churned out a number of solo releases on his own Roulé label, toured the DJ circuit as a member of Da Mongoloids (alongside Armand van Helden, DJ Sneak, Junior Sanchez, Roger Sanchez, Todd Terry, Ian Pooley and Basement Jaxx), produced the club monster Gym Tonic with Bob Sinclar, and hit the top ten in no fewer than twelve countries with the massive Music Sounds Better With You under the Stardust moniker.

Trax On Da Rocks Vol. 2 was one of the last releases of the year, a five-track EP that eschews the commercial sounds of Gym Tonic and Music Sounds… and instead perfectly encapsulates the underground sound of the time. Worth tracking down for the opening track alone, Club Soda is as effortlessly funky and hypnotic as you’d expect from Bangalter. Extra Dry takes it up a notch, a twisted techno number immortalised in the video game Midnight Club and sampled by J Dilla for Slum Village. Shuffle! is little more than a filler, repetitive and somewhat stale, but soon makes way for the aptly-named Colossus – a beast of a track with insane filtering over a devastating 909 beat, before Turbo rounds things off with a generous nod to Jeff Mills’ Purposemaker.

A worthy entry in the Roulé catalogue, that holds its own alongside Spinal Scratch, Vertigo and What To Do.

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