DJ Encore

Ultra Dance 02

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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier

Because Ultra used up most of the really popular dance-pop hits on the first volume in its Ultra Dance series, the New York record label goes with more eccentric fare for its second volume, namely a plethora of Euro-dance-style hits. Sure, there are a few exceptions, like Deep Dish's remix of Dido's "Thank You" and the original mix of Masters at Work's "Work"; however, most of the tracks on this double-disc set are European, and if they're not produced in Europe, they're certainly influenced by Euro-dance. So, when you consider what's popular in Europe in 2002, you realize that you're in for a lot of melodic trance. And that's precisely what you get -- lots and lots of synth melodies. You even get DJ Encore to mix the set, a popular Euro-trance producer not much removed from the likes of ATB, DJ Tiësto, and Paul van Dyk. And though -- again, unsurprisingly -- these three producers appear here, there are a few surprises. Perhaps the most welcome is the inclusion of Tiga & Zyntherius' "Sunglasses at Night," a neo-electro update of Corey Hart's 1984 left-of-center pop hit. In contrast to the first volume in the Ultra Dance series, the second disc, which is subtitled "Underground," isn't really that underground. It actually features some of this set's most established producers: ATB, Tiësto, van Dyk, Chemical Brothers, Masters at Work, Pete Heller, and so on. So rather than sit through a set of unfamiliar tracks like you had to on the previous volume's second disc, the hits don't stop here. You get two discs laced with the year's biggest dance hits, not one, yet another reason to champion this series.

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