Carl Craig

The Workout

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The Workout is a complete package -- almost. Encased in a striking die-cut wraparound sleeve, Carl Craig's superb and lovingly assembled double-disc mix album for React is an impeccably arranged and executed survey of set favorites, unreleased mixes, and previews of forthcoming projects, including two by Tres Demented and one under his birth name. The lone problem? Both Tres Demented tracks are track one -- and so are all the remaining 32 inclusions. There's no way of automatically going straight to the stunning drop-in of Flash's "Fix," for instance; you'll have to keep hitting the fast-forward button until you reach 12:15. The two discs aren't necessarily of distinct personalities, yet the material shared between them hits upon dance music of many colors and shapes, whether the basis is rigid techno or loose vocal house. Despite the fact that over half of the selections have more than tangential ties to the DJ, neither of the discs play out like a vanity affair, as the picks fit perfectly into the scheme of things. Craig's "Dark Soul Update" of Recloose's "Ain't Changin'," for instance, forms an unlikely but ideal bridge between Gus Gus' "Your Moves Are Mine," and Dave Angel's "Airborne." Likewise, his steamy, spacey remix of Todd Sines and Natacha Labelle's "Come Closer" pulls the flow out of one of Anthony "Shake" Shakir's bristly, robotic productions and feeds into the chilling throb and sweep of Stephen Brown's "Language." There's Adult's electro-pop, Moonstarr's Great White North broken beat, Amp Fiddler's Motor City funk-house, and all the great points in between. Craig connects the dots with nary a speedbump and comes out with one of the best mix albums of 2002.

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