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Kaleidoscope cover

Catching the neo-electro, indie dance fever so contagious in 2009, the (usually) trance producer and stadium DJ Tiësto surprises with his fourth effort, Kaleidoscope, a diverse album guided by its rangy guest list. The most surprising and successful collaboration is right up front when Sigur Rós vocalist Jónsi and a nostalgic Tiësto conjure the spirit of Tangerine Dream for an electronic meditation on title track which captivates for seven-and-a-half minutes. It's the album's creative high point and Tiësto's most risky cut to date, but the alternative dance and indie ideas don't stop here, as Australia's Sneaky Sound System bounce between soul and Kate Bush-like drama for the great club track "I Will Be Here." Calvin Harris brings a more retro sound ('80s-flavored this time) and some humor ("Now put your hands in the air/For a century") to the party while Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke offers some convincing art-pop heartbreak on the memorable "It's Not the Things You Say." Longtime fans get a handful of widescreen instrumentals plus familiar-sounding, straight dance tracks with Nelly Furtado plus Tilly & the Wall member Kianna Alarid. An overstuffed track list makes this otherwise accessible album a bit too cumbersome, but with a little editing, Kaleidoscope is an unexpected and satisfying step forward from a producer who could have racked up the big numbers by sticking with his proven formula.

Review by David Jeffries


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