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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Armin van Buurin
A State of Trance 2006
Ultra

Rating: 9/10 ?


September 8, 2006
Of the many hundreds of albums that rain down upon your average freelance reviewer or mag/newspaper/webzine editor in a given year, I reckon that only one percent make it to the promised land, a semi-permanent place somewhere in the car. It's kind of a double-edged sword, an embarrassment of riches, so to speak. As for me, I've just recently come out of gothie-techno rehab, having finally put Collide's Vortex in a faceless box in the storeroom after more than three years of it living in my glove compartment.

Life goes on, though, and if you get as jaded and disillusioned as your basic Pitchforker, you may as well turn to cub reporting on the town meeting minutes for your local fishwrap printer. Leaving myself open to all styles, up to and including jazz, I reckon I've positioned my music-reviewing rebirth in such a way that it'll take a seriously long run of sucky albums to hurry me off to doing whatever I'll find myself doing next for fun and small-profit later on. Right now, though, if there's anything on earth that constitutes sure-fire Eric-bait these days, it's sexy trance stuff. I can't tell you how psyched I was to get this one in the mail, and it will be in my car for at least a year, barring an overdose of Paul Oakenfold Mini-Mes coming out of nowhere.

Onward to the reviewer's albatross. Examining and grading a mix burn could begin and end with the saw about opinions: everybody's got one. Trance legend Armin van Buurin does a fair job of removing most genre-specific hokiness (police whistles, overlong snare rolls signaling jump-and-go-nuts points) but the real question is whether or not this twin-CD set provides the adrenaline rush one would expect. The answer is a Mostly-Yes and a Kinda-No. Disc 1 is subtitled as the "On the Beach" mix, the drawn-out intro of which portended another unwanted invasion of slowbie progressive house similar to A State of Trance 2005, but eventually things crank into gear with several gorgeous high-BPM numbers, beginning with Matthew Dekay's "Timeless" and closing with Envio's appropriately beachy "For You."

Here's the Kinda-No part. Eventually, after a run of 8 songs that range from not-bad to pretty-friggin-good, Disc 2 (the "In the Club" mix - if that ain't throwing down the gauntlet, nothing is) builds to a mind-crushing climax in and around Hiroyuki Oda's distressingly sexy "Transmigration" but flashes a blinking sign plainly reading "Take a break, get thee to the bar, and find a pile of napkins to wipe off your sweat" upon Stoneface & Terminal's "Venus" and van Buuren's own "Control Freak." The needle gets pegged again a short time later, but the moment was lost.

Yes, it's a pisser of a collection, but the danceus interruptus right at the brink of total slaughter is a crying shame. Admittedly this probably owes to van Buuren's unconscious ambivalence to the whole thing; on top of his regular gigging he does a radio show, after all, so his head's been in some pretty trippy places, a lot trippier than the average clubgoer's been. And there's the rub, then, the achieving of world-class DJ status as another sort of a double-edged sword.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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