January 25, 2010 by DJ Elroy
Release Date: March 16, 2010 (US)
After raising the bar to unprecedented heights in 2009 with Joris Voorn and Will Saul’s stunning additions to the series, EQ Recordings’ Balance series returns for the new decade with yet another standard-setting mix from one of the most sophisticated and inspiring names in techno: Agoria.
The man otherwise known as Sebastien Devaud wasn’t bitten by the dance music bug until he was out of his teens, but once he began hunting imported 12″s from the US and Germany in his native France, there was no turning back. His production career began in 1999, with his debut album Blossom and first compilation following in 2003 – and it was clear even in those early days that a serious new talent was emerging. Blending the throb and groove of deeper, stripped-back techno with a keen sense of musicality, emotion and atmosphere, his is a sound that transcends beyond mere dancefloor disposability.
Agoria explains his intention for this intricate compilation: “The concept of both CDs is all about balance. Literally. In my mind a balance is not a middle position; it’s a perfect equilibrium. I’m trying to be as close as possible to this idea. I have tried to find this fine line where the balance is just right.” To accomplish this perfectly-weighted contrast, he’s cherry-picked from a myriad of genres and subgenres in his “beat open-minded” fashion, combining a wealth of material from newcomers across the spectrum (including no less than 12 exclusives) with more established producers, classics and unknown gems from his broad musical past, and put it all together in an unconventional, challenging manner. “In the end, more than a DJ compilation, this is a manifesto of my passion for music and for mixing” he explains.
Disc 1 casts Agoria not simply as a functional dancefloor engineer, but as a musical craftsman, an arranger, a conductor. It’s the sound DJing evolved – the art of composition, contrast and texture, toying with your emotion and patience and pushing and pulling your attention in different directions. We begin all beatless and atmospheric, moving through the Viennese downtempo beauty of Tosca and the haunting acoustic pop of Emiliana Torrini and onwards into Agoria’s own blend of operatics and deep electronica on Altre Voci. Glimpse’s Train In Austria Pt.2 catches us off guard with its intense emotion, before the helmsman ushers us unexpectedly towards organic instrumentation and disco grooves, all warm and familiar after the heady electronics that went before. A delicate, blissed-out climax lays the mix down to rest.
Disc 2 sees Agoria go for the 4/4 jugular, with more of the trademark sound that he is recognised for. But it’s not quite as simple as that. Even more so than on the first mix, he combines and sequences tracks in every different way, splicing several together, reintroducing the same track twice or four times, comparing and contrasting different flavours. “I thought that to find the right balance, I needed to use all the ways of mixing. Editing tracks but also letting entire tracks play. Playing 3 or 4 times the same tracks, or spinning some for just a few seconds. Loopy or not. Exclusive, classic or covers, bizarre or easy listening, happy or trippy. 4 tracks together or just one. Loosing the listener for a minute to re-catch him the minute after. Spinning a classical music work of Jonny Greenwood at the peak time. Going up and then down. Starting and finishing with the same tracks.” Familiar names like Marc Antona, Chris Carrier and Mark Broom supply a steady throb of techno and tech house rhythms – melody percolating the mix at the right moments – leading up to a dreamy, euphoric climax, laden with the joyous pianos of Serge Santiago’s re-rub of Shit Robot and Martyn’s heavenly reworking of Efdemin. Two sumptuous vocal tracks round off this incredible oeuvre, the perfect finale to bring the mix back down to earth after some epic peaks.
This superb compilation is as deep and rewarding as a well-woven novel, the dénouement of the story unfolding as the mix evolves through Agoria’s musical DNA, and yet another essential addition to the compilation series that is fast becoming the new benchmark for ambitious DJs and demanding listeners alike.
1. Sylvain Chauveau – Hurlements En Faveur De Serge T.
2. Aphrodite’s Child- Loud Loud Loud
3. Taron Trekka – Shirol ++ Suedmilch – We Were
4. The Same – Szarpiesz Minerwa
5. Ogris Debris – G-Thong (You and Me remix)
6. Francesco Tristano – Knee for thought
7. Different Gear – One Thing More (Dub mix)
8. Michael Forzza – Abstractor 2.0
9. Chris Carrier and Jef K – Morning
10. DVS1 – Running
11. Drama Society & Vladislav Delay – Almodrama
12. Agoria – Libellules
13. Avril – French Kiss
14. Gadi Mizrahi- I Know
15. Jonny Greenwood – Tehellet
16. Avril – French Kiss
17. Mark Broom – Twenty Nine (Broom 09 mix)
18. Einmusik – Atlantis
19. Perc & Passarella Death Squad – Temperature’s Rising
20. Aufgang – Sonar (Spitzer remix)
21. Shit Robot – Simple Things (Work it Out) (Serge Santiago remix)
22. Efdemin – Acid bells (Martyn remix)
23. 3 Chairs – No Drum Machine part 2
24. Kid A – Lonely
25. Sylvain Chauveau – Hurlements En Faveur De Serge T.
01. Gregg Kowalsky – Ashes From Evermore
02. Alva Noto – Monophaser 2 ++ DJ Koze – Lords of Panama
03. Mark Pritchard – ?
04. Manvoy de Saint Sadrill – Soeheniona
05. Tosca – Joe Si Ha
06. Emiliana Torrini – Gun
07. Agoria – Parasite 2
08. Arandel – inD#5
09. Justin – Columpnam
10. 19.4220.127.116.11.5.18 – When I Think Of
11. Pom Pom – 10
12. Agoria – Altre Voci
13. Glimpse – Train in Austria Part 2
14. The Field – Over the Ice (Live mix)
15. Olibusta – La Pazz
16. Cubenx – Mis Dias Y Tus Noches
17. Felix Laband – Whisitling in Tongues (Todd Terje remix)
18. jozif – Back 2 My Roots (jozif’s 5o’clock Fabric Shadow edit)
19. Bibio – Jealous of Roses
20. LCD Soundystem – 45:33 (Trus’me remix)
21. Boozoo Bajou feat. Rumer – Same Sun (Prins Thomas Diskomiks) ++ Oxia – Less Time
22. Hatikvah – Synchronicty (Block Barley & Engin Ozturk Holmby Hills Remix)
23. Rio en Medio – The Last Child’s Tear
24. Tipper – Just as the Sun Went Down
25. Gregg Kowalsky – Ashes from Evermore ++ Alva Noto – Monophaser