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Richie Hawtin & Sven Väth: The Sound Of The Third Season

Album: The Sound Of The Third Season
Label: Novamute

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A proven favorite of worldly club kids and programming directors at E! Entertainment Television, the Spanish isle of Ibiza serves as a rich stand-in for dance music's best and worst excesses. By one crucial measure, it's a place where house and techno support the noble work of fire jugglers and trapeze artists. But spend any amount of time with the countless compilations that trade on its name, and Ibiza reveals itself as home to some of the worst music on the planet, a place where trance goes to entertain its gooiest, gauziest fantasies. Richie Hawtin isn't the kind of DJ normally associated with Ibiza, but his tag-team set with Sven Väth on The Sound Of The Third Season teaches a valuable lesson in the thin line separating purposeful club-pumping and empty filler. Featuring a few snippets of DJ-booth banter and crowd noise, the album documents a set at the Ibiza club night called "Cocoon." Hawtin opens with the sort of shifty minimal-techno he's known for, flipping Reinhard Voigt's "Supertiel" around a hard, stomping groove that bangs through gentle wash-cycle static. Dirty's "Dirty" follows suit by rubbing a clicky rhythm against a bass line ready to burst through its thick skin. Once Third Season hits cruising altitude, however, monotony takes over. Save for Legowelt's nu-electro sizzler "Disco Rout" and a decent remix of A Number Of Names' proto-techno classic "Shari Vari," the disc's middle third provides no hope for mutation, no anticipation for what comes next and how it's mixed in. A string of after-hours tracks grants respite courtesy of Swayzak, Ricardo Villalobos, and a second track by Voigt, but the mellow moods are an antidote to numbness rather than energy.