Northern Faction 4 / Various
The fourth instalment of Balanced Records' signature series, Northern Faction embraces reggae vibes while maintaining crisp beats and a chilled mood. Showcasing artists from around the globe, Northern Faction 4 features contributions from Noiseshaper, Subatomic Sound System, Dubmatix, Richie Phoe, Chronic Sonata, Hitori Tori, Ancient Astronauts and Dubin Hood. Rounding off the collection are tracks from Balanced residents Solidaze, The Seed Organization, Rise Ashen, Leaf System, Billy Rockwell, Kasm, Fascade@137db and a collaboration between Cain & DJ Brace. Solidaze's Panorama Dub introduces Northern Faction 4 with a playful synthed reggae breakbeat. Following suit, Vienna masterminds Noiseshaper offer up a previously unreleased gem, Universal, displaying their smooth heavy riddims and conscious verbs. Black Madonna Dub, by Toronto's reggae heavyweight Dubmatix, is a one-drop that will keep you and your head spinnin'. Hailing out of Brighton UK, Richie Phoe, crosses stripes with The Seed Organization on Zebra, a sunny dub-rocker that will leave you skanking. Kasm expands Leaf System's Kashseed into an Afro-Caribbean electro jam straight from outer space. Leaf System's version of the Chronic Sonata tune Everyday is a vignette for tomorrow's dancehall steered by The Seed Organization's tight production. Now based in Banff, former Winnipegger Cain teams up with DJ Brace on a turntablist's answer to dubstep; a squelchy analog bass complemented with Brace's nimble fingers, Slammed will stick in your head. Changing the pace, we step back and acknowledge our roots in mid-90's electronic headphone music. Beginning with a luscious electro epic, Billy Rockwell's Cyan possesses the depth and precision of what got us into production in the first place. Newcomer to the label, Hitori Tori equips Stutter with crisp layered rhythms and warm nostalgic washes, faithfully coloured with chopped up vocals. Fascade@137db's trademark sound is enhanced by Scottish vocalist Leigh Myles on Won't Make Me Give In, a moody hip hop romancer. Hailing out of the old growth forests of British Columbia, Dubin Hood spaces out in Three Winds of Dubwood, a gorgeous journey of wind driven solos. Dubmatix doubles up with a deep and delicious number, Ichense Dub, rich with brass, impeccable production and the vocals of Linval Thompson. Covering The Police classic Walking on the Moon, Subatomic Sound System provides a dreamy dub treatment to a masterpiece. Next up, Brace's Delire à Deux takes the breaks back to the day where smooth beats and warm melodies were king. Keeping the flow, Germany's Ancient Astronauts remix of the Electric Nosehair Orchestra's NH4, is a slo-mo late night blaze. Finally, Rise Ashen's mix of Leaf System's Broken Democracy, spoken in Dinka by Sudanese vocalist Malual Luat, binds everything together with hope for our fractured lands. Northern Faction 4 pays homage to the reggae and ambient dub classics, while forging futuristic permutations for tomorrow's culture.