BT

R&R

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AllMusic Review by

Brian Transeau undoubtedly deserves recognition for the scope of his work, but for all the bells and whistles on this double CD, it's as if listeners don't get to hear them as distinctly as they ought to. This Maryland-born, musically gifted DJ and multi-instrumentalist sets higher standards than most for club-ready dance music and has garnered well-deserved praise for his album, Movement in Still Life (in all its various forms of release). Riding the wave of sales, Nettwerk Records dug through the vaults and paperwork to cash in with R&R. Surprisingly, this promising buffet of trance, acid house, and dreamy techno has been left under the heat lamps for too long, and everything seems bland. Transeau decides to be the DJ/mixer for this epic collection, along with the CD "beatmixing" skills of Andy Gray, which, by having disc two cued up in advance, technically gives the listener almost two and a half hours of uninterrupted 4/4 beat (even hardcore clubbers might want a break before then). In this case it doesn't help that these tracks all run together, as several shining moments have been compromised in pursuit of a steady beat. This is not to say continuous mixing is inherently bad -- BT's import version of Movement in Still Life is perhaps one of the most stunning displays of seamless, adventurous, track-to-track success available (buyers take note, the domestic version of M.I.S.L. pales by comparison). With the 22 selections here, however, it's like melting down and combining individual pieces of gold to make a crown; the character and dynamics of each smaller piece disappear for the sake of something supposedly better. Sadly, the results are mixed (in more ways than one). Treats like "Fibonacci Sequence," "Blue Skies" (with Tori Amos), and "Hip Hop Phenomenon" have all sounded better elsewhere, so check BT's CD singles for some of this and other decent material. Frequent collaborators like Sasha and Paul Van Dyk show up a couple times along the way, along with remixers Hybrid, Timo Maas, Plump DJ's, and others. Transeau himself gets his hooks into material from artists like Seal, Mike Oldfield, and Sarah McLachlan, but again, much of the distinguishable elements of these mixes get glossed over for this package. Disc two fares slightly better by stacking up later material (again, see Movement in Still Life), along with a sharp remix for Sarah McLachlan's "I Love You." BT is everywhere in this project, and yet at the very same time his dynamic presence seems strangely absent. Audiophiles will have to keep rummaging for separate, indexable recordings of some of these gems, where perhaps more individual appreciation can be given. Spectacular in scope, R&R should soar, when in reality it struggles to leave the ground.

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