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Total pleasure: Uplifting trance led Robert Miles to become a true pioneer

Miles' passing is a tragic loss to dance music

  • Joe Muggs
  • 10 May 2017

Let's be serious: 'Children' is a work of genius. Although it redefined “over-exposure” so even those who loved it would end up groaning on hearing it for the 3,000th time, its absolute perfection of structure is undeniable. A couple of years ago, I was preparing a wedding DJ set and drawing for 90s classics, and listening again to 'Children' after not having heard it for the best part of a decade, I was bowled over by the audacity and the technical brilliance of the production, but also a kind of innocence in its pursuit of total, uncomplicated pleasure. Obviously it ushered in an era of formulaic pop-trance but it did it first and best, and it's absolutely fitting that it should have been the global mega hit that it was.

"What struck me about Robert is in a strange way he was just like the track," James Barton, the CEO of Superstruct Entertainment and Cream founder says. "It was a dreamy, beautiful, melodic, easygoing record which really just captured everyone's imagination, and it was no surprise when I finally got to meet Robert that actually he was such a beautiful, down-to-earth, easygoing guy, very quietly spoken. There was never any drama with him, never any ego. He just loved making music and was just a really beautiful guy."

It was achievement enough that Mixmag would be marking Roberto Concina aka Robert Miles's passing even if he'd been a one-hit wonder, or if he'd simply coasted on the success of 'Children' and the accompanying album 'Dreamland' and become a trance mainstay. But what happened next was far more interesting, and makes his a story worth following. He certainly cashed in on his hit – it was released and re-released, he never seemed bored or embarrassed by his ubiquity, and he settled into a life of luxury. But rather than chase his tail trying to repeat success, he started to explore his musicality, tentatively at first – as on the 1997 single 'Freedom' with Kathy Sledge, which still has those trance-pop chords, but replaces the expected kickdrum with a rolling, jazzy rhythm – then more and more deeply.

 
 
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