Best of 2011: Deetron – "Balance 020" [review]

December 23, 2011 by DJ Elroy

denver, dj, djelroy, elroy, house heads anonymous, digital dancefloor, techno, electro

I’ll be honest, until I got this Balance compilation in my hands I hadn’t heard anything more than a handful of singles from Deetron.  As far as DJ mix compilations or online mixes, they just weren’t there. Not even a live show. In Denver? Forget about it. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t big in the techno scene at the time, and really not even until “house” was plugged onto the “tech” sound.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t pleasantly surprised as Disc 1 began to unfold. And while I’ve been posting up gold demo mixes from others here on House Heads Anonymous, I can’t remember the last time I was excited about a commercially released compilation.

Until now.

Deetron – Balance 020 CD1 (Preview edit) by BalanceSeries

The mix opens with Autechr “Nine”, warming up a melodic tech vibe with twinkling strings and melting into digital bleeps. As the tracks roll along the mix livens things up by dipping into some darker tech and teasing with other deep and varied vibes.  Some of my favorites are “Losing My Patience” and “It’s a Crime”. The variety of house and tech tracks – everything from the big sounds of “Blocks” to the techy gurgler “What’s Wrong with My Friends?” to the broken acid riff of “Ragysh”, presents the impression of an attitude of  suave sophistication. The disc travels the rolling hills of subgenres while maintaining a tech-based melodic vibe. This is the more experimental mix of the pair, with intertwined grooves and soothing melodies, layers of percussion, and a great flow of sound and ideas. But the mix was 100% digitally recorded, and like most other studio sets, some of that spontanaity is missing. There is a noticeable feeling of over-polish, and the “songs between the songs” didn’t have explorative creativity like some of the great Balance mixes of the past.

Deetron – Balance 020 CD2 (Preview edit) by BalanceSeries

The flipside brings in the raw energy and excitement of the analouge days. Remember them? Recorded on 3 turntables and a mixer, Disc 2 has a noticably different vibe. The songs chug along at a happy clip and there is a “live” energy feel that was missing from the previous session. Some of the choice cuts featured are “Roost”,  the melodic layers and piano of “Swept Illusions”, “Envision”, and the raw tech of “You Think to Think” help to give Disc 2 some amazing color and life. It’s not just shades of grey like so many others nowadays. I didn’t think anything could be smoother than the first mix until I heard this one.

Deetron’s Balance is a progressively structured collection, always moving forward, but not always straight ahead, and not always choosing the most direct route to the finish line. The Balance series is a winner simply because it lets the artists do their own thing. There is no set formula and aside from track licensing, very few restrictions. That’s part of what makes each Balance album unique.

But the other is the DJ themselves. Each has his own unique way of programming and mixing, each has a unique vision and idea of where they want to go.  Deetron brings his A-Game and nails it, hands down. As I said before, I’m not a techno guy, but the D-man mixes it up enough with plenty of the tech-sub genres that I couldn’t help but love this mix. 5/5


Digital CD1
01. Autechre – Nine [Warp]
02. Reno Wurzbacher – Julischkaa [Colombage] + Model 500 – Infoworld (Loop) [Transmat]
03. Julio Bashmore – Craboon [Future Boogie]
04. Shit Robot – Losing My Patience (Unabombers remix) [DFA]
05. Todd Terje – Bonysh [Running Back]
06. BNJM – Blocks [Rush Hour]
07. DJ KOZE – The Geklöppel Continues [Kompakt]
08. Ricardo Villalobos – What’s Wrong My Friends [Perlon] + Wishmountain – Video [Accidental]
09. Move D – Your Personal Healer [Uzuri]
10.Todd Terje – Ragysh [Running Back]
11. System 7 – Positive Noise (Carl Craig Remix) [A-Wave]
12. Resonance – Yellow Train [Vadim Music]
13. Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke – Ego [Text Records]
14. Maceo Plex – You & Me [Crosstown Rebels]
15. Lawrence – Above The Sky [Mule]
16. Virgo Four – It’s A Crime (Caribou Remix) [Rush Hour]
17. Mr. Beatnick – Synthetes [Don’t be Afraid]
18. Cavalier – Kaimanawa [Drumpoet]
19.. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise if You Can See (Dave Aju Remix) [Circus Company]
20. Throbbing Gristle – Hot On The Heels Of Love (Ratcliffe Remix) [Throbbing Gristle]
21. Avus – Reality Itself [Border Community]
22. LV and Message To Bears Feat. Zaki Ibrahim – Explode [2nd Drop]
23. Model 500 – Infoworld (Loop) [Transmat]
24. Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Pioneer IOO [Raster Noton]
25. Andy Stott – Tell Me Anything [Modern Love]
26. Savage Progress – Heart Begin to Beat [Virgin]

Analogue CD2
01. I:Cube – Un Dimanche Sans Fin [Versatile]
02. Substance – Relish (Shed Version) [Scion Versions]
03. Roots Panorama – Threee (Deetron Beats) [Versatile]
04. Ripperton – Swept Illusions – Caravan [Unreleased]
05. Osunlade – Envision (Ame Remix) [Innervisions]
06. Mampo Village – Descending of the Supernatural [Sacred Rhythm]
07. Deetron – Croque [Unreleased]
08. Super Flu – Hallo Halle [Monaberry]
09. Sneaker – You Think You Think [Uncanny Valley]
10. Mathew Jonson – Learning To Fly (Dub) [M-nus]
11. Wbeeza – A116 [Third Ear]
12. Reggie Dokes – Haiti [Clone]
13. WAX 30003 (B) [Wax]
14. Romanthony – Bring U Up (Deetron edit) [Glasgow Underground]
15. Mike Dehnert – Umlaut 2 [Clone]
16. Four Tet – Pinnacles [Text Records]
17. Redshape – Son of A [Present]
18. Simon Garcia – Tears In Vain [Perspectiv]
19. Johanna Knutsson – Heavy Baby (Minilogue’s cut for a cut) [Klasse]
20. Surgeon – The Crawling Frog is Torn and Smiles [Dynamic Tension]
21. Cosmin TRG – Fizic [50 Weapons]
22. Radio Slave – Let It Rain (Deetron edit) [Rekids]
23. Deetron – Starblazer [Rejected]
24. Lone – Coreshine Voodoo [R&S]
25. Rhythm is Rhythm – Kaos [Transmat]
26. Ronny & Renzo – Heartbreak Theme (C2 Cinema Remix) [Rekids]
27. Deetron – Collide [Unreleased Version]

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