As more over-hyped pop festivals clutter our calendars and more celebrities demand a spin in the DJ booth, the frustration grows for discriminating ears to separate the pure from the pretentious. The electronic dance music scene has become a caricature of itself, pumping out disposable tunes from an assembly line of ghost writers while the corporate cash-in echoes the blind eye of a dying dance floor during the death of disco.
But for us jaded-types, all is not lost.
Enter Balance Music. The Aussie label’s newest release is conducted by Spain’s Henry Saiz. Balance presents Natura Sonoris Mixed by Henry Saiz is a journey of epic proportions, blurring the line between chill house music, techno, tribal, acid, and more.
With a runtime of nearly 2.5 hours (as either a two-disc physical set or a single continuous digital download), this project is near-perfection. It’s packed full of exclusive music, classic reworks, remixes from Saiz’s Natura Sonoris label, special samples, and unique layers.
Saiz’s confidence really shines through in his acclaimed live sets and award-winning productions and reworks. And just as importantly, he’s in touch with the dance floor; he knows how to program a set that’s interesting and emotional. His music inspires artists and engages listeners. This is his first official mix album since Balance 019 more than five years ago, and it was well worth the wait. Continue Reading →
Analog Music drops its ninth release with the Pasiva EP from Spanish artist RiLo and solid remix support from fellow house-heads Los Fumakerz and Andy Peimbert.
The pair of originals are deep four-to-the-floor joints, each complimented by a tech-infused remix. The title track is a big bottomed house bopper with a slow unfold, a warm groove, and low-key percussions. The Los Fumakerz version pops with punchier kicks, snappier snares, and classic claps all laid atop a rolling bassline and presented with a dirty tech-house ‘tude. “Swaming” is a deliciously deep ride with a throwback vibe and sexy horns. And Andy Peimbert’s remix casts off the casual mantel for a more dynamic sound with a frantic boost.
Sometimes music doesn’t need subtleties to be effective; the Pasiva EP isn’t breaking down any walls but it does keep the dance floor fired up.
Bufi (Mexico’s Mateo Gonzalez) is breaking down the walls of musical stereotypes and re-writing the rules of genre classification. The Siempre EP (Sincopat) is a chuggin’ fusion of house music, techno, acid, and electronica with an emphasis on intricate breakdowns and hypnotic beats. The top two tracks are heavy, dark affairs; the pair on the flipside are a bit lighter with a more upbeat attitude. Though slow to grow and following a somewhat a predictable song progression, once the cuts hit their stride there’s no turning back.
Title track “Siempre” rumbles in with a grinding bottom and crisp snares, building with staccato synths as the song takes form and new elements are shuffled in, allowing the glitchy layers weaving around each other. “CV Smoothie” is a thundering tech-ish cut with a mundane build but industrial-strength sound that winds up to let loose with a pounding kick and hypnotic leads. “El House Es Tu Idioma” might be an 8-bit reminiscence, somewhat brighter than the others with a vocal that stands out more than the earlier tracks’ simple samples. Finally, “Slowfall” adds something different with an eclectic and breezy underground twist.
With four unique flavors, the Siempre EP has something for everyone. The release works because, as the song says, house music is a universal language.
When it comes to music, change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s gradual, an evolution of sound and style that grows with the artist. Other times it’s sudden, a quick turn one way or another due to a new inspiration, musical trend, or experimental expedition off the beaten path. But in order to make change work one other thing is required: quality. If you can’t deliver a quality product each time and every time, well, forget it.
Balance Music understands the need to never stand still, to keep pushing forward and evolve. Diversity has been a big consideration in their artist selection. With compilations from Danny Tenaglia to Alex Niggemann to Guy J, Balance covers all the bases, and just as importantly, they do it well. They don’t compromise quality when it comes to choosing which names to feature. And when you partner with artists you trust, the music works itself out.
Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat label epitomizes top-tier progressive tech and house music. It’s been called “Global in ethos; South American in spirit” and has reached the ears of countless fans around the world. This year marks the big eight since the label’s founding in 2009 and has seen over 100th releases. Cattaneo’s newest Balance compilation highlights some of his label’s best talent with the latest music from genre stars, newcomers, and Hernan himself. Cattaneo says, “All music on the compilation is exclusive and unheard … so I’m sure all our followers will be very pleased to find so many fresh tracks to discover. Both mixes are the perfect example of Sudbeat’s identity that of course is also mine as a DJ.”
Favorites like Guy J, Nick Warren, Henry Saiz, Giddyhead, Guy Mantzur, and more are all featured. Mix One opens with simmering sounds before seamlessly sliding across the next several cuts, turning up the slow burn as it unfolds. It’s the portent of perfection blowing in on the clouds before the emotional storm itself. You can almost hear the rusty gates of preconceptions swinging back and forth in the wind and the flotsam of mental baggage being carried out on the breeze. It doesn’t take long for things to come to a boil with trippy pans and throbbing bass followed by the hypnotic percussive lead. Soon the skies fill up with swirling sounds. Rich. Melodic. Surreal vocal work talks us through uncertainty and is followed by a spot of sunlight breaking through the gray storminess. Playful lyrics turn things up a notch and roll down the home stretch, driving through blissful beats and finishing strong with a big bottom energy of and the haunting wind-down and the bittersweet idea that “life is a wonderful anomaly.”
The flipside is decidedly more energetic and with a somewhat darker and more sinister vibe bringing a nice contrast to deep, emotional zen of Mix One. Mix Two blows in from the desert sands, dropping you in the oasis with dulcimer leads and a pulsing bottom. The beats drive on, riding percussive leads and subtle grooves. The airy breeze carries the notes of a beautiful and lonely piano before rolling into a hypnotic groove built on snappy percs. Next up are dancing synths and uplifting leads. The mix chugs along with rich textures and lush tropical vibes until peaking with the chugging bottom and sprinkled chimes and finally ending with the sassy and upbeat closer.
Hernan doesn’t break any rules or new ground here, but he doesn’t give any up, either. As expected, there aren’t a lot of vocals or obvious hits; instead the music do the talking.
This project is all about substance, atmosphere, and texture. Mix One is the perfect poolside player – chill and enjoying life. Mix Two is the clubber’s wingman – upbeat, energetic and ready to dance without being overbearing. The Balance: Sudbeat collection is the next perfectly placed step forward in Cattaneo’s evolution. It will satisfy old fans and win new ones to both his Sudbeat label and to himself as an artist.