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Paul Van Dyk - Reflections - Reflections of a dying dance culture

2006-03-29 18:29
A lot has happened since superstar DJ Paul Van Dyk released his last album three years ago. For starters, God is no longer the DJ of the late 90s, and the utopian image of club culture projected on euphoric dance excursions such as his own The Politics of Dancing (2001) has dissipated into the commercial uberzone of the fast food clubland of today.

So maybe it's no surprise then that the grand master of squeaky-clean trance situates his aptly titled Reflections in the world of catchy weigh-less pop. Indeed, Reflections sees Van Dyk as the master spinner taking a backseat to Van Dyk the songwriter and producer. So a variety of "obscure" vocalists are enlisted to give the album a "crossover" edge without the deck jockey having to take the verse-chorus-verse plunge himself. But while guest Jan Johnston's cheerful mantra and feel good lyrics add a lovely lullaby bounce to "Like a Friend," the irritatingly pleading vocals of Vega 4 seem bland, artificial and yes, contrived.

Similarly German-based rapper Trooper da Don's colour by numbers cameo on "Knowledge" sounds like a desperate attempt to cash in on the hip-hop hype, rather than a genuine attempt to share knowledge across genres.

In the end Reflections is a strangely unsatisfying listen that does little more than evoke an aching nostalgia for the good ol' days of dance, when the bodies were sweat soaked and Van Dyk's uplifting trance beats held the promise of an euphoric escape.

Paul Van Dyk used to make euphoric trance. But Reflections is a sign of the times - a strangely unsatisfying dance pop album that just invokes nostalgia for the good old days of dance culture.

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