Tiësto - Magikal Journey: The Hits Collection 1998 - 2008
There can't be a name more synonymous with trance than Tiësto. The Dutch superstar DJ's accomplishments include performing at the 2004 Olympic Games and Disneyland Paris, not to mention a repeat summer residency at Privilege in Ibiza. Magikal Journey marks his first 'best of', consisting of one disc of tracks from the four artist albums he released between 1998 and 2008 and another of remixes of his work. Across both there's a smattering of previously unreleased recordings to whet the appetite of the completist.
It's the earliest material here that fares best; 'Flight 643' and 'Lethal Industry', for example, are decent no nonsense dance tunes. Things tend to go wrong when he incorporates vocals, so 'Love Comes Again' reminds me of 'Don't Give Up' (the somewhat cheesy Chicane/Bryan Adams collaboration), 'Just Be' has an annoyingly pat message, 'Dance4Life' has Maxi Jazz reminding us of the dangers of HIV (as if dance music needs a social conscience) and 'Goldrush' actually sounds like a highpoint until Tiësto breaks out the opera. That said, 'Obsession', with its whispered female vocal, is pretty damn sexy.
The main problem with Tiësto is, even at his juggernaut best, he sounds rather too workmanlike: not significantly different from his competitors and the dance equivalent of the big dumb summer blockbuster movie. There's no sense of progression or diversity as an electronic music producer. Since 1998 we've had the rise of minimal, fidget house and dubstep, leaving Tiësto's brand of meat and potatoes trance sounding rather clumsy and dated (admittedly while it sells by the bucket load). These days, the likes of Deadmau5 and Booka Shade understand you need a few tricks up your sleeve from the off - at least to impress the more fickle dance fan. Still, Tiësto undoubtedly gives his followers what they want (trance as spectacle) and his shortcomings are typical of the genre as a whole.