Another influential DJ, another round of ‘who?’

By By Jesse Peterson, , By Jesse Peterson, and

By Jesse Peterson


A Lively Mind

Maverick/Warner Bros.

Three out of five stars

Who is Paul Oakenfold? Chances are you’ve heard his music featured in commercials, movies (“Swordfish,” “Collateral,” “Die Another Day”) and even the theme song from reality TV powerhouse “Big Brother” (ha!). But does that mean that any of us listen to Paul Oakenfold in our free time?

If you like trance music-especially psy trance or goa trance (which he helped popularize in the ’90s)-then you probably already do; and if not, you probably should?I guess.

Oakenfold’s new release, A Lively Mind, is an amalgamation of various musical genres hedged in by electronicana. Sadly, this directive causes the album to falter in focus and makes A Lively Mind more like a V/A record. In fact, there are six featured artists who lend their vocal talents, including Pharrel, Grandmaster Flash and hottie actress Brittany Murphy (who sings “You turn me on” over and over and over and?cough?again), but this further makes the release seem like a compilation.

The standard “do me” track, the rock-themed track, the gospel track and the lame-o “I want you” track are all present on A Lively Mind, and that makes the record a bit too scatological for anything great.

The featured vocalists are hit or miss; when they’re skillful, they help keep one from zoning out, while the other times they’re laughable.

However, Oakenfold maintains a generous portion of his elite DJ status by creating some solid rhythms with shocking nuance. What can I say? The man can spin. Completely danceable, fun electro-noises and song development that would make anyone party like there’s no tomorrow permeate A Lively Mind.

That’s where the beauty of the matter lies: in the skill of a man most people wouldn’t recognize if they passed him every day on their way to work. So, check out Oakenfold?the next time you’re channel surfing (or get the CD-whatever).