A key fixture of !K7’s identity since it’s debut in 1995, DJ-Kicks is arguably the world’s best and most respected mix series. Spanning a broad range of DJs, producers and visionary musicians, DJ-Kicks has offered illuminating trip after trip, seamlessly tracing more than two decades of alternative, electronic culture.
Incubated and developed from the predecessor mix series on !K7, ‘X-Mix’, DJ-Kicks launched with the Belgian rave flavour of C. J. Bolland and established itself with early, game changing mixes from from Detroit masters such as Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen and Claude Young. While the market was flooded with disposable commercial mixes, it was DJ-Kicks that allowed artists the freedom to dig deeper, refining the notion of the mix as an artform in itself. Soon, the direction of the series encompassed the complete eclecticism of the pre-millennium dance scene, reflecting the rich seam of experimentation underway across newer genres such as drum & bass and trip hop marked by definitive contributions from Kemistry & Storm, Thievery Corporation, Kruder & Dorfmeister and Nightmares on Wax.
By the mid 00s, DJ-Kicks had continued to cement some of the most vibrant moments on the cutting edge of club culture. The series hosted mixes by the likes of Tiga and Trevor Jackson, which captured the eclecticism and abandon of what became electroclash, while challenging influential pop icons such as Annie and Massive Attack’s Daddy G to curate a seamless journey through their personal record collections.
Often knowingly destined for home stereos as much as club sound systems, later mixes from luminaries such as Four Tet, Hot Chip and Motor City Drum Ensemble allowed each artist to reflect their individual taste in a more playful, exploratory manner than before, while a one-off collaboration from two influential duos, Wolf & Lamb and Soul Clap, resulted in a rapturously received ‘coalition of glitterball’.
Contributions from artists such as Kode9, Scuba and Apparat expertly documented hyper specific scenes across bass, techno and house, as well as the cross-pollination of genres that followed, opening the door to a period which has seen the series continue to reflect, influence and often define the electronic music landscape.
Owing to an expansive, open minded legacy over the past twenty years, tastemaking artists such as Nina Kraviz, John Talabot, Maya Jane Coles and Daniel Avery have taken the opportunity to truly define their remarkable aesthetics, pushing beyond the typical berms of house and techno. DJ Koze marked the mix series’ 50th release with a seamless, warm and joyous mix that celebrated an insight into the mind of a selector at the height of his craft, topping the 2016 end of year polls. Berghain resident Marcel Dettmann showcased the sheer depth of his techno knowledge, while Moodymann contributed a wide-ranging musical journey that quickly became perhaps as celebrated and influential as his own timeless productions, seamlessly spanning house, jazz, folk and soul.
Rooted in the spirit of freedom, surprise and discovery, DJ-Kicks remains the benchmark mix for DJs and listeners alike.