Dreams of Elsewhere
Producer Nick Calingaert followed up a series of promising EPs with Dreams of Elsewhere, his impressive full-length debut as Common Factor, released by Carl Craig's Planet E label during a particularly remarkable late-'90s harvest. Like so many of those other impressive late-'90s releases by Planet E, Dreams of Elsewhere bridges the gap between the dancefloor and the armchair -- by way of the bedroom, optionally. Calingaert does so with a deft synthesis of Detroit-style techno and Chicago-style house, with an emphasis on the former and subtle inflections of the latter. The opening run particularly stands out: the ambient introduction, 'Reflections,' followed by not one or two or even three scorchers, but four of them back to back -- 'Positive Visual,' 'Get Down,' 'Horizons,' and 'In To.' From here Dreams of Elsewhere slows down a bit and meanders through some dreaminess before kicking back into high gear later on with 'Feel What I Feel' before yet again drifting off into dreaminess. The flow of the album is perhaps more impressive than any particular highlight, as Calingaert changes gears smoothly, forever drawing you in and zoning you out, sometimes simultaneously. It helps, of course, that these tracks are generally drawn from the same palette, differing mainly in mood and craft. Given the talent displayed here, it's a bit surprising -- or perhaps just unfortunate -- that Calingaert isn't more prolific. Regardless of his output, or lack thereof, Dreams of Elsewhere is a beginning-to-end tech-house delight, a standout amid Planet E's standout catalog, if not amid the more general realm of tech-house circa 1999. Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide.