Various Artists ‘Danny Howells Balance 024’

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Title: Various Artists 'Danny Howells Balance 024'
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As you might expect, there’s an assured edge to everything on Danny Howells’ addition to arguably the most esteemed mix series in the business. A chap who’s been around long enough to mature beyond the youthful exuberance of his more up front, formative years, this is something of a product of all that experience.

In so far as ‘serious’ DJ compilations go, this is certainly one of the easiest to immerse yourself in we’ve heard in some time. With the two discs directly correlating to one another, rather than contrasting, it’s reassuring to find the sounds herein both varied and perfectly placed. Divided into ‘That Mix’ and ‘This Mix’, we begin with a beautiful homage to broken beat days gone by, namely Essay’s Find You, a track referencing both trance-tipped post-dubstep and reflective, big-room opener prog, and the perpetual build begins.

Perhaps surprisingly, the first track list gets into tougher tones than the second, which is informed by the slo-mo new school as much as anything else. Proper dig deeper stuff, Howells is one of the most prominent purveyors of heavy but patient, groove-infused floor fillers and whilst both CDs are infected with a brooding, malignant rhythm (in the first instance thanks to serious funk-infused moment courtesy of The Mole- Our Time Has Come– and KiNK’s remix of Jimpster’s Porchlight and Rocking Chairs) is the real testimony to the man’s talent for creating overwhelming atmospheres with unusual, and unusually powerful tracks.

Moving through disco-inflected numbers such as Seva K’s Falling and Cant’ Stop Feelin’ by Sixth Avenue Express, we eventually find ourselves emerging into anthem-like territory of Pages from Kaltehand/ Natasha Waters via Ewan Pearson’s reworking, which lucidly gathers momentum into the male vocals of Yev and Dream Is Gone, both by Crimea X (and re-done in the vision of Prins Thomas), at which point it’s safe to say that if you were witnessing this happen in a club there would be mayhem going on in all directions. Subtly direct, if that makes any sense whatsoever, we’d go so far as to say this is our new favourite mix.