Lee Burridge: Balance 012
EQ Recordings

It's hard to imagine that EQ could possibly top Luke Fair's early-2007 contribution to the Balance series but Lee Burridge may have done just that in this twelfth installment in the series. The globally-renowned DJ works thirty-nine underground house and techno tracks, spread over three discs, into a meticulously designed travelogue whose rich scenery is never anything less than captivating. Fresh, melodic, deep, elegant, and sleek are just some of the words that come to mind while listening to Burridge's, 225-minute colossus.

The mix starts on a glorious high with the atmospheric beauty of Ripperton's “10A” and Efdemin's “Bergwein” and never looks back. The dreamy vibe remains in place for Lazy Fat People's “Club Silencio” before the onset of the set's first peak, Kollektive Turmstrasse's “Tristesse,” whose sublime mix of jacking swing and twilight ambiance is worth the price of admission alone. “Tristesse” is dance music at its best, with the propulsion of its rolling beats offset by the graceful melancholy of its string-drenched melodies. The epic slam of Jacek Sienkiewicz's “Good Luck” follows, after which disc one moves onto electro-funk rumble enhanced by inspired orchestral touches—flutes in Hug's spooked “The Angry Ghost” and an didgeridoo-like undulations in H.O.S.H.'s “Steppenwolf.” After burning brightly through Efdemin's mix of Henry & Denis's “Catabolism,” the slightly less spectacular middle disc assumes an initial robotic and then tribal, roiling air (Super Flu's “Lady in Pink”) before settling into breezy techno-funk swing (Babyford and Mark Broom's “Bubblebath,” Broke's “Over That,” Martin Buttrich's “Programmer”). Tomas Andersson's “Dubbel Problematik” kickstarts the splendid third disc with a neck-snapping backbeat stomp and the deep club vibe carries on into psychotropic, peak-time bangers by H-Man, Luca Bacchetti, Alexi Delano & Xpansul, and Gabriel Ananda whose stampeding, drum-heavy “Trommelstunde” pounds like a crazed hellion. The mix turns freaky with Rejected's “Cliche” and Autotune's “Dirty” (Burridge clearly in no hurry to get to the chill-down), climbs aboard Allan Banford's jacking train during “White Geishas” and Par Grindvak's “Do Us Apart” (Kraftwerk apparently already aboard); Patrice Baumel's “Just Electricity” guides the set to a relatively becalmed close though even it's a throbbing clubber. Props to Burridge for assembling such a solid package of material and keeping the interest level high throughout.

November 2007