Johnny Vicious

Ultra Dance 01

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The inaugural volume in the Ultra Dance series rounds up many of the most popular dancefloor songs in America for one non-stop flurry of big hits. The New York record label invites Johnny Vicious to mix the tracks as best he can. They also give him the opportunity to mix a second disc of more cutting-edge tracks. The tracks on this second disc aren't anywhere near as popular as those on the first disc of this two-disc set. Ultra appropriately tags the first disc as "Main Floor" and the second as "Underground." Of the two, the first is most interesting, not so much because it offers nothing except hits but rather because you wonder how Vicious mixes such a set. He begins with Nelly Furtado, Jessica Simpson, and Amber -- granted, these are dancefloor remixes -- before moving to the album's gem, iio's "Rapture," a song that perfectly blends pop and dance without compromising either. From there, Vicious moves toward more eccentric fare like Green Velvet's crazed "La la Land" and PPK's powerful "Resurrection." The second disc foregoes recognizable tracks for more "underground" ones. Here you sense that Vicious is playing you the records he wants to play, mostly progressive tracks that substitute the pop attributes of songs like "Rapture" with yet more intensity. In England, Ministry of Sound has released albums like this for years -- several a year, in fact. It's good to see America get a similar series that caters to its own, rather than England's, tastes.

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