Timo Maas is back with Balance 017
German club veteran Timo Maas is a master of reinvention. This is Maas's first official compilation in 9 years.
German club veteran Timo Maas is a master of reinvention. Emerging during the excess of trance’s heyday in the late ‘90s with his self-labelled “Wet & Hard” style that fused techno, progressive house and funk in a rivetingly futuristic manner, he quickly became the remixer du jour for both the club underground and the commercial big leagues.
Paul Oakenfold signed up his debut album Loud for his Perfecto imprint – a modern classic that effortlessly bridged accessibility and raw dancefloor sleaze from electro to breaks to tech and hip-hop – with his second album Pictures sharing a label with the likes of Muse and Garbage. And let’s not forget that "Dooms Night" remix of Azzido Da Bass which went on to inspire a generation of LFO-loving dubstep and bass producers. After a hiatus of a couple of years, he cast aside his chart-breaking fame and re-embraced his old love of techno, teaming up with Italy’s Santos in the studio and becoming a stalwart of Sven Väth’s scene-leading Cocoon Recordings, smashing everyone’s preconceptions of his work wide open. This period of resurrection saw the duo team under the banner of Mutant Clan, again breaking down musical barriers and giving the world their warped version of techno.
He’s a musician who will succeed at whatever he puts his hand to, and his next move is always highly anticipated. Behind the decks, he packs one of the hardest punches around, pulling you inside his hypnotic world and creating sets that live, breath and thump as one cohesive, gargantuan entity. So dedicated is he to his craft that he’s built a club on his own land – a Funktion One-packed barn next to his farmhouse in Germany where he rigorously tests out his newest productions and finds. Only a DJ and producer as innovative, technically brilliant and downright loveable could be worthy of an undertaking as prestigious and lauded as the mixing of a Balance compilation. This is Maas’ first official compilation in 9 years.
“The format of the Balance mix series was always quite appealing to me; to spread myself out over 2 CDs without essentially having to "rock" a crowd from the beginning is a very good thing. I was able to also include deeper, downbeat, "earlier set" material, that I personally like to listen to, but am not essentially playing out on a normal club night. For me "the trip" is quite important to create, with a mix of brand new, even exclusive material, but also tracks that rock my world at the moment and most essentially have rocked my world for many years, the so-called "classics".” – Timo Maas
Maas draws us into his musical world with two sumptuous cuts of ambient electronica from his studio, before boldly grabbing our attention with Nicolas Jaar’s already-classic, woozy early morning anthem "Time For Us". Disc 1 is all about displaying his melodic, charismatic, emotive side – the turgid electro pop of Vector Lovers, the lush disco licks of Toby Tobias and the tripped-out eccentricity of DJ Koze keeping you hooked, the tempo and rhythmic clout slowly building towards the middle of the mix. Jazzy pianos are drawn in, Maas reminding us that this electronic lark is not the be all and end all of music as the opposing tech house backbone becomes more prominent. Mathias Schaffhäuser’s "The 1st Thing" signals that Timo’s tech vein is starting to throb, with animal noises permeating the sexy wiggle of the track. A slice of classic Tenaglia ups the ante, and it looks like we’re set for a thumping finale – before the majestic, blissed-out melody of Carl Craig’s "At Les" pulses in, setting us up for a classy and experimental closer which sees Maas and Santos collide with Elgar and William Orbit.
"The basic rules off DJing haven`t really changed for me. Of course the technical possibilities have, but in the end, it`s all about the selection of music you play - not about the technical skills you`re having when you`re on stage.” - Timo Maas
The second act on CD2 makes no attempt to disguise its intent, laden with thudding kicks, plenty of rolling percussion and the intricate attention to detail that peppers his sets and productions. It’s largely comprised of works from him and his colleagues from his quirky new label Rockets & Ponies, with numerous exclusives across both discs in fact. Elements that don’t always reveal themselves at first listen are stacked all around this mix – intricate layers, trickery in the stereo field, unearthly effects and chiefly, hefty groove throughout. At first tracks come thick and fast– more sexy Maas magic, into some wonderfully deep Kenny Larkin, before the mix begins to unwind and take its time about things.
Things start taking a turn for the weird, clearly revealing Timo’s love for “tripping the ass out of people” – his remix of We Fell To Earth’s "Lights Out" showing tinges of the ‘70s psych rock that he and Santos while away hours in the studio to, and eerie sci-fi sounds crawling all over the place. Eventually the psychedelic feel subsides, giving way to the blissful melody of Alex Dolby’s re-rub of the Rockets & Ponies anthem "Chinese Massage", and the mix then dips down once again into deeper territory before unleashing a torrent of acid filth. Timo’s Lost Veteranos project appears with the gnarly, industrial intensity of "It’s Wronger", before a classic 303 double-header from Emmanuel Top and Hardfloor bangs you into submission, taking you back to a wonderfully simpler but no less impactful time. A sprinkling of magic dust rounds off this heady compilation in the form of his own epic, unreleased version of Placebo’s typically yearning "Ashtray Heart" - a fittingly powerful finale.
“It was quite an intense process spread out over 4 month to listen, re-listen, collect and choose the music for my Balance CDs. I don`t know how many tracks I was listening to with my "compilation ears" - maybe a few thousand - and thanks to my amazing production partner Santos, I was even able to fill spaces on the mix with the right tracks that we wrote in the production process just for Balance. Nearly everything exclusive was road-tested over the month before I mixed it too. I`m very happy with the result.” - Timo Maas
Balance 017: Timo Maas
Release date: October 2010
Label: Balance Music
01. Timo Maas - Morning Beauty *
02. Timo Maas - A Day After George **
03. Nicolas Jaar - Time For Us (Original Mix)
04. Dana Bergquist & Peder G - Acapulco (Sasse Remix)
05. Solvent - Loss For Words (Vector Lovers Remix)
06. Random House Project - The One For Ever (Toby Tobias Dub Mix)
07. Phattivan - Man From Ternopil *
08. Deetron - Sing
09. Mathias Kaden – Kawaba (DJ Koze's Kosi-San Remix) w/ DJ Koze - Blume Der Nacht
10. Henrik Schwarz & Kuniyuki - Once Again (Kuniyuki Version)
11. Giorgio Roma - Across The East Side * w/ Timo Maas - Spacemooger Experience *
12. Alex Flitsch meets Mutant Clan - Imanah (Patrick Chardronnet Deep Mix)
13. Mathias Schaffhäuser - The 1st Thing *
14. Danny Tenaglia - Elements (The Dtour)
15. Santè & Adam Port - Solano *
16. The Crystal Ark - The City Never Sleeps (Instrumental)
17. Florian Hollerith - Fluxus
18. Carl Craig - At Les
19. William Orbit, Elgar - Nimrod (Timo Maas & Santos Remix)
01. Timo Maas - Latenza *
02. Marc Romboy & Stephan Bodzin – Luna (Mutant Clan Laser Gun Remix)
03. Kenny Larkin - Glob (Kenny Larkin Mix)
04. Alex Niggemann - Take Control (Matthias Tanzmann Remix)
05. Alex Dolby & Santos - To Be Large *
06. The Mole - Nervous Disid
07. Mutant Clan - Totally Wet (Santè & Adam Port Remix) *
08. We Fell To Earth - Lights Out (Timo Maas Remix)
09. Timo Maas - Kick 1 Kick 3 *
10. Mutant Clan - Arcadia **
11. Santè & Adam Port - Faire Des Siennes (Mutant Clan Caraibic Remix) *
12. Santos - Matinèe
13. Rockets & Ponies - Chinese Massage (Alex Dolby: Porno Dolby Remix) *
14. Timo Maas - Clouds **
15. Lost Veteranos - It's Wronger
16. Emmanuel Top - Somewhere
17. Hardfloor - Acperience 1
18. Placebo - Ashtray Heart (Timo Maas Remix) * unreleased remix
* denotes exclusive to this compilation
** denotes exclusive to this compilation and to be released on a special Balance EP