Maybe I’m spoiled by Detroit techno and house. Perhaps I’m just blind to the intense soul that drives the dance magazine-dominating genre that is Euro-trance. Why is it, though, that I can’t fight my recurring daydream in which I take every trendy trance DJ to the filthy Packard plant, tie them to a subwoofer and forcibly pound their ears with successive sets by Jeff Mills, Claude Young, Surgeon, Adam Beyer and Rob Hood? Call me unstable if you must, but van Dyk might benefit from techno’s medicinal value.
Out There and Back is a double-disc mixed compilation of van Dyk’s own works surgically glued together in the studio. Disc one’s intro offers some momentary hope that PvD will go beyond the tired, formulaic trance blueprint into a deeper side of house. Unfortunately, the opposite happens as van Dyk abruptly changes directions and takes us through what could be the background music for a bad acid trip at Euro Disney. Not only that, but he doesn’t even take us to Space Mountain or buy us embroidered mouse ears with our names on them. No. He insists that we stay on the teacup ride for more than two hours, going round and round as anxiety morphs into nausea.
Disc two is an enhanced CD, featuring videos from St. Etienne with van Dyk for “Tell Me Why,” as well as van Dyk’s title track video for “Another Way.” The St. Etienne video, featuring vocalist Sarah Cracknell, can be credited for the one star you see above. Let’s face it — she could sing over tracks by “DJ Valium” and make it sound pretty. “Another Way,” on the other hand, is self-indulgent pseudo-art, showing a misunderstood-looking van Dyk as he melancholically looks around his room waiting for the phone to ring. Zzzzzzzzz...
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