Various Artists mixed by Nick Warren - Balance 018 on Balance Music

Words by: Hannah Briley
Posted: 17/5/11 11:08

Balance 018EQ's Balance series has been running for donkey's years, their choice of mix dj's spanning from James Holden's progressive electro on the 05 edition to Will Saul's disco edit mayhem on 015Nick Warren has also been around for donkey's years, has a hefty collection of mix CD's already under his belt (the majority of which are for Global Underground) and still packs out dance floor's worldwide after 20 years behind the decks. 

So it comes as no surprise that EQ asked Warren to mix their 18th edition of Balance; not only do the label have a reputation for putting out progressive techno that often flirts with trance (Warrens staple), but after the not so well received Balance 017 from Joris Voorn, he probably felt like a safe bet considering his lengthy popularity.

Nick Warren's chosen direction is no real shocker but if I'm honest I was hoping we'd see something different. Depending on how you look at the 'role' of a mix CD will inevitably determine how you perceive it's result. 

Personally, If I want to get 'lost in the rave' I choose to do it in a dark, sweaty night club with a few other hundred stomping bodies and warped minds, or equally at a hazy afterhours; at which by that point it's more just a rhythmic beat I'm hankering after rather than a journey of impeccably mixed tracks, each with a distinct flavour and identity.

If I'm not in the above mentioned 'rave' or afterhours, I'll probably be at home, or in the car, or walking to work with my headphones - you get the jist. It's in these scenarios that for me, a mix CD gets put on. I'm not saying I want background music, far from it in fact, but I want something captivating and groovy with contrasting beats and rhythms - I want something more beautiful, more variant than what I'd hear in your standard club. I want something more MUSICAL. Unfortunately, that's not entirely what I get from Nick Warren.

Disc 1 is a predominantly tech heavy selection, driven by strong earthy kicks and riddled with bleeping trance melodies on top. The rhythm rarely deviates for the first four tracks and the first time my ears prick is with Flord's 'The Tribe Has Spoken'; it's long drawn out synths and warm bass line rejuvenating my by now rather stagnant mind set. It does pick up towards the end of Disc 1 however - 'Drones (Send Me)' from Nomad adding middle eastern mystique and Franck Orff's 'Hibiscus' and Giorgo Gatzigristos's 'Tickless' making for a more laid back , groovier approach.  Warren's mixing is not in question here and he is clearly a master of his trade; transitions are smooth and each track melts effortlessly into the next. Put me in a club at 6am and without doubt this mix would go down a treat. But the point is, I'm not in a club and it's not 6am - I'm at home on a Wednesday evening doing my ironing.

Disc 2 thankfully takes its lead from 'Tickless' and becomes warmer, deeper and more percussive. Warren's own mix of 'Collider' from Tripswitch boasts a rounded bass line and uplifting vocal snippets. The melodic piano in 'Bristol Warm' is refreshing and well executed and Steve Mill's 'Someday' is the type of fluttery, echoey house music that works anywhere.  There are points though that Warren just can't resist - 'Solee' from Aragon flings me back into the raveathon with its relentless apargiated 1/16 synth lines and head strong kick drums. I'm not hankering after an easy house fuelled selection, just a little more variation within techno.  At times the nail is hit; take Victoria R's 'Cosmo' or Steven Libby's '80D' for example; their tech identity remains well and truly intact, but they garner a more chilled out ambience to go with it. It's a tough call to make because Nick Warren's staple style is after all, what's got him to where he is today. But a little more experimentation, bravery even would have showed another side to Nick Warren, allowing me to view him as a dj I could listen to in a range of environments and moods. 

Various Artists Mixed by Nick Warren
Title: Balance 018
Label: EQ Balance Music
01. Ormatie - Only
02. Spieltape feat. Shamil - Morning Paper
03. Underset - Berlin
04. Flord - The Tribe Has Spoken
05. Paul Hazendonk - My Addiction
06. Eelke Kliejn - Monkey Movin'
07. Jamie Anderson And Owain K - Without Sound
08. Nick Warren - Buenos Aires (Terry Lee Brown Jnr Mix)
09. Nomad in the Dark - Drones (Send me)
10. Franck Orff - Hibiscus
11. Giorgos Gatzigristos - Tickless


01. Tripswitch - Collider (Nick Warren Mix)
02. Julio Largente - Darkened Underpass
03. Beat Factory featuring Stamina - Let's Take a Walk
04. Lank - Ain't No Problem
05. Yamil Colucci - Bristol Warm
06. Victoria R - Cosmos
07. Solee - Aragorn
08. Steve Mill - Someday
09. Steven Libby - 80D Test
10. Nick Warren - Flowers (Solee Remix)
11. Pablo Acenso - Bread

Our Rating: 5/10


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