Various Artists: Balance presents Soundgarden mixed by Nick Warren (Balance)
What’s the story?
The Soundgarden is an enterprise headed by DJ Nick Warren and his partner Petra, and in what seems like no time at all it has evolved from parties and radio shows to compilations and now a record label. This compilation marks a return to the Balance series for Warren, who as half of revered 90s duo Way Out West has an almost unrivalled pedigree in house music.
His wish was to create a timeless pair of mixes in which each track has involvement from a member of the Soundgarden family, illustrating the community ethics of the label.
What’s the music like?
Warren’s wishes are largely fulfilled, using his components to make a pair of mixes that could easily be listed as two recordings rather than their 27 tracks.
He creates wide open spaces and is careful not to fill them with too much music, so that sometimes the music can sound quite minimal. It always has a forward progression though, and in the course of two and a half hours opens out beautifully.
Warren opens up with a typically airy number, in this case Aārp‘s Gemma III, and lets the mix establish its own footing with a couple of airy house tracks. Arguably the best of these is Aspen, by Synkro & Arovane, which has a natural feel to it. As time passes a firmer footing and bolder sound are established. Warren’s mixing is typically seamless – it’s difficult to spot the joins at points – with other highlights including Kamilo Sanclamente‘s Urania, dispensing stardust far and wide. Darper‘s Crystal Voyager has broad harmonies and curious bleeps, musing on time and space, then Emi Galvan‘s Embrace flat major has a nice shimmery breakdown before panning out for Ben Archbold‘s SF.
The second mix is dreamy, a little darker but again thoughtfully compiled, starting with the Eastern leanings of SIX‘s Berlin. There are dark hues from Black 8‘s Black Tiger, while Dmitry Molosh’s Note brings a combination of distinctive sharper sounds and an ethereal vocal.
Later on Warren’s own Dreamcatcher, with Black 8, is subtly hypnotic, while Eli Nissan‘s Restricted Delusions is tougher. By the time Oliver & Tom‘s Luly comes around the pace has increased slightly but the mood is contented.
Is it recommended?
Yes. He may be an old hand at this compilation business, but Nick Warren still knows how to pace and mould a mix to perfection.
You can get this album from the Balance music website