The first disc is a mix full of beautiful melodies, soothing atmospheric touches and 70+ minutes of broken beats. The mix begins beautifully with Fretwell’s ‘Faceless’ providing a stunning early highlight, but is almost immediately outdone by what could well be the highlight of the entire album, that being the smooth baseline drops and delicate percussion of KVK’s ‘Reality Theory’. The mix into the next production is simply flawless, and it leads into the stunning ‘Bound for Ascension’ by Michael Lanning which parades a melancholic array of vocal wails and subtle synths. The ‘Underground Sound’ of Rhino Drum adds a twisted touch to the first disc with its quirky synth pattern and cheeky baseline. Jacob Todd unleashes ‘Nothing is Real’, a journey into smooth beats and spine tingling melodies. Luke Chable adds his genius touch to the mix with his remix of ‘Open Day’ by Steve May, a track that momentarily halts the flow, but doesn’t take away from the overall melodic course of this mix. Expect the usual roaring baseline from this production as it leads into the concluding stages of this first disc. And what a conclusion it is, starting with the ‘Natural High’ of Chimera and then followed by the classic Slacker who inducts his trademark quirky vocal samples, string patterns and bubbly baselines into the mix with the very hot ‘Titikinegi’. Two of the heavyweights in Tilt vs. Quivver combine to deliver ‘I Know Your Afraid’, a driving conclusion to the first disc.
We enter disc two, and this is where the classic Pappa is unleashed. From the word go disc two clicks into overdrive, commencing with the chunky beats and booming baseline of ‘My Pills’ by Pavel Bidlo. Once the pounding beats of Mara’s remix of ‘Coming up for Air’ by Rennie Pilgrem kick in, it is plainly obvious that this is Anthony Pappa working the mix as the usual intricate layers that he builds slowly start to form. Ozgur Can’s massive ‘Connected’ gets a good run early in the mix and is completely cut into the next track, showcasing the various talents of Pappa’s mixing ability. Unfortunately the next track is for me the weakest link on the disc, a contrast to what follows with the brilliant driving sounds (and somewhat overused vocal groans) of ‘All I Wanna Do’ by Rhythm Unlimited. Pig & Dan do not disappoint with the dark and driving sounds of ‘Basement’ while another highlight of the mix awaits us with ‘Our Prediction’, by a producer that is quite simply too hard to ignore, Moonface. The baselines intensify with ‘Deeper Inside’ by MCCP and the atmosphere rises up a notch with ‘Freakout’ by Musgrove & McGrath. We are well and truly into peak time Pappa once the ‘Cold Rush’ of John Graham & John Sutton hits, and the quirky melodies and bubbly nature of ‘Atmospheric Graffiti’ can only be a welcome addition, courtesy of rising star Chris Salt. Ben Camp arguably adds one of the finest productions to the long line of competitors in this album with ‘New World’ which sees a dark driving baseline introduce the final curtain, that being party fuelled anthem that is ‘Beija For’ by the highly regarded Shpongle.
Naturally this mix is going to be compared to its predecessor, that being James Holden’s impressive double discs of joy. Needless to say that Pappa has delivered the goods, and it does indeed stand up to what James Holden provided with 005. But it wouldn’t be fair to compare the two, but rather it must be said that this mix is very good. Skepticism entered my mind when I was informed that the first disc would be breaks, but I really shouldn’t have been concerned with Anthony’s capability to put together any form of music. The second disc is classic Pappa, almost reminding me of some of the classic GU mixes from days gone. Together they form a quality package, and a package that should further enhance the reputation of the Balance series.