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Paul Van Dyk 21/1/2003

Review

The superstar DJ certainly lives the smart life, jetting from San Francisco to Liverpool to Hong Kong, relaxing in well-appointed lounges before he takes the decks, and if he's Paul Van Dyk, taking his camera (or his cameraman) into the streets to document the urban bustle that apparently inspires his music. After ten long years on the rise among trance DJs, Van Dyk celebrated star status with Global, his first full-length DVD (with an accompanying CD), an all-in-one career travelogue, greatest-hits compilation, and mix album. It must be admitted, though, that since the sites he's visiting are often more exciting than the music he's playing, this whirlwind tour of clubbing hot spots -- from the Love Parade to Ibiza, from an outdoor Gatecrasher festival in Northamptonshire to a packed nightclub in Tokyo -- functions more as eye-candy rather than entertaining audio/video mix album. Granted, these aren't simply home movies, or even a scrapbook from someone with access to the most stylish clubs in the world. The film, directed by the German design firm Die Gestalten from over 40 hours of footage, begins with quick cuts of life for the DJ (taxicabs, trains, airports, the usual urban street life, and of course, lots of clubs) with a few attempts at narrative -- clubbers preparing for a night out plus a few misguided cinematic milieus for Van Dyk himself (running through cityscapes, riding in the back of a flat-bed truck through dark streets, even shopping at a supermarket). The commitment to audio technology is impressive, with a 5.1 Surround Sound remix performed by Nucleus Sound Studio. Away from the immersive atmosphere of a top dance club, however, Van Dyk's recordings simply don't merit this attention to detail (though they do benefit from the high-tech treatment). The first problem comes with the opener "We Are Alive," an idea more than a song, a track that simply repeats permutations of the title over an unceasing point-perfect melody, punctuated only by a percussion breakdown whenever necessary. Though most of his career highlights also appear here, a parade of Paul Van Dyk productions is not what most listeners need to stave off boredom; his productions all work from a similar framework, and work best in the context of a broader mix set. Van Dyk may be a dance phenom, blessed with positive press and ecstatic fans the world over, but his productions don't deserve the hype they receive. "Evocative" and "uplifting"? Sure, and the same could be applied to Jean-Michel Jarre or even Yanni, for that matter. But certainly not "soulful" (as a Rolling Stone piece once famously claimed). ~ John Bush
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 We Are Alive Paul Van Dyk 3:19
  3. 2 Seven Ways Paul Van Dyk 5:12
  4. 3 Forbidden Fruit Paul Van Dyk 6:16
  5. 4 Beautiful Place Paul Van Dyk 6:2
  6. 5 Another Way Paul Van Dyk 6:20
  7. 6 Tell Me Why (The Riddle) Paul Van Dyk 5:47
  8. 7 Step Right On Paul Van Dyk 5:22
  9. 8 Words Paul Van Dyk 5:49
  10. 9 Together We Will Conquer Paul Van Dyk 7:16
  11. 10 A Magical Moment Paul Van Dyk 4:38
  12. 11 For an Angel Paul Van Dyk 7:18
  13. 12 Animation Paul Van Dyk 7:14
  14. 13 My World Paul Van Dyk 3:50
  15. 1 We Are Alive Paul Van Dyk 3:27
  16. 2 Seven Ways Paul Van Dyk 4:58
  17. 3 Forbidden Fruit Paul Van Dyk 6:24
  18. 4 Beautiful Place Paul Van Dyk 5:55
  19. 5 Another Way Paul Van Dyk 6:20
  20. 6 Tell Me Why (The Riddle) Paul Van Dyk 6:15
  21. 7 Step Right Up Paul Van Dyk 5:1
  22. 8 Words Paul Van Dyk 5:42
  23. 9 Together We Will Conquer Paul Van Dyk 7:38
  24. 10 A Magical Moment Paul Van Dyk 4:16
  25. 11 For an Angel Paul Van Dyk 7:53
  26. 12 Animacion Paul Van Dyk 7:15
  27. 13 My World Paul Van Dyk 4:7

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