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Record Review


One of a nu_breed of up-and-coming international DJs, Holland's Sander Kleinenberg has rather quickly earned himself a reputation as a baby Sasha, continuing the beloved Scottish journeyman's quest to promote the global underground. Picking up where 1999 left off, Kleinenberg's latest, Essential Mix, never relies solely on the tired synth-puff builds and breaks that have plagued the blurry genre known increasingly as "progressive."

Yet Kleinenberg's sets are pro- gressive, just not progressive house or progressive trance. Rather, they're a progression through these territories and more. At times techy, other times tribal, Essential Mix straddles the thinly drawn line separating house and trance. While some trademark trance elements -- e.g., melody-driven synth chords -- are there, Essential Mix, with its moody drum layers and bulbous whip, should appeal equally to fans of a darker sort of intensity. It's a little to one side of Timo Maas, gently rubbing the other against Danny Tenaglia.

Though Kleinenberg has been known to throw in a commercial stormer from time to time, Essential Mix is, for the most part, devoid of immediately recognizable tracks. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because it forces Kleinenberg to hold the listener's attention with dynamics, not dramatics.

Sander Kleinenberg spins at Blu Wed., April 10.

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