Tiësto Kaleidoscope Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

A multi-collaborative affair from the superstar DJ.

Adam Kennedy 2009

As recipes for knuckle-chewingly ill-advised crossovers go, club megastar Tiësto burgling the worlds of pop and indie-rock on latest artist album Kaleidoscope should dangle just below the prospect of Meat Loaf rapping over a dubstep 12-inch.

Mercifully, the unofficially recognised biggest DJ in the world only notches respectable failure amid volleys of unlikely link-ups, albeit barely able to resist detonating trademark overblown euphoric trance crescendos at any given second.

Subtly hasn’t exactly defined Tiësto, real name Tijs Verwest, during a decade largely spent catering for clubland’s least-demanding sorts. But having warmed up an Olympic opening ceremony and routinely drawing five-figure audiences for fabled marathon DJ sets, it doubtless scarcely worried the Dutchman.

Nevertheless, Kaleidoscope’s title track dispels that stereotype for fully five minutes of an epic opener gently laying out a swirling, understated minimal bed for the dreamy otherworldly hybrid linguistics of Sigur Rós leader Jónsi Birgisson.

Before thoughts formulate that several years of remixing guitar bands may pay off, Tiësto ruins the impact with four subsequent songs off the bat that dehumanise their female leads to the extent they could be mistaken for any no-mark trance diva. It’s what sceptics would expect, admittedly, but a downright disappointment from Kianna Alarid of Nebraskan oddities Tilly and the Wall, who is better than the entirely forgettable You Are My Diamond. Later, Nelly Furtado and Canadian alt-rock figurehead Emily Haines barely escape similar (mis)treatment.

Given Bloc Party’s output circa Intimacy, Kele Okereke’s typically charismatic cameo on It’s Not the Things You Say is the record’s most natural partnership, Tiësto sensibly underplaying his accompaniment. It’s a (low) standard Calvin Harris can’t match; Century possesses approximately 99 per cent less personality than the Scottish rent-a-gob’s chart-topping Dizzee Rascal hook-ups.

The multi-collaborative dance album is hardly a groundbreaking model: for evidence, see past outings from The Chemical Brothers or Simian Mobile Disco’s 2009 set Temporary Pleasure. And at times Kaleidoscope compromises seemingly all involved. Perching on such mightily uncomfortable middle ground, however, without leaving the mental scars this project could have inflicted has to be a backhanded compliment of sorts to Tiësto.

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