Thousand Mile Stare

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Having transferred the cinematic post-rock of Sigur Rós to the dancefloor with his Balearic reworking of "Hoppipolla," British trance veteran Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane, appears to have become quite the Iceland-o-phile, judging by his sixth studio album, Thousand Mile Stare. The follow-up to 2010's Giants not only borrows yet again from Jónsi and company's back catalog, turning "Njosnavelin (The Nothing Song)" into a dreamy slice of progressive trance, but also features two collaborations with another similar Reykjavik outfit, Vigri. While the slow-building opener "Hijóp," which sounds tailor-made to soundtrack the next David Attenborough series, and the fusion of warm layered synth pads and acidic techno on "Sólarupprás" prove that his connection with the Nordic island is no bad thing, they are indicative of the album's rather unimaginative tried-and-tested approach. The lush trip-hop beats and Kate Walsh's ethereal vocals on "Playing Fields" echo the atmospheric chillout of 2000's underrated "No Ordinary Morning," "Flotsum and Jetsum" and "Super Mouflon" are the kind of floaty instrumentals that made him such an Ibiza sunset favorite in the late '90s, while the title track is yet another homage to the analog electro of hero Jean-Michel Jarre. Thousand Mile Stare, therefore, is another solid alternative to the hedonistic chart pop of David Guetta et al., but while the derivative Swedish House Mafia-esque trance-rap of "Going Deep" (also featured in a far superior MoogMonkey Rework Mix) suggests that Bracegirdle may be better sticking to what he knows best, it all feels a little too familiar to get too excited about.

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