There’s something to be said for reviewing a trance album through club speakers with flashing lights rather than on a portable CD player. There’s only so much chair dancing one can do before one begins to feel a mite ridiculous, and if anyone’s music was meant to be heard standing – or preferably moving – it is that of superstar DJ Paul van Dyk.
Unlike his artist album Out There And Back, The Politics Of Dancing releases are, essentially, DJ sets rather than van Dyk’s own work. But he has thrown in his own single, The Other Side, and there’s a definitively Positiva Paul vibe about the double album’s sound – van Dyk has reworked several tracks to make a cohesive whole.
Music fashions ebb and flow, of course, and trance is currently at something of a low ebb. Ibiza, Magalouf and Aya Napa seem so fin de siècle, but we’re half way in to a new decade of a new century. Where’s the innovation in trance music?
The Politics Of Dancing 2 doesn’t entirely answer that point, but it is a particularly varied mix of chilled moments building to ecstatic crescendos and back again. There’s still a lot to be said for four-to-the-floor NRG, but van Dyk varies the pace here, especially in the first CD. Those seeking hard house would likely prefer disk 2.
The single The Other Side, a collaboration with vocalist Wayne Jackson, was never going to set the world on fire, but the extended album version is at least worthy of inclusion. But it’s the tracks with fat synths – like Marco V‘s More Than A Life Away, Santiago Nino‘s pulsating Believe and Purple Haze‘s Adrenalin – that get things going, and Thomas Bronzwaer‘s Close Horizon and CJ Stone‘s Shine that keep them moving.
Trance music may not be fashionable these days – I mean, where are the guitars? – but Paul van Dyk need not worry. Regardless of changing trends, talented musicians win out. Pre-eminent amongst the superstar DJs, van Dyk’s party is still worth dressing down for. Turn up the volume and party like it’s 1999.