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Live Review: Sasha at Beta

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Sasha October 23, 2008 Beta Better than: His most recent mix disc, Involver 2, led me to think it might be

Sasha was an early favorite of mine, but over the years my tastes have changed. I’ve come to prefer more primal, groove-oriented and generally less trance-y artists. Sasha has progressed his sound over the years, but he remains fairly true to his trance roots, and I’ve found myself less and less interested in each of his recent releases.

That being said, the man still knows how to put together a solid set -- and last, he did it again. His style skirts the trancier side of progressive, but he rarely indulges in a full-blown cheese-out track. He did deliver a few too many breakdowns for my taste – eight in the space of a two-hour set if I counted correctly. A lot of his tracks had that claustrophobic, rigid rhythm endemic trance and there were some pretty saccharine melodies that peeped out here and there.

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Apart from those relatively minor complaints, he delivered a solid, driving mix. His command of dynamics and pacing were spot on. He had the crowd in hand from the moment he took the decks to the moment the lights came on and it was time to go home. And even though his sound wasn’t exactly in tune with my taste, I definitely found the groove pretty compelling and had no issues dancing throughout the night.

So despite drifting steadily away from the sound of Sasha, I haven’t wandered far enough that I wasn’t still able to enjoy his live work. I still don’t see myself picking up too many of his future releases, barring a sharp departure in style, but I would definitely go out and see him live again.

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I think I made that pretty clear throughout… Random Detail: While I was hanging out in front of the walled-in alcove in the back of the club, at least two dozen people tried to push past me, only to discover I was standing in front of a wall and there as no way through. By the Way: The place was packed. Sasha can draw quite a crowd.

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