Two Worlds

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Artists like Paul van Dyk, Chicane, and BT (when he's not harboring aspirations of rock stardom) piece together driving 4/4 beats, soaring vocals, and swirling sounds to create moods perfect for a crowded dancefloor or a solitary daydream. One might also consider adding German-born DJ/producer/artist Andre Tanneberger, better known as ATB, to this elite list. ATB's second release, the double album Two Worlds, is a musical journey striving to match van Dyk's Out There and Back, Chicane's Behind the Sun, and BT's ESCM. The trip is divided into two legs, "The World of Movement" (CD1) and "The Relaxing World" (CD2), neither of which wholly impresses or disappoints. On the first leg, ATB builds from the aching beauty of "Love Will Find You" and "Feel You Like a River," both featuring vocals from Heather Nova, to the all-out dancefloor assault of "Bring It Back" and "Klangwelt." "The Summer" and "The Fields of Love," his best work here, meld these two extremes, fashioning moody yet danceable vibes from simple keyboard phrases and his signature guitar-string bends. The second leg is a mellower and less exciting affair that, when experienced after its counterpart, has a pleasantly calming effect. "First Love" and "Timeless" sparkle in comparison with the suspect ATB/Enigma collaboration "Enigmatic Encounters" and the ill-advised Caribbean love theme "Engrossing Moments." Disc two also includes chilled-out remixes of "The Summer" and "Feel You Like a River" (this time entitled "Feel You"). Despite variations, ATB has a habit of stretching ideas beyond their usefulness. As singles, songs with drawn-out themes give club DJs more options. As album tracks, they can test a listener's resolve. He also uses a fairly limited range of sounds, all of which appear often and wear a bit thin by album's end. Confining Two Worlds to one disc of its best moments would make for a stellar album. As it stands, ATB needs a discerning producer to help him pare down the excess.

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