Artist: Luke Fair
Title: Balance 011
Label: EQ Grey
By: Andrew Bilen | 7 May 2007
  1. Voom Voom - Vampire Song
  2. Rich Medina Feat Sy Smith - Can't Hold Back (King Britt Mix)
  3. Bioground - Smooth Summer Nights
  4. Wamdue Project - Home Planet
  5. Hypnos - Red Light
  6. Mitsu - Serene
  7. Acca - Rain (Gravity Dub)
  8. Delgui - Highlights (Charles Webster Mix)
  9. Julien Jabre – War
  10. Tiger Stripes - Amphytrion
  11. Kinka - Burnin'
  12. Robag Wruhme – K.T.B. (Ruhig Brauner Mix)
  13. Vernell Long & Hebegebe - I Go Now (Awaaz Mix)
  14. David Holmes - 69 Police (The New Aluminists Soisante-Neuf Dub)
  15. Heroes For Hire - Our House Music
  16. Nightriders – Gateway
  17. Tom Novy - Unexpected (Dub Mix)

Luke Fair "Balance 011"Luke Fair "Balance 011"

Out Now on EQ Grey

'Balance 011' presents us with the latest compilation from one of the most acclaimed house DJs on the progressive scene, Toronto native Luke Fair. Amongst the more techno and breakbeat oriented mixes we’ve seen from EQ Recordings in the past, this mix certainly fits into the housier side of the Balance series, alongside contributions by fellow elite house DJs Desyn Masiello and Paolo Mojo.

I’ve been an admitted Luke Fair addict for close to a year now, trying to get my hands on every single one of his recorded live mixes, of which there are many thankfully. When listening I am rarely in anything less than a complete state of aural bliss. Luke’s ear for great melodies and love for tracks that incorporate live instruments is what really makes his track selections stand out, only to be complemented by his absolutely flawless mixing which never misses a beat.

So with that being said, on to the two disc package at hand. Disc 1 starts off very slowly as 'The Vampire Song' and King Britt's Remix of 'Can't Hold Back' open things up somewhat sluggishly. Thankfully by track 3 we are treated to one of the best tracks on the album with Bioground's 'Smooth Summer Nights', an absolute gem that goes into really deep, melodic territory with nearly entrancing qualities. The same goes for Hypno's 'Red Light' which takes us into a dreamy downtempo mixture of strings, guitar, and swirling melodies that will take your breath away.

Once we get into Charles Webster's remix of 'Highlights', Luke hits a hot streak with tracks 8, 9, and 10 all being astonishing. From the slick guitars and sultry vocals of the aforementioned 'Highlights', to the lush strings and chugging bass of Julien Jabre's 'War', and finally the absolute stormer that is 'Amphytrion' by Tiger Stripes. The third track in particular became an instant favorite with me, one that I've had on repeat many times.

From track 11 on Luke takes the mix back into more traditional house territory. It's hard to pick any standouts, as they all just seamlessly flow and work together perfectly to slowly build the atmosphere up until the closing track. As I said earlier, Luke has an ear for use of natural instruments in good house tracks, and the trumpets of 'I Go Now' and the sax featured in 'Gateway' are both great examples. Finally, Tom Novy's 'Unexpected' is about as good of a closing track as you could ever ask for on a mix CD.

Disc 2 opens up with the types of tracks we have come to expect from Luke. Kicking off with Alexander Kowalski' fantastic opener 'She's Worth It' through to track four with Ian Pooley's remix of the Timewriter's 'Booty Song', this opening portion brings the kind of funky and upbeat house vibe that is Luke's signature sound.

From there things turn to a bit of sore spot, as we are presented with a series of tracks in the middle of disc 2 that don't really seem to fit with the overall vibe. Going from the slightly goofy beats of 'Playing With Fire' which is marred by an annoying vocal sample, to the overly dark beats of 'Zouin'. The last two tracks in this chunk are Tom Middleton's mix of 'DJs In A Row' which manages to bring some energy back into the mix, but just isn't that captivating, alongside the similarly uninspired 'Footlover'.

Thankfully the third and final portion of disc 2 is just about flawless, with track after track of house music perfection the way only Luke Fair can create. I can say nothing but good things about every track from 10 to 16.

Kicking off with the thick rolling bass lines of 'Difficult If Not Impossible', into the bouncy and funky remix of 'Africando' by Shik Stylko, things mellow out just a bit with Klement Bonetti's deep, soulful "Ethna', featuring a fantastic piano hook and lush strings set to a solid house beat. Next up is Jamie Anderson's remix of 'Fire!' by Marnix, another track on this compilation that became an instant favorite. Featuring possibly one of the best hooks I have ever heard on a house track before, incorporating guitaresque elements, a nice tiny vocal sample, and a jaw-dropping bassline, it definitely got my attention.

The last three tracks here create a perfect conclusion to disc 2, with a really nice progressive vibe from Subtech, the driving beats of Michell's 'Need To Know', and the old school sounds of Humate's 'Curious' (circa 1993) to wrap things up.

Luke Fair's Balance 011 is a deep, soulful, funky, and groovy romp through some of the best the house scene has to offer. After having listened to this album many times over I can comfortably say that disc 1 is a fantastic mix that takes us from dreamy downtempo house through to more intense uptempo stuff, covering a wide variety of house styles in between. Disc 2 features some of the best club-oriented house music you could imagine, with the track selections for the opening and closing portions of the disc being flawless. Unfortunately the middle portion of disc 2 leaves something to be desired, with tracks that don't really seem to flow within the mix and aren't quite as memorable. However, Luke more than makes up for their shortcomings throughout the course of the disc.

With tracks like 'Amphytrion' and 'Unexpected' on disc 1, and 'She's Worth It' and 'Fire!' on disc 2, I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with this fantastic compilation. There is no doubt that fans of the Balance series will argue over the three house-oriented compilations produced by Desyn Masiello, Paolo Mojo, and now Luke Fair, but there is also no doubt that Luke Fair's contribution to this elite group is more than worthy of the Balance name, and that he manages to uphold its standard of quality.

In terms of quality and diversity Balance has been one of the most consistent mix CD series on the progressive dance scene over the last several years, and Luke Fair does a solid job of continuing that tradition.

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