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Various Artists
Ultimate Dance Party 2000
Arista Records 2000

Well, I don’t know about "ultimate", but this is definitely a good collection of songs to get your booty moving. 18 tracks covering a diversity of tastes, ranging from a remix of Bob Marley’s "Sun Is Shining", to the Pet Shop Boys’ "New York City Boy", to Moby’s "BodyRock", and a great remix of TLC’s "Unpretty". There is a little bit of something for everyone on this record. Most of the songs are in the house variety, but a few tracks are borderline acid jazz and drum ’n’ bass selections. A nice touch to the mix is that it sometimes runs like a DJ’s spinning, with many of the songs segued directly together.

Amber starts it off with a remix of "Sexual", featuring some great vocal treatments, and the orchestral sound usage that helped bring house music to prominence in the late 80’s. La Rissa follow it up with a nice remix of their "I Do Both Jay & Jane", which lives up to its rave remix title. There are some fantastic rave style basses and leads throughout this remix. "There You Go" has all the typical house elements. But what Pink really does well is to use eloquent and interesting phrasing on the vocal lines. Gigi D’Agostino provides a stand out track, one of my favorites, with excellent phasing effects on the vocals, and a very Erasure-esque sound over-all. The Pet Shop Boys contribute with a disappointing and predictable remix of their song, "New York City Boy". What it lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in danceability. Club 69 lays down a nice acid funk version of Whitney Houston’s "It’s Not Right But It’s Okay". Shannon’s "Give Me Tonight" is a well planned remix with phantastic sonic structure and a good house beat. One of three Hani remixes featured on the record, Deborah Cox’s "I Never Knew" is a laid back R’n’B groove track, as nice to listen to as it is danceable. 112 presents "Anywhere", a somewhat low point on the record for me, very sparse and repetitive in it’s approach. One of TLC’s finest songs, "Unpretty" is presented here in a less than stellar version… I would prefer to hear the original, but this remix is infinitely more danceable (if minimalist), and that is the point here. Santana’s "Maria Maria" is here turned into a very gangster sounding ode. The mix is self-indulgent and not very danceable. Hey, why is anyone remixing a disco song like Simply Red’s "Ain’t That a Lot of Love" into an even more stereotypical disco version? I have no answer… but I don’t like it. Andrea Martin brings the album back into line with her "Share the Love", an extremely danceable and diversified track. NO MORE REMIXES OF BOB MARLEY, PLEASE! Beth Orton provides a high point on the record with a slurred, relaxed version of her "Central Reservation", which features a very English Beat-like and ample bass line. I’ve never heard of Catapila before this comp, but I am looking forward to hearing more from them. They have a fantastic grasp on the analogue synthesis sound and how to arrange a danceable, enjoyable tune. Moby’s "BodyRock" needs no introduction and is featured here in its original form. Sarah McLachlan winds up the compilation with a fantastic version of her song "I Love You", remixed by techno genius BT. It is a song that is still hauntingly beautiful, even in a somewhat off beat and danceable format.

All in all, this compilation features tracks that are not only extremely danceable, but also very listenable. A two thumbs up for the nice folks at Arista who want to make it as easy as possible for you to have a house party.

–David DeVoe

Track Listing:

  1. Amber – Sexual (li da di) [thunderpuss remix]
  2. La Rissa – I Do Both Jay & Jane [rave remix]
  3. Pink – There You Go [Hani remix]
  4. Gigi D’Agostino – I’ll Fly With You (l’amour toujours)
  5. Pet Shop Boys – New York City Boys [thunderpuss remix]
  6. Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay [Club 69 remix]
  7. Shannon – Give ME Tonight [ Hex Hector 2000 A.D. remix]
  8. Deborah Cox – I Never Knew [Hani remix]
  9. 112 – Anywhere (featuring Lil’ Zane) [slang club remix]
  10. TLC – Unpretty [don’t look any further remix]
  11. Santana – Maria Maria (featuring the product G&B) [Wyclef remix]
  12. Simply Red – Ain’t That A Lot of Love [Phats n Small mutant disco remix]
  13. Andrea Martin – Share The Love [Hani remix]
  14. Bob Marley – Sun Is Shining [ATB remix]
  15. Beth Orton – Central Reservation [Joe Claussell remix]
  16. Catapila – Void (I need you) [Juniorverse remix]
  17. Moby – BodyRock
  18. Sarah McLachlan – I Love You [BT remix]

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