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on 4 October 2010
This release barely registered when I bought it a few months ago, and seemed destined to be consigned to the shelf after a couple of mandatory listens. But having dragged it out and played it constantly over the last few days, I feel compelled to bring it to the attention of a few more people. It's a beautifully crafted mix of dreamy electronic and deep/tech house, straying into breakbeat and other styles but all the while keeping it's consistent thread and journey.

Disc one is slower and lush, with a lot of clean beats and melodies that never become predictable. The field recordings and added sound effects all add to the experience (awesome moment in the middle of disc one with the `everything slows down' sample), and there's even a sort of a winter feel to parts of it, which is rare with dance music. The second disc brings out some of the heavy hitters including Spooky and Gui Boratto, and after a chilled opening descends into probably the best mix Zabiela has ever put together.

There's no `four-to-the-floor' heavy industrial beats or euphoric breakdowns; those are better found elsewhere, as this is more subtle and trippy. For comparisons sake, it's more like the first Northern Exposure in tempo and style rather than one of the early Gatecrasher mixes. Either way, I'd recommend this to any fan of electronic music, dance or otherwise. It's easily the best thing Zabiela has put out, and probably the best Renaissance since Digweed's triple disc set way back in 1995.

Cool artwork on the packaging as well, as always, although could have done with some sleevenotes.
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on 28 March 2016
I read all the reviews about the man everyone's calling JZ , got to admit i hadn't heard of him but the reviews said he was fantastic could do know wrong , god was i disappointed disc 1 sounded like Satoshi i even ejected the disc to check but know it was Zabiela , played it twice to see if got any better , it didn't so in went disc 2 & i'll admit it started well thought to myself this is alright then the middle section & it went the same way as disc 1 but redeemed.itself towards the end & got back on track & for this it gets 3 stars . But don't be put off I'm currently listening to JZ's Utilities & its good but that's a different review .
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on 22 March 2014
We are all aware that the world of dance music has gone through a dramatic change in recent years. House has been fused with sounds from every corner of the globe whilst mainstream dance music has undergone an almost unrecognisable change due to many prevailing factors including advancements in technology, an almost endless supply of producers which now spans from more than four generations and of course the steady demise of vinyl. Many will argue that it is for the better, many others will disagree. Lots of dance music veterans will grumble profusely at the very thought of the three devils letters, i.e. EDM, whilst all the time younger producers continue to push their sound on the unchangeable immortal sounds of the past two decades. So, where does this release take us? A two disc compilation, Disc 1 is a collection of laid back beats and breaks which have been beautifully combined, and is simply a mix designed to relax the mind from the world's constant uncontrollable motion. It's a very slow paced mix filled with lots of dark twists and turns, some thumping drum and bass, and plenty of dramatic changes in tempo elevation, all of which build to and revolve around a beautiful and moving track, Reason or Romanza - Radiance Trigger. The mix may not jump out at you immediately but there will be a times in your life when you will need it. Disc 2 is a very complex combination of house, beats, breaks & electro all thrown together with an experimental arrangement consisting of countless dangerous curves and bends. Designed for the younger listener and fans of electro, this compilation will also appeal to experienced listeners looking for something that little bit different. Importantly, the mix never once loses sight of its routes but from a critical point of view, it does have that one layer, that one drift or that one curve too many. The focus of the entire two sets is more inward orientated rather than outward and whilst it may be argued that the second mix lacks control, this possibly could have been done on purpose as a way of highlighting the almost microscopic signature production work. The mix has some hoping tunes but what I really love the most is the complete honesty of its presentation. Highlight for me is Siopes - Really Love Ya and can I just take the opportunity to say: `Thank God for DJ's like James Zabiela'.
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on 29 January 2011
I know my title for this review is a quote from Big Trouble in Little China, but do not let that deter from this album review! Simply put this is a slice of electronica at its best. The electronic scene has become quite varied in recent times but finding true works of art seems harder to come by. Zabiela is a perfectionist and this example of his work only justifies his reputation further. The first disk for me is the best. There are some fantastic transitions and he has resurrected the art of creating a 'journey'. I also find this quite versatile as I can listen to it at home, in the car, on the iPod etc and find it suits all situations. Also a very rare phenomenon. Give it a try and see where it takes you....
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on 25 January 2011
This mix is complete quality. I am a fan of Hernan Cattaneo especially his mixes for Renaissance, Sequential etc etc. But now I can happily say a fan of James Zabiela, as this mix without a doubt is up there with the best of them. I'm not suprised he won the Essential mix of the year 2010 with quality tunes like this. Do yourself a favour and put this in your collection YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED...
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on 21 August 2010
As with his previous Renaissance Masters Series mix album, disc one is chilled and disc two is more clubby. I like this better than the previous album. Both discs are good, with the clubby disc the pick of the pair. I don't really like the spoken word interludes between the music, but the music is good enough that I don't mind too much. I don't think this will become one of my favourite mix albums, but it is strong effort and worth a go.
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on 29 April 2010
Really like this album - it feels like his previous Renaissance album but he's ironed out the creases. Just brilliant......
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on 28 February 2011
not the greatest release on the masters series. there are highs but seriously far too many lows, expected better from j.z. but here's hoping if he does a mix in the future that he redeems himself
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