Armin van Buuren


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A legend among trance devotees in Europe, Armin van Buuren has been gradually making a name for himself as a composer of original dance music as well as a world-class DJ and remixer. His second artist album finds him taking the final step into real songwriting, working with such singers as Nadia Ali, Michael Burns, Justine Suissa and Martijn Hagens and continuing both to refine and expand his personal vision of the ways trance can be defined in a constantly expanding dance music universe. The album opens powerfully with the surprisingly breaks-based "Wall of Sound," a well put together celebration of funkiness that luxuriates in a long instrumental intro before eventually turning into a song featuring the attractive voice of Justine Suissa. From there on, things fall into a more familiar pattern: sonically pretty but rhythmically predictable club anthems supporting singers and lyricists of varying quality -- on the high side, there's the faintly Peter Gabriel-ish Ray Wilson on a very fine song titled "Gypsy"; on the low side is the breathtakingly tedious "Bounce Back" featuring both DJ Remy and Roland Klinkenberg. Most of the rest falls somewhere in between, and will appeal mainly to those with well-developed tastes in the genre. [A bonus track version was also released.]

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