Balance 017


Timo Maas is a master of reinvention. Emerging during the excess of trance's heyday in the late '90s with his fusion of techno, progressive house and funk in a rivetingly futuristic manner, he quickly became the remixer du jour for both the club underground and the commercial big leagues. This is Maas' first official compilation in 9 years. As the artists says himself, "For me 'the trip' is quite important to create, with a mix of brand new, even exclusive material, but also tracks that rock my world at the moment and most essentially have rocked my world for many years (the so called 'classics')." Maas draws us into his musical world with two sumptuous cuts of ambient electronica from his studio, before boldly grabbing our attention with Nicolas Jaar's already-classic, woozy early-morning anthem "Time For Us." CD1 is all about displaying his melodic, charismatic, emotive side -- the turgid electro-pop of Vector Lovers, the lush disco licks of Toby Tobias and the tripped-out eccentricity of DJ Koze keeping you hooked. Jazzy pianos are drawn in, Maas reminding us that this electronic lark is not the be-all-end-all of music as the opposing tech house backbone becomes more prominent. Mathias Schaffhäuser's "The 1st Thing" signals that Timo's tech vein is starting to throb, with animal noises permeating the sexy wiggle of the track. A slice of classic Tenaglia ups the ante, and it looks like we're set for a thumping finale before the majestic, blissed-out melody of Carl Craig's "At Les" pulses in, setting us up for a classy and experimental closer which sees Maas and Santos collide with Elgar and William Orbit. The second act makes no attempt to disguise its intent, laden with thudding kicks, plenty of rolling percussion and the intricate attention to detail that peppers his sets and productions. It's largely comprised of works from him and his colleagues from his quirky new label Rockets & Ponies, with numerous exclusives across both discs. Elements that don't always reveal themselves at first listen are stacked all around this mix -- intricate layers, trickery in the stereo field, unearthly effects and chiefly, hefty groove throughout. At first tracks come thick and fast -- more sexy Maas magic, into some wonderfully deep Kenny Larkin, before the mix begins to unwind. Things start taking a turn for the weird -- his remix of We Fell To Earth's "Lights Out" showing tinges of the '70s psych rock that he and Santos while away hours in the studio to, and eerie sci-fi sounds crawling all over the place. Eventually, the psychedelic feel subsides, giving way to the blissful melody of Alex Dolby's re-rub of the Rockets & Ponies anthem "Chinese Massage," and the mix then dips down once again into deeper territory before unleashing a torrent of acid filth. Timo's Lost Veteranos project appears with the gnarly, industrial intensity of "It's Wronger," before a classic 303 double-header from Emmanuel Top and Hardfloor bangs you into submission, taking you back to a wonderfully simpler time. A sprinkling of magic dust rounds off this heady compilation in the form of his own epic, unreleased version of Placebo's yearning "Ashtray Heart" -- a fittingly powerful finale. Other artists include: Dana Bergquist & Peder G, Sasse, Solvent, Random House Project, Phattivan, Deetron, Mathias Kaden, Henrik Schwarz & Kuniyuki, Giorgio Roma, Alex Flitsch, Patrick Chardronnet, Santè & Adam Port, The Crystal Ark, Florian Hollerith, Marc Romboy & Stephan Bodzin, Alex Niggemann, Matthias Tanzmann and The Mole.