Various Artists

Best of Reactive

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Reactive's triple-CD collection looks back at the influential U.K. dance music label's short history to the dawn of the '90s, mapping out the evolution of their sound from Belgian techno to early trance anthems. The chronological trail is rather fascinating as the music morphs from the edgy, overdone techno anthems of the early British rave scene with their aggressive synth riffs and pounding bass beats to the sugary bliss of mid-'90s trance anthems with their candy-coated melodies and intense climaxes. This evolution of a sound comes from not only Reactive's long history as one of the original dance music outposts in the U.K. but also from the label's tendency to license the best tracks from smaller labels and transform these songs into gigantic hits through the label's wide-reaching distribution, potent marketing, and high brand-name equity. The generation of newcomers weaned on Paul Oakenfold and Sasha CDs should find this collection rather fascinating, as it travels back in time to unravel the roots of late-'90s progressive trance.

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