Which kind of makes you wonder—with the plethora of choices out there—why EQ Recordings landed on a veteran DJ so synonymous with another label to mix the latest Balance. A tactical move perhaps? After all, with podcasts suggesting an uncertain future for the mix CD, Nick Warren is a safe bet with a proven market base.
For those familiar with his back catalogue, however, a more important matter is where Warren has decided to go on Balance 018. In the past, some of the "progressive DJ" entries into the series have used the opportunity to prove there's more to them than that imposed tag; Anthony Pappa showed off his love of breaks, Chris Fortier threw a curveball of minimal tech and electro and James Holden's infamous and eclectic mix was a springboard for his new direction. But while some of Nick Warren's best mixes have been the ones that have entailed a more downtempo/experimental flavour (GU #24: Reykjavik is arguably one of his finest moments), Balance 018 sees him play up to his reputation.
For the prog-heads, this means everything they could hope for in a mix—namely a genre-specific, key-mixed approach of driving and dominating basslines, funky percussion and trancey melodies. For others, it means the same predictably pumping, big room sound akin to progressive house at the turn of the century, albeit with a more deep and polished tech-sheen. Warren more than knows his way around a mix, and the word "journey" is definitely applicable over both discs. If there's anything to fault here, it's the abrupt or awkward transitions that sometimes disrupt the flow of the mix, which is something easily noticeable in a genre so fixated on linearity.
Sometimes it's difficult to envisage Nick Warren once spinning dub and indie back in the day as a tour DJ for Massive Attack. That's the kind of example of a past love that could've been tapped into to celebrate his first mix with a different series in over a decade. On the other hand, his passion for the progressive style that made his name and his endearing refusal to jump on any bandwagons are what make him such a well-respected DJ. In that sense, Balance 018 is Nick Warren just being himself. And you can't blame him for that.
Thu / 12 May 2011
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