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Great in principle, a mixed bag in practice
on 23 August 2014
I've got mixed feelings about this album. Before it arrived I was very excited- Paul Oakenfold (and/or his studio monkeys) has a great production touch that I'm a big fan of, and the tracklist reads like a greatest hits of my favourite trance tracks. In theory, it could have been absolutely amazing and brilliant- a bit like when Trance Atlantic Air Waves did "The Energy Of Sound", ten cover versions of early electro classics.
In practice though, it's not quite so good.
There are high points. The version of "Toca Me" is a nice blend of new and old, and sounds more like a great new remix of the original than a cover, because so many of the sounds closely resemble the original. "Hold That Sucker Down" gets a great new update, that deserves a lot of attention and makes me wish Rollo was still doing big trance numbers nowadays. On the second disc, the new Plump DJs mix of "Ready Steady Go" is great, and the Chris Voro mix of "Awakening" gets full marks too.
However... and there are a few 'however's...
"Cafe Del Mar" should have been brilliant, with its more distorted and driving bassline giving it a new edge. But, a European-sounding voice saying "cafe del mar!" repeatedly during the breakdowns... really?! Is it 1999? A piece of pure cheese that ruins an otherwise decent production.
Does the world really need another version of "Barber's Adagio For Strings"? OK so it's a lovely piece of music but after Ferry Corsten and Tiesto have had their versions played to death, Oakenfold's version sounds like a cheap and uninspired cash-in on the out-of-copyright status of the melody. Why bother to stick a naff "I'm falling into a daydream" vocal on top of it? It's a real weak point, when it should've been a high point.
There are a couple of track problems on disc 2 as well. The labelled 'instrumental' mix of Barber's Adagio For Strings isn't the instrumental at all, but has that naff 'falling into a daydream' vocal on it again. Track 4 'Not Over Yet' isn't the unmixed version, it's just an identical copy of the mixed track from disc 1, complete with abrupt start and end- that's pretty careless from Perfecto.
So I really wanted to love this compilation, for it to be a secret guilty pleasure as a return to the halcyon days of trance, but in the end it doesn't quite live up to expectations.