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Record Review - 3 December 05 2001

When it comes to ranking the best British DJ/producers of the '80s, a case can be made for Bristol's Nick Warren, even if names like Paul Oakenfold and Sasha may be better known in American dance culture circles. A veteran of the late-'80s/early-'90s Balearic acid house scene, Warren tested international waters touring with Massive Attack before establishing a name as an in-demand remixer and a resident at British superclub Cream.

Warren also was a healthy SkyMiles tallier, his heavy travel schedule culminating in an invitation to mix a volume in the Global Underground series. Soon he'd mixed more Global Underground CDs than contemporary luminaries John Digweed and Danny Tenaglia. All this attention resulted in Warren being asked to contribute half a volume — along with fellow GU graduate Danny Howells — to Britain's prestigious Renaissance series.

The end product? Renaissance: Revelation, a "progressive" mix that, while infused with techno elements, wades into the darker, deeper, more aggressive end of house, fitting well with past Renaissance guides by Dave Seaman and Deep Dish. On Warren's disc, the euphoric melodies of trance get further lost in sparse, slowly unfolding programming — and what remains is plenty of speaker thump. Expect to ride more warm epic crests during Warren's live set.

While Renaissance: Revelation will merely serve to capture a moment in dance music's history, Intensify by Way Out West — Warren's production guise with partner Jody Wisternoff — should hold its own against time. The follow-up (finally) to Way Out West's 1997 self-titled (though sometimes referred to as Blue) debut, Intensify does exactly what the name suggests, filtering the finest elements of WOW's string of sweep-and-swell trance-strewn stormers into a more consistent album. Truly living up to the "progressive house" name, the driving, detailed tracks on Intensify are both soulful and slamming.

Nick Warren spins Sat., Dec. 8, at Club NV.??