James Holden rose to the attention of the public during the big peak of Progressive House. Productions of dark pounding progressive with a hypnotic ambient edge to the melodies ensured that Holden's work was a cut above the average. While he's not the first name that comes to your mind when you think of the progressive big hitters, popping up with tracks like the gorgeous Nothing and the recent works on his own Border Community label like A Break In The Clouds, ensure that he isn't just a flash in the pan. This is the first DJ expedition from Holden that I've heard since I've not managed to catch onto older mixes such as Fear Of A Silver Planet yet and this is also the first in the Balance series that I've managed to cop a hold of. All in all, its a solid prog mix, reminding me of Deep Dish's excellent Renaissance Ibiza mix. The first CD has the same dark electronic mood of the Dish mix, rumbling drums and sinister electronics. Several highlights of the Border Community catalogue show their faces, kicking off with the wonderful Difference It Makes by The MFA, the dark acidic Real by Avus and the frankly stonking 'Boards Of Canada goes techno' of Nathan Fake's Outhouse (which makes its presence in both main club mix AND Aphex/Autechre-esque Fluffy Mix). The quality is plain to see. Holden's mixing is smooth with long blends breathing added sparkle to already well known tracks such as PQM's Are You Sleeping? and Petter's These Days. I particularly like the section of the 2nd CD that kicks off around track 7, a nice thumpy rerub of FC Kahuna's Hayling gets dropped into the mix before everything takes off in the most delightful twinkly manner. Floating synths and surging basslines that bring to memory great tracks of the same ilk by Slam, Funk D'Void and Spincycle. Its a good mix, one I have to have my 'In the mood for thunky Progressive' head on for though especially since my tastes have moved on somewhat since I was way into Renaissance Ibiza all those years ago. Certainly made more of an impact on me than Hernan Cattaneo's slick but disappointingly lifeless Renaissance mix. Also its a good opportunity for you to check out the Border Community vibe though, great label so far and I'm eagerly anticipating all that they are coming out with, thanks to artists who are breathing life into what can be a bit of a lifeless genre sometimes. Keep an eye out for Chris Fortier's Balance 007, have scanned over the tracklisting for this forthcoming mix in the series and its looking pretty damn mighty on paper.
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