Various Artists

Future Trance, Vol. 12

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With 40 tracks on two discs, this 12th installment in the Future Trance series plays nice catch-up for those still on the outskirts of the hugely popular trance scene. Quite a few of 2000's biggest hits are here; Paul Van Dyk's velvety "Tell Me Why," Blank and Jones' pretty "Nightfly," and Kay Cee's childlike "Escape 2000" all should help fill in the quality blanks for a lot of distant fans of the genre. Unfortunately, to fit such a high number of tracks -- all unmixed to boot -- the compilation almost invariably sticks in as many cramped edit versions as possible. For instance, even when Storm's hugely pounding "Time to Burn" outperforms all the others on here, its bite-sized, four-minute version nearly destroys its original leap-frogging breakdown and its even better lusty buildup. With such a huge number of tracks here, one finds the expected "filler" compilation deposits in higher quantities as well. For every lush "Komodo" by the favored Mauro Picotto there are about seven tracks like the smarmy "Sunstorm" or the truly sophomoric "Mirage" by the weaker acts. The overtly retro-techno basis of the rest of the second disc is also something that will just anger starved trance fans gravitating towards an ostensibly "lotta bangs for the buck" release. There is little flow on each disc, little ear for consistent quality, and a frustrating knack for shoving huge dollops of 2000's more mainstream trance scene into three-minute capsules. While it may be handy, it's just not at all that special.

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