Balance 025 – Danny Tenaglia

Artist : Danny Tenaglia
Title : Balance 025
Label : Balance
Release : 15/09/2014 (UK, Europe and Asia)
Cat. No : B025
Genre : House/Techno

It’s been approximately 13 years since the Balance series kicked things off with their first release, and in that time they’ve managed to showcase the talents of an elite selection of DJs from across the spectrum of House & Techno. Much like Global Underground in its heyday, the Balance brand possesses a level of credibility that other labels can only dream of, through a carefully vetted music policy that demands the very best of each and every one of the artists who are fortunate enough to be asked to compile one. As a result of this, a release on Balance has become something most underground DJs aspire to, and certainly an impressive addition to the CV for those who’ve already done so. That said, it’s an incredibly daunting task, with the bar regularly set incredibly high. In a few instances, artists have managed to transcend the realms of the mix CD and create something of historical and artistic significance, such as James Holden’s seminal 005 release (that regularly tops those ‘best mixes of all time’ lists), or Joris Voorn’s 014 technical master class (containing over 100 tracks, seamlessly patched together). For this, their 25th release, there’s a very good chance our next contender will rise to the challenge… you certainly can’t turn your nose up at his level of experience.

Danny Tenaglia has seen it all and done it all. A true institution on the electronica scene, Tenaglia’s career spans approximately three decades, and his techy tribal House rhythms have taken him to every corner of the globe. Which leads us nicely to today… and Balance 025. Of course, this nearly didn’t happen, after his ceremonious retirement from Dance music back in 2012. Thankfully his hiatus was short-lived, although evidently something happened to Danny during the time he spent away from the scene. Whereas before his sound bridged the gap between the soulful and the slamming (as exemplified by his pitch-perfect tough remix of ‘Finally’), today you’ll find Tenaglia re-energised by his newfound love of uncompromising Techno. Naturally this will come as a surprise to his loyal followers who might have been expecting something altogether different from this release. It’s fair to say that Danny is not the youngest of DJs, and as such his fans will certainly have aged with him, and with that in mind there’s every likelihood their tastes will have evolved alongside his own.

Disc 1 begins with an excerpt from Kangding Ray’s haunting remix of ‘Existence’ by Dadub (despite what the liner notes tell you). From here, the otherworldly keys of 04LM’s ‘Tragicaller’ are layered over the top and the two harmoniously dance together for the release’s scene-setting introduction. Tenaglia, like many others, has cited Traktor’s audio-manipulation capabilities as the reason for his renewed interest in Dance music, and it’s immediately clear that he’s keen to put the on-the-fly remix banks through their paces. The mix progresses through the more flighty end of the Techno spectrum, with the tribal drums of Cowboy Rhythmbox’s ‘Shake’ giving way to the rolling groove of ‘Dirtro II’ by London-favourite Ø [Phase]. This in itself is given an extra dose of percussion by Danny (he personally re-edited most of the tracks on this release) to help the track click into his vision of how this music should be presented, and the end results are impressive. In fact, the only moment I felt things went ever so slightly astray was during the transition from MRI, to Hot Since 82, to Kernel Key. Dosem’s floaty terrace-friendly remix of Hot Since 82’s ‘Planes & Trains’ seemed to sit in the mix like a strawberry between to jalapeño peppers. An unusual record selection maybe, but not enough to derail the mix as a whole, as once the track filters out his sights are firmly fixed on taking the listener further into the sinister depths of his musical leanings. As the first mix draws to a close, we’re taken through an encapsulating journey through heads-down Techno and ethereal Tribal, before arriving where we started at ‘Existence’, via the spine-tingling atmospheric vocals of Thomas Schumacher’s ‘I’ll Do You’. You’ll almost certainly be ready for more as Dadub’s chords fade away to silence.

And so to Disc 2, where Tenaglia really gets into his stride. I listened to this whilst on a long commute the other weekend, and it had me driving a lot faster than I’d like to admit. Thundering cuts such as Dax J’s ‘Dreamscape’ (himself another firm-favourite on the vibrant London Techno circuit), with their Oldskool-infused elements pairing beautifully with the brutal contemporary sounds of H.O’s ‘Deletion 3’, leave you in a state of vigorous rapture and eager to hit the dance floor. Tenaglia’s inclusion of Laurent Garnier’s flamboyant remix of ‘Nightcolors’ by Gregor Tresher almost seemed like another miss-step at first, and it was only after the synths began to fade away that it became clear that this was to be the proverbial calm before the storm… your opportunity to catch your breath if you will. From here, Danny takes off the gloves and goes all out with the warped hypnotic rhythms you feel he’s been dying to drop, but patient enough to wait until now to do so. Berghain-style drums pound the speakers, whilst mechanical loops reverberate around the room. This is the kind of sonic onslaught that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever spent Sunday morning raving away in a dark sweaty room, having long-since lost all concept of time. He draws proceedings to a close with a ray of light in the form of Exploit’s dreamy ‘UFO’, and you emerge from Disc 2 having explored the most formidable reaches of his musical preferences. As an entry to the notable Balance series, it marks a refreshing change of direction. Where once Progressive House took centre-stage (Nick Warren, Henry Saiz, Anthony Pappa et al), it’s nice to see the label showcasing a tougher sound, and one that’s so prevalent throughout the club scene of Dance mecca’s like London & Berlin. If this is to be Danny’s new adopted style, then he’s certainly proving he’s still every bit as relevant and capable today as he was before the turn of the century, and this is proof indeed that after all this time his finger remains firmly fixed on the pulse of contemporary electronica. A superb release!

Track listing

01. 04LM – Tragicaller
02. Ugo Carrano – GBass
03. Reboot – Banging Ear Drum
04. Talismann – Zula
05. Cowboy Rhythmbox – Shake
06. Ø [Phase] – Dirtro II
07. MRI – Es Geht Um Mehr
08. Hot Since 82 – Planes & Trains (Dosem remix)
09. Kernel Key – Out of Body Experience
10. Gabriel D’Or & Bordoy – Element 84 (Alex Under remix)
11. Sanys – Dominance
12. Tom Laws – The Yellow Enemy
13. Pherox feat. Lee Curtiss – Black Copy
14. Nicole Moudaber – Movin’ On
15. Mancini (ManJas) – What I Think (Yamen & Eda remix)
16. Basement Jaxx – Mermaid of Salinas (Michel Cleis Isla Dub)
17. Thomas Schumacher – I’ll Do You
18. Dadub – Existence (Kangding Ray remix)

01. Architectural – 04.1
02. Funkndy – Station
03. Regis – Cold Water (Substance Version)
04. The Yellowheads – Red Light District
05. Antigone – The Melody
06. Antigone – The Time Merchant
07. Lewis Fautzi – Binary (Oscar Mulero remix)
08. Dax J – Dreamscape
09. H.O. – Deletion 3
10. Gregor Tresher – Nightcolors (Garnier Without The B Devotions remix)
11. Herva – Snow and Clouds
12. 2 AM/FM – Acid Planes
13. Svreca – Overgang (Oscar Mulero remix)
14. Attemporal – ATT9 (Craig McWhinney remix)
15. Spear – Cognitive Dissonance (Miki Craven remix)
16. Brian Sanhaji – Datalogger (Jonas Kopp remix V1)
17. Sin Sin – Grounded
18. Exploit – UFO

Worldwide Release Dates
Australia – 05/09/2014
UK/Europe/Asia – 15/09/2014
USA – 16/09/2014

About the Author

Born of the Oxfordshire countryside, Andy has always preferred the quaint aspects of life around a historic city to the hustle and bustle of places like London or Birmingham. That said, the desire to satisfy his thirst for live music has led to him fleeing the tranquility of rural life on a regular basis, in favour of regions where the nightlife doesn't have to come to an abrupt end at 3am.