To the Limit by Beats Unlimited Productions (Review)

Remember that studio-based, diva-riddled dance music that was so prevalent in the early ’90s?

Listening to the first song on To the Limit, the only thing I could think of was “Didn’t this music die out after 1995?” Remember that studio-based, diva-riddled dance music that was so prevalent in the early ’90s? You know, Technotronic and the like? The kind of music you’re now ashamed to say you listened to back in 9th grade. “Sound Check” brought all of those memories rushing back. It’s not an encouraging sign when all the first song does is ask you if you’re ready to “feel the music” (in a breathy, sensual voice to boot) but never gets to any music.

Fortunately, Beats Unlimited Productions tones down the diva factor later on in the disc, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s still too much. Really, I could get by just fine without some sexily disembodied voice telling me to take her To the Limit and that she wants my body. That kind of sexuality by way of big beats n’ flava has never really done anything for me. And even when the vocals are toned down later on in the album, you’re still left with fairly innocuous techno music. If you go to their site on MP3.Com, you’ll see a photo of a bank of computers, samplers, mixers, and the other tools of the electronic musician’s trade. It looks to be a pretty impressive setup. It’s too bad the result is as homogenous as this.

But to be fair, this music isn’t really meant to be appreciated while sitting at a computer at 11:00 at night. I’m sure that if I heard this in the club, it might get my booty shaking for a time. But I’m not in a club right now, and therein lies the problem. Actually, it’s a problem I see with releasing any sort of club music in album form. This is not music for listening, it’s music for dancin’ and sweatin’. Or for a video game (tracks like “Vibrations (Club Mix)” or “Beat Seduction” wouldn’t sound too out of place on Ace Combat 3), and I don’t mean that particular statement as a putdown in any way.

I know some people who’ll listen to this and think it’s some pretty slammin’ techno, the kind all of the kids in Europe are moving to. But I’ll take some abstract knob-twiddling made by a disturbed man in his grimy Bristol flat over this shiny club stuff any day. My booty might not be shaking, but my mind will be moving in ways I would never have thought possible.