Various Artists

Tranzworld, Vol. 4

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The fourth installment in this series of DJ mix compilations based on the popular New York City dance club Webster Hall is just as ridiculously exploitative as the preceding volumes in the series. Capitalizing on the trendy Euro-trance sounds of the early '00s, club owner/producer Lon Ballinger rounds up several no-name artists and has them contribute generic "Kernkraft 400"-like tracks -- he trades the brand equity of his club for any sort of credible artist or proven track. In commercial terms, this strategy has proven moderately successful for Ballinger -- there is obviously no shortage of Webster Hall-themed compilations. But in terms of the music itself, the tracks found on this compilation are undeniably generic, cookie-cutter attempts to duplicate popular progressive trance anthems. Don't even bother with this album unless you're a die-hard Webster Hall fan. If you are indeed a diehard, you'll probably love this since it's essentially a retread of the preceding volumes in the series. Still, there is no limit to the better DJ mix albums on the market and, if you're strictly into high-energy anthemic progressive trance, then you can still do a lot better than this. If anything, look to popular British clubs such as Ministry of Sound, Gatecrasher, or Cream; their albums aren't any less exploitative, but at least they offer proven artists and anthems. Or even better, look to the Tranceport or Global Underground series of albums, which at least offer the best of the genre in terms of both music and DJs. In sum, it can't be said enough times: electronic dance music doesn't get much more exploitative or commercial than Webster Hall's efforts here.

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