July 10, 2008

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Tiesto, In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia
Black Hole Recordings, June 10

If you ever, as one Amazon “critic” did pertaining to this set, find yourself subtracting points from your grades of the mix albums of jumbo-stadium electro DJs strictly because of how they bridged one or two songs, it may be time to move on to smarter genres of music. As the premier DJ in the world, one of Tiesto’s responsibilities is to give actual listens to the hundreds of house and trance songs that get e-mailed or handed to him every day, and once again he’s made the most of his poor, unfortunate lot in life, doing that horrible job in between jumping into hot tubs full of Paris Hiltons. Two CDs here, and where you’d probably expect to get hammered with super-Hoover blasts of strobe-lit power-dance to help you shake out every drop of Red Bull you’ve guzzled over the past few months, it’s instead mostly understated, stunningly gorgeous couch-potato chill comprised of state-of-the-art progressive trance and progressive house (really only hinging on the number of bass-drum beats going at the time, let’s be real). The climactic songs — Tiesto’s own remix of Cary Brothers’ “Ride” on the A disc; Estivalez’ marginally louder “Casa Grande” on the other — aren’t lunkishly telegraphed, nor do they sneak up on you, all of which speaks to a refinement of the sound. Granted, there are a ton of sounds with which techno DJs could be experimenting toward the goal of crossing over into the mainstream, but as a set of safe moves, the genre rarely soars higher than this. A+Eric W. Saeger