Henry Saiz Henry SaizBalance 019
Over the past few years, the Spanish dance scene has been growing more important on an international scale, and I think it’s only right to highlight the work of Henry Saiz in his eagerness to spread the gene of Iberian electronica over the world. The Madrid artist is, without a doubt, the most international of all the current breed of Spanish producers, something like the Pau Gasol of the DJ booths. Which is why the prestigious series of CD mixes “Balance” put its trust in him to keep the fire burning of other giants like James Holden, Agoria and Joris Voorn. The Australian brand’s decision couldn’t have been more spot on.
Without wanting to dish out gratuitous praise, the truth is that this is one of the best volumes in the series. Here is a Stakhanovite piece of work, carefully constructed, melodically polished, with a start, a plot and an end that takes two whole CDs and skilfully exhibits the constants of the present universe of this very inspired DJ and producer. While other, bigger artists simply do the job and cash the check, as is usually the case with this kind of records, Saiz builds, brick by brick, an impressive cathedral of progressive electronica and cosmic, tech-house harmonies, and manages to erase the borders between DJ set and album, contributing some of his own, unreleased material, whether they are remixes, collaborations with other artists, under his own name or using his new moniker Hal Incadenza (inspired by a character by David Foster Wallace, one of his favourite writers).
On the first CD we find a collection of tracks orbiting around some psychedelic developments, synth-pop and retro references (with constant nods to the seventies and eighties). In this field, Saiz manages to let the set breathe in a special way, mixing dramatic tension, baroque synthesisers and snowy landscapes for sensitive clubbers. And all that, whilst keeping the BPMs steady, shaping a mood, step by step, minute by minute, mix by mix, without haste. It’s the perfect preparation for the second intoxicating CD, on which Saiz fires it up: he increases the intensity and the tempo, the keyboards become more melancholic, but the psychedelic component is never lost. Progressive tech-house of the highest level and extremely sophisticated trance: those are the ingredients the Spanish producer uses for his ideal cocktail for the wee hours of the morning, dance music made with great sobriety and full of melodic echoes that give you goose bumps. Like the first section, the tracklist is mostly by our man, which adds to the value of the product – it’s so much more than a simple top ten mixed by the newest flavour of the week. I could say more, but I could also have replaced these 2,301 characters with just eight words: one of the best sets of this year.