November 4, 2012 by DJ Elroy
In this internet age of one-click gratification we’ve got more music at our fingertips than we could ever hope to listen to. The overwhelming supply-to-demand ratio seems to demean the value of individual projects, making many of them an inconvenience (or worse!).
Back in the day I’d pick up a mixtape or two each week and they seemed to become the soundtrack of my memories. But music today is disposable. It’s a daily assault on my inbox, a virtual carpet-bombing of my news feeds, and a no-holds-barred — and apparently no shame — game for the hustlers. Each day I’m inundated with new mixsets and electronic dance compilations, and each day I seem to lose a little more faith in the once noble art of the DJ.
But every once in a while there’s something new and different. Something worthwhile. Something to restore my faith in the dying craft and smooth out a few of my rough and jaded edges.
Balance Music IS that something. The DJs are given free reign when it comes to music selection, so the set list is genuine and original and not just a handful of tired tracks picked by a balding number-cruncher in a stiff suit.
This 22nd entry into the Balance series is helmed by non other than global legend Lars Sandberg – aka Funk D’Void, aka Francois Dubois. The songs aren’t necessarily the newest, but every one means something special to Lars, and each has been tailored specially for this mix. The fat’s been trimmed away and we’re given the choice cuts. FDV explains: “Every track has been edited … so I wasn’t held back by overlong arrangements … opting instead for the immediate impact that could still be attained as one body of work.”
Disc One doesn’t waste any time with preliminaries. This pumping club mix immediately jumps balls-deep into a winning fusion of percussive techno and heavy house music. The diverse sounds on the palette range from deep and organic to dark and dirty, and the intelligently trippy layers and subtle funk groove is primed to makes heads explode. You’ve been warned.
[Bonus Trivia MegaPoints Question: Psycatron’s unreleased remix of “Diabla” samples a cut from an earlier Balance album —- can you name the song and the DJ that recorded the mix?]
Disc Two changes the dynamic a bit, opting for a more experimental vibe. It’s the perfect accompaniment for those mind-expanding situations or just an evening with your feet up. There’s a bit more than driving four-to-the-floor on this one, but when you’ve got a mixmaster at the helm you needn’t do a thing but sit back and enjoy the ride.
Both sets are precisely arranged and the intricate layers of the individual songs come together with the masterful precision that is getting hard to find with the new generation of electronic artists. My only peeve is the sometimes abrupt turns in the path. I understand there’s so much to see on the journey that it’s just not possible to slow down too much to look around. Thankfully the awkward intersections are in the rear-view and gone before I really had a chance to care. That said, the more times I listened, the more I “got it”. Maybe it just took a few tries to dial in to Mr Sandberg’s forward-thinking programming. There’s so much substance I hear something new each spin.
Funk D’Void’s Balance 022 is another winner in the series, and I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best yet. Even one of the top DJ mix albums I’ve picked up all year. Don’t waste your time firing blind; you’ll probably end up with some of that disposable big-room bubblegum house. And if you’re like me, you don’t have time for that. You say you want good music? Put your money where your mouth is and slap down a few bucks for Balance 022.
Who else has heard this and what do you guys think?