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Markus Schulz - Without You Near (Take 2)

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Markus Schulz - Without You Near

Markus Schulz - Without You Near

Markus Schulz's debut artist album is the kind of polished production to be expected from the host of the syndicated "Global DJ Broadcast" radio programme. And while it's his first full-length, it follows a slew of 12" and CD single releases under his own name, plus a ton of remixes for such musical luminaries as Depeche Mode, Fatboy Slim, Everything But The Girl, Madonna, and two Jewel tracks that both hit #1 on Billboard's club chart. His collaborative efforts continue here, with all but four of the tracks featuring some kind of guest presence.

Carrie Skipper and Anita Kelsey both have featured vocals on two songs, including Anita's wonderful turn on "First Time." Airwave check in on the thumping "Ballymena" and LA's Interstate lend their talents to the teasing and lush ballad "Peaches and Cream." The album opens with the smooth propulsion of "Clear Blue," an instrumental collaboration with Elevation that nicely establishes the club-friendly atmosphere for the rest of the disc.

But it's the two variations of the title track with Departure and Gabriel & Dresden that really rise like so much electronic cream to the top of your skull. The Coldharbour mix floats processed vocals aching for a missing presence over dancefloor rhythms while the reprise that closes the album uses subdued guitar as a backdrop for an even more haunting effect. It's a fitting end to an album that displays all the talents that gave Markus such a high debut position on DJ Magazine's Top 100 list for 2004 and seems destined to boost him to even loftier future rankings.

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