If you listen to any techno/trance music at all, you don't need me to tell you that there's an absolute crapload of CDs out there for you to take your pick from. That said, I also think that there's a plain lot of crap out there as well. With so many different labels releasing 2CD sets in what seems like almost monthy (or even more quickly) intervals, it's easy to see that the market has quickly become flooded. There are big names who continue to release mix after mix (sometimes resting on their laurels a bit too much I think) and smaller labels as well trying to get into the game as well. Basically, it's a big glut.
I'll admit that I'm not the authority on mix discs, nor do I pretend to be, but I do listen to enough of them to hear when someone is actually doing something differently and when someone is simply kicking back and throwing a few big name tracks in the mix to sell another copy to those who will snap up everything. Speaking on the subject of Dave Ralph, he's DJ who's steadily gained name recognition before pretty much exploding in the past couple years. He's taken part in the big name Tranceport series and in several other well-known releases as well, but in terms of sheer mass this is probably his biggest gig to date.
In case you haven't heard about the Love Parade, it takes place every year in Germany and basically it's a giant rave in which several million (yup, you heard me write) flood the streets and music pumps through the air like it was a public service announcement. If it were a public announcement, all it would be saying is dance and have fun anyway, and in that regard Ralph's set succeeds admirably. One thing I'm not completely sure of is whether the mix is a soundboard recording of some of his set at the event (as it doesn't say on the release) or whether it's just a selection of tunes that he used in his set and then mixed together later, but it spans several genres and builds it up and breaks it down several times near the beginning of the release (keeping it interesting) before fading a bit near the end (a problem that quite a few mix discs seem to run into).
He starts things off with a nice, lighter trancey sounding track by John Johnson called "Impact" before things fade nicely into "Deep Blue" by Nuclear Ramjet. Although it sounds like things will continue on in sort of that light vein, the track breaks down about halfway through and gets a little bit chopped up before he slams right into the somewhat disco-influenced "Muzak" by Trisco and the even cheesier remix of "Flash" by Green Velvet. After a somewhat less effective track, the disc gets back on course in a big way with the harder edged, almost tribal trance sound of "Track One" by Kolo.
That harder beat continues on for a couple tracks, including the very nice wobbly beat in "Airtight" by Mak Graham before the end of the album goes into a bit more safe territory with some softer tracks including a remix of Moby's "Porcelain." (which would be fine if Moby wasn't so ubiquitous on mix CDs, and commercials and everything else this past year). Still, I guess Ralph had to have something that people could sing along with (or something). If your'e a big fan of him, then you'll probably go out and purchase this mix anyway, and that's fine. There is some good stuff, but like so many other mixes there's nothing really groundbreaking on it. If I were surrounding by millions of people dancing to the same thing, though, I think that just about anything would sound pretty damn cool.