July 28, 2013 by DJ Elroy
Seems the older I get, the more discriminating my tastes in music become. I don’t have time for the bubble-gum hit parade marching under the Swedish and Dutch banners, and when top commercial artists get in a pissing contest about who’s the most underground, I sometimes think it’s time for me to move on.
But then I hear that one album, that piece of aural heaven that reminds me why I fell in love with electronic music in the first place, and my faith in the future of our culture is restored.
Balance Presents Guy J is that album. It’s the second in this Balance spin-off series, and like its predecessor, Balance Presents jozif, it’s all win.
The press release really says it all: “How do DJs imbue compilations with the sense of worth, majesty and mystery that they once had in the pre-internet age? The smart ones pour enough time, originality and exclusivity into their mixes to justify a purchase and to ensure that their effort stands the test of time.” Isn’t that what’s so often promised by artists (and expected by fans) but rarely delivered? Most mixes (and indeed most music in general) nowadays can be called disposable, if not a complete waste of time. Very few singles stay in rotation more than a few weeks, and when’s the last time you loved a DJ set so much you listened to it more than once?
Guy J may be internationally known as a key player to many of the world’s top underground jocks, but so much of the mainstream has missed his boat completely. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. The chart-topping Israeli DJ/Producer/Remixer was both inspired by and in a sense “discovered” by none other than dance music legend John Digweed, and has since been lauded as one of the most promising new faces on the progressive/tech circuit.
The albums purpose wasn’t to replicate a dancefloor set; rather it’s something more intimate, more intellectual, and more soulful. Guy J has mastered the art of the story mix — he knows exactly where he wants to take the listener and seamlessly blends the tracks chapter by chapter into an epic journey. He’s hand-picked over a dozen of his favorite tracks to twist, edit, and in some cases completely rebuild. The customization certainly add more depth to the music and personality to the set. The end result is a satisfying roller-coaster of emotions; the highs are balanced with lows, the peak energy nicely countered with a calm introspection.
The album epitomizes the Guy J sound. The deep tech-driven gems fused with melodic progressive house and a smooth, exotic style set this mix apart from so many of the others I’ve had to hear this year that put commercial appeal above everything else. From the pulsing bassline, trippy vox, and haunting melodies of ‘Migrants’ to the tech-driven heaviness of ‘Fever’, the diversity is simply brilliant. The show peaks with ‘Perpetual’ and winds down with more flowing melodies on ‘Killa’ before finally tying up nicely with Babicz’ ‘Duba’.
The psychedelic journey is an experience in itself. Go deeper. Don’t just hear the music; live it. The vibe swings back and forth, the yin and the yang spinning perpetually until until a faint aura of light washes over the horizons of your mind and the beauty of the velvety blackness brightens to indigo and finally orange and pink. Warmth and contentment overcome you before rays of audio sunshine punch through the speakers and into your soul. All too quickly the mix is finished and you realize you haven’t even left your couch.
Guy J is the future of electronic dance music. He’s not afraid to do it his way. And if you’ve been living under a rock the past several years, this Balance mix is where to start. Grade: A