Luke Fair

Balance 011

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Hailed as one of the scene's most exciting up-and-comers, Luke Fair finally gets the chance to show fans what he's capable of with Balance 011, the newest edition in the splendid Balance series. The DJ builds slowly, kicking off with Voom Voom's gorgeous "Vampire Song," then slides off into deep house with a clutch of funky-flavored numbers, but by the time he hits Hypnos' "Red Light" he's deep into a house groove. Synth melodies "Rain" down across this section of the set, all building toward Tiger Stripes' electrifying "Amphytrion" and KINKA's incendiary "Burnin'." Acid house vocals lick around "KTB," with Fair turning the set decidedly trippy with "Go Now," and by the time he reaches "Our House," the house is on fire. Nightriders' "Getaway" pulls the set in a variety of different directions, its funky edge and trippy feel washed over by waves of blurry saxes, with disc one coming to a close with the dubbed-out house of "Unexpected." Disc two kicks off big time with the booming beats of "She's Worth It," which begins on a journey skyward with Fran├žois K's fabulous "Time and Space," then back to the past with the percolating new wave rhythms and popcorn synths of "Trampoline." That bounces straight into "Booty Song," which rockets straight into another galaxy, before Fair parachutes back to Earth on the spy-laced synths of "Playing with Fire." If Depeche Mode made house music it would sound much like "Playing with Fire" here, and by extension if Dr. Who threw a house party, "Zouin" would be the soundtrack. By now, Fair is pulling out all the stops, stomping funk all over "DJs in a Row," sending the synths to drill into your brain with "Footlovers," then sending everyone back to the nursery with 16 Bit Lolitas. Their track lightens the set somewhat, which Fair brightens further with Marnix's "Fire," before the DJ builds the excitement to a climax on "Need to Know," and brings the set to a close with the light and breezy "Curious." It's a stunning set, deep house-based but moving far, far afield along the way. Throughout, Fair exceeds all expectations, and shows his reputation only begins to do him justice.

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