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The time is ripe for Calvin's superstar DJ calling card

Calvin Harris

18 Months

(Columbia)

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In the space of five years, Calvin Harris has gone from electronic dance music curio in his native Scotland to one of the world's most in-demand producers.

And this album -- which is essentially a "come and hire me" plea to record companies with deep pockets -- is stuffed to the gills with marquee names from across the pop spectrum.

Harris's gifts work best with female singers who have big voices -- think Rihanna (whose huge electro-soul hit, We Found Love, is cheekily listed here as 'Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna'), Florence Welch and Kelis.

Each of these collaborations displays the Scot's instincts for enormous, super-catchy songs designed to appeal to the widest possible audience.

And when you consider the chart-topping success of each, you sense the 28-year-old from Dumfries has the winning formula down pat.

The Florence song, Sweet Nothing, is the highlight of the album. And Harris's studio alchemy works wonders with Dizzee Rascal -- whose trademark wide-eyed rap on the pulsating Here 2 China is given a Technicolour glow.

Not all of the collaborations work. Ellie Goulding struggles badly to carry the momentum of I Need Your Love and Tinie Tempah seems to be on autopilot.

Meanwhile, Harris's gifts with a mixing desk are inevitably pushing him into the background -- surely a concern for someone who considers himself to be an artist in his own right.

And as his success has blossomed, his willingness to take risks has withered -- if you're looking for edgy electronica, you won't find it on 18 Months. Yet, there are occasional surprises to be found amid the galaxy of stars.

Iron, his collaboration with Dutch DJ Nicky Romero, is a barnstorming thriller: think the Prodigy-meets-Basement Jaxx.

KEY TRACKS Sweet Nothing; Here 2 China; Iron

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