Italian-born DJ/songsmith Robert Miles has become famous for his dream-songs, but as Rory Weller discovers, he has no time for falling asleep on the job.
Robert Miles‘s ‘Children‘ is one ofthose tracks that even your dad could hum along to. Played on Gram/slum! ()0 times. Number One all across Europe. it has sold over a million copies round the world. It was the most pervasive track of the year and managed to narrow the divide between mainstream and dance further than ever.
As far back as he can remember. even when he went by his real name. Roberto Concina, Miles wanted to
When you realise how much time he spends in the studio and in clubs (as well as working as MB for Joe T. Vanelli’s DBX label) you can understand why Miles has such an obsession with dreams. ‘I just don’t have enough time to sleep,’ he says, ‘let alone dream.’
be a musician. His earliest memories are of listening to his parents‘ soul and funk albums. and by the time he was thirteen he had enrolled himself in a four-year piano school. As a teenager. he would pester his parents for all sorts ofelectronic musical paraphernalia so he could release the sounds that he was hearing inside his head. While other Italians were snogging in the corners of local discos. Miles
Million-selling Italian house 0.! and producer llobert Miles
was the one behind the decks with the three flashing lights.
When he reached eighteen. he had already managed to establish himselfas one of the major names. playing a hard. fast brand of Italian progressive house and techno in and around his home town of Venice. This was a fine time to be a DJ in ltaly. when the pianos were bangin' their hardest and thousands would flock into the cities each weekend to go clubbing.
Then two things happened. First. a tragically large number of young people were being killed on the roads coming home from clubs. and people started to claim that the music encouraged people to take drugs.
A catnpaigning group was set up by wom'ed parents calling themselves the ‘Mama Anti Rock Movement'.
They marched on parliament. demanding closure of the clubs. Either out of necessity or respect (Miles claims the latter). cenain producers and DJs began to slow the beats down and started to introduce more ‘melodic elements and dramatic arrangements‘ on the records they were making and playing. Four to the floor was no longer the be-all and end-all to these DJs. and a move towards more classical themes was a simple and natural progression for someone of Miles' musical background. Although tnost dance music coming out of Italy was still traditional. pumped-up house energy. the new music known as ‘dreamhouse' evolved rapidly.
Then. eighteen months ago. Miles' father brought home pictures he had taken of a humanitarian trip to former Yugoslavia. taking food and blankets to the children of that war-torn country. The photographs affected Miles so greatly that he was moved to compose a track about it in his home studio. This song was ofcourse ‘Children'. For a year, a limited number of copies made their way round the underground until the UK label DeConstruction picked it up and unleashed it on the public at large. and it went on to become one of the biggest dance records of all time. Miles is now the king of dreamhouse. and no mistake.
But how far can you really take dreams? Miles' second single was called ‘Fable‘. while the album. Dreamland. has a somnolent theme running all the way through it, with tracks like ‘In My Dreams' and the new single ‘Fantasya'. Even in ‘Children‘, the lyric ‘Scream your dream' is ofcourse chanted rather than sung.
When you realise how much time he spends in the studio and in clubs (as well as working as A&R for Joe T. Vanelli's DBX label) you can understand why Miles has such an obsession with dreams. ‘I just don't have enough time to sleep.‘ he says. ‘let alone dream.‘
Robert Miles 0].? at The Tunnel. Glasgow on Sat [4 Sept.
Tripping on the box
The clubbing and rave experience has rarely transferred successfully to television. While a few dramas such as last autumn’s Luvved llp have made the transition, the dross of llitman And Her and its ilk demonstrate the pitfalls of attempting to replicate a dynamic environment for a sedentary audience.
Oddly enough, the most successful transfer was the scientific programme have low World, commissioned for Channel 4's Equinox strand. So, although even
Techno trip: top tip on TV tripe?
that had its shortcomings, it is not altogether surprising that when Channel 4 invite you to take The Techno Trip next Saturday, it will be their Science Unit which is responsible for the ride.
The evening serves two purposes for Sara Ramsden, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for science. It allows her to air what are believed to be minority interest scientific programmes and it is aimed at the seventeen to 22-year-old audience, which she says is under-represented and under-served by television.
‘I get tapes that people have made or I get proposals sent and I think: “I would love to watch this,” and I know loads of people that would love to watch them, but I can’t ever see us putting them in prime time - programmes about fractals or the more obscure cyber, techno interests,’ says Bamsden. ‘So i
thought why not do a one-off night, and put them all together?’
So instead of reproducing the club environment, The Techno Trip talks about those things which interest people in that environment. Besides the Equinox programme and the first TV showing for the meditative Baraka, the night includes Colours Of Infinity a documentary about the Mandelbrot set: the mathematics formula which generates an infinite loop of hallucinatory graphics.
The Techno Trip also goes out to clubs and will be projected live into venues like Glasgow's Sub Club - so you can keep on dancing. For those at borne it can still be interactive with ‘all sorts of fun things going on at the Channel 4 website.’ (Thom Ilibdin)
The Techno Trip: Sat 7/501! 8 Sept, 1225-555”. Channel 4’: website address Is @www.channeu.conr
64 The List 6-I9 Sept I996