James Zabiela’s first mix compilation in seven years is well worth the wait. So much thought, care and attention has clearly gone into his working here, and Zabiela demonstrates an uncommon knack of structure and design on his mixing. On several occasions he manages to secure a blend of two, maybe three tracks that combine with uncanny accuracy and deep feeling, such as in the first mix where he achieves a really sublime transition into Talaboman’s ‘Safe Changes’. This first mix has a completely unhurried approach from the outset, but progresses really naturally with its mixing beautifully managed – not something you can often say when it comes to the art of DJ mixing! Combinations like Merrin Karras’ ‘Void’ and Pev & Kowton’s ‘Junked’ work really well, in this case teaming an insistent off beat bass with dreamy loops. By contrast the second mix is up and running straight away, Zabiela playing more obviously to the middle of the dancefloor with Radio Slave’s ‘Children Of The E’, his own ‘X-Ray’, and in Solitary Dancer’s ‘Paradise Found’ enjoying a woozy breakdown before kicking on with an almost primal urgency. It is difficult to express just how good this release is, frequently taking the breath away with its beauty in the first mix but then taking the feet clean out with the second, which whips up a really impressive head of steam. One of the best – maybe even the best – Balance compilations to date, without a shadow of a doubt!

Ben Hogwood
5 out of 5