Justifying a compilation like this at such a crucial time in retail is difficult. When it involves a likable DJ like Sander, it’s even more so. This mix, at face value, is flawless. Like KMFDM says, "It’s done by machines, ’cause they don’t make mistakes." Software forces DJs to become better selectors, but makes their mixing style almost irrelevant – like, it’s perfect, OK?
So why did this release come out on 2xCD today, when download makes the only sense? Knowing that few titles ever make it to retail from Ultra nowadays you’d think they would bait us with that unfinished Kleinenberg artist album. In the days of seminal Sander tracks like ‘Sacred’ and ‘Penso Positivo’, he was thought of as an artist first, a DJ second. Five ‘This Is…’ comps later and I’m comped out on Kleinenberg. I believe hardly any new blood will be converted on the retail level with this comp. I’m saying this as a guy who has gone out and bought five Ultra CDs in the last year. But about the tracks…
Sascha Funke kicks things off with a spacious intro called ‘Summer Rain’ but the tempo doesn’t really cook until the future-retro Rainer Weichhold remix of ‘Push Push’ by Rockers Hi-Fi. Brilliant placement on that. Steadily things keep bubbling through Glenn Morrison & Bruce Aisher’s ‘Graffiti’, a dirty progger that comes right when its needed. However, things fizzle out just in time to end Disc One. Robert Babicz’ ‘Tblisi’, which really belonged towards the beginning, just took all the energy out at the wrong time.
Disc Two starts off with the new Sander Kleinenberg track ‘This Is Our Night’ which borrows from Wired’s ‘To The Beat of The Drum’ – an early New York house track from ’86. It’s more of a ‘call to arms’ party track than anything that’ll add artistic merit to Sander’s oeuvre. The rest of this comp is chunky, gritty, commercial and techy. There are no standouts. It lacked a little depth, scope and was simply average.
I am calling for a moratorium on Sander Kleinenberg DJ comps for now. The fans need a singles retrospective and an artist album. This compilation is like buying a vowel on Wheel of Fortune: you’re progressing, but at a price. And you already knew what letter it was before Vanna tapped the screen. 5/10 – Justin Shurman
This Is Sander Kleinenberg 2 is out now on Ultra Recordsby