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Joris Voorn - The New Balance

Author: Cyclone
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Amsterdam based Joris Voorn is a man with great taste – he loves David Lynch, Haruki Murakami and Sigur Ros, so he’s a favourite in our minds. At the helm of the latest Balance compilation – yes, a techno producer – he talks to 3D’s Cyclone about the mix, guitars and Detroit techno.

Joris Voorn has reconfigured classic techno for a new generation. Now the erudite Dutchman (he reads Fyodor Dostoyevsky!) has mixed the latest volume in Australia’s esteemed Balance series, traditionally biased towards progressive house.

Voorn’s double-set spans techno, house, dub and ambient. It’s ambitious, too, incorporating in excess of 100 tracks, all edited, looped and layered. Balance 014 will appeal to those who embraced Richie Hawtin’s De9: Transitions or Sasha’s Involver. It’s no straight mix-CD.

“I didn’t really see it as a big challenge in the beginning, because I wanted to do, not a very ordinary mix-CD, but just a more regular one,” a sleepy Voorn says, admitting that the only other Balance he’s heard is James Holden’s. “I didn’t have the initial plan to make something this extensive, big and complex. It just grew along the way. Once I started, things got more and more complex. It was a very natural process. I didn’t even plan to have this many tracks. In the end I didn’t count the tracks, I just handed them over. I actually read in the promo page that it was over 100!”

Voorn hasn’t chosen obvious ‘techno’ records, either, the most unusual being Goldie’s Timeless. “That’s one of my all-time favourite electronic music tracks,” he enthuses. “After 15 years it’s still an amazing piece of music.” There’s also a sampling of Radiohead’s Nude, remixed by his friend Ripperton.

Voorn has impressed minimal fans as well as Detroit techno purists, appearing at Movement, Detroit’s electronic music festival, with his live show. He references the Motor City’s techno on Balance, selecting a track by The Martian. But Voorn isn’t inclined to over-romanticise Detroit techno. He doubts that the style will ever return. “It’s a difficult music to really make a big comeback,” he ponders. “It’s too deep and too melodic and maybe too specific. I don’t think it’s ever gonna come back. It’s also had its time – it’s quite a dated sound, if you listen to this music nowadays. Even producers who are still making Detroit [techno], they’re making a sound that’s yesterday, it’s dated, and it’s not so fresh any more.”

The Rotterdam native was once intent on becoming an architect or designer but music took over. Voorn began DJing in the late ’90s. He broke through with Incident on Technasia’s Sino. He’s since presented two ‘artist’ albums, 2004’s Future History and, three years on, the eclectic From A Deep Place. He means to cut another – and more experimental – album for next year. Voorn also runs his own label, Green.

Today Voorn himself listens to “guitar-oriented bands” as he considers the production of electronica increasingly “limiting”. The scene is healthy overall, but he’d like producers to be more adventurous. “I don’t think people are experimenting as much as they did many years ago, but things are still slowly progressing,” he says. “I do feel that people are sometimes trying to make a track that sounds like one of their favourite producers – you see that happening a lot – so it’s more difficult than ever to find the right tracks because things sound alike quite a bit. But maybe that’s normal...”

WHO: Joris Voorn
WHAT: Balance 014 through Stomp / Plays Nevermind
WHEN: Out now / Saturday 7 February