Danny Howells

Nocturnal Frequencies, Vol. 2

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British DJs have shown a great knack for picking out the choicest underground sounds from all over the world and serving them up, in a much more palatable fashion, to wider audiences. This, the second instalment of Danny Howells' popular Nocturnal Frequencies series, is a sterling example of the art. Carrying a moodier, deeper brand of progressive house and trance than its predecessor, however, it's clearly engineered with a more mature audience in mind; so if you're looking for a soaring set of dance to play at a party to a group of blotchy teenagers, then look elsewhere. Howells keeps the reinns in for almost the entire set, only allowing a couple of up-tempo stretches to set the heart racing. His mixing, by the way, is beyond reproach. But unless you were a real animal on the underground club circuit at the time of this release, you'll be hard-pressed to recognize any of the tunes on here. And there are only a couple of big names -- such as David Alvarado and Chris Coco, who both chip in with fine, percussion-driven offerings at the beginning of CD one -- lurking amidst the unknowns. The main problem with this compilation, though, is not the lack of club anthems or star names. It's the lack of variety. At times, there's very little to hold on to as the set cries out for some sharper twists and turns, funkier basslines, and, most of all, some vocals.

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