Get the Balance Right
Reading 2005’s buzz on dance music, you might think it would have been a good year for DJs with “Paul” or “Van” in their name to skip their planned recording sessions. By that token, Germany’s Paul Van Dyk would appear doubly cursed. Not so; his second mix to bear the title The Politics of Dancing is a two-disc set that improves on recent half-baked efforts by his namesakes.Disc one of Vol. 2 features trance made ethereal through an emphasis on melody and vocals. Van Dyk uses the first four tracks to ease listeners into the groove before adding the electro throb of Shiloh’s “Dream On,” the haunting Moroder feel of Walsh and Coutre’s “Burn,” and Thomas Datt’s “Alone” as a long, majestic centerpiece. The second disc offers more straightforward, high-energy stomp, kickstarted when Jose Amnesia meets Serp on “Second Day.” Van Dyk then moves through the speedy samba of Agnello and Ingrosso’s “Yeah,” ultimately reaching jittery euphoria with help from Mark Norman (“T34”) and Holden and Thompson (“Nothing”).
Trance purists are going to find stuff to nitpick in this mix. Van Dyk cuts some tracks short, slows down (!) a beat here and there, includes the messy “Shine” from C.J. Stone, and relies heavily on sonic dropouts and subsequent dramatic buildups. Overall, however — and maybe because of all that quiet/loud contrast — The Politics of Dancing, Vol. 2 feels like turning pages in a well-worn book on electronica. Oldheads should find it to be one of the year’s steadiest offerings, and newbies could use it as the gateway to discover bigger and better sounds.