X-Dream are Marcus Christopher Maichel (born May 1968) and Jan Müller (born February 1970); they are also known as Rough and Rush. They are producers of psychedelic trance music and hail from Hamburg, Germany. Their music retains the 4/4 drum patterns of Goa trance music and has a dependence on riffs.
Muller was educated as a sound engineer. Maichel was a musician familiar with techno and reggae, and was already making electronic music in 1986. In 1989 the pair first met when Marcus was having problems with his PC and someone sent Jan to help fix it. That same year they teamed up to work on a session together. Their first work concentrated on a sound similar to techno with some hip hop elements which got some material released on Tunnel Records.
During the early 1990s they were first introduced to the trance scene in Hamburg and decided to switch their music to this genre. From 1993 they began releasing several singles on the Hamburg label Tunnel Records, as X-Dream and under many aliases, such as The Pollinator. Two albums followed on Tunnel Records, Trip To Trancesylvania and We Created Our Own Happiness, which were much closer to the original formula of psychedelic trance, although featuring the unmistakable "trippy" early X-Dream sound.
In October 1996 X-Dream reached an agreement with the new UK trance label Blue Room Released. Working with Blue Room, they released the famous single "The Frog" (featuring authentic frog sound samples from Mexico) and contributed the track "No" on the Trip Through Sound compilation.
In 1997 both started experimenting with side projects, Marcus' The Delta project released the single "As A Child I Could Walk On The Ceiling", which became widely played by many top trance DJs including Mark Allen. Jan began Children of Paradise, also releasing on Blue Room. They also remixed several tracks for other artists including Koxbox and the Saafi Brothers.
In 1998 they released their most celebrated album Radio and two new singles, "Brain Forest" and "Radiohead". Instead of complex melodies familiar in prior Goa trance releases the Radio album featured a more industrial, darker, feel where the melody would become apparent only after several listens. In their review of the album ElectronicMusic.com described the track "Electromagnetic" as a "robotic orgasm sequence". The basslines were also harder in many of the tracks, making the music very danceable.
The trend set by "Radio" continued with the Irritant release on the Global Trance Network label in 2002, solidifying the X-Dream sound as a more electro/techno sound, and sold out all the copies within only a few days of the first printing.
The latest X-Dream album, We Interface, includes vocals from Tennessee (Band) singer Ariel (Jan's wife). The lyrics are actually her poetry, written ahead of the album. The album has a very much industrial sound and is in some ways similar to the work of Kraftwerk. The lyrics deal with subjects such as technology, censorship, cyberspace, cloning and robotics.
Since 2006 Marcus has been concentrating on side projects The Delta, Desonanz & Ministry of Primitive Arts with a new fresh style reminiscent of industrial Detroit techno.