Desyn Masiello: Balance 008

Having previously featured Chris Fortier, Anthony Pappa, James Holden, and Phil K, EQ's Balance series now adds Desyn Masiello to its house mix fold. Nominally a 'progressive' DJ, Masiello extends that range into other genres, including minimal techno, trance, soul, disco, and funk, in a marathon 153-minute ride that features tracks and remixes from Orbital, Joey Negro, Killing Joke, Will Saul, Ellen Alien, and many others. It's a generally fabulous set, with Masiello steering clear of house clichés with the exception of an occasional wailing diva appearance (Soulsearcher's “Can't Get Enough (Derek Howell Remix),” Moloko's “Cannot Contain This”). Most interestingly, however, what recommends the collection most is its refreshing electro vibe, with Masiello so exhaustively embracing the genre the mix often seems an electro-house manifesto.

Disc one slowly awakens with the warm soul of Will Saul's “Mbira” before moving into the dubby electro-house of New Ordinament's “Dusty Little Kid Presents: Jerry Cala.” Two tracks in and the set's already flirting with greatness, as it briefly highlights a simple Kraftwerk-styled chiming melody before segueing into a deep slamming shimmy. Williams's “Love Crisis” shifts the beat to a loping disco groove before soulful vocals warm the cool surround in Chelonis Jones's “One on One (DM Edit).” The mix builds to an irresistible stomp, and reaches a first peak with the driving tribal rhythms and percolating burble of Babak Shayan's “Flowers” and Rene Amesz's “Cabilla.” In some tracks (like The Idiots's “Teardrop”), a subtle Latin flavour surfaces in the form of congas and Latin percussion.

The 74-minute second disc opens restrainedly with delicate washes and cooing voices until Orbital's “Halcyon + On + On” segues into an infectiously bumping house groove. Subsequent tracks broil and churn, with Dave DK's “Crush the Bits” and Dealer's Choice's “Bomb the Place” particularly memorable. In addition, an aromatic Eastern scent wafts through the string-laden groove of Ramsay's “Dirty Delicious (Dub)” while MFA's remix of Ellen Alien's “Magma” oozes a dark Euro-techno vibe.

Admittedly, the album's not perfect. The drum fills in “Love Crisis” are mind-numbingly simple (at least by Photek standards), and the gulping synth patterns and arcade noises in New Ordinament's “Dusty Little Kid Presents: Dusty Kid Adventure” flirt with banality. But, on the whole, it's a sonically distinctive and often fantastic collection. While it may not possess the left-field originality of a Kompakt mix, Balance 008 verges on electro-synth bliss nonetheless.

November 2005