Rarely we get to know the full thought process of an artist putting up his musical story in one rounded piece. The prestigious Balance series, championing the most unique talents of the underground house and techno heroes, is now joined by the talented German producer Alex Niggemann. Here, to carry us through the journey of putting up his emotive, misty, and deep compilation of grooves, is
“At DJ’s sets you create a mood fitting to a certain venue and crowd. You make sure music, people and place are creating one united vibe.
With a mixtape you don’t really know where, in what situation, or with how many people someone is listening to it. But one thing is for sure, most probably you won’t be listening to it in a club.
With this compilation, my main goal was that the whole mix itself meant more as a whole than each track individually. I wanted to create a perfect journey, instead of just adding and choosing favorite tracks. The end result, the mix as ‘one piece’ needed to be tight. It was a different approach selecting tracks and fitting them in the mix, than how I would prepare for playing out live. Still, I didn’t want to move too far away from my DJ sets and the whole range of music I produce, so I chose tracks, that on one hand I felt really identified ‘my style’ and on the other could stand for the different stages of a long set. The selection and transitions needed to keep the listener hooked while still summarizing the whole night in under 80 min.
See also: Exclusive Interview With Alex Niggemann
The first impression you get when looking at the track list (and the artists and music that they represent) might clash with what I explained before. But this mix is all about the mood it keeps you in. The basis is not the style, or genre of the tracks, or the bpm. But the tracks need to fit and build upon each other without making the listener feel rushed due to a change of mood or tempo, when I’m taking them from electronica or deep house to techno in under 80 min. This works by creating new passages between each song during the transition of two single tracks; for me this was always the key of a ‘mixtape’. I tried to avoid obvious changes and create a fusion between songs so as to keep the same mood.
“With this compilation, my main goal was that the whole mix itself meant more as a whole than each track individually. I wanted to create a perfect journey, instead of just adding and choosing favorite tracks.”
From the intro, via ‘Rula’ to ‘Astryx’ you have dark atmosphere, with melancholic melodies and short brighter moments, always keeping you in the same kind of vibe. ‘Radio Camaldoli Stereo’ from new AEON signing, TVA, was the perfect intro. It’s a great opener, the sound and mood already gives you a hint of where this mix is going to lead you.
Although the first transition to Oliva’s ‘Empty Lips’ might be the shortest on the mix, it fusions really well with the intro and you just realize the transition, when the track plays on its own. With this track Andrea surprised me a lot as it stands out from his usual production. Trevinos’s Heartbeat Remix of ‘Rainkist’ and the Club Version of the title track on my upcoming EP ‘Hurricane’ are led by a melancholic vocal. I like loop-based songs in which the vocals build the highlight.
In between these darker moments, tracks like ‘Joker’ from Gui Boratto and the exclusive ‘Volta’ from Trikk, lighten up the mix a bit more in between standing for the kind of music that I usually release on LNOE. Deep, more soulful, but still not breaking with the mood being created before.
Dubspeeka’s ‘SK4’ was a great track to switch to peak time mode, still engaging the listener through its warm melodies, while starting with heavier beats.
To not become too driving and ‘drummy’, Baikal’s 2016 hit ‘Pelican’ Flight’ and ‘Rula’ slow the beats down just a bit, but carry the mood in a trippy way. This style when a track builds up slowly, not becoming boring in its arrangement and when certain melodic parts come in, to create the highlight, this is the style that I affiliate with on my label AEON.
There was no better way for me to follow on from this than with two just-released AEON tunes, ‘Stolen Jacket’ and Denis Horvat’s remix of ‘Monongahela’ by Speaking Minds, before I moved on to the next chapter of this mixtape. Here MUUI’s album track ‘RSRSRS’ leads into the more techno-ish part, building a very nice bridge with its atmospheric strings. Staying melodic and melancholic, but becoming darker with ‘Illuminate’ and then even harder with Valent’s ‘Crisis’ of faith and my own ‘Divergent’ the peak and ‘end of the night’ has come. I simply love pads, leads and synths that play with your emotions, letting you trip, but not stand still, as the beats keep you moving.
Continuing this, staying with techno, but in a more atmospheric and less drum-orientated way, I decided to close with ‘Blue Note’ and ‘Astryx’. Perfect examples again of how tracks can have a different genre and bpm, but keeping the same ‘Balance’ between the dark/deepness and melancholy that carries.”