Michael Mayer

Immer 2

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Rumors about an Immer sequel started long before the delay of its release became prolonged. The wait shaped it into what must be one of the most anticipated dance releases in years. This is baffling in that it's a mix album based around previously released material, that it comes from a DJ who is often criticized for lack of flash and an emphasis on sequencing over traditional mixing, and that the DJ had issued two other mix albums since Immer. Conversely, it's a testament to Immer's durability and the DJ's near-iconic status in spite of an ego-less and relatively hands-off approach. It's also doubtful that any other active jock would hatch the idea of a mix album and spend well over a year waiting for all the components to make themselves available. In fact, going by the release dates of the selections on Immer 2, it's possible that Michael Mayer had the sequence of the first third of the mix in place for months, only to put it on the shelf for nearly half a year before resuming. All told, five of the 12 tracks came out in 2004 or 2005, which is another characteristic that flies in the face of conventional mix-album design. Mayer is evidently more concerned with putting together a set that won't lose its effect over the course of a year or two -- one that doesn't necessarily scream "November 2006." For its first 20 minutes, Immer 2 continues the stealth night-crawling quality of its predecessor and is even more sedate, slowly intensifying up a slight gradient. Ian Simmonds' "The Dog" is somewhat disarming in that it could've just as easily come from one of Barry Adamson's smoldering spybeat albums; and, on its own, Frank West's "2nd Booty" is surprisingly trad house by Mayer's standards, but both tracks are somehow bolstered by context. The mix takes a rather drastic turn toward the big and spacious with Justus Köhncke's "Advance," a track bold enough to sample the shuffling drums and snapping bass from (of all things) Boz Scaggs' soft-disco classic "Lowdown." The blitzing Todd Terje remix of Lindstrøm's "Another Station" quickens the pace even more and seems like it was dropped in from an entirely different mix, as if Mayer had been spinning live and caved in to a persistent request. Once it fades away, the sequence resumes as it was before then, sounding every bit like Immer's younger sibling. For the most part, Mayer's knack for latching tracks onto one another is on full display. The truly stimulating moments are not as common as they are on Immer or Fabric 13, but expecting Mayer to maintain that degree of excellence is pushing it.

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