EQ's Balance series is like a good brand of coffee. James Holden's 005 remains the signature blend – a light roast, but rich and complex. Chris Fortier's 007 was double-bean dark – a solid hangover remedy across three discs spanning techno, electro, and everything in between. Though I risk a serious beatdown at the hands of RA readers, I have to say that Desyn Masiello's 008 was dull; too weak for a morning pick-me-up, a throwaway after a couple cups. But now, Paolo Mojo steps up to the decks for Balance 009 – two discs with flavors of every kind of house, a bit of minimal techno, and even a little Deee-lite. So how does it taste?
Disc One is the mellower cup of the two, favoring a sunny vibe over Disc Two's darker side. Mojo gets things started with his own intro edit of Kayot’s rain-drenched 'One Night In Cuba'. Dropping Eddie Richards' 'M’Baby' early on is a smooth move, but Mojo really hits the right groove with Weekender's 'Sunday Session'. If it weren't for that 4/4 pulse, this track wouldn't be out of place on an adult contemporary radio station. But somehow, it works: the jam session guitar and tinkling synths lend it the perfect laid-back, summer Sunday vibe. The sky darkens when Mojo's mix enters 'Wormhole' by Soul Edge, a twisted little track that gives way to Mish Mash's seriously sinister 'Speechless'. Mojo drops a few classics at the end, some of which haven't exactly stood the test of time. Notably, Davina's 'Don't You Want It' barfs up some clichéd housey piano, and the lyrics to 'Transitions' by Underground Resistance are laughably awful. Maybe Mojo was trying to be ironic, but these tracks are worth skipping just to get to the solid album closer, Pepe Braddock's warm 'Deep Burnt'.
Unlike Disc One, Disc Two doesn’t waste much time getting to the rump-shaking, with Mojo dropping the extended mix of his own mischievous little track, 'Ruckus'. Buick Project's darker, druggier, superior remix hits just a few tracks later, leading really smoothly into 'Say It (Nathan's 06 Rework)' by House Of Black Dress, which kind of sounds like New Order’s 'Blue Monday' reworked for, well, '06. Inner City's 'Say Something (Sebastian Leger Mix)' mucks things up midway, with annoying diva vocals and pounding piano. Again with that piano, Paolo? Come on, now! All is forgiven, however, when the mix hits its techno conclusion – the highlight of which is an absolutely stunning blend of Deee-Lite’s 'Good Beat' accapella with Ada's 'Maps (Michael Mayer & Tobias Thomas Mix)'. Petter shows up shortly before the end to unload his usual briefcase of pleasant tones, and Mojo leaves Sebastien Tellier and his lovely melodic track 'La Ritournell' to wrap things up – the same way Superpitcher concluded last year’s magnificent Today compilation.
Anyone who's been religiously following the Balance series has a personal favorite, and while mine is still Chris Fortier's sneering 007 from last year, Paolo Mojo made me completely forget that I’m not too fond of straight-up house. Both discs are sexy – not an adjective I use too often, especially in regards to house compilations. Balance 009 is damn tasty – smooth and full-flavored, with nary a bad sip.
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