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Richie Hawtin/Sven Väth 

The Sound of the Third Season (Novamute Records)

Richie Hawtin's work is rarely sentimental. While most musicians would bristle at his calculated approach to creativity, Hawtin's forced detachment has kept him well clear of solipsism and artistic stagnation. Strange then, that his latest release, a tag-team mix CD compiled alongside German techno deity Sven Väth, entitled The Sound of the Third Season, is nothing but a misty-eyed commemoration of his residency at Väth's weekly Cocoon parties in Ibiza.

The pair warm up their engines with the dulcet synth tones of Reinhard Voigt's "Supertiel," then hit liftoff with the blistering kick beats in Renato Cohen's "Pontapé." Technasia's trancey "Acid Storm" and Väth's own "Steel" are the high-energy apex of the flight, and the violently hedonistic rush of John Starlight's electro slammer, "Blood Angels," brings things to a turbulent conclusion.

Hawtin and Väth deserve immense credit for charting the trajectory of an entire night within a mere 76 minutes, but their mixing is tastefully brief, and yields little more than a showcase of the biggest crowd-pleasers from last summer. The sessions's entire concept fails to recognize one important fact: It's more than just the tracks these DJ's play that makes them interesting; it's the way they play them. Better luck next season.

More by Steve Boughton


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