Review: Berlin tech house hero Alex Niggemann stepped up for the latest edition of Australian mix series Balance, delivering an impressive selection that merged pop inflected electronica, harder edged techno sounds right through to his warm and percussive tech house that has earned him accolades in recent years. Two of his original tracks now appear as a single release, such as the soulful yet glitchy R&B stylings of "Hurricane" featuring the silky vocals of The Shadow Self (which gets a super deep and emotive makeover by Swiss hi-tech soul man Deetron) then the evocative and bittersweet electronica of "Silhouettes & Sparks" feat. Hendrik Burkhard gets the remix treatment by Danish rising star Denis Horvat, who is fresh off releases for labels like Innervisions ad Exit Strategy and that very aesthetic is channeled into this brooding journey track.
Alex Niggemann - "Balance" (Mixed By Alex Niggemann/continuous mix) - (1:16:30) 124 BPM
Review: From his native Dusseldorf to his adopted home of Berlin, Alex Niggemann's name is synonymous with the German tech house sound and appearances on a who's who of labels in recent years. From Poker Flat, Last Night On Earth and Tsuba to his own respected Aeon and Soulfooled imprints, he has shown his knack for deep and sexy grooves and his last eight years of DJing and studio prowess is on display for the latest edition of Australia's Balance series of mix compilations. The programming on Balance runs the gamut from deep, dark journey tracks (Gui Boratto "Joker" (Dave DK mix)"/Baikal - "Pelican's Flight"), dreamy hypnotism (Aril Brikha/Sebastian Mullaert - "Illuminate"/Antigone "Blue Note") and some new exclusives from the man himself, such as the mighty slow burner "Divergent". As always, there's a bonus track featuring all the aforementioned on a continuous mix.
Review: New York City based Brian Cid appears next for Australian label Balance Music. An acclaimed studio engineer on pop projects in his recent past, he is now driven by a love of club culture and brings a lush and melodic style to the scene - as heard on labels like fabric, Knee Deep In Sound and Get Physical. The Endangered Records head honcho delivers some seriously deep and hypnotic perspectives in tech-house for his full length entitled Meteorite Man: brilliantly exemplified on the slinky mentalist groove of "Quest" or the hypnotic journey down the vortex that is "Limits" awash in a rich tapestry of melody and texture - among many others on this fine release.
Review: St Louis' finest Andrew Rasse aka Butane is a veteran of the minimal techno scene, who should require no introduction. Having released on some top labels over the last decade not limited to Crosstown Rebels, DeePerfect and Hottrax in addition to running the alphahouse and Little Helpers imprints, he returns to ever reliable Aussie imprint Balance Music. This one is with Extrasketch alumnus Italian Riko Forinson again, on the La Natura EP. From the slinky and hypnotic mood music of "Status Quo", to the pumping euphoria of "Rain Dance" which shows off their penchant for well executed melodic techno, and the lean afterhours bounce of "Repair" - here's a surefire set of summertime grooves for any occasion.
Review: A songwriter and sound engineer from Montreal, Clarian first gained notable recognition through his former role in synth-pop duo Footprintz - one of the first act signed to Visionquest, releasing several singles as well as an album - co-produced with Ewan Pearson. Further releases came via Kompakt, Turbo, Rumors, Founders of Filth and his own eponymous imprint. He will release his highly anticipated debut LP, Television Days, via Australia's Balance Music and the blissed out, lo-slung cosmic disco of "Under The Gun" is the first single lifted from the album.
Review: Clarian North's arrival on Melbourne's Balance Music feels like the right thing at the right time. The producer has now made name for himself, thanks to several releases for the likes of Kompakt, while the imprint has racked up an impressive amount of long-plays from artists like Timo Maas, Nick Warren, and plenty of other house/tech greats. Clarian's output is pop-friendly dance music for the crossover specialists, often verging towards something altogether more 'indie'. Television Days is a balanced piece of work, offering a firmly wide-eyed view of house music, and one which does its best to steer away from the more loop-minded tracks that are pumped out weekly. Gentle and largely placid throughout, Clarian manages to blend subtle waves of acid, bleeps and the rest of what we would call 'industrial charm' into an LP that is fit for anyone and everyone. Non-specialist gear...for the trained ear.
Review: Jet setting German DJ and producer D-Nox matches up with his Brazilian associate K.A.L.I.L. for two different shades of epic. "Mahayl", on the one side, with it 90s, almost Robert Miles-tip, surfs a wave of mellow before breaking down in a massive section of murky bass, only to then return again to the surface. "Meteor", like a rock reentering the atmosphere, burns long and hard into its final synthy descent. Spectacular deep trance.
Review: Melbournians GMJ and Matter AKA Gavin Martin & Matty Doyle have an established place in their legendary progressive house scene. It's fitting then that a release on local institution Balance is offered up here, with the duo forming powers with Queensland native Funkform for some excursions in slinky and entrancing night moves. From the deep tribal meditations of "Emerge" through to the Afro influenced dancefloor drama of "Solace" - we want to hear more from this mighty trio in 2020.
Review: Guy J's progressive house roots shine through on this first contribution to the Balance series. It's not just the sound - occasionally downtempo, always atmospheric and sometimes deliciously dreamy - but also his choice of tunes; each of the 13 tracks has been reconstructed or re-edited by the experienced Israeli producer. While this would be seen as self-indulgence in others, it gives the mix a coherence and fluidity that's never less than attractive. Wisely, he mixes it up throughout, flitting between dreamy deepness (Juan Deminicis), trippy dancefloor intensity (his edit of Radio Slave's version of APM 001's "Migrants"), picturesque goodness (Nevar's "Phases of Grief") and darting, melodic techno (Echomen).
Henry Saiz - "Balance Presents Natura Sonoris" (continuous DJ mix) - (2:23:28)
Review: Henry Saiz hails from Spain; he's a music producer who's highly regarded, someone even called him a genius once (although there is a possibility that it was he himself who said it), and here he takes the reigns of the 19th volume in the Balance Presents series. He embarrasses a legion of sham DJs too by weaving a mix that utilises vinyl, cassette, reel-to-reel tapes and over 100 field recordings. All the material here is exclusive to this mix and the hypnotic, primal trance-electro-disco-house blend is once heard, never forgotten. A genuine artist at work.
Review: Jozif is part of the new wave of underground house DJs, and on this compilation he displays his ability to curate a fine range of house tracks, while always retaining a soulful touch. The selection starts with the sensuous vocals and atmospheric guitar strumming of Charles Webster's "Butterfly", before moving into the mournful pianos of Burnin' Tears' "Got a Reason" and the hissing percussion and reflective vocals of YokoO's "Blinded". There are some less esoteric contributions, in particular from Silicone Soul, whose lurching bass and heavy claps make for a welcome diversion. But in the main, this is a collection of emotional house, best embodied by the dislocated chant 'loneliness, emptiness no happiness, just sadness' on Steffi's "Sadness".
Review: This EP for Balance Music is another winner for the Australian producer Luka Sambe. With recent releases on labels like Lost & Found and Traum Schallplatten, this EP is filled with the sort of gems that should get repeated plays from progressive house heroes like Guy J, Sasha and more. "If Animals Could Talk" will allow you passage deep into the amazon on this breathtaking and deep tribal rain dance. Following this he is sounding rather majestic on the slinky and hypnotic dancefloor drama of "People Can Dance", in addition to ever reliable Israeli producer Eli Nissan's bouncy bass-driven tech house rework - which is aimed squarely at main room dancefloors.
Review: Australia's Balance Music is known for its quality mixes by the very finest in the underground music circuit. With previous compilations by the likes of New York's Danny Tenaglia, Deetron and Funk D'Void, among others, this is as close to a Fabric mix as you can get without those shiny tin cases. Ex-minimal legend turned all-out techno queen Magda steps up for number 27 in the series, and it's nothing but vibes on this one. Amalgamating shreds of stripped back techno - Marcel Dettmann, DVS1, Samuli Kemppi - together with newer, more underground sounds from some of the most cutting-edge labels around - Marco Bernardi's Sandman project, TTT's Minor Science, XDB and Shackleton - the Minus legend shows why she's still one of the best in the game and a true expert at evolving her aesthetic. A great mix, dig in.
Review: Giving hope to words which otherwise evoke the opposite, Mistique Music and Kunai Records founders Michael & Levan and Stiven Rivic return with Agony. Trance is the name of the game here, with the lead track's skipping groove weaving through a sonic field of synths, melodic progressions, soft, glass-like percussion and swathes of pads and breathy textures. "Neglected" delivers a more club-concentrated mix that's reduced in texture but big in dub and warehouse bounce. A little more tech house than trancey but all good!
Review: Here is the first single taken from German producer Namito's autobiographical album Leaving Everything Behind, on Aussie label Balance Music, "Covert Affection" (featuring Manaa) signals a coming of age, as the 13 year old adolescent learns he will soon be evacuated, in a bid to escape the raging war in his homeland of Iran - as well as dealing with themes of love and loss. Features the moody and atmospheric Club Mix which will surely hypnotise dancefloors into submission, followed by a blissed-out ambient mix incorporating neo-classical elements.
Review: With careers spanning over 20 years, the Australian duo now based in Los Angeles duo NuKreative are making waves in the underground dance scene with their sounds that have been presented on respected labels like Magician On Duty, Kindisch and Open Records. Their new one comes courtesy of their Melbourne hometown heroes Balance Music - The Entheogen EP features a selection of deep and earthy progressive house sounds, as heard on the glassy eyed and heartfelt groove of the title track. More earthy tones can be experienced on the dark and slinky tech-house groove of "Moody Meen" and the selected remixes next. Retza's sensual rework wouldn't have sounded out of place on Dessous or Hafenmusik, while the ambient mix is pure and simple bliss.
Review: Quality progressive house action from long standing Aussie label Balance Music here. Three time winner of Israel's DJ of the Year award Sahar Z has worked with everyone from Bedrock to Lost & Found, while Stelios Vassiloudis might just be one of the most well-known exponents of emotive house to come from Greece. His impressive resume of releases takes in such esteemed labels like Poker Flat, Ovum, Audiomatique, and Moodmusic. This is the pair's second session of collaboration, and the Crossroads EP is destined to take you to distant places in your mind. Go deep into the exotic on the hypnotic bliss that is the mesmerising title track, the dark energy of 'heads down' number "Black Tears" will draw you deep into the aether while the heavenly and sublime "Front Row" is a perfectly euphoric cut that's ideal to play before they turn the lights on in the morning.
Review: Vassiloudis, who is best known for his work on Bedrock, follows last year's Crossroads EP on Balance with this immersive affair. "Building Better Worlds" is an atmospheric but driving track that resounds to layered textures and chiming melodies. Meanwhile on "Supermodel", he drops the tempo to deliver dubbed out drums and a brooding bass that provides the basis for dreamy synth lines. "Tunnel Vision" sees Vassiloudis focus more on this downtempo approach, as slow-motion beats are fused with shiny melodies and robotic vocals. The Greek producer's journey into the home listening realm continues on "Manual", where cosmic keys and guitar licks are fused with a chugging groove.
Review: Israeli producer Yariv Etzion aka Stereo Underground has been very active within Tel Aviv's electronic music scene over the last decade. His musical output began 2009, and in his debut year he received high praise for his hypnotic, progressive sounds. Fast forward to the present day, he now presents his full-length debut album The Art Of Silence via esteemed Australian label Balance Music. It is the natural culmination of his efforts over the last decade, taking him 10 months of recording in a studio set up in the countryside. The project has always shown a great sense of musicality and ambition and it is sure evident on tracks like the title track with its slinky melody, subtle rhythms and soothing tones, the euphoric high octane dancefloor drama of "Above The Sea Of Fog" with its powerful trance inflections, or get lost in the moody and atmospheric progressive house epic "Echoes"
Review: Israel born artist Yariv Etzion aka Stereo Underground (FSOE UV/Lost & Found) presents the first single from his upcoming debut album, The Art of Silence. The rather evocative electronica of "Little Red Head" carries a lot of emotional weight, as it was written in memory of the artist's pet cat who passed away recently, and features the ethereal vocals of Tel Aviv's Daniel Sealine. This is followed by the powerful club mix which goes for that Life & Death style of dancefloor drama, followed by a more straight ahead dub mix for those of you not so keen on the vocals.
Review: Danny Tenaglia is a stone cold legend, but his profile has waned significantly over recent years. Given that it's 25 years since the release of his first production, this first contribution to the Balance series - is well timed. Pleasingly, it seems Tengalia still "has it it". Throughout the collection, the veteran NYC DJ maintains a fearsome energy level, mixing things up via a track list that spans chunky tech-house, darkroom tribal, heavily percussive fare (see Michel Cleis' dub of Basement Jaxx's "Mermaid of Salinas") and intelligent techno revivalism (Dax J's brilliant "Dreamscape" and Ho's "Deletion 3"). It is, of course, an impeccable selection, as you'd expect from a man with Tengalia's undoubted pedigree.
Uone & Mihai Popoviciu - "Escaping The Winter" - (7:03) 119 BPM
The Hawtin Experiment - (8:32) 120 BPM
Jam & Spoon - "Odyssey To Anyoona" (Uone & Jamie Stevens mix) - (8:29) 120 BPM
Monolink - "Sirens" (Uone mix) - (7:23) 120 BPM
Balance Presents Uone (continuous DJ mix) - (2:24:19)
Review: Melbourne-based Balance Music, home to the long-running compilation series of the same name, bring us a debut long-player from local talent Uone that's part studio album, part mix comp, and if you're a fan of the label generally you'll find plenty to enjoy. 'Space Between Love', featuring a Stevie Nicks-esque vocal from Briony Taylor-Brooks, is simply stunning - think Ennie Morricone remixed by Solomun and you're somewhere in the ballpark. But there's plenty more goodness where that came from! Operating in the nebulous zone where deep and progressive house overlap, and borrowing rhythms and sounds from around the globe, this album is an engaging, involving listen that's best appreciated when served whole.
Review: Melbourne based label Balance Music look to their own backyard for their latest release, calling upon homegrown talent Uone to serve up this new effort. After presenting the last edition of their acclaimed mix series last year, where a cross two CDs he showcased his unique ear for melody and dancefloor dynamics with over 20 tracks, the Aussie larrikin finally serves up stand out track "Karnival Dreams" with its dubby, old-school tech house flavour. Also included in the package is a remix from fellow Australian Retza (All Day I Dream) and and minimal techno veteran Butane (Alphahouse/Little Helpers).
Review: Aussie tech house hero Uone returns to hometown label Balance Music for more dreamy pop-inflected grooves, with a track taken from his most recent mix compilation. The Melbourne-based DJ/producer announced himself as one to watch with his incredible 2018 Balance Presents release, a sprawling 21 track epic mixed to perfection, and the next single from the 2CD release is a five-track remix package of the beguiling "Sands of Time" featuring Sleeping Genie on vocals.