REVIEW: DEETRON - BALANCE 020 | 13 Oct 2011

Deetron releases the highly anticipated Balance 020 - an outstanding double mix CD featuring one part all digital; the other all analogue. Veteran DJ and producer Brendon P gives his review.

Release dates: 
UK - October 31st, 2011 
Australia - November 4th, 2011 
Europe - November 7th, 2011 
Nth America - November 8th, 2011

Deetron - Balance 020 CD1 (Preview edit) by BalanceSeries

As cynical as I can sometimes be about most mixed compilations (due to countless disdainful reasons that I can't quite count off the top of my fingers and toes), I somehow felt, that this one was going to be a tad different. Having watched and danced to him at one of the Midnight Shift parties earlier in the year, and as brief as his set may have been (thanks to the worst possible intervention by the 'boys in blue') I must admit, he'd been one of the best DJs I've heard all through this year. Even for those 50 minutes of dancefloor bliss.

Number 20 in the Balance series mixed by Swiss DJ/Producer Sam Geiser, better known by many simply as Deetron, (whom I've followed for a while now, and had the pleasure to meet and dance to twice in my life) is a general and simple reflection of the man himself, and his eloquence and meticulous nature as a DJ (and also a reflection of why I need to stop being cynical about mixed compilations...for now).

On pressing play, CD1 opens warmly with Autechre's 'Nine' and sets the tone for what is to follow. Which generally is a set that is diverse as it is breathtaking. If you're in a club working up a sweat, and if you close your eyes for a minute, it's almost like you're on the shores of a beautiful, sugary sweet white sanded beach watching the first faint strains of sunrise creep up on you. And then taking in, with regal vigour, the rest of a brand new day in which new, unexpected and exciting adventures await. 

Deetron - Balance 020 from Balance on Vimeo.

I hate using the word 'journey' because I've heard it used and mentioned so many times before by so many people who use the word without knowing what the real 'journey' really entails. But make no mistake, this is a proper... excursion. It dares to be different and not take the common routes and tracks that so many other compilations I've heard (and given up on half way) have taken.

Layered and mixed seamlessly and almost effortlessly, with Deetron's loving attention to detail; it's taught me to look at the work that I do in a whole new light.  And I won't mince my words when I say that there's nothing 'predictable' about this. He doesn't leave you hanging for too long, and yet leaves you enough time and space to enjoy the landscape before crossing another border, or time zone. And, although there's always a sense of darkness or danger lurking around the next bend,  it's a sickly sweet, and probably melodically tasty one too. It's hard to predict. 

If you're the kind of listener who just likes to skip through tracks to hear the mix points, you'd miss the best parts (and... shame on you if you are by the way)! Tracks like System 7's 'Positive Noise' (the Carl Craig Remix), Maceo Plex's 'You & Me' and Todd Terje's 'Ragysh' break down the barriers of the stereotypical and common-place idealism of techno and it's many 'mis-layered interpretations'. None of the usual 'quintessentially predictable' Beatport top 100' tunes to trainspot here either with the exception of his own slice of excellence; 'Starblazer', towards the end of CD2.

And that's another epic story altogether. Just when you think it's going to strike 'common ground' at the end of CD1, CD2 side-swipes you onto a new and unexpected trail. The second disc takes it totally south of the border into new territories. This time taking the momentum and energy up a notch and yet, keeping the hip-shaking tenacity and lush layers that were omnipresent on disc 1. From the piano tinged 'Swept Illusions' by Ripperton to dark soulful layers on the Ame remix of Osunlade's 'Envision', the rapid thump of tracks like Super Flu's 'Hallo Halle' and Sneaker's 'You Think You Think', the jacking brilliance of Surgeon's ' The Crawling Frog is Torn and Smiles' and Deetron's own, and unreleased version of 'Collide, it's really the set I'd love to hear in a proper club. Quite honestly, if you're hearing this in a club and you're not already or even remotely overwhelmed to some extent, then you must be in the wrong club.

One very interesting point to note here without getting too technical is that CD1 was mixed digitally and post-produced on Cubase and Wavelab, and CD2, recorded with vinyl, three turntables and an Allen and Heath mixer. Hence the two degrees of embraced separation: digital for CD1 and analogue for disc 2.

“I chose to use both digital and analogue formats since I'm using both when I'm playing out”, he explains. “This compilation is a celebration of the gorgeous format that is vinyl and a praise for the endless possibilities the digital world has to offer.” 

A simple, yet bold statement, and probably his theology of life itself, from a simple, and very talented man who lets his skill, integrity, knowledge, eloquence, and taste do the talking and not a sync button, trickery or a chartable playlist. There's nothing politically correct about this one. It's truly a testimony of all things great about the sub-genres of great electronic music in today's context.

I won't give too much away, but, I will say this. As I listened to CD2 right through to the final closing epic refrains, I came to two sonic realisations: that there's still a great amount of hope for great electronic music and, when this comes out eventually, it's on top of my list of things to buy and keep. Probably one of the best and most diverse mixed compilations I've heard this year.

Digital CD1: 

2. Reno Wurzbacher - Julischkaa [Colombage] + Model 500 - Infoworld (Loop) [Transmat] 
3. Julio Bashmore - Craboon [Future Boogie] 
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4. Shit Robot - Losing My Patience (Unabombers remix) [DFA] 
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5. Todd Terje - Bonysh [Running Back] 
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6. BNJM - Blocks [Rush Hour] 
7. DJ KOZE - The Geklöppel Continues [Kompakt] 
8. Ricardo Villalobos - What's Wrong My Friends [Perlon] + Wishmountain - Video [Accidental] 
9. Move D - Your Personal Healer [Uzuri] 
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10.Todd Terje - Ragysh [Running Back] 
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11. System 7 - Positive Noise (Carl Craig Remix) [A-Wave] 
Amazon US 256kbps Mp3
12. Resonance - Yellow Train [Vadim Music] 
Amazon US 256kbps Mp3 iTunes 256kbps AAC
13. Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke - Ego [Text Records] 
14. Maceo Plex - You & Me [Crosstown Rebels] 
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15. Lawrence - Above The Sky [Mule] 
iTunes 256kbps AAC
16. Virgo Four - It's A Crime (Caribou Remix) [Rush Hour] 
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17. Mr. Beatnick - Synthetes [Don't be Afraid] 
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19.. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise if You Can See (Dave Aju Remix) [Circus Company] 
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20. Throbbing Gristle - Hot On The Heels Of Love (Ratcliffe Remix) [Throbbing Gristle] 
21. Avus - Reality Itself [Border Community] 
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22. LV and Message To Bears Feat. Zaki Ibrahim - Explode [2nd Drop] 
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23. Model 500 - Infoworld [Transmat] (Loop) 
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: 
1. I:Cube - Un Dimanche Sans Fin [Versatile] 
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2. Substance - Relish (Shed Version) [Scion Versions] 
3. Roots Panorama - Threee (Deetron Beats) [Versatile] 
4. Ripperton - Swept Illusions - Caravan [Unreleased] 
5. Osunlade - Envision (Ame Remix) [Innervisions] 
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6. Mampo Village - Descending of the Supernatural [Sacred Rhythm] 
7. Deetron - Croque [Unreleased] 
8. Super Flu - Hallo Halle [Monaberry] 
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9. Sneaker - You Think You Think [Uncanny Valley] 
Amazon US 256kbps Mp3
10. Mathew Jonson - Learning To Fly (Dub) [M-nus] 
12. Reggie Dokes - Haiti [Clone] 
Amazon US 256kbps Mp3 iTunes 256kbps AAC
13. WAX 30003 (B) [Wax] 
14. Romanthony - Bring U Up (Deetron edit) [Glasgow Underground] 
15. Mike Dehnert - Umlaut 2 [Clone] 
iTunes 256kbps AAC
16. Four Tet - Pinnacles [Text Records] 
17. Redshape - Son of A [Present] 
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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] 
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22. Radio Slave - Let It Rain (Deetron edit) [Rekids] 
25. Rhythm is Rhythm - Kaos [Transmat] 
26. Ronny & Renzo - Heartbreak Theme (C2 Cinema Remix) [Rekids] 
27. Deetron - Collide [Unreleased Version] 

Midnight Shift would like to thank Deetron and his team for this promo review.

Go back to the Midnight Shift homepage here. 

By | Brendon P
Tags | Techno , House , Tech-House , Soul , News , Features , Reviews - Albums , Audio , Mixes , IDM , Disco , Acid , Dub

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