A friend of mine refers to all electronic music as "techno." Doesn't matter what style of electronic music--drum-and-bass, jungle, house, down-tempo. To him, "it's all fucking techno, man." And with a little encouragement, he'll launch into a rant that includes dead-on onomatopoeia of what techno sounds like: Sst. Umph. Sst. Umph. Sst. Umph. You know exactly what he's talking about; too bad he doesn't know what he's talking about. The style of music he's mocking isn't techno; it's trance. And no doubt DJ Tiëstois one of the cats who provided him with inspirational source material. Rest assured, however, that hard-core trance-heads not only can tell the difference but consider Tiësto their favorite DJ. DJ magazine's readers ranked him No. 1 in the 2002 and 2003 polls, and this year he was tapped as America's second-favorite DJ by BPM magazine. Tiësto, who's known for spinning six to nine hours straight, also has global mass appeal, having headlined the biggest solo-DJ gig in history--in front of 25,000 people in Holland. But what really sets Tiësto apart from all the others, what's helped him earn those titles, is the fact that the tunes he's spinning are his own. His latest platter, Just Be, released by the Nettwerk imprint, gives you a snapshot of his sound: classic, swirling trance cuts, with synthetic blips and beats interspersed with more ethereal, down-tempo numbers. To truly experience Tiësto's essence, you have to see him live--and you'll get your trance this Thursday at Liquid. Techno-ly speaking, it should be the shit.