Balance Music Presents Guy J
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. On his Balance Presents mix, Guy J achieves both in magnificent fashion.
One of John Digweed's brightest discoveries of the last decade, the Israeli producer grew up listening to the Bedrock boss' groundbreaking Northern Exposure mixes and Transitions radio show. "I think this is how I learnt about building up a mix" he says. "He can do intro, build-up, give you a taste of peak time and then finish it, and you can listen again and again and enjoy the mix each time. It's like a good movie." It's this focus on progression and evolution that makes Guy J's music and sets so captivating, straddling the divide between deep progressive house and dubby techno with stunning flourishes of euphoric melody. On this incredible Balance mix, he has taken the essences of some of his best-loved tracks by other producers and filtered them through the prism of his own stunning sound, re-editing and reconstructing them to create a truly original listening experience.
"The idea of my mix for Balance is not to give just a regular mix of 80 minutes" Guy explains, "but to create, write and produce it." This meant sourcing original tracks from friends and colleagues to work his magic on, as well as editing tracks less close to home and seeking permission to use them in his own special way. "I wanted to make it more special; to give the people who listen to it something that will be worth the time and creativity. Remaking tracks and remixing all thirteen of them to give a story is a hard mission - but I used every second I had to produce these tracks and to listen to what I had made."
A truly epic reverbs embalms the yearning, ethereal strains of Flowers & Sea Creatures' collaboration with DJ Yellow, No One Gets Left Behind, as the mix gently, beatlessly begins (think Radiohead dosed up on a Valium in a vast church). We effortlessly segue into the lush textures and exotic instrumentation of Roger Martinez & Secret Cinema's Menthol Raga, deep bass and a warm beat brought gradually into play. From these monotone depths emerge the sorrowful bassline and heady atmospherics of Henry Saiz's Sante Fe, and a bubbling interpretation of a Radio Slave accapella that heightens the energy considerably. Juan Deminicis' Once Upon A Time tempers the mood back down, setting up the seductive melancholia of Navar's Phases Of Grief for maximum impact, all brooding bass and emotive riffs.
Pezzner's mix of Pavel Petrov's Fever gets amped up into a hypnotic, head-nodding slice of deep tech house, moving perfectly into the rich strings and shimmering keys of Charles Webster's Lanoiraude remix. Just as the energy is swelling, we're pulled back down once again into the sumptuous sea of melody and warmth of his Dactilar Day One edit, the beat simmering down to near-nothingness. Again, it's an expertly implemented lesson in contrast, the soaring motifs and heady vocals of Echomen's Perpetual blossoming out of this pause for breath. Guy Matnzur's I'm Your Country ramps up the momentum once again with hard-hitting bass interspersing heavenly breakdowns, and WOW's Killaproviding a glistening penultimate slice of big room splendour. Robert Babicz's Duba provides the dreamy swansong that rounds the mix off;another beatless beauty laden with spine-tingling emotion.
It's all over too soon, demanding rapid repeat listening. It's a mix to get lost in, and whose constituent parts are deftly blurred into the bigger picture. "I think the tracks could be played in a club" concludes Guy, "but the way it's all edited and mixed is more home-friendly... and of course, all music on this compilation has never been released." This magical mix is sure to be a strong contender for one of 2013's finest, and has everything going for it to live on well beyond those end of year lists.