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Nic Fanciulli

Balance 021

(Balance Music; US: 22 May 2012; UK: 7 May 2012)

Over the course of two discs, 53 tracks, and two-and-a-half hours, British DJ Fanciulli shows he knows his way around sharp, stylish house and techno.


The first disc, the “Balance” mix, is the better of the two, because it’s more dynamic. From the anthemic (DifferentME’s “Back to Tomorrow”) to the jazzy (Lovebirds’ “The Beast”) to the spaced-out (Jae B’s “Vive”), Fanciulli has modern “progressive” house covered. It all is centered on Franck Roger and Mendel Turner’s soulful, funky, smooth “After All”, becoming slightly more dissonant and abstract after that point. Nothing shocking, but the best of what you would expect from labels like Rejected, Buzzin’ Fly, and Systematic.


The second disc is reserved for Saved Records, which is operated by Fanciulli himself. Focusing on the label’s recent history, the tracks are often leaner, meaner, and sometimes odder than those on the first disc. There is more of a dark wave influence at work. While this lends a heavier atmosphere, it means that fewer tracks stand out, though Fanciulli’s own tracks are highlights. All in all, Balance 021 gives a lot of sophisticated, nonthreatening bang for your buck.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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