Matt Darey

Upfront Trance

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It isn't hard to figure out how trance got its name. Trance is a very hypnotic form of electronica; while techno confronts (it is the death metal or free jazz of electronica), trance is a style that -- for all its exuberance -- would rather hypnotize and seduce. And hypnotic seduction is exactly what producer/DJ Matt Darey goes for on Upfront Trance, a two-CD set that he has described as "the first album I have ever made that is a true reflection of how I play in the clubs with no compromises." A club-like ambience definitely prevails on Upfront Trance, which finds Darey spinning 158 minutes' worth of music and turning his attention to material by Perry O'Neil, Blank & Jones, Ratty, Tilt, and Oliver Prime (among others), as well as some of his own material. Actually, much of Upfront Trance might be too uncompromising for those who have only a casual interest in trance. Some nonstop trance mixes will emphasize the pop side of trance in order to be more accessible to casual listeners, and while some of the songs on Upfront Trance feature female singers and have a traditional song structure (including Smith & Pledger's "Forever" and White Room and Amy Cooper's "Someday"), many of the selections that Darey includes in his nonstop mix are instrumentals that don't have a traditional song structure -- they're strictly about the beat and the electronic rush that goes with it. That approach won't make Upfront Trance a favorite among those who believe that all trance should be as pop-minded as DJ Sammy and Yanou's remake of Bryan Adams' "Heaven," but for those who appreciate different sides of trance -- the pop crossover side as well as the more hardcore side -- Upfront Trance is an enjoyable demonstration of the types of things that Darey can do in a club setting.

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