DJ and producer Darren Emerson was once in dub-strewn acid house collective Underworld. And lest you forget, he opens and closes his new mix compilation, GU36: Bogotá with the then-progressive trio's 1993 epic "MMM Skyscraper I Love You." The two CDs this bookends are Emerson's third entry for Global Underground, coming many years after 2000's Uruguay and 2001's Singapore, and show a restless soul with one foot still in the stadiums.
Neither minimal nor its recently reunited deep house cousins command much attention across these two hours and 28 minutes of big room tech-house. On the first disc, the highlights include Jagged's "Hello Kool Nice (Quarion Remix), Emerson's own "Home," Pete Heller's "Sabotage," Nikitin & Semikashev's "Reflection Vector" and Maja's "If You Love Me Tonight (Passarani Mix." The tracks jack with an unrelenting, adamant clap and varicose basslines.
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Disc two follows similarly, with synthetic praise choruses dropped in between tension-elevating drop outs. Top tracks include selections by Kerri Chandler (remixed by Argy), Josh Wink, Mathew Jonson (remixed by Adam Beyer), and Spirit Catcher. In 2009, aqueous chords and electro tropes are no longer Emerson's prime accelerant. Still, the occasional massive crescendo remains a driving force, tying together decades of mischief.
Darren Emerson, with Dennis Ferrer and Jon Cowan. Friday, February 20. Shine at the Shelborne, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Doors open at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance from www.wantickets.com. Women drink free till midnight. Ages 21+ with ID. shinesouthbeach.com
-- Tony Ware