The world is mourning the death of one of the electronic music scene's beloved veterans today. Robert Miles, known to friends as Robert Concina, died today after a nine-month long battle with cancer before passing away today in Ibiza. Miles was best known for his contribution to the 90's trance scene, with his 1996 track "Children" that topped charts in 11 countries. A club hit and a chart-topping hit, "Children" had a philanthropic message to it as well. In a time when hard dance and trance music dominated the club scene, many clubgoers drove far distances to experience the scene and ended up being associated with a rise in accidents that occurred after these nights out. Whether under the influence of substance or of music, Miles's "Children" opened up a newer, lighter, "dream house" genre for DJs to cool down the night with.
Dream house's heyday may have been short lived, but its emotional connection to fans helped shape modern trance and progressive music. Being the closing track every night for many, "Children" went on to become a permanent fixture in dance music throughout the years, among the most recognizable melodies outside of "Sandstorm." The influence of "Children" is certainly not limited to fans, as we've seen it reimagined and covered countless times. In fact, we can nearly trace through all of house music's history looking at the various versions of "Children."
Just last week, Above & Beyond premiered a remake of "Children" done by new artist Vigil on their latest episode of Group Therapy radio. Miles himself had just recorded his last episode of his own radio show, Hypnotronik, at the end of April.
"Children" was the Essential Tune of the Week on Pete Tong's BBC Radio 1 Show nearly 3 weeks in a row at its debut in 1996. In 2016, 20 years later, Tong recruited The Heritage Orchestra to reimagine the tune as a part of his Classic House album.
Big Room's heyday
"Children" certainly did not escape house music's rise to the mainstream in the United States in the early 2010's. Ultra Music Festival favorites like Jack Holiday & Mike Candys' 2012 reimagining of the track brought the simplicity of uplifting big room together with those iconic keys. The flavorful mash ups that defined many DJ sets (and careers) didn't forget "Children," either, as The White Panda made sure of on one of their early mixtapes.
When dubstep was still a thing
While we've seen dubstep evolve, it might be labeled "dead" but its sounds are still out there. Of course not without "Children." The juxtaposition between harder music and the emotion of "Children" has stood up to house music's evolution of all kinds.
Dream house's root in emotion is not lost on its translation to hip hop. While different than its electronic counterparts, Tyga's "$timulated" samples "Children" and includes heated lyrics to bring a new kind of feeling out of the familiar piano.
Of course, the new trance
Connecting emotion and nostalgia with dance music that "Children" opened up for club goers is the legacy that lives on for Robert Miles. Trance artists carry that torch today, with producers like Sean Tyas making sure it's played live.