Whoop! Funky vibes all round are coming through my Grados.
Sixteen years into its long reign as Mixmag's 'most important DJ-mix series ever', DJ Kicks continues to do what it has always done – offer the experience of the hippest imaginable nightclub to those of us who wouldn't have a hope of getting past the door-apes.
The series has had its high points – Kruder and Dorfmeister's 1996 effort is still regarded as a must-hear, Four Tet's contribution a decade later equally so. It's also had its lows. Let's not name them.
The challenge, for those who are given the chance to accept it, is to create a home-listening version of the dj set. But because everything gets logged and filed and recorded on the sleevenotes, the dj's hipster credentials are subjected to deeper scrutiny than the babyfood ingredients at Gwyneth Paltrow's playgroup. Which comes first – creating a sweet vibe to pump the listener's cans, or showing off an eclectic and startlingly 'on it' range of musical taste/knowledge?
tranquilized vibes, punchy basslines, and a mirage of high-top snares
Maya Jane Coles has been pulling vinyl out the bag for her Dj-Kicks contribution in a studio somewhere. And I can only imagine a crammed club floor bouncing to the start of this album: almost Calypso electronica with overtures of utter tranquilized vibes, punchy basslines, and a mirage of high-top snares.
The album really gets going on track three with 'Money – Chasing Kurt': harnessed up beats and reverb wobbles that are then carried through into 'My Cocoon'. That hits heavier psychedelic zapps at you to catch in mid-air, shot out of a cannon controlled by a marching beat and deep voiceovers.
Bringing it up Africa stylee’ into 'Karoo – Larse' with a collective school children chorus: mama Africa, that is, pursued by terrific drum beats from the deepest junglism and then clapped along with a pulsating turn-beat that leads, slightly unnaturally, into a high pitched mellow male voice but it's carried with a swinging pendulum of piano.
Woken by piping flutes and jungle rhythms into the stream of turntable collective beats Maya Jane Coles then brings together synthesized vocals, that are then wound like a piece of multicoloured string through the trippy shoulders of a punchy backbeat. It's all held together with the clear chimes of technical talent.
Coles is now in the middle of her funked up electronica, deep house Congo beats, which are zapped up and down with perfect control. The heavy grumbling of a sampled man of the night's voice is conjoined with a vibrant bassline, adding to the depth of the turn beats, and is then met by a lighter voice of the underground.
a clean psytrance introduction that seems to teeter with the imagination
And then, abruptly, it leads into a misplaced Virgo Four track that seems to wind down, leading one to question why suddenly do this in the middle of the record? 'Hate me – Roberto Bardini' follows this line with a clean psytrance introduction that seems to teeter with the imagination and then moves into a cacophony of more jungle beats, whiney wobbles, and snares.
There’s unfortunately little or no drop, or tangible direction to the start of the second half of this album due to the flat middle section post-Maya Jane Cole track. It does however pick up after a period of time and gets back in the groove of funky break-jungle electronic beats that we got in the first half of the album.
Nevertheless, in the transitional period between 'Maya Jane Coles – Not Listening' and the point where the album picks up again (around the 'Zenken Brothers – Berg 10 (original remix)' and 'Lost Magpie – No More Stories'), the tracks hold their own in regards to hyper-real space odyssey electronica.
After 'Lost Magpie', with its truly beautiful and forceful female vocal symphony on top of more funky beats and transient basslines, and after a few last punches are thrown by 'Zoe Zoe – Church', 'T. Williams – Analog Tour' leads the charge to the finish of the album with blend of tasty techno/house. The album continues to meander towards a clean conclusion that brings together the different aspects of a soon-to-be-established electronica album.
1. Deft – Loqux & Past
2. Kris Wadsworth – Mainline (Jimmy Edgar Remix)
3. Chasing Kurt – Money
4. Bozzwell – In My Cocoon (Original Mix)
5. Larse – Karoo (Original)
6. Milscot feat. Angela Sheik – All Alone (Domyan Just Slow Remix)
7. Adam Stacks – Hey Love (Original)
8. Phil Kieran & White Noise Sound – Never Believed
9. Sigward – Nuerd (Original Mix)
10. Maya Jane Coles – Not Listening (DJ-KICKS)
11. Virgo Four – It's A Crime (Caribou Remix)
12. Roberto Bardini – Hate Me (Muteoscillator Fairy Tall Remix)
13. Tripmastaz – Guess Who
14. Standard Fair – Little Helper 16-3
15. Nocturnal Sunshine – Meant To Be
16. Zenker Brothers – Berg 10 (Original Mix)
17. Last Magpie – No More Stories
18. Zoe Zoe – Church
19. Gerry Read – Roomland (Youandewan Remix)
20. T. Williams – Analog Tour
21. Marcel Dettmann – Translation Two
22. Claro Intelecto – Hunter's Rocket To The Sky