Markus Schulz

Miami '05

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In 2003 and 2004, the German-born, U.S.-raised, Phoenix-weaned Markus Schulz ascended through the DJ ranks, spinning his trancey mixes worldwide, including such exotic, finger-on-the-pulse locales as Ibiza. He was also being spoken of in the same light as such mixmaster stalwarts as Armin Van Buuren and Paul Van Dyk. In 2004, his rise culminated in two Billboard club chart successes, with remixes of songs by Jewel ("Intuition" and "Stand"), and the masterful disc Coldharbour Sessions 2004, which showcased his distinct take on trance: thick, subby basslines; sweeping strings; and brooding, pretty melodies. (Schulz has also worked with such artists as Everything but the Girl, Depeche Mode, and Fatboy Slim.) The Coldharbour LP is a tough act to follow, but Miami '05, while not as strikingly original, does a pretty good job. On this album, Schulz mixes continue to avoid the pat hyped, pumping sound that often dominates trance, opting instead for (what Schulz himself describes as) a sexy, hip-moving vibe. The intro track, "Blue Tubes," by Israeli-born trance wunderkind Itay Steinberg (aka Hydroid) is a wonderfully blissed-out and chilled-out preamble to an eclectic, alternately tranquil and uplifting group of mixes. On the tranquil side, there's a clever retooling of Lens' "Let the Light In" and a gorgeous revamping of "Quarter Century," by Canada's Sean Walsh. On the uplifting, euphoria-laced side of things, there are top-notch workouts of Amnesia's "Heaven Drops" and Fluid in Motion's "Soul Dimension." The Finland-meets-Singapore pedigree of the latter track (Fluid in Motion is producer Miika Kuisma and Singaporean Luke Chen) points to the eclectic, globe-encompassing nature of Schulz's work selections. Combined with his clever and original mixing abilities, Miami '05 adds up to one of the better trance releases during its titular year.

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