Balance Presents Alex Niggemann
Balance Music's latest offering comes from Germany's Alex Niggemann. Niggemann steps up to the plate with an emotive, murky, and deep selection of grooves. Alex Niggemann's work has always been focused around deep atmospherics and mysterious melodies. His AEON imprint has brought through names like Speaking Minds and Denis Horvat, both of which are featured here. Putting together this mix proved to be a challenge he relished. His shortlist of track choices was whittled down by a process of elimination: a certain track isn't available, so an alternative selection comes into play. "It is a bit like being a soccer manager" he says, "being flexible and able to react to certain changes, still making the whole team work together best." So seamless and congruent is his selection, however, that you'd never know this to listen to it. "For me it was important to create new 'songs' between each track during the transitions between them. For me, a 'mixtape' was always about that; trying to avoid obvious changes and create a fusion between songs, keeping the same mood, so the listener doesn't hear a new song coming in, but realizes after a few minutes that there was a change." His brooding take on deep, melodic and often dramatic techno fits together harmoniously, subtle changes modulating the mix in granular fashion. Beginning with the near-beatless ambience of TVA's "Radio Camaldoli Stereo" with pared back melodies and FX harkening back to the vintage days of progressive house before Andrea Oliva's "Empty Lips" imparts sorrowful melody and militant snare rolls. Trevino's take on Dark Sky's "Rainkist" intorduces the first tense vocal, going into the shimmering melodies of Dave DK and Gui Boratto and the expert hypnosis of Daniel Avery on Ricadro Tobar's "Garden". A new exclusive from Niggemann, "Hurricane", yields a graceful vocal over squelchy kicks, with Trikk and Dubspeeka providing throbbing tracks with delicate melodies. Baikal's minimalist approach provides deep introspection before the warm acid of Philipp Stoya's "Rula" adds a touch of machine funk. TVA and Denis Horvat take the listener into even more tripped-out waters. Going deep again with MUUI's "Rsrsrs", Aril Brikha & Sebastian Mullaert laying on rampant riffs aplenty on "Illuminate" and Valet's "Crisis Of Faith" opening up the atmospheric space further. Etapp Kyle's "Opto" plunges the listener deeper still. Antigone and Ø [Phase] to draw the mix to a close via some floaty ambient techno.