Music Review: James Zabiela’s Flawless Mix for Balance Series

James Zabiela’s latest 2CD compilation, released under Balance Series, is definitely one that is an impeccable fit for the label. The mix comprises of two parts that vary in tone, illuminating Zabiela’s talent at playing with a range of different soundscapes. Both parts are woven intelligently through a back and forth process using Pioneer DDJ-RZ and Ableton.

The process undertaken to create this mix was not easy. It took a long year of production, in which some major incidents occurred within Zabiela’s personal life, adding significant emotional ties to his music. Known for his way of ‘technical doodling,’ Zabiela wanted to ensure that this mix was purely about the music.

“My focus was very heavily on melody and combining songs that would have ‘conversations’ with each other,” Zabiela explains. “It went from being ‘just a simple mix CD’ to quite the cathartic exercise with the music that accompanied me. It wasn’t a quick process; neither was it pain free.”

Act I is introduced by gentle electronica, taking us on a melodic journey that is embedded with harmonious instrumentals. Zabiela perfectly captures the feeling of euphoria with Bloodflow by Grandbrothers, and then the mix progresses smoothly into acid-fuelled downtempo. Each element bounds flawlessly with each other to craft an experience.

Act II sounds vastly different to Act I, where Zabiela gives us a little taste of his club sound. Featuring tracks by techno legends such as Radio Slave, Fabrizio Lapiana, Lake People, Mark Henning and a new track by Zabiela himself, Act II will definitely get you up on your feet and dancing.

Listen here.