Nick Warren is progressive house royalty having been at the pointy end of the genre for a generation. As much as I normally steer clear of stuff labelled 'prog' I've seen Nick DJ many times and, without fail, he always impresses. His sets are a vast contrast to most out there - full of interesting and original tracks and put together in the silky manner Warren is know for. The Balance compilation series is the perfect stage for Warren to showcase the underground end of progressive house they've obliged with their latest mix.
Disc 1 of the mix kicks off with moody, druggy grooves from Spiel, Underset and into the percussive and twisted 'The Tribe Has Spoken' by Flord which signals the beginning of business time. Paul Hazendock's and Eelke Kliejn follow with typically sinister synth-led prog before Jamie Anderson and Owain K's 'Without Sound' strips things back to a sparser, hypnotic groove. The Terry Lee Brown makes a showing with his housey remix of Warren's own 'Buenos Aires' and Nomad in the Dark twists cut-up vocals into a sinister, ethnic moment with 'Drones (Take Me)', the highlight of the first mix. Giorgos Gatzigristos signals the end of the first mix with the dub techno-meets-prog 'Tickless'.
Disc 2 of the mix is surprisingly housey kicking off with the wickedly funky 90s throwback style 'Collider' by Tripswitch and remixed by Warren. Risings tech/prog talents Beat Factory hit the mix with their low-key, buzzing 'Let’s Take a Walk' before Lank unleashes the king-hit of the mix, his bottom heavy and gurning 'Ain't No Problem'. Warren leads you through the kitch 80s style synths of 'Aragorn' by Solee, the bubbly '80D Test' by Steve Libby before his own OMD-ish 'Flowers' remixed by Solee into a weird glitch-filled groove before the mix ends with the melodic and sultry 'Bread' by Pablo Acenso.
What Warren does so well on this Balance mix is his hooking you into a dark groove which frames the melodic peaks so much better than dropping one epic number after another. If you love prog this will really float your boat and if prog isn't usually your thing, then this will go a long way to changing your mind. Wicked listening. 5/5
Nick Warren - Balance 018 is out now on Balance Music
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