Artist: Various Artists
Title: Balance 007 (Sampler One)
Label: EQ Grey
By: Jason Calvert | 16 August 2005
  • A1: !!! (Chk Chk Chk) - Hello Is This Thing On (40oz Edit)
  • A2: Global Communication - The Deep (40oz Edit)
  • B1: Bent - As You Fall (Micah 'Swollen Booty' Mix)
  • B2: Ramiro Musotto - Raio

"Balance 007 (Sampler One)"

Out Now on EQ Grey

The Balance series has boasted some pretty hot names over the years, and Chris Fortier is the latest to step up. His outstanding compilation boasted some very unique gems of tracks, and now with this sampler we are provided with some of the highlights of the album. In fact, if I were to personally pick tracks to put on a sampler, i would have picked definately picked these four.

Kicking things off, we have Fortier's own interpretation of !!!'s "Hello? Is This Thing On?". When approaching a track such as this from a remixing perspective, one is faced with the challenge of being able to rip the track up and turn it into a dancefloor monster, whilst still remaining the cheeky groove which !!! are renowned for. Fortier overshoots that here, providing a track which is unique and interesting in its own right, whilst paying excellent homage to the original. A magnificent effort. The vocals have basically been scrapped, although some very distorted and filtered vocal snippets occur, but they are very minor. The bassline is torn up and given a much heavier feel over the original. The melody is reworked completely, and the cheecky guitar riffs are thrown down. The result is a dirty, driving, dark, and funky piece of music. The genius of Fortier's skills are showcased in full bloom here.

Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard formed the Global Communication outfit way back in 1991, and many argue that they shaped the early 90's ambient house movement. In 1996 they released a breathtaking composition entitled The Deep. Fortier tweaks and twists various elements of the track, and gives it a nice bouncing feel to bring it up modern standards. Lush pads build up a strong sense of atmosphere, and the laid back groove sets up an excellent mood. Some twisted effects are brought in, and these compliment all other elements on the composition excellently, and keep the interest levels high. Another stellar effort from Fortier.

On the flipside, we are provided with what was arguably the stand out track of Balance 007. In 2004 Bent released their album Ariels, and on it was a piece of music which was always regarded by myself as the highlight of thier musical careers. It was called As You Fall, and it was a tune filled with so much raw emotion, and the lush strings and ethereal vocals sent chills down my spine each time I heard it. In short, it was one of the last tracks I would have ever expected to receive the dancefloor treatment. In fact, if I was told about the mix before hearing it, I would have cringed at the thought. But bring a talented producer like Micah in to do it, and the results are phenomenal. Our lush melody is sped up , and a warm bassline and beat have been added over the top. All the elements of the original remain in tact, from the lush strings, to the melodic harps, to the spine tingling vocal. Micah adds in some small melodies of his own, and the package works better than one could ever imagine. The breakdown retains just about all of the emotion of the original, and dropping this in a dancefloor situation creates a mood for which euphoric is a true understatement. A track which is going to be at the top of my box for quite some time to come, and definately one which won't be forgotten easily.

Finally, we are provided with a very interesting track from none other than Brazilian percussionist legend Ramiro Musotto. The timing structure could be found as quite intimidating to many fans of the more traditional progressive house sounds, but it is very refreshing to see that producers are not afraid to experiment. Fueled by Musotto's trademark percussive style, an electro type riff resides in the mid ranges, and many exquisite effects and samples generate a style which punches the wall between being haunting and being sexy. A track which would easily gain the respect of any forward thinking listener, and adds a nice touch to finish off the sampler with.

This is definately one of the tightest selection of tracks I have ever seen put to a sampler. Many times, you listen to the compilation, and the tracks you enjoy the most are not featured on the sampler. Not the case with this vinyl at all. The variation in styles from !!! to Ramiro Musotto in itself is enough to spark interest, at least in my case it is. Fortier has always been very talented in the production department, but his remixes provided here really bring his extraordinary talent out and push it to its farthest limits. Already sold out at Juno and other distributors, make sure to snap this one up quickly, as it will not be around for too long!

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