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Sandra Collins 

Perfecto Presents ... Sandra Collins

Wednesday, Feb 11 2004
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Perfecto Presents ... Sandra Collins is the first offering from the eye-catching DJ since she signed with superstar DJ Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label, and her first release in 2 1/2 years. Recorded at a time when Collins had rediscovered her love for the trance music that propelled her into the global spotlight -- a status she earned after toiling for years honing her craft -- the double-disc mix CD is a showcase for her renewed enthusiasm.

Collins' instinctual understanding of trance is the secret ingredient here. Knowing that the draw of that particular sound is not in the gratuitous buildup-and-breakdown most marquee names get caught up and lost in, Collins instead relies on locking into a melodic groove. Her shifts from introspective to energetic to hypnotic moments are precise, clean, and well placed, moving the set smoothly from peak to gripping peak. The mix steadily progresses over the two discs through remixes of artists like Moby, Layo and Bushwacka!, Kosheen, Voyager, and BT, and includes tracks by less high-profile artists as well; together these songs range from emotional highs to heart-wrenching floor-stompers to percolating, uplifting vocal tracks.

Although at first glance Collins' selections may seem obvious, her choice of remixes of the better-known artists and her arrangement of them into the mix gives those numbers a previously unheard sheen. Additionally, the lower-profile talent she intersperses throughout breathes new life into the overdone, hackneyed, and predictable sound of trance. Perfecto Presents argues that the lowest-common-denominator, hands-in-the-air nature of the genre is not its most important quality. Collins' interpretation brings intelligence and subtlety to the table without sacrificing the crowd-pleasing elements of the music.

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Lily Moayeri

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