Review: Balance 030 mixed by Max Cooper


Ambience. Electronica. Break-beat. Techno.

Although this combination sounds questionable, one producer who could perfectly combine such varying elements across 1 hour and 58 mins is Max Cooper.

The product from Northern Ireland has stepped up to the plate for the latest Balance Series compilation (for Australian imprint ) and has certainly delivered. Balance 030 fuses together the many touch-points techno, glitzy electronica and down-tempo ambience with a dash carefully selected drum & bass.

On his personal website, Cooper proclaims that ’this is the most in-depth mix project I’ve tried so far. I wanted to try to approach making a DJ mix as I would an album production project,’ he states.
Review: Balance 030 mixed by Max Cooper

Cooper’s attention to detail is evident from the get-go as the compilation begins with a series muffled voices followed by a moment silence, as if the recording was performed live in front an eagerly anticipating audience.

A stirring piano melody belonging to Bing and Ruth’s, ‘The How it Sped’, mesmerises the captive listener as the silence breaks. Cooper then introduces his own expansive remix Nils Frahm’s, ‘For’, with equally powerful effect.

The Belfast native showcases his technical prowess two unreleased tracks, ‘Balance (Perc Tool)’, and ‘Music the Tides’, which both utilise the sounds various production gear.

‘I wanted to create moving clouds sounds and similarly swelling clouds melodic synthesis with st pads and delays’.

The compilation intensifies when a touch progressive techno is introduced Patrice Baumel’s Balance remix Cooper’s own ‘Organa’. Synth layers are added upon already modulated tones which showcase Cooper’s ability to create exploratory soundscapes.

After the first hour (or Disc 1) the mix takes a distinct turn towards broken-beat and glitch-IDM, most notably with the introduction a series Rob Clouth joints, including the popular, ‘Shedding Layers’.

Cooper still maintains the compilation’s original beauty he generated in the first hour (CD1), but develops a more frenetic storyline backed by darker piano chords and heavier bass in the latter half (CD2).

In order to balance out these energetic moments, Cooper wraps up the mix with the unmistakable and heavenly vocals Thom Yorke Atoms For Peace’s, ‘Default’.

Max Cooper fers a truly breathtaking and thought provoking array tracks across the 2CD compilation. Signified by hazy piano, atmospheric sounds and progressive techno, Cooper’s latest is certainly a master class in track selection and technical acuity.

Get it while it’s hot.

Balance 030 is released on Friday the 4th May. .

Balance Series 30 CD1 preview here:

Balance Series 30 CD2 preview here:


Words by Josh Pavlou