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The eclectic British dance-pop group N-Trance formed in 1990 when Kevin O'Toole and Dale Longworth, both aspiring sound engineers, began collaborating on instrumental music together. Their early demos -- including a dance version of a children's TV show theme -- made little impression. Trying a more serious approach with their next song, 1991's "Back to the Bass," N-Trance caught the attention of 380 Records, with whom the group signed.
However, problems with sample clearance prevented the single's release. The band continued to write and record, adding vocalist Kelly Llorenna to the fold for the recording of their next single "Set You Free." However, N-Trance chose not to release the single with 380 Records, opting instead to buy themselves out of their contract with the label. The band signed with a new label, All Around the World, and released "Set You Free" in 1993. The new single and the group's theatrical live performances, which included dancers and flame-throwers, as well as new vocalists Rachel McFarlane and T-1K, propelled N-Trance to prominence in the Eurpoean dance-pop scene. "Set You Free" charted as high as number two in the U.K. and become the highest-selling dance single of 1995.
That year, N-Trance recorded their first full-length album, Electronic Pleasure, which featured seven of the group's ever-expanding roster of vocalists. Similarly, N-Trance's musical range expanded, embracing rap, techno, pop, and Euro-beat in its scope. The group's next single, a cover of the Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive," was not only a massive international hit, but also featured the two vocalists who would help define N-Trance's sound in the future, Viveen Wray and Ricardo Da Force, formerly with the KLF.
The release of further hit singles like "Electronic Pleasure" afforded N-Trance the possibility of building their own studio, Deep Blue, in 1996. They spent the next year and a half recording their second full-length album, Happy Hour, which was released in 1999. ~ Heather Phares
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