Carl Cox

Second Sign

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Carl Cox's third artist album presents some new tracks from the much-loved producer, collects a handful of older ones, and blends it all together in a mix-CD fashion. On top of all this is the quirky guest list, which includes everyone from superstar producer Norman Cook to techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson. Save "Got What You Paid 4!" -- a tedious, screaming, Prodigy wannabe with singer Saffron -- the collaborations all feel natural and loose, as if every collaborator got a "do what you feel, keep it funky" debriefing. Since he's fluent in six or seven genres of dance and has a genre-hopping back catalog, it's surprising the album is so house, with Cox's own contributions ranging from house proper to tech-house. Saunderson brings the chilly Detroit techno to "Vibes of Energy," Norman Cook brings the over the top, big beat boom to "That's the Bass," and Roni Size brings the off-kilter nu-jazz to "Open Book." Cox's hypnotic loops and incredibly catchy contributions are the glue that holds the album together while the DJ mix construction of it all disguises the filler, not there's much to begin with. While the pounding techno lovers might be disappointed that the album sparkles so often, Second Sign is a well-constructed effort that's club worthy, headphone worthy, and rich enough to withstand many repeat listens.

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