Dave Juric takes a closer look at Balance Presents: Natura Sonoris mixed by Henry Saiz to see if he can deliver the same magic as last time.
Upon hearing the news that my favourite artist (no bias in this review btw ed) would be in charge of creating the new Balance Presents release I was wild with excitement. In my eyes, his Balance 19 sits amongst the all-time greats. Right up there with Holden’s Balance 05, Northern Exposure and Sasha’s GU13. Much like Hernan Cattaneo’s recent Balance Presents: Sudbeat, this CD was all about celebrating his own label Natura Sonoris. To be honest, a slight pang of doubt crept into the back of my mind. Would it just be a collection of songs that I already knew and loved? With the release of his Hal Incandenza album this year and his new Kickstarter audio/visual project taking up so much of his time, would we get something that is rushed and perhaps dare I say uninspired?
PFFFTTT. As if!
“Nowadays it makes no sense to release a mix that is something the audience can find in a free podcast or a club show so I wanted to use only new exclusive tracks.” – Henry Saiz
Alright! I like the sound of that. Let’s begin.
He kicks things off with Lone Wolf (A Reality Medley), which is essentially a 10-minute reinterpretation of all your favourite moments off his debut album from 2013 but weaved together in an entirely new light. It garners a warm smile like running into an old friend, while carefully managing to not overstay its welcome. Before long we find ourselves in entirely new territory. The sweet subtle sounds of chirping birds in Bufi – Bird Song lift the spirits while simultaneously melting the listener into tranquility. A highlight of the opening disc is the brilliantly dark and rumbling A Friend of Marcus – She Who Annihilates. Here Henry has sliced and precisely placed samples of his own Our Discovery over the top to create a completely new rendition of this familiar classic. This concept of reinterpretation is masterfully repeated throughout.
The mood in the opening disc builds ever so gently, and, is a little darker than what I was expecting. While the melodies are certainly present, he uses a deft touch to not overwhelm the listener. The snappy acid breakbeat in the breakdown of Tentacle – Goliath (Brassica Remix) is just downright nasty and provides a wonderful foil to the density of what has transpired. Towards the end of Disc 1 we are treated to the familiar horns of Hal Incandenza’s – Ventura over the chuggy progressive stormer Brian Cid – Luminous Black which perfectly rounds out the disc while preparing us for our next leg of the journey.
If Disc 1 was an introduction and celebration of other artists on Natura Sonoris, on Disc 2 we are treated to music almost entirely from Henry himself. After a brief crescendo, the tempo and energy takes a turn as his melancholic remix of Sistema – Entrée resets the mood and allows him to build the energy once more. Before long we are treated to arguably the most memorable moment of the release, Peter Dundov & Henry Saiz – Infinite Promises. It is beautifully textured and euphoric while at the same time understated and subtle. There are few artists out there who are able to straddle that line so confidently. The final stanza dives and swoops, introducing a new palette of sounds. It is Henry in club mode, dark and throbbing and a final opportunity to showcase the broad range of sounds in his repertoire. To close we get to hear a new, and dare I say, improved rendition of his seminal Spiricom (See You Soon). For those familiar, you will notice he has used a different vocalist for this version and has completely rewritten her melody. The melancholic warmth that permeates from this closer is truly breathtaking.
Indeed, my trepidation was unfounded. Henry Saiz has once again proven himself to be a master of his craft, nay two crafts. His ability to mix, layer and build tension through the music is phenomenal while his productions throughout are world-class.
“I tried to create an intense and visual musical experience.” – Henry Saiz
UK/Europe/Australasia release date: 14th July 2017
North America: 22nd July 2017
01. Henry Saiz – Lone Wolf (A Reality Medley)
02. Hal Incandenza – Contacto
03. Bufi – Bird Song
04. RIP BESTIA – African Wedding Ceremony (JMII’s Sagrada Familia Remix)
05. Landikhan – Veneno Mortal (R.I.P Bestia Acid Antidote JP 8080)
06. A Friend Of Marcus – She Who Annihilates (Samples From Henry Saiz – Our Discovery)
07. Damabiah – Sur Les Genoux De L’Automne (Henry Saiz Remix)
08. Joep Mencke – Sonder
09. Tentacle – Goliath (Brassica Remix)
10. Henry Saiz – Secrets (Tuff City Kids Remix) + (Brassica Remix)
11. Marc Marzenit – The Walrus (Samples From Henry Saiz – The Nothing)
12. Victoria Rodriguez – Moon On A Bright Day
13. Brian Cid – Luminous Black (Samples From Hal Incandenza – Ventura)
14. Henry Saiz & Tentacle – The Prophetess
01. Henry Saiz & Tentacle – The Prophetess
02. Henry Saiz – The Light (bRUNA Remix 2017 Master)
03. Sistema – Entreé (Henry Saiz Remix)
04. Henry Saiz – Rave Flute (Samples From Henry Saiz – Moonlight Wolf)
05. Petar Dundov & Henry Saiz – Infinite Promises (Samples from Henry Saiz – Sleepwalk)
06. NVSBL – Woodhouse (Henry Saiz Remix)
07. Henry Saiz – Death Drive (Eduardo De La Calle Remix) + Henry Saiz – The Pendulum (Melody From Voltaeric – Sandman)
08. Henry Saiz & Cora Novoa – Golden Dawn (Brynjolfur Dream Mix)
09. Henry Saiz – September (Samples From Marc Marzenit – Track For The End)
10. Henry Saiz – Spiricom (See You Soon) (Hal Incandenza Remix)