September 21, 2006

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Armin van Buurin, A State of Trance 2006
Ultra Records, 2006

Examining and grading a mix burn could begin and end with the saw about opinions: everybody’s got one. Trance legend Armin van Buurin does a fair job of removing most genre-specific hokiness (police whistles, overlong snare rolls signaling jump-and-go-nuts points) but the real question is whether or not this twin-CD set provides the vein-popping adrenaline rush one would expect. The answer is a mostly yes and a kinda-no. Disk 1 is subtitled the “On the Beach” mix, the drawn-out intro of which portended another unwanted invasion of slowbie progressive house similar to ASOT 2005, but eventually things crank into gear with several gorgeous high-BPM numbers, beginning with Matthew Dekay’s “Timeless” and closing with Envio’s appropriately beachy “For You.” Disk 2 (the “In the Club” mix) eventually builds to a mind-crushing climax in and around Hiroyuki Oda’s painfully sexy “Transmigration” but flashes a blinking sign plainly reading “Get Thee to the Bar” upon Stoneface & Terminal’s “Venus” and van Buuren’s own “Control Freak.” Yes, it’s a pisser, but the danceus interruptus right at the brink of total slaughter is a wussy move. B

— Eric W. Saeger