It’s hard not to respect the dedication of DJ and producer Paul
van Dyk. In a time when most DJs simply sample, van Dyk continues
to produce and record original material. But it is hard to overlook
his music’s derivativeness. On his fourth album,
Reflections, van Dyk attempts to create a fusion of pop and
trance, and is unfortunately unsuccessful, winding up with a
mis-mash of stale ideas and outdated material.
Reflections is too predictable from the get-go. “Crush”
begins the album with synthetic atmosphere and a computerized drum
kit. As expected, the bass drum kicks in and the ’80s synthesizer
takes over after a minute of buildup. Then, everything suddenly
comes to a pronounced dramatic halt and an extremely clever “I know
you want me” enters, followed by another dramatic bass drum
entrance and more series of repetitions. Never heard that in a
techno song before.
Van Dyk’s recent work has focused on creating an atmosphere. He
emphasizes a need to capture the moment. At a dance club this may
work, but in recorded form it’s dull. On the single “Nothing But
You,” the whiney vocals aren’t interesting enough to carry the song
from start to finish. “Time of Our Lives,” a collaboration with the
obscure British band Vega-4, sounds too calculated and synthesized.
The track fails to stand out from the other calculated and
synthesized tracks. Why use a live band in the first place if the
result will be the same? “Knowledge,” with German rapper Trooper da
Don, is basically the same drum/bass driven rhythms we’d expect
from van Dyk except without any harmony.
When it comes down to it, there just isn’t enough going for
Reflections to stand out from every other techno CD. This
album fails to create anything beyond music fit for car
commercials. Unless you’re into that kind of thing, don’t
Rating: 1 1/2 stars