Max Graham

Transport, Vol. 4

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As the fourth annual DJ chosen to represent Kinetic's popular Transport mix-album franchise, Max Graham officially enters the major league of international DJs from a stateside point of view. Given the amount of hype surrounding Montreal-based Canadian in early 2001, expectations were definitely high for Transport 4. Thankfully, Graham lives up to his mammoth reputation with this double-disc mix, proving that he indeed deserves his place on the growing pedestal of true "superstar" DJs. First of all, don't let the fact that Kinetic slyly changed the name of their series from Tranceport to Transport fool you -- though the savvy label may wish to distance itself from the inevitable trance backlash of 2001, Graham is a fairly straightforward trance DJ and fills his mix to the brim with the numbing sound. From the opening ambience of the album to its dizzying climax, glossy waves of swirling ambience and saccharine melodies wash atop one another with many of the tracks lasting upwards of ten minutes apiece; they call this trance for a reason, and Graham certainly knows how to mesmerize listeners, his set teetering perfectly on that paradoxical balance of meditative ambience and searing intensity -- the druggy sound of heart-pounding aural bliss unconcerned with funk, aggression, and intellect. For the most part, Graham plays it safe with his track selection as you'd expect given this album's mass appeal. Sure-fire producers such as Hybrid, Underworld, and Timo Maas carry the album during its most pivotal moments, while Graham proves himself to be a gifted producer -- his three contributions just may be the album's standout moments. Overall, don't expect any surprises here, just a well-assembled, no-brainer set of contemporary trance; Graham reached this point in his career by playing proven, popular records, not by being innovative or by taking chances.

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