John Digweed

Renaissance: Transitions, Vol. 2

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This is the second installment in a projected four-volume series of DJ mix albums by John Digweed, a DJ in both the club sense and the radio sense, and one whose particular take on house and techno sounds has made him an international star. That said, those who approach Renaissance Presents: Transitions, Vol. 2 without the hype in mind may find the music to be more functional than inspiring -- Digweed certainly has a way with texture, and many of these tracks are presented in mixes that are very satisfactory on a purely sonic level. But the grooves are inevitably rather tame and samey; everything thumps along from a nice, polite 124 bpm (at the beginning) to 129 bpm (by the final track), and there are no real departures from the four-accents-to-the-measure verities of traditional house. There are some subtle exceptions, such as William Threlfall's nicely swinging "Shivering (Pitch and Hold in Camera Obscura Remix)" and David K.'s "Boul de Nerf," which features some interesting rhythmic slippages and dysfunctions near the middle. But for the most part, the sounds are either dreamy and blippy (the two Abyss tracks) or a bit darker and more modal ("Belong to Me (Dub)" by Bruce Aisher and G Stylz). Also noteworthy: the sly nod to "Tainted Love" on Dirk Technic's "I Love You (Smallboy Remix)."

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