SashaXpander EP

Label:Deconstruction – 74321 68199 1
2 x Vinyl, 12", 33 ⅓ RPM, EP
Style:Progressive House, Progressive Trance, Trance, Progressive Breaks, Downtempo


Mixed ByNeil McLellan
ProducerCharlie May
Written-ByC.May*, D.Forbes*
Mixed ByCharlie May, Sasha
ProducerCharlie May
Producer, EngineerA.Page*, G.Schurrer*
Producer, EngineerA.Page*, G.Schurrer*

Companies, etc.



A version exists that is identical except for sides C & D using Direct Metal Mastering: "Xpander EP".

Thick printed inner sleeves.

"Xpander" mixed for Strongroom Management.
All tracks Copyright Control/Warner Chappell.
"Xpander"/"Belfunk"/"Rabbitweed" recorded at Nobel Studios. "Baja" recorded at The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Marketed by Deconstruction and distributed by the local BMG company. A unit of BMG Entertainment.
(P) 1999 Deconstruction Ltd.
All sleeve notes and label copy (C) 1999 Deconstruction Ltd.
Manufactured in the E.U.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode (Text): 7 4321681991 1
  • Barcode (String): 743216819911
  • Barcode (Scan): 0743216819911
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout: A-Side): XPANDER 1 A-1-1- NS
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout: B-Side): XPANDER 1 B-1-1-1
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout: C-Side): 74321681991 C-2-1-1
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout: D-Side): 74321681991 D-2-1-1
  • Label Code: LC 08280

Other Versions (5 of 17)

View All
Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Xpander EP (CD, EP, Cardboard Sleeve)Deconstruction74321 68199 2UK & Europe1999
Recently Edited
Xpander (12", Promo)DeconstructionXPANDER1UK1999
Recently Edited
Xpander EP (CD, EP)Ultra RecordsUL1049-2North America (inc Mexico)1999
Recently Edited
Xpander EP (2×12", 33 ⅓ RPM, EP)Ultra RecordsUL 1049-1US1999
Xpander EP (CD, EP)Deconstruction74321 69151 2Europe1999



  • Freudian_Lisp's avatar
    Did "Baja" sample Karl Bisquit's "Hierophone" or is it just using the same sound?
    • deviant2k's avatar
      When I first discovered Xpander in 2005 (or 06?), I must've replayed it for 2 days straight, with no other track topping it in replay counts since and yes, this is a review.
      • Tedster41's avatar
        Edited 7 months ago
        Man, the things I've heard of this EP. As you can probably see from the comments below mine, this is one of the highest regarded trance releases to ever grace the Earth. Discogs says it's the ninth most collected Progressive Trance release, fifteenth most collected Progressive House release, thirty-sixth most collected Trance release, and the most collected Progressive Breaks release. Even the Wikipedia page describes it as "a seminal release" in Trance music. And, this is my first time hearing it. Seriously, it is. I first heard the track Xpander a good while ago, having thrown it on while doing something to "see what the hype was all about". By the time it was over, I think I got why it was so popular. But, I never took the time to listen to the rest. In fact, I actively avoided it. I wanted to save my listening experience until I had the music in my hands, and I've finally scraped out for a copy. So, to my ears for the first time ever, what do I think of this EP?

        Well, as I've mentioned, I've heard the title track before. "Xpander" is a masterpiece of trance music, taking you on a journey through what feels like space with all the constant twinkly synths and melodies, all culminating in that final drop. The percussion, the bass, the filters, it's Sasha at his very finest. This will forever be one of my most treasured trance tracks, and one I'm sure will never leave my record bag. Top, top choonage right here. But, how does the rest fare?

        Sasha seems to be taking a much deeper route on "Belfunk". I know it's a remix of "Belfast" by Orbital, a track I do like, but apparently it differs too much from the original for the Orbital brothers to like it. The original starts to become visible after a bit of nice percussion, with the bass kicking in along with the original haunting vocals just fading in for a moment there. The percussion here is some good stuff, almost sounding like a factory working with the constant snare drum which sounds almost like a steam machine. The synths coming in, the strange little crash-cymbal style thing starting in my left ear, it's getting up to a solid start. But from what I can see from the vinyl grooves, things are going to break down in just a moment. Hang on tight. Losing the bass as we enter into the breakdown, and now a mysterious piano begins. I'm liking where this is going. More percussion starting to build and we're only halfway through the breakdown, a string synth joining too, this seems to be exiting the moody undertone of previous section, which I did like, but this is sounding like it's going to be even better. Going for some filters, introducing an almost 303 sounding bass, the track seems to be falling back away again, possibly back into the depths of the beginning. And there's the kick drum and bass, bringing what started it all back in with a new bassline. The strings would have been nice to keep past the breakdown, but it still created a nice effect anyway. The steamy percussion is rising again, the 303ish bass is flying through some gate filters, its building back up once again before I'm sure it will melt away. This track is not Xpander, I'll say that, but it's a completely different style. It's much darker, much more progressive, and I like it. Not as much as Xpander, although I may have to let it grow on me.

        Switching records now to give "Rabbitweed" a go. Already, I can tell where the Progressive Breaks tag comes from. Lots of cutting and chopping, already it's got a good sound going. After some messing with sounds and panning, the kick and snare arrive. Again, this is undeniably breaks we're talking about here. Strings starting to arrive in, although they sound almost like an organ; a very haunting sound. It's about here I realise this sounds like something Quivver might put out, although the breaks might not be of his taste. This is about as dark as "Belfunk", and far from the bright twinkly sounds of "Xpander". The different synths playing as the tracks go on, the combination is making for a much darker sounding "Xpander", with some breaks on the side. A second breakdown, and a heavy snare coming in now. I've heard harder (see "Minniapolis" by Lemon Interupt), but this is certainly heading for heavy territory. A different set of synths with a weird filtered one flying around as well. I feel like with a BPM of 140 or so and some heavier percussion, this sounds like something The Prodigy would put out on 'Music for the Jilted Generation'. But Sasha has to go and remind us who he is with the final breakdown, with a massive swirling synth and some others arising out of it. Different percussion again, but still the breaks continue. Bringing the original synths back in, again reminding me of a Prodigy record, before swiftly dropping them all back out again. This surprises me as something Sasha would put out, and I think tells of the Airdrawndagger days that were yet to come. I like the breaks sound, it's a good blend with trance, and it makes for another moody and mysterious track.

        And now to close, "Baja". Given the name, I'm expecting some eastern influences here. And sure enough, the intro confirms that. I think I can hear a sitar off in the distance there, whether or not it will continue we'll see. And sure enough, yes it does arise out of the swirling synth. Sasha makes his style known here, and given the tempo it sounds like he's setting up for a proper Downtempo track or a Drum 'n' Bass one. Considering the styles listed, I'm betting on the former. Some way into the track and we've got some nice synths, but percussion is barely existent. A male and female choppy vocal dueting with the synths, a bass too being introduced eventually. I'm now starting to wonder what this track would sound like with a drum 'n' bass percussion. The percussion Sasha gives you almost halfway through the track is nice, with some strange bit-crushed noises, before toning it up a notch. The snare drum is somehow louder than "Rabbitweed", along with a strange metal clanging noise. All good to my ears, again trying with breaks. The percussion furthers, practically drowning out any synth that isn't the main bass. By this point, the original track is completely gone, replaced with this sound downtempo breaks piece. Again, I'm liking it a whole lot. Eventually, the percussion is abandoned. And now, according to my record grooves, it's just us and the synths. Well, maybe a bit of percussion is making its way back in. The light backbeat here and there to add to the feeling keeps the whole thing moving. The original track I first heard is bringing its way back in, and now the percussion is back again to round it off. Lighter than before, but still got some heavy grit to it. This track isn't as moody as "Belfunk" or "Rabbitweed", nor is it as bright as "Xpander". It feels to me like a night-time sort of thing, a good track to close a set (or EP!) on. As the heavy snare drum hits back in, the track ends, and the EP closes.

        So, what did I think? Good. Very, very, good. "Xpander" is definitely still my favourite, although that may be time talking. I've known it for a while now, so maybe I just need to let the others set in before I form my opinions properly. "Belfunk" is a good progressive track, as is "Rabbitweed", although the latter has breaks instead of a four on the floor kick. "Baja" was a good way to close, with some outstanding synth work and some great percussion, a nice track overall.

        Without a doubt, 5 stars. Worth every penny.
        • tobymessy's avatar
          Edited 7 months ago
          I love the cover.

          Rabbitweed, Belfunk, Xpander are all fine. Bit overblown for my tastes

          Baja is amazing though. Ever since owning it in the 90’s I’ve played/ mixed it at 45bpms. Sounds amazing! Mix from the off and here that melody seep in 👌
          • come.orgasm's avatar
            hours flown in Icaras in the phantom class listening to the Expander on headphones, beautiful times
            • Jurgen.1's avatar
              24 years old today. Baja is a beautiful opener for chill
              • JUSTGROOVES's avatar
                I had quite a few Sasha 12"s back in the day but for some reason never bought this. I did see it quite a few times in record shops (either new or 2nd hand) but wasn't really that interested. 23 years later and I really want this record!
                • smorone's avatar
                  Rabbitweed ... PERFECTION .. timeless piece don’t think it will ever date
                  • jondavey's avatar
                    Just wondering if anyone else finds these tracks and other supposedly euphoric proggy trance actually deperessing ? They actually effect my mood state to the point where I can't even listen to it. It's so saccharin, bland, empty.
                    • spacebiscuit's avatar
                      Just a ridiculously good track that defines a genre and moment in time perfectly. Timeless.


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