CD 1 hovers comfortably between the biblical and the profane, with tracks like Nu's "Man O To" nudging imperceptibly upward into more hypnotic territories. The kitchen-sink percussion of Kadeboston's "Love in Looxor" or the endearingly goofy lead vocal of Jan Turkenburg's "In My Spaceship" won't have anyone sprinting for the dance floor, and they aren't meant to. That job is left to "El Zahir (Acid Pauli's Acid Dub)," five minutes of mumbled bliss set over a fingerpicked guitar line that twirls nimbly as if avoiding interrogation. Stimming's "November Morning" bubbles with a vaporous wintry energy, all hot chocolate and ennui, and the words of Sufi poet Rumi in Nu's claustrophobic "Earth" are an entrancing ending, a spacey reminder why Pauli is an inspired choice to soundtrack that Mayan pyramid party on Day Zero.
Pauli inarguably does bliss-out better than shut-up-and-dance, but the high points of CD 2 are the merging of those divergent ideals. His style of mixing is also on full display in the second half: one minute you're upside down trying to decipher the whispered voices clawing through the clatter of Tempo di Roma's "Move Your Bones," the next baroque strings provided by fellow Bar 25 alum Dirty Doering attempt to induce wide-eyed reverie. You're suddenly then accosted with choked paranoia and casual menace via Amirali's "Hear Me."
Meanwhile, the folksy acoustic cover of "Idioteque" by Calico Horse is a groaning misstep, gimmicky and disruptive, but it's a quick rebound into the glassy, lilting guitar of BlackIsBeautiful's "Pergamon," which exemplifies the pastoral propulsion Pauli handles so well. Francesca Lombardo's "Is It True?" is an emotional peak, odd bleeps and her cloaked voice rising in unison and revolving uncertainly like a lighthouse lamp in need of repair. It's momentarily magical, and what might sound maudlin acquires deeper hues in the context of the mix's sprawl. From there, Monkey Mafia's "I Know You N.m.S" hiccups with intimate expectation and baleful bass, and Pauli winds things down with Autechre and a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire." Lake Powel's "Bright Eyes, Dirty Hair" is a satisfying close to the trip, suggesting a satisfied morning-after as the sun beams on the dance floor, Pauli leaving the crowd with energy to spare for further adventures.