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Phonique Good Idea

Berlin-based Phonique (a.k.a. Michael Vater) usually works with fellow producer Alex Kruger, but he brings in plenty of collaborators on his second album. Even with the added talent, this two-disc album never quite crosses the line from well done into excellent. The first disc features polished, pared-back house and electro, with detached vocals and subtle synth washes. The bonus disc isn't all that bonus: It lays down a steady groove but never goes anywhere interesting until the end... Too late. There's nothing here that's bad, and it's easy to imagine many of these tracks on the dancefloor. But there's a spark missing that ultimately gives the album a take-it-or-leave-it feel.

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