Jimmy Van M: Balance 010
Two things you'll know by the end of Jimmy Van M's sprawling three-disc Balance collection: on each of the downtempo, midtempo, and uptempo sets, he admirably eschews predictability for inspired, typically left-field choices; and Van M clearly has a gift for pacing and sequencing (capping the last disc with the spectacular Supermayer mix of Gui Boratto's “Like You,” for instance).
For a collection of such immense breadth, simply highlighting the selections almost suffices. Disc one's laid-back offerings include tracks by Future Sound of London (“Study of Six Guitars”), Laika (“Coming Down Glass”), Boards of Canada (“Dayvan Cowboy,” “Everything You is a Balloon”), Autechre (“Nine”). Stylistically, the disc emphasizes experimental electronica but includes dub (Bill Laswell's “Babylon Ghost”) and soulful trip-hop (Thievery Corporation's remix of Wax Poetic's “Angels” featuring Norah Jones) and even makes room for Depeche Mode (a dramatic Goldfrapp remix of “Halo”).
The more energized middle disc opens with a sleek sampling of Miles Tilmann's warm electro-funk (“Floating Windows”) before wading into Cocteau Twins' still-entrancing “Blue Bell Knoll” and Ellen Allien & Apparat's newly-entrancing “Bubbles.” Van M eases in the dance vibe at this stage (Rub-n-Tug's strutting mix of LCD Soundsystem's “Too Much Love” is especially sweet) with cuts by Adam Johnson, Babel, Aphex Twin, and I:Cube setting the stage for disc three's throwdown.
Naturally the last third adheres to a pumping club mix template though even here Van M works in idiosyncratic choices. Liftoff arrives with Solieb's bleepy “Integrale” and Ellen Allien & Apparat's magnificent “Jet” and stays aloft for Jordano's neck-snapper “No Gravity” and 16 Bit Lolitas' broiling “Ask Why” (Jennifer Horne's vocal entreaties almost as arresting as the track itself). Though Van M's Balance collection almost overwhelms in its sheer quantity, its consistently high quality compensates for its nearly four-hour duration.