Magda – Balance 027 Review

Artist : Various/ Magda
Title : Balance 027
Label : Balance Music
Release : UK/Europe/Asia – March 9th
North America – March 17th
Genre : Quirky and Experimental Techno

“When I recall my favourite parties of 2014 I picture intimate venues with super tight sound and a good vibe” she says of the inspiration for this mix. “For me when you get into a huge warehouse situation with sound bouncing off the walls and a sea of cameras in my face, it’s just not the same and never will be.”

Since leaving Richie Hawtin’s M_nus family, Magda has set about forging her own distinctive path in electronic music. Unshackled from minimal techno expectations (not that she could ever be defined so narrowly), she has found freedom in this new chapter of her career. Whether its curating myriad unusual sounds on her Items & Things label alongside Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, developing her own premium tequila brand or designing a custom DJ controller, all of her output is imbued with a sense of adventure and exploration. 

Balance have a habit of picking DJs who like to explore the outer realms of Dance music, and Magda’s offering marries a cerebral, boundary pushing experimentational sound with gutsy funk fuelled dancefloor focused cuts. Its a mix for the mind, body and soul.

The most important thing is the narrative – what you’re trying to say and how” Says Magda,“The challenge is piecing together tracks that may be opposites into something that makes sense. That’s the most fun.

The journey begins on CD1 with the eerie sounds and textures of Tomas More. It slowly develops into a repeative wonky synthline over the first few minutes and for those opened minded folks among you, its a refreshing and cheese free ride into oblivion. The dubby tech of Dinos Chapman’s Alltid comes as a welcome slice of beatmongery 6 minutes in and the listener is transfixed to the groove. Spaced out slivers of trippy melody carry you toward the abstration of electro jazz courtesy of the Gregory Fleckner Quartet and more leftfield wonky deep tech. Its a masterclass in cratedigging from the Polish beatmistress, and as we cautiously edge toward the dancefloor too terrified to remain in the shadows, the twists and wrong turns continue. Moving from Matthew Herbert’s found sound ode ‘Crisps’ (as Wishmountain), into dense, fraught techno via the wistful frequencies of Brett Johnson and CV30X, Magda demonstrates a deft touch. To close out the first disc, the eerie sounds of dub pirate Shackleton’s ‘Cast The Die’ and the shimmering guitar snippets of Andrew Pelker’s ‘Pitch Class Spy Glass’ fill my headphones leaving me supremely calm and peaceful. You know you’ve been to the moon and back, and you can’t wait to ride the rollercoaster again.

I definitely don’t expect everyone to like it and I’m fine with that, I just want to open my eyes wider and keep searching for more.” Magda states, defiantly resilient of her selections.

CD2 continues in much the same vein as CD1, but this one is much more focused on the floor. Starting with a siren, the deep bass driven ‘Dizzy Spells of Summer’ by Andrew Pekler marks a wholly different but seeming familiar deep house starting point. The weirdness continues into Minor Science’s bruiser‘The Beckoner’ and the squealing analogue freakiness of The Mole & Hreno add an intensity. If CD1s theme was downtempo and wigged out, CD2s is definatly acid house in the modern world. The first of these contempory acid textures, the excellent Murat Tepeli’s ‘P.S.A. (Play Stop Acid)’ sets the ball rolling, Rework’s rampant ‘In A Dance’ and XDB’s ‘Inywa’ both taking the baton and passing it onwards to allow those 303 lines to rear their head on multiple occasions. I’ve written before of the enduring nature of acid lines in modern house and Magda has picked some exception tracks to usher in a new generation of music fans to the sound that started it all in the first place.

Now nicely warmed up, Magda unleashes some techno beamoths on us in the form of Planetary Assault Systems, Marcel Dettmann and DVS1. The beats are large but the soul and funk are everpresent – the mark of a true professional, and then we’re into the home straight . Rather than a full on charge to the line, the listener is treated to some new material from Magda herself before heading into more wigged out and supremely funky electro madness from Tom Trago and Transllusion. By the time Obergman ends the second disc on a acid tinged high that Cybotron would be proud to call their own, I’m in seventh heaven. A throughtly enjoyable, thought provoking rollercoaster of emotive audio art.

I’ll admit I had my reservations before hearing this compelation. For me, Magda represented a sound (minimal techno) which I never fullt understaood, or cared about. But with an open mind and hungry ears, what was revealed was a DJ who searches far and wide for inspiration and is not satisfied with the offerings of promo lists and freebies. Magda is a DJs DJ who evelops the listener in a blacket of confusion and paranoia before kissing their fevered foreheads and welcoming them into her arms for a loving embrace. I felt emotionally enlightened and physically euphoric following my first exposure to this sonically rich and genre defiant masterpiece. This will be a CD I come back to time and again at house parties and for chilled out home listening some wet Wednesday in the future. You have a new fan Magda. Thank you for teaching this old dog some new tricks!

CD1
1. Tomas More – Gold, Grey & Dun***
2. Dinos Chapman – Alltid
3. Jahiliyya Fields – Turned on Type
4. Tase – Comeback
5. NYMA & Carreno is LB – Solaria***
6. Gregory Fleckner Quintet – How Much Would Conkers Cost?
7. Farben: presents James Din A4 – Please Excuse my Face
8. Rework – Traubenzucker***
9. Odd Soul – Capitoul
10. Hauntologists – Shakes
11. Luc Ringeisen – Beat Design
12. Wishmountain – Crisps
13. Cornerbred – Riding High***
14. Odei – Radius Head
15. #.19.21.3.11.21.20 – B1
16. Brett Johnson – Big Drunk Caterpillar
17. CV30X – 2×4
18. Nicholas Desamory feat. Lucile Desamory – The Truth
19. Kaitaro – Magic Channel
20. Rotorik – Verschollen In Der Unendlichkeit
21. Errorsmith – Make or Break
22. Shackleton – Cast the Die
23. Andrew Pekler – Pitch Class Spy Glass

CD2

1. Andrew Pekler – Dizzy Spells of Summer
2. Minor Science – The Beckoner
3. The Mole & Hreno – Things are Heating Up in the Grizzly Maze
4. Murat Tepeli – P.S.A. (Play Stop Acid)
5. Marc Houle – Techletoes***
6. Alliv Sobol – Toz 11
7. Tomas More – Who’s in Charge (Melodic Version)
8. Rework – In a Dance***
9. Stefny Winter – I Needed That
10. XDB – Indywa
11. Seth Troxler – Evangelon (Jonson & Siminski remix)
12. Magda – Trailerfork***
13. Trus’me – It’s Slow (Truncate Raw Mix Part 1)
14. Samuli Kemppi – Wrong Turn
15. Etcher – They Are Us
16. T.B. Arthur – 1 (B1)
17. Marcel Dettmann – Apron (PAS Tubed mix 2)
18. DVS1 – Black Russian
19. Lester Fitzpatrick – Tone Control
20. Magda – Scrumps***
21. Birdsmakingmachine – Icaros
22. Sandman – Machines Like This
23. Gabriel Ferreira – Fold***
24. Tom Trago – Fall Down on Me
25. Transllusion – Walking With Clouds
26. Obergman – Holometer

***DENOTES EXCLUSIVE TO COMPILATION