British dance producer Chicane's (aka Nicholas Bracegirdle) fifth
studio album 'Thousand Mile Stare' is a tasty box of treats. (His
1999 remix of Billie Ray Martin's 'Honey' pretty much always makes
an appearance on any holiday playlist I have compiled during the past
decade). This new collection of twelve tracks is heartwarming stuff.
The harmonic structure of his arrangements and impeccable sense of
what makes beats work is pretty much unimpeachable. It works on the
heart as much as it does on our imagination . It's uplifting material:
well-crafted, richly detailed and would work as well on a train journey
as it will doubtless do on dancefloors throughout the Shires and beyond.
There are some strong tunes here. Among the best are the lush, shuffling
summer strains of 'Playing Fields', featuring the dulcet tones of Kate
Walsh; full of sunshine and warm fellow-feeling; the delicious opening
number 'Hljop', a slow-burning anthem which harnesses the spirit of
Sigur Ros in Vigri's plaintive voccals; 'Going Deep', a composition
which, with its driving pulse, makes the blood pump faster in our veins
and 'Flotsam and Jetsum', which admirably demonstrates that "trance"
still has a valid place in the listening world. It made an old Wolf smile.