Whereas on his last proper full-length, Out There and Back, van Dyk's music was constantly moving and morphing, the songs on the Columbia EP are, well, just constant. The appeal of Out There was its flow between banging beats, blissful sweeps, breaks and epic builds. Columbia, meanwhile, thumps along resolutely with little relief.
Make no mistake, Columbia has its moments -- but nothing nearly as anthemic as Out There's "Pikes," "Another Way" and "Tell Me Why (The Riddle)." Made up of the title track, a remix of "Columbia," two new tunes ("Out There" and "Movement") and two takes on Out There and Back's "Vega," Columbia only hints at the breakbeat breakdowns and inescapable melodic synth riffs that flavor van Dyk's best work. True, trance's peaks-and-valleys hooks can get old, but so can an entire EP without a powerful climax. Better to pick up van Dyk's full-lengths or see him live to sample his variety.
Paul van Dyk spins Thurs., Oct. 11, at the DeKalb Atlanta Center.