Various Artists

Ultimate Dance Remixed

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Usually what makes a remix collection exciting is the rhythmic and textural variety it can deliver. Unfortunately, when you see a two-disc set titled Ultimate Dance Remixed and the word "dance" is printed in larger type than the word "remixed," you can pretty much expect that the beats are all going to be the usual house-based thud-thud-thud that generally seems to be implied by the words "club" or "dance." That doesn't mean that none of the songs will be exciting or that none of the mixes will be creative, but it does mean that as a listening experience, the program will get pretty tedious by the end of the first disc. This one starts out on the wrong foot: Eric Prydz's "In & Out" never gets off the ground, weighed down in part by lyrics that are dumb even by disco standards. Things look up with the "Bass Bumpers Club Mix" of "Opa Opa" by Despina Vandi, though, which features great vocals and layers of exotic percussion. Disc one hits its high point with a gorgeous edit of Simply Red's "Sunrise," then falls to earth again with Thelma Houston's so-so "Don't Leave Me This Way." Disc two is more consistent, but that means fewer highlights: Milk & Sugar delivers a great update of the classic "Let the Sunshine In" and Ono's "Everyman Everywoman" brings a surprising ska backbeat into the mix, but pretty much everything else bumps along in a strictly utilitarian groove.

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