George Acosta

Miami DJ George Acosta is a soldier who plays straight-up, balls-to-the-wall trance and nothing else. His latest mix compilation Touched is a two-CD cannon ready to bombard stereo systems everywhere with catchy, club-worthy tracks that flow easily yet roll with just enough edge to avoid becoming watered-down radio fodder.

The first half of this compilation finds Acosta pulling out a fine selection of dance cuts. "The Epic Side" (disc one) brims with soaring anthems such as Eyal Bakran & A-Force's hit-seeking "Revolution." Armin van Buren's remix of Solar Stone's "Seven Cities" causes stadium vibrations while Airwave vs. Rising Star's "Sunspot" treks along a sustained peak that locks in listeners.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for "The Dark Side" (disc two), where the drawn-out hooks and overloaded electric jabs and beats grow wearying early on. Instead of treading new terrain, Acosta sticks to staccato drum rolls and heavy keyboard phrases that fail to distinguish one "dark" track from the other. DJ Sakin & Friends featuring Run's (of Run-DMC) "Thunderbird" is one of the few worthy exceptions that also gives Acosta a chance to mess with hip-hop (though with a necessary break filter), a successful experiment that may encourage him to venture further into the genre on future releases. Touched has its moments, but a solid editing job could have reduced a decent two-CD set into one great one.

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Kevin McLaughlin

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