Snap into it

Jan 3, 2001 at 12:00 am

Perhaps it was all just an illusion. Perhaps there never was a thing called trance. At least not in this country. Paul Oakenfold, the sun king of trance, came, saw, shook his head and fled to the Continent, not likely to return. He could see that the savages were going to reduce his good works to little more than accompaniment for Tae-Bo workouts.

So we’re left with the likes of Christopher Lawrence, who seems to know what he’s doing. Namely, to keep his wheels spinning firmly in the direction of techno where the action and the props continue to be in America. So no soaring anthems. No melodramatic dropouts. Not even a third-rate soul diva trying to sneak in a bit of house attitude.

Instead, Lawrence quickly mashes the pedal to the floor and hits the cruise control. None of the 12 cuts he mixes here, including one of his own, are standouts. But they don’t need to be. Lawrence’s focus is on trance’s filigree — the ostinatos, arpeggios and reiterating patterns that ebb and flow over a 4/4 pulse. Filters open and close. Every sound is flanged, chorused and shot through with ever-changing degrees of echo. The result is a low-key electrical sound field that packs a lot of power without making a spectacle of itself. Plug in.

Timothy Dugdale writes about books and visual culture for the Metro Times. E-mail him at [email protected].