[18 January 2011]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Timo Maas is one of relatively few “superstar” DJ names. He’s produced lots of well-known remixes for well-known acts like Depeche Mode and Fatboy Slim, as well as releasing well-received compilations and projects of his own. His contribution to the Melbourne, Australia-based Balance series is his first official compilation, as opposed to artist album or remix album, since 2001’s Connected.
For the most part, Balance 017 is worth the wait. Disc 1 is excellent, concentrating on more moody, atmospheric, sometimes ambient, deep and progressive house. From the Yello-meets-Leonard Cohen vibe of Nicolas Jaar’s “Time For Us”, to the hyper-disco of Santé & Adam Port’s “Solano” and beyond, the mix is intriguing and attention-grabbing like little house music is these days. Disc 2 concentrates on more traditional, club-ready house fare, but gets weirder and more abstract as it goes along, adding just enough dissonance to keep things from getting into a rut. The late acid combo of Emmanuel Top’s “Somewhere” and Hardfloor’s “Acperience 1” is a brilliant move. Maas’ remix of Placebo’s “Ashtray Heart”, not so much. Overall, though, Balance 017 is a welcome peek into this major figure’s record collection, with lots of exclusives from his own Rockets & Ponies label to boot.