Netsky

2

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The rising star of the influential Hospital Records label, Belgian producer Boris Daenen, aka Netsky's second album, simply titled 2, could possibly be the first to make an impact outside the liquid funk scene. Indeed, the follow-up to his 2010 self-titled debut is a far more playful affair, which regularly ventures outside his usual comfort zone, whether it's the robotic electro of "911," the filtered house of "Puppy," or the grimy hip-hop of "Squad Up." But it's when it throws a nod to the old-school that 2 shows its class. "When Darkness Falls," a gorgeously dreamy slice of mellow drum'n'bass featuring the soulful tones of Bridgette Amofah, and "No Beginning," a hypnotic fusion of clattering percussion and rolling jazz piano hooks, both recall the sophistication of Roni Size's groundbreaking New Forms, while "Get Away from Me" contains the kind of classic gospel piano hooks and "Woo! Yeah!" vocal loops that dominated the '90s dance scene on a hook-laden breakbeat anthem. Unfortunately, at 15 tracks, Netsky fails to sustain the same sense of adventure throughout. "Give & Take" and "Detonate" rely on the same array of retro-video game synths and blistering 174 bpm that define most of his label's output, while "Come Alive" and "Wanna Die for You," the latter of which wastes the mighty vocal presence of Urban Cookie Collective's Diane Charlemagne, are uninspired attempts to jump on the dubstep bandwagon. But a little more quality control next time around, and Belgium might have their first credible superstar DJ on their hands.

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