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For some, outfits like producer Nick Bracegirdle's Chicane are not easy to swallow. Isolating the more jubilant properties of trance, the beat is a light bounce, levitating above club-dance brainlessness, sounding like a house music hybrid meant for sparkling sunshine instead of dark and sweaty warehouses. They exist in an idealized, pseudo-enlightened fairy tale filled with bright colors and youthful beauty. But that's not the problem. What rankles purists and picky fans is the audacity with which these "techno" artists go after the unconverted common folk, dragging electronic music out of its druggy, "in-crowd" pretensions. Bracegirdle and contemporaries like Olive, Sneaker Pimps, and BT (the last, most noticeably on his Movement in Still Life) are waging a turf war on the boundaries between techno and pop music, each using different tactics and borrowing from different sources. Chicane throws out an especially cutting salvo in the battle here, and it's a doozy. None other than Bryan Adams lends his raspy tenor to the subtle grooves and euphoric dreaminess of "Don't Give Up." It's one thing for Liam Gallagher to lend his pipes to a Chemical Brothers track, or for BT to tap Tori Amos for the ubiquitous club hit "Blue Skies," but Bryan Adams? Is this heresy? Or an ingenious use of vocal color that yields an incredibly hummable dance anthem? Maybe it's best not to analyze What It All Means. Just sit back and enjoy the summery grooves, trusting these ongoing musical inspirations to become whatever they need to be. --Matthew Cooke
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