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Armin Van Buuren
A STATE OF TRANCE 2004
(Ultra)
Stars graphics

At its warmest, the instrumental music of Armin van Buuren resembles the work of Alex Gold, an Ibiza-based British DJ who has included some of Buuren’s own compositions in his recorded DJ sets. Still, Buuren’s sets, as set forth on this two-CD collection, have a coolness of tone and an atmospheric looseness that’s quite different from Gold’s usual sound. Gold’s sets include generous passage of singing; Buuren’s offer hardly any. Gold often adopts the thick, throbby beats of house music; Buuren generally prefers a light, crisp, electronic dabble. He does, occasionally, veer toward Paul Van Dyk–ish techno (Peter Martin featuring Anthanasia’s "Perfect Wave" is one such notable), but mostly he selects Italian-style dream music, synthesized and spacy in the classic manner of atmospheric Eurodisco since the early 1980s.

As a mixer, Buuren rarely intrudes upon the music. He uses hardly any overlays, and his quick-cut mixes simply end one song and begin another, with none of the rapid leaps of faith (as it were) from the core of one song to the edges of another that impart tension and drama to most DJ sets. His unobtrusive style will leave the fan of disco fireworks (diva style especially) unsatisfied, but it should suit the idyllic expectations of space-disco adepts who are content to let his casual, almost carefree song sequencing take them where he will, and at his own pace.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG


Issue Date: April 23 - 29, 2004
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