Armin van Buuren/Various A State of Trance 2005

Trance continues to be very popular, and Armin van Buuren, one of its topflight DJs and producers, presents a two-disc mix whose title perfectly sums up its intent. Disc one is "Light” featuring indistinguishable female singers waxing poetic about stars, nights out and other euphoric events. Too similar bass lines and kick drums mar the first half hour, making it rather blurry, with tinkling melodies and mellow vocals. After that it gets a little more varied. The kick drums punch a little harder, the bass rumbles more and the whole effect is very spacey. Disc two is "Dark,” and here you’ll find all the deep rumblers. Some of the better ones are Peter Martin’s chunky "Simply Blue,” Gabriel and Dresden’s "Arcadia,” and Blank and Jones’ misnamed "Perfect Silence,” which is actually quite pumping. On each disc the tracks are selected and mixed well. It has a smooth flow I expect from a trance set. If you want a good introduction to modern trance this is it. If, like me, trance’s overbearing melodies and arpeggiated synths drove you away years ago, this could be a decent re-entry. (Ultra)