Tall Paul

Headliners: Tall Paul Live at the Gallery

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Tall Paul navigates through a set of progressive house and trance anthems for Ministry of Sound's first installment in their Headliners series, which promises to showcase top DJs spinning sets representative of what they would spin at particular clubs. Relative to the Paul mixes on the Dance Nation albums, this album flows rather well; finally it seems that Ministry of Sound is giving their DJs some freedom rather than forcing play lists onto them. Furthermore, Paul is given two CDs to construct his set, which allows him to piece together a building, warm-up mood on disc one and a peak-hour, hands-in-the-air mood on the second disc. Of the two differing sets, the progressive house-populated set on disc one stands out as the stronger of the two, thanks to a few strong tracks -- "Definition of Love (G Flame Dub)," "West on 27th (Original 'Subway' Mix)," "The Man With the Red Face" -- that function as great progressive house tracks should, funneling their energy and focus on hard, stomping percussive rhythms capable of luring most onto the dancefloor. This set then gets polished off with a few trance anthems at the end: "The Orange Theme (Solar Stone Remix)," "Darkstar," and "Galaxia (Solar Stone Remix)." The second set overindulges itself in progressive trance to the point of diminishing returns, with one synth hook after another until it becomes gagging; furthermore, none of these trance tracks are even that special. An album that definitely sums up a moment in time, Paul once again succeeds in spotting the trendiest records; unfortunately, focusing primarily on the new rather than integrating some of the old makes this album a hit-and-miss affair.

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