Twilo, Volume One (Virgin)

Junior Vasquez 

Twilo, Volume One (Virgin)

On the opening cut of this two-disc set of remixes, Junior Vasquez uses instrumental tracks by Pre YMO to lay down his house-music thesis. He takes simple percussive figures and layers them into luxurious polyrhythms that are, yes, intellectually stimulating, but that's a side benefit. These tracks are also hypnotically transcendental, but that's not really the fundamental point. The sinewy thread that runs through everything here is Vasquez's insistence that house music be as viscerally invigorating as dance itself.

While Vasquez works brilliantly with extreme dynamics, his forte is the sort of explosiveness rock fans associate with the show-closing crescendo -- that moment when a drummer plays full tilt, a rhythm guitarist strums with vigor and the lead guitarist chases every lead imaginable. Vasquez takes that physical abandon as a starting point and shows where the moment might go from there. More bone-rattling than bombastic, this expansive vision transforms into a cohesive whole.

Along this route he finds the heart of apparently slight offerings such as Nomad's "With You" and transforms them into near-tragic epics. His album-ending remix of Jocelyn Brown and Ministers De-La-Funk's "Believe" is the masterstroke. "Believe" might sound like just another disco motivational number, but Vasquez places great faith in the nuances of Jocelyn Brown's vocal, and her gospel attack is matched by swelling tension that never lets up, even when the layers are stripped away and rebuilt. The Who never closed a set with more forcefulness than this prayerful explosion.

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