Christopher Lawrence

All or Nothing

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Christopher Lawrence is a globetrotting house DJ whose singles and mix albums have achieved significant success in the U.K. and who is in constant demand as a touring artist and party DJ, but who, until this release, had yet to release an album of his own compositions. All or Nothing marks his debut as a purveyor of original trance music, and if he hasn't exactly staked out any really new ground as yet, he at least demonstrates that he's learned well the lessons of his forebears. Lawrence's brand of trance is utilitarian, if not quite minimalist. Pretty much every track (with the notable exception of the borderline funky "New Day") is built on a straight-ahead foursquare house beat, around which electronic atmospheres expand and contract. Sometimes (as on "Mind Eraser") they're fairly chilly and robotic-sounding; at other times (as on "Saboteur," the album's lead track) they sound grimly but briskly determined, like a good spy movie theme; and once in a great while (as on the lovely "Halo") they even feature vocals. It's hard to imagine anyone listening to this album all the way through from start to finish, but to be fair, that's not really the way this music is meant to be used; break the program up with a few infusions of jungle, rare groove, and vintage soul, and you've got a ready-made party.

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