Monday, March 09, 2009

Joris Voorn - Balance 014

After noting the next Balance cd was to be mixed by Joris Voorn, who had a very successful 2008, the thing that got people talking was the 102 songs spread over two cds. By any standards, that's a lot of tracks in two hours. The question on everybody's mind was, would this be a mega-mix, quickly moving through tracks, a mash-up, where songs are thickly piled on another, or a complete reconstruction of the tracks into something new.

Since Voorn is best known as a producer, not a DJ, the likely, and correct, answer is complete reconstruction. The closest comparison would be Richie Hawtin's DE9 Transitions.

Disc one, called Mizuiro, is largely techno, with tracks from Minilogue, Derrick May, Model 500, and of course, Basic Channel. Of course, there are many more individual tracks included, organized into 12 tracks.

Disc two, called Midori, is a little more funked up, with music from Carl Craig, Todd Terje and Jimpster. His famous remix of Robert Babicz's "Magnolia" appears here, but probably not in the form you'd expect.

But both of these descriptions leave out many tracks and can't cover all the transitions and moods that Voorn moves through. They aren't simply separated techno and house discs.

Even if you have to happen know all these 102 tracks, they aren't always used as you'd expect. For instance, only the opening chords of Goldie's "Timeless" are used, and the same goes for the final ripples of Cobblestone Jazz's "W".

Track #4 from the Midori mix shows this process comes together. Six tracks are used and they are difficult to untangle. Listen

Track 4:
Paul Nazca – Flash
Mood II Swing - Move Me
Oliver Moldan Presents Prawler - Phat Laces (Harada Remix)
Henrik Schwarz - Leave My Head Alone Brain (Parts & Effects)
Minilogue – Ghost (Dub)
Psykofuk - Psykofuk

The question becomes, is it all too much? Generally, no. I would say there are rarely more than three tracks playing at a time, and when this happens, it's often the beats from two tracks combined with the ambience or melody from the third. So it never feels piled on too thickly.

To buy or not to buy? Don't look for a cash-in mix of Magnolia-styled tracks spun together like a standard studio mix. It's more of an artistic statement than a dj mix. But it's not an artist album either, with so many bits and pieces taken from others. Buy it if you're into techno, new and old, and don't mind adventuring into house, breaks and ambient sounds. Buy it if you're into using Ableton Live, and want to see how the software can be used to create something new and different with others' source material.

It's out today on EQ recordings. Beatportal has a good interview with Voorn that explains how the cd came about.