Swiss-Italian DJ and producer Robert Miles has died in Ibiza of an undisclosed illness, aged just 47.
Born Roberto Concina in Fleurier, Switzerland, to Italian immigrant parents, he returned to the mother country with his family as a boy, spending subsequent years honing his piano skills and gaining experience as a DJ.
In 1995, he released ‘Children’, a piano-based trance tune which reached number 1 in 12 countries, and, with the support of Pete Tong, hit number 2 in the UK Singles Chart the following year. It eventually attained platinum certification in 5 countries, making it one of the most recognisable dance tracks in history, and is widely regarded as helping kick-start the mainstream success of trance in the late ‘90s.
“Children” is one of the pioneering tracks of dream house, a genre of electronic dance music characterized by dream-like piano melodies, and a steady four-on-the-floor bass drum. The creation of dream house was a response to social pressures in Italy during the early 1990s: the growth of rave culture among young adults, and the ensuing popularity of nightclub attendance, had created a weekly trend of deaths due to car accidents as clubbers drove across the country overnight, falling asleep at the wheel from strenuous dancing as well as alcohol and drug use.
In mid-1996, deaths due to this phenomenon, called strage del sabato sera (Saturday night slaughter) in Italy, were being estimated at around 2000 since the start of the decade. The move by DJs such as Miles to play slower, calming music to conclude a night’s set, as a means to counteract the fast-paced, repetitive tracks that preceded, was met with approval by authorities and parents of car crash victims.”
Miles had a further two top ten hits in the UK in 1996 with ‘Fable’, and ‘One and One’, and released 6 albums in total.