Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Review - Various - Oakenfold Anthems

Various - Oakenfold Anthems

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7 out of 10

Paul Oakenfold is probably the most famous DJ in the world, only Fatboy Slim could perhaps challenge him for that title, and although his superclub heyday might be over, he could still saunter to top of the bill at Creamfields or Gatecrasher as easily as Radiohead would at Glastonbury or Metallica would at Reading. His achievements in the world of dance music are undeniable: residencies at Home and Cream during the '90s; supporting U2 and becoming the first DJ to play on Glasto's Pyramid stage; winning a Brit award for Best Producer for his work with the Happy Mondays; establishing Perfecto, the dance label and supergroup, and going to number one in the US as Grace. That might all be in the past, but Oakenfold still occupies the public consciousness; supporting Madonna, the Klaxons covering 'Not Over Yet', and for every summer of the 21st century '' has been the theme tune to 'Big Brother'.

All of which makes him as good an authority as any to oversee one of the countless club music compilations released every year, most of them with the same songs on them. He manages to bring a sense of event or theatre to the CD, with OTT, melodramatic piano intro to BT's 'Flaming June' - it even sounds like there are fireworks taking off. Then comes the primal thud and unashamedly artificial synth sounds that soundtrack thousands of people into ecstasy every weekend; the combination of booze, beats and blow.

Amid the decadence and artificiality though, are some genuine classics of the genre, and signs of how powerful dance music can be. There's the elegant hedonism of 'Barger's Adagio' by William Orbit, the exhilarating opening bars of Underworld's 'Born Slippy' and Kosheen's 'Hide U', Leftfield's forward thinking on 'Not Forgotten' (Which sounds like a precursor to the emerging 'wonky' sound), and that's before we get on to Faithless, 'You're Not Alone' by Olive, Zombie Nation, Timo Mass and Chicane. 'Not Over Yet' is invested with human emotion and, a rare thing for dance music, it's sadness.

'Anthems' a veritable who's-who of dance music of the last twenty years, and while you might not recognise the names of PPK, Energy 52, Three Drives and BBE, you'll know the songs and the adrenalin rush they bring. Inevitably, over three discs in can get a bit samey - there's little difference to be found between Humate or Moonman - and some of the songs haven't aged well, but this is hardly their environment, they belong under the multicoloured lights of a dancefloor, not a reviewer's computer.


Disc One:
1. BT - Flaming June (BT & PVD remix)
2. Grace - Not Over Yet
3. Energy 52 - Café Del Mar
4. Ascension - Someone
5. Marmion - Shoneberg (Moonmen remix)
6. Paul Oakenfold - Southern Sun (Tiesto remix)
7. Art Of Trance - Madagascar
8. U2 - Beautiful Day (Perfecto remix)
9. Schiller - Das Glockenspiel
10. Mansun - Wide Open Space (Perfecto remix)
11. Taste Xperience - Summersuit (featuring Natasha Pearl)
12. Leftfield - Not Forgotten
13. ATB - 9pm (Till I Come)
14. Humate - Love Stimulation (Love remix)
15. Delerium - Silence (Tiesto remix)
16. Matt Darey presents Lost Tribe - Gamesmaster
17. Mauro Picotto - Lizard (Claxixx remix)
Disc Two:
1. Kosheen - Hide U
2. Jam & Spoon - Stella
3. Iio - Rapture (Creamer & K remix)
4. Three Drives - Greece 2000
5. Chicane - Offshore
6. Push - Universal Nation (Ferry Corsten remix)
7. Planet Perfecto - Bullet In The Gun
8. Verrococha - Carte Blanche
9. Airwave - Venus Of My Dreams
10. Robert Miles - Children
11. Freefall - Skydive (I Feel Wonderful) (featuring Jan Johnson)
12. Blank & Jones - Cream
13. BBE - Seven Days And One Week
14. Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (DJ Gius remix)
15. William Orbit - Barger's Adagio (Ferry Corsten remix)
16. Underworld - Born Slippy (Paul Oakenfold remix)
Disc Three:
1. Y Traxx - Mystery Land
2. Tilt - Butterfly (Tilt's Mechanism remix)
3. Timo Mass - Ubik (The Dance)
4. Josh Wink - Higher State Of Consciousness (Dex & Jonesy remix)
5. Faithless - Salva Mea
6. Brainbug - Nightmare (Sinister Strings remix)
7. Lustral - Everytime (Nalin & Kane remix)
8. Nalin & Kane - Beachball
9. Groovezone - Eisbaer
10. Moonman - Galaxia (Solarstone remix)
11. Gouryella - Gouryella
12. Binary Finary - 1998 (Matt Darey remix)
13. System F - Out Of The Blue
14. The Thrillseekers - Synaesthesia (En-Motion remix)
15. PPK - ResuRection (Perfecto remix)
16. Hybrid - Finished Symphony
17. Olive - You're Not Alone (Oakenfold & Osbourne remix)

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