Nick Warren

Global Underground: Reykjavik

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Far from the sunny climes of Ibiza or Ayia Napa -- in fact, well beyond the northernmost point ever reached by the Global Underground series -- lies Reykjavik, Iceland, a musical hotspot thanks to Sigur Rós and Múm (plus, of course, founding mother Björk). Hardly a clubbing mecca, but it is the perfect stage for a chill-out album. Mixer Nick Warren's fifth time heading a GU mix is dark like his 2000 edition from Amsterdam, but instead of mid-tempo trance it's down-tempo chill, much closer in execution to his superb 1999 volume in the Back to Mine series. The Global Underground label had hopped on the chill-out bandwagon during 2002 with Steve Lawler's Lights Out and Global Underground: Afterhours, but trendiness aside, Warren is a brilliant downbeat DJ with taste that stretches from the latest underground favorites (like Morr Music) back to the heady days of ambient house. It begins oddly, though, failing to hook listeners with the bland "Dub in Time" (by Avatar) and the surprisingly clunky "Firewire" (by Substructure). Warren recovers quickly, spinning tracks from two of downbeat's best practitioners: Ulrich Schnauss (the wistful "Nobody's Home") and the justly praised Boards of Canada ("Happy Cycling"). The first disc peaks later on, with the sublime ambient bliss of Global Communication's 1994 nugget "14:31." The second disc doesn't reach the heights of the first, leaving only a pair of highlights: Rambient's "Karma" and the closer, Fluke's "Bullet."

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