Joris Voorn : Balance 014 : # 3 of the top 5 of my fav mixes of the moment
Joris Voorn is a Dutch DJ, music producer and remixer from Amsterdam who has been DJing for the last 10 years or so. On Balance 014, on EQ records, Voorn updates Richie Hawtin’s DE9 transitions & Closer to the edit much in the same vein with some of the same flavour with his mixes but also in a completely new manner. I think it is important to realize the extremely high quality of Voorn’s composition, a musical breakthrough IMO, and this is in no way a slight against Hawtin’s work. After all, some of my all time favourite DJ Mixes such as Decks efx and 909 were done by RH. Even tough every new mix that uses the build up from loops of existing tracks formula seems to take a step forward, with Balance 014, I think we have reached the zenith.
Here lies the biggest breakthrough of this mix : In DE9: Closer To The Edit, Hawtin used a large number of short loops. In DE9: Transitions, he expanded the length of each loop, playing some at almost their full original length. But with Balance 014, the tracks are mashed up beyond all recognition. Vocals are pitched down and timestretched, heck I almost did dot recognized Goldie’s Timeless even tough if it’s one of my favorite records of all time ! BPM’s are also pitched up [The Martian’s Stardancer is a good example of that] or down [Emmanuel Top’s Stress for instance] all over the place and mated to the perfect tune. Often he uses only a 1/8 bar in a song and he kinda of meshes it with vocal chords from another record which we would’ve never thought would fit in, but actually does…
Another difference here is variety. Although taking house and techno loops reprazented a huge step forward at the dawn of the new millenium in order to create something entirely new from the result. You might say that Voorn has done the same but there is one big difference : sheer eclectic musical choises. The tracks on Hawtin’s mix were almost entirely culled from minimal techno artists, making the mix a bit tedious, but Voorn takes in dub, warm IDM, Tech-House, Detroit, Club Techno, Ambient, Soulful House, pop songs and even appearances from Radiohead. To take tracks from so many influences and to come up with something this cohesive and engaging is nothing short of a masterpiece. Each newly composed track is typically made up of anything between 1 and 8 other tracks showcasing Voorn’s ability to decipher a staggering amount of intricacy and intuitative understanding of the kind of elements that can work together in the right hands. This is in my humble opinion what a great DJ is : taking a theme and stretching it out into an ever increasing artform. But also, inventing, creating something altogether entirely new.
He is not afraid to drop in beatless song, strings segments amongst the flowing, constantly evolving grooves. In fact, balance, this the right word for this mix because it covers so many different moods. Sure, this is a technical masterpiece but more importantly it’s a musical one too. I mean it’s almost like he is telling us a bedtime story or a fairy tale, with spoken words & soundscapes that mashes altogether to create different shapes and tones. This could very well could be the mix of the year. Or one of the best electronic mix ever ?
Joris Voorn : Balance 014 CD 1 [ 2009 : EQ Recordings : Click here for the complete tracklisting ]