Having celebrated its 25th birthday last year, Energy 52’s Café Del Mar is, for many, the quintessential 90s trance track.

Produced by Paul Schmitz-Moormann (aka Kid Paul) and Harald Blüchel (aka Cosmic Baby), the track was the very first release on Sven Vath’s Eye-Q Records back in 1993.

In the late 90s, it would received a reinterpretation from a number of artists, including Oliver Lieb, Solar Stone and the double act of André Strässer and Sharam Jey, aka Three N One, who delivered arguably the all-time essential version.


It’s still being remixed today, with Tale Of Us the latest to throw their hand at reworking this much-loved masterpiece.

But the genesis of the track actually goes back to the early 80s (1983 to be exact) and Belgian composer Wim Mertens, and his track Struggle For Pleasure.


Having penned a book investigating American Minimalism (Reich, Glass et al) in 1980, Mertens developed a reputation for sonic experimentation; as his official biography reads, “He often writes for unusual instrumentations: twelve piccolos, ten bass trombones, thirteen clarinets”.

His recording debut in 1980, For Amusement Only, was an electronic composition for pinball machines.

“I come from an intellectual background, but in 1980 I made the decision: What you see is what you hear,” Mertens told Flanders Today back in 2015.

“Everything I want to say should be deduced from the music; you have to hear it. You have to understand me by listening.”

While he may not have envisaged his his Struggle For Pleasure would continue to enliven dancefloors more than 35 years after its release, the dance industry owes the now 66-year-old a sizeable debt of gratitude.

[Kudos to NIXXA CLASSIC VIDEOS and kittenzilla for the YouTube uploads]

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