Darren Emerson

Global Underground: Singapore

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No longer affiliated with Underworld by the end of the millennium, Darren Emerson suddenly did what it took to jumpstart his somewhat low-key DJing career and enter the hallowed ranks of brand-name DJs. In the early 2000s, that meant releasing a Global Underground album. And that's exactly what Emerson did. His first volume, Global Underground: Uruguay, sparked interest since he was one of the few DJs in the series that didn't spin progressive house or trance at that point. Rather, Emerson represented the more accessible side of the techno scene, and he made that clear on Uruguay. Yet, for the most part, his mix seemed strangely pedestrian. That isn't the case with his second try, Global Underground: Singapore. Emerson seems much more focused here, establishing motifs such as the hammering first set and the strange ascension into intoxicating tribal house that closes out the second set. Besides that, he throws in a few standout tracks that provide the occasional idiosyncrasy and/or memorable hook: the tasteful, not ghetto, "shake that ass and bounce those titties, girl" chant in A2's "Do You Like the Way You Feel When You Shake" being one example and the mammoth bassline in Slam's "Lifetimes" being another. Elsewhere, Emerson basically focuses on sustaining momentum and segueing from one motif or highlight to another. His mix requires a little patience but proves seamless with its steady transitions -- somewhat of a conservative approach yet still a welcome one. And if you really feel compelled to fault Emerson for something here, it's probably this lack of variety and surprise. That's a pretty trivial criticism though, particularly because Singapore's such an improvement over Uruguay.

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