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I am in my element when it comes to Euphoric dance music, so this compilation is right up my street. It gathers some of the cutting end trancey tunes from 2009. I have selected some of my highlights.
Steve Angello and fellow swede Laidback Luke turn in an almighty reworking of an old Robin S track. 'Show Me Love' resonates with some thumping bass and manages to use her vocal to great effect. Sounds great very very loud, even if this is the dub.
Another Swede, Eric Prydz continues to reinvent himself, 'Pjanoo' is built around a simple but effective piano riff which just builds and builds until it comes crashing down in one major breakdown.
Steer clear of a rehash of Basshunter's 'I Can Walk On Water' which milks the song dry and leaves you anxious to fast forward! Head to Guru Josh, where some serious sax plays over Klaaus' dirty electro beats for the remix of 'Infinity'.
As you move to disc two, you will be transported back a few years. Faithless turn in 'We Come 1' which has one of those spine tingling synth riffs from Sister Bliss. I also love Snap vs Plaything, you can see where Calvin Harris 'borrowed' from for 'Im Not Alone.' If you want something a little more Ibiza drenched, check out Nalin and Kane, where summery melodies meet glorious beats.
The third and final disc seems to have more of a classic slant. Baby D still sounds tough and relevent, with raved up hooks and storming vocals. The Shame were dance pioneers, so it is a pleasure to see 'Move Any Mountain' on here, in the original form.
If you want it really heavy and spaced out, Wink's 'Higher State Of Consciousness' should just zap any last energy you have left. Then you can round the dancing off with a jig to the funky carnival vibe of Basement Jaxx.
The CD is pretty good value, three discs and sixty tracks. There is a good mixture of new and old stuff and care has been taken to put on some interesting remixes.
A review of The Very Best of Euphoric Dance Breakdown 2009, a triple CD set which is available on CD for around £10 online. The album is available at the iTunes store for £9.48 at the time of writing but the track listing is slightly different to the physical release.
There are now really only two main players when it comes to marketing and releasing commercial dance music compilations these days - All Around the World (AATW) and Ministry of Sound (MOS). MOS may have started its life as a club but quickly realised that there was (a lot of) money to be made by expanding the brand and soon dominated the charts with its Clubber's Guide and Annual compilations. In an attempt to take on the very commercial (and very popular) Clubland series by AATW, MOS bought out a compilation series entitled The Very Best of Euphoric Dance from the Telstar label and has religiously issued 1 or 2 versions every year since the early part of the decade. Breakdown 2009 is essentially the Winter/Spring compilation intended to keep clubbers happy until the summer season.
Like previous volumes, the 2009 volume is arranged across three discs, each comprising twenty tracks. Although definitely all well within the defined boundaries of what would constitute 'club' music, each disc contains a non-stop mix of different types and ages of tunes. Disc one is the current, up-to-date mix, largely featuring songs that are already doing or are about to do the rounds in clubs and on the radio. Disc two (for this volume) is a trance and europop mix featuring tracks that were released over the last few years, and disc three is a mix of older stuff, some as far back as the eighties. You're either a fan of this kind of approach or not. For me, having three reasonably varied mixes works well, disc one playing well to the need to gather a bundle of current hits in one place and discs two and three going back in time a bit to bring out some of those classics you'd forgotten that you liked. All three discs are 'in the mix', which means that there is no break between the tracks, but the mixing is very innocuous and in some cases, the tracks run virtually back to back with no crossover at all, particularly when the beats are so completely out of sorts with each other. This is one of the drawbacks of putting together older tracks into one mix if using the single/radio versions of the song, as there is no opportunity to pick and choose mixes that work well together. On disc one, the label has chosen some better club remixes but still falls foul of trying to combine too many sub-genres, attempting to mix together the bleepy, eighties electro sound of that track from the Wispa advert (it's called Don't Stop The Rock by Freestyle) with The Prodigy's new hardcore anthem Omen.
Disc one is a likeable mixture of different sounds most of which don't go back much further than the last few weeks of 2008. There are some heavily-played radio anthems here, with tracks like Eric Prydz's Pjanoo rubbing shoulders with the rework of Guru Josh's Infinity as well as some of the newer material. It's all very safe, targeted at a very mainstream demographic, in a group of music buyers who like dance/club music but only really based on the most commercial of sounds. Freed from the shackles of more pretentious imprints, it makes for a very accessible, if not slightly forgettable mix. The big anthems aside (things like Sash!'s reworking of Encore Une Fois) it's one of the less distinctive discs in the series, largely due to a period when dance music is suffering a bit of a crisis. Nothing's really in fashion, meaning nobody really knows what to do, resulting in a surprising absence of anything club-related in the singles chart. There are some excellent tracks here though. Sanna and Pitron's remix of Madcon's Beggin is a strong mid-mix tune and leads well into some of the lesser-known numbers. The mix is shamelessly driven by the various MOS imprints, with Hard2Beat giving us the likes Basshunter's new one and Hed Kandi donating a spattering of funky house. There are only a couple of misfires, notably that irritating aforementioned Wispa song and the painfully overplayed Platnum cover of Love Shy.
The second disc is by far the best one, probably being the only mix of the three that is really what I'd call euphoric dance and best reflects the kind of sound that complements by mood where club music is concerned. The trance/house mix in each volume is usually the most likeable and for this edition, it's probably the strongest mix of the entire franchise history, particularly towards the end of the mix when it all gets a bit emotional and 'hands in the air' (or was that just me?). The mixture of songs is quite curious, often drifting from fairly popular, but credible material (opening, for example, with We Come One by Faithless) and then drifting off into rather cheesier stuff (Will I Ever by Alice Deejay anyone?) but it all sits very well together and doesn't make the usual mistake of this series by combining big hits with lesser known stuff that creates a slightly lopsided mix. Snap vs Plaything's storming anthem (verging just the right side of hard house) comes in at just the right time and most of the stand out tracks are those that lose the vocals. Atlantis vs Avatar use the vocal sample from 1990's Only You by Praise to great effect and there are loads of big Ibiza anthems from the last few years here. Ferry Corsten's Made of Love is gorgeous but it's left to Balearic Bill to close things off in triumphant style with Destination Sunshine. Overall, this is a very strong mix and a great collection of tunes, largely without a single weak link, the weaker tracks for me only really those that have been done to death like Storm's Time to Burn or Dreaming by the Ruff Driverz. Irritatingly for regular customers, there are some franchise die-hards that seem to be on more than their fair share of volumes - Hudson Street by Agnelli and Nelson was on the volume before this one and it seems a bit odd to include Swing 2 Harmony by Perasma on mix three (great tune). These are minor criticisms of what is, however, a stonking, stonking mix.
Disc three is an odd one. It starts off as it means to go on with a succession of tracks that come from different eras, mixing the bleepy nonsense of Wink's dreadful Higher State of Consciousness into the eighties cheese of Theme from S-Express, with limited appeal. The third mix often feels like a competitor for the Hed Kandi Back To Love series that goes for all the old school stuff of the eighties and early nineties but if that's the case, this is a half-hearted effort that won't impress Hed Kandi fans. It's not devoid of good songs (with the likes of Sweet Harmony by Liquid and Gat Décor's Passion cropping up) but it's a bit of a mess and doesn't sit well with any particular mood. Discs one and two are definitely the uplifting, euphoric dance that you'd expect whereas disc three is a bit of a mixed bag. The nature of the mixed tracks will also give this less appeal to individuals trying to hunt down individual tracks, as they don't have the proper intro and exit.
In fairness, however, disc three could go in the bin and I'd still think this was a great compilation that compares favourably with all the competition. The Clubland series has lost its way entirely and seems to be stuffing itself with nasty European imports and pseudo-hardcore noise, whereas the other MOS imprints can be a little too obscure. I tend to find, for example, that the Clubber's Guides and Annuals comprise a 50/50 split between great tracks and stuff you'd never listen to again but this is all tried and tested and (for the most part) passes with flying colours.
(Note: If you want to see the entire track listing you can click the Overview link on the product listing here on Dooyoo and it's there in all its glory.)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 September Can't Get Over Figoboy Remix
2 Steve Angello & Laidback Luke Feat. Robin S Show Me Love Dub Mix Extended
3 Kid Cudi Vs Crookers Day 'N' Nite Club Mix
4 Freestyle Don't Stop The Rock
5 The Prodigy Omen
6 Rudenko Everybody UK Club Mix
7 Madcon Beggin' Max Sanna & Steve Pitron Totality Remix
8 Paleface Feat. Kyla Do You Mind Crazy Cousins Remix
9 Star Pilots In The Heat Of The Night Digital Dog Remix
10 SASH! Feat. STUNT Raindrops (Encore Une Fois) Fonzerelli Remix
11 Basshunter I Can Walk On Water 7th Heaven Remix
12 Platnum Love Shy (Thinking About You) Soul Avengerz Remix
13 Eric Prydz Pjanoo
14 Guru Josh Project Infinity 2008 Klaas Vocal Remix
15 Christian Falk Feat. Robyn Dream On Moto Blanco Vocal Mix
16 Funk Fanatics Love Is the Answer
17 Freemasons Feat. Hazel Fernandez If
18 Firefox Sex Shooter Club Mix
19 Nicki Bliss I Kissed A Girl Workout Mix
20 House Daddiez Feat. Dee James Love Lock Down YUG Remix
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Faithless We Come 1
2 DJ Sammy Sunlight
3 Angel City Feat. Lara McAllen Do You Know (I Go Crazy)
4 Alice Deejay Will I Ever
5 Paffendorf Be Cool
6 Snap Vs Plaything Do You See The Light
7 Jessy Look At Me Now
8 Ian Van Dahl Will I
9 Nalin & Kane Beachball Extended Vocal Mix
10 Alena Turn It Around
11 Ruff Driverz Presents Arrola Dreaming
12 Atlantis Vs Avitar Fiji Lange Remix
13 Lange Feat. Skye Drifting Away
14 Evoke Arms Of Loren Ferry Corsten Remix
15 Storm Time To Burn Club Mix
16 Agnelli & Nelson Hudson Street
17 Hi-Gate I Can Hear Voices
18 Ferry Corsten Made Of Love
19 Airscape L'Esperanza
20 Balearic Bill Destination Sunshine
Disc #3 Tracklisting
1 Baby D I Need Your Loving (Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime)
2 Shamen Move Any Mountain Beat Edit
3 Afrika Bambaataa Just Get Up And Dance
4 Wink Higher State of Consciousness Tweekin Acid Funk
5 S' Express Theme From S'Express
6 Gat D?cor Passion
7 The Prodigy Out Of Space
8 Manix Feel Reel Good
9 Liquid Sweet Harmony
10 DSK What Would We Do
11 Kariya Let Me Love You For Tonight
12 FPI Project Rich In Paradise Vocal Remix
13 Ruffneck Feat. Yavahn Everybody Be Somebody
14 Johnny Corporate Sunday Shoutin
15 Live Element Be Free
16 Basement Jaxx Do Your Thing
17 ATFC Feat. Lisa Millett Bad Habit ATFC Club Mix
18 Golden Girls Kinetic
19 Sound De-Zign Happiness
20 Perasma Swing 2 Harmony