BEST COMPILATION: JAMES ZABIELA “BALANCE 029” [BALANCE MUSIC]
To say James Zabiela went in deep on his ‘Balance 29’ double- mix album is a bit of an understatement. From initial wishlist playlists of over 2000 potential tracks, he whittled it down to the final 58-track odyssey by months and months of experimenting, editing, fusing and sculpting…
His diligence is more than evident across these winning mixes. Even for a DJ with Zabiela’s reputation, ‘Balance 29’ is a serious piece of work — both musically and technically. Running the atmospheric gamut from gentle electronica to thundering techno, attention is paid to the very last detail, to the point almost every track is a mix in itself, comprising elements of three or four tunes. For added detail you can break the mixes down yourself in the album artwork mix schematic James provided with the album… A wry nod to Sasha & Digweed’s seminal ‘Northern Exposure’ mixes that inspired James as a teenager 20 years ago. Refreshingly, even after over 15 years of professional DJing, his music fan side is still very much in full effect…
“What I found exciting about the mix when it was released was that, as a fan of each and every artist who appeared on the mix, it put me in direct contact with them,” James says. “Some had perhaps heard of me as a DJ but weren’t really aware just how much I admired their work. That was ace for me to connect with them.”
The connections go both ways; James explains how fans got in touch online and in clubs and asked about specific details and mixes he’d crafted. “I love that some people got as nerdy about listening to it as I did putting it together,” James grins. “I genuinely was surprised how some people connected with it. It’s more than I could’ve hoped for.”
His deep ethic and attention to detail paid off: to say that James Zabiela’s ‘Balance 29’ mix is a reminder that professional mix albums still have serious validity in today’s game is a bit of an understatement. – DJ Mag
N.E.W.S. distribution is proud to welcome Berlin’s premier minimal techno label Klockworks run by Ben Klock.
Active in dance music for almost 20 years, Ben Klock resides in the higher echelons of techno after becoming a Berghain resident in 2005. An incredible producer and even better DJ, Klock’s skills are complimented further by his acute ability to read crowds and work a room – which has led to him compiling the fabric 66 compilation in 2012, and reigning supreme as the winner of BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix of the Year award in 2015.
Alongside his domination of the DJ and festival circuit, Ben Klock has spent the last decade running his own imprint, the aptly named Klockworks label. Initially a playground for his own productions, he was inspired to start nurturing emerging techno talent when coming across the then unreleased work of DSV1. The rest, they say, is history – with Ben’s label going from strength to strength to boast a back catalogue of work from Sterac, Etapp Kyle, Trevino, The Advent, ROD, and Troy.
Ben Klock invite Greek-grown, Moscow-based artist Stef Mendesidis for Klockworks 23 coming out next month.
A collection of Belgian disco and groove tracks from 1975-1987 called Discophilia Belgica will be released across a two-part double vinyl offering, via Sdban Records this November.
Discophilia Belgica is the result of a decade-long dig by Loud E and The Wild, rummaging through flea markets, charity shops and vinyl trades to celebrate the uncelebrated. The 30 tracks span from 1975-87 but don’t reflect a scene per se, but do reflect a country with a wonderful diversity and weirdness of the sounds, aided by an abundance of recording studios, impresarios, local radio stations and pressing plants.
This smorgasbord of space music is a platform for ordinary folk lost to the dustbin of history who, once upon a time, where pushing the boundaries of disco into its furthest reaches. A collection of odd and sods from your eccentric next door neighbour’s garage jams. Not too serious or overambitious and certainly not overproduced.
In the context of quantised disco edits this compilation is so refreshing we made it our Album of the Month for September on Worldwide FM. Originally released on an undated 7″ on Gamma, Patrick Vanderborght’s ‘The Joymaker’, one of the least disco leaning tracks, stood out the most. More ironic still because it’s also one of the saddest on the comp. If synths could cry, they’re balling their eyes out on this.
Discophilia Belgica will be released on the 16th of November.
The Totem series a unique set of releases pressed on transparent 10” vinyl, meant to open “the label range to a wider and warmer sound”. The first release, Tarkomania, came from label boss Lucy, featuring monologues taken from Tarkovsky’s 1979 cult classic film Stalker. The second release came from Luke Slater‘s L.B. Dub Corp project in August.
The three-track release delivers a “journey that is unequivocally enduring and flexible for journeys on-and-off the dancefloor,”
Wrong Movements will arrive on December 7 via Stroboscopic Artefacts, with “Wrong Movements (Circles)” streaming below.
Heavy The Eclipse is the Scottish techno duo’s second album, following 2017’s HTID: Heaven-Sent Tekno Impakting Dancefloors, Or Hardcore Till I Die, also releasedvia Electric Deluxe. It tells the story of a dystopian Glasgow 400 years into the future—”After numerous waves of social collapse, Glasgow, a once prosperous city thriving off an industry of trade and shipbuilding, had run to waste in lawless ruin,” the label explains. We’re told to expect “ravaged and warped breakbeats haunted by wailing euphoric noise, vivid and graphic reflections of fractured post-industrial hardcore, moments of poetry flashing within a thick impending fog.”
Heavy The Eclipse is streaming on SoundCloud, accompanied by this website.
Electric Deluxe will release Heavy The Eclipse on November 23rd, 2018.
Ghent-based Belgian record label Radio Martiko was founded in 2015 with a mission to release rare, forgotten or unreleased old music from anywhere and everywhere from across the globe. Their catalog currently features unearthed music everywhere from Greece and Belgium, to the Middle East and even Peru. Building on the success of their last release, a reissue of Hany Mehanna’s 1973 seminal bellydance album The Miracles of The Seven Dances in January, they return in September with a very special double album release.
First up, is the official soundtrack album for the 1969 movie عائلات محترمة (Respectable Families) by Abderrahman El Khamissi. For those of you not familiar with El Khamissi, he was a prominent Egyptian poet, novelist, composer, screenwriter, theatre and cinema director and radio personality. He was also the man credited with discovering cinematic icon Soad Housny by giving her a role in 1959 picture Hassan and Nayima.
The four compositions that make up the soundtrack traverse areas of Tango, Twist and cha-cha-cha music yet with a unique and abstract twist to each one giving them an element of darkness and perhaps even psychedelia at times.
The second album is a nine-song compilation featuring various artists pieced together by Radio Martiko from the archives of iconic record labels like Sono Cairo, Disques Sharara and Misrphon. Entitled Zamaan Ya Sukkar, the album capitalises on the Western influences that swept through the MENA region during the 60’s, particularly Cairo and Beirut. The album features music described by Martiko as ‘Egyptian Exotica’ due to its obscure juxtaposition compared to traditional music of the time.
Zamaan Ya Sukkar starts out with a catchy Franco-Arabic song entitled “Fatouma” by an obscure artist named Selim El Baroudi, and goes on to feature songs from legendary names like Mohamed Fawzi, ElThoulathy ElMareh and Soad Mohamed, along with lesser known figures like Nubian singer Magda Ali, Sayed Salameh and Qanun player AbdelFattah Mansi.
Both albums are great for laidback listening sessions, especially if you happen to be interested in the music of the past decades, particularly the 60’s, given the lack of exposure they receive musically compared with the 70’s onwards.
Radio Martiko will release Original 1969 Soundtrack by Abd el-Rahman el-Khamisi & Zamaan Ya Sukkar – Exotic Love Songs from the Egyptian 60’s in September.