When Peggy Gou released her debut EP ‘Art of War’ in 2016, she made a list of career goals. One of them was to become the first South Korean DJ to play Berlin’s techno institution Berghain, an objective she achieved only a few months later. Another item on that list was to record an instalment of the DJ-Kicks series. “It’s the premier class of DJ mixes,” she says. “Some of my favourite selectors have contributed to it.” Now Peggy Gou can tick that off her list too as she proudly presents the 69th edition of the mix series. Pre-order the mix here.
The Berliner-by-choice started working on the mix last year. It was a busy time for the 28-year-old: she’d just scored her first Mixmag cover and her single ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’ was receiving awards and critical acclaim. Each month she would DJ in 20 nightclubs all over the world. And yet, the goal for her mix was ambitious: instead of trying to capture the energy of her DJ sets, she aimed to create a portrayal of her own musical journey. An 18-track listening session that takes you straight into Peggy Gou’s living room where she plays you the formative tunes from her collection. No genre boundaries – she moves across disco, house, techno and electro. No tempo limits – the mix ranges from 90 to 150 BPM. And no age restriction – the earliest tunes on the mix are from 1983.
The same level of attention was brought to the arresting cover artwork, in which the well-documented animal lover references both Korean iconography and the endangered status of the creature of the country’s foundational mythology, the tiger:
“I had the concept of this cover in my mind for a long time – as the first Korean woman to contribute to the DJ-Kicks series I wanted to do something from my heritage, so I chose the tiger, which is very important in Korean traditions and a metaphor for my personality,” says Peggy. ”As it is not humane to shoot with a real tiger, I and the photographer Jonas Lindstroem used a library image to make a composite. The tiger ‘disappears’ when you turn to the inside-cover photo, to highlight that these beautiful animals are already extinct in my home country and in danger of disappearing from our world entirely”.
The journey through her record shelves kicks off with ‘Fluresence’, the 1993 classic by British ambient stalwart Spacetime Continuum, before Peggy throws in the first of the mix’s three exclusives, ‘Hungboo’. “It’s the first track I ever made,” she says of the mellow tune that features birdsong, muffled koto chords, phrase singing and heavy dub bass. Considering its long gestation – she started working on it in London and finished it in Berlin – the tune is an impressive testament to her growth as an artist and how she has strived to find her own musical voice.
Further down the track list you find tunes by her biggest influences such as Aphex Twin (‘Drukqs’ standout ‘Vordhosbn’) and Andrew Weatherall (his 1990 remix of Sly and Lovechild’s ‘The World According To Sly and Lovechild’), as well as tracks by rising artists such as Deniro or JRMS. The latter’s contribution is a secret weapon from Peggy’s recent DJ sets which will eventually see full release through her brand new imprint Gudu Records.
The other exclusives come from Milanese duo Hiver, who deliver the hypnotically pulsating banger (‘Pert’), and Parisian house auteur I:Cube, who shared a hard-drive of unreleased tunes with Peggy when he remixed ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’. “After he allowed me to use a track for my mix, he lost all the files”, she says. “I had to send him back his own track and he renamed it from ‘Unreleased’ to ‘Cassette Jam 1993’.”
With I:Cube’s hazy, sample-laden house track fading out, Peggy Gou takes the needle off the record and the 73-minute listening session comes to an end. A listening session that highlights her distinct taste and deep interest in music and shows that her journey has just begun. An exclusive !K7 Records product including liticular post card, Peggy Gou polaroid poster and the vinyl are available on the !K7 webstore and Bandcamp. … read more...
The 68th edition of the DJ-kicks mix series is another landmark one, with experimental producer Laurel Halo taking the reins. The American’s adventurous 29 track trip features seven exclusives, including two of her own plus those from Rrose, Machinewoman, FIT Siegel, Nick León and Ikonika.
An electronic outlier, Halo hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but has been based in Berlin for a number of years. Landing on labels like Hyperdub, Honest Jon’s and Latency, Halo has released a body of work ranging in style, yet cohered by production and compositional tendencies that sound distinctly her own. Her studio work tends to be a multi-layered mix of the electronic and the acoustic, the organic and the synthetic. As a DJ, meanwhile, she lays down more floor-focussed mixes of techno, bass and worldly drum rhythms, and her live sets are similarly visceral and direct.
Another exclusive, rough and ready techno cut from Machinewoman follows, before the mid section twists and turns on surging drum patterns, frantic industrial textures and spaced out gqom sounds from the likes of Griffit Vigo, Dario Zenker and Final Cut. This is a mix forever on the move: one minute its tightly coiled and kinetic, the next it’s loose and joyful before switching into more cerebral and insular passages that keep you intrigued.
Fusing together so many disparate sounds and textures is no mean feat, but like everything Halo does, here they all add up to something as thrilling and edgy as it is unpredictable and compelling. Out now on all formats.
22/03 – La Cheetah, Glasgow, UK
23/03 – Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK
28/03 – Berghain Säule, Berlin, DE
30/03 – Rewire Festival, The Hague, NL
05/04 – Concrete, Paris, FR
06/04 – Mirage Festival, Lyon, FR
12/04 – De School, Amsterdam, NL
13/04 – Culture Box, Copenhagen, DK
19/04 – Griessmühle, Berlin, DE
21/04 – Golden Pudel Club, Hamburg, DE
25/04 – The Love Inn, Bristol, UK
26/04 – Siroco, Madrid, ES
27/04 – Nitsa, Barcelona, ES
30/04 – Bozar Night, Brussels, BE
03/05 – Kauplus Aasia, Tallinn, EN
04/05 – Ääniwalli, Helsinki, FI
31/05 – Primavera Sound, Barcelona, ES
His 26-track mix moves across genres and tempo, from 79bpm ambient to 169bpm jungle, featuring new material from Vynehall, plus a number of digitally exclusive tracks.
It’s out now on CD, LP and all digital formats.
Detroit’s pioneering techno giant Robert Hood is next to take the reins of the DJ-Kicks mix series. His timeless 22 track offering includes four of his own new exclusives, and will come on CD as well as with a 2 x 12” vinyl sampler in winter 2018.
It’s hard to talk about techno without Robert Hood. The Motor City mainstay was a founding member of the pivotal Underground Resistance with Mad Mike Banks and Jeff Mills, and then went on to lay down a blueprint for minimal techno which continues to make an impact to this day. As Floorplan, of course, he veers into more funky and melodic house and techno, often with a gospel overtone that lead to rapturous receptions on dance floors around the world.
But the techno he makes as Robert Hood is what he is best known for. It has come on his own M Plant label, as well as vital outlets like Tresor, Peacefrog and Dekmantel, where 2017’s Paradygm Shift album proved that, 25 years after first starting out, he is still a force unto himself. The record was a return to the roots of his definitive Minimal Nation LP in 1994, and was filled with the sort of expert melodic loops, scintillating drums and hypnotic sense of repetition that only a few can master: making such simple yet effective music is a skill that Hood has made all his own.
His DJ-Kicks mix proves that once more: it is a techno mix, pure and simple. It exudes the trademark machine warmth and muscular sense of groove that makes Hood’s style so infectious. Most tracks are from the last few years and come from a range of mainly European producers, but the result is pure Robert Hood.
The perennial futurist wastes no time in getting down to business: after a brief buzzing synth line sounds like a spacecraft warming up for take off, the rubbery, relentless drums arrive and remain rooted to the floor for seventy minutes. Despite his famously linear approach, the tension between tracks, suspenseful breakdowns and sci-fi sense of melody throughout keeps you engaged: there is just enough light in the dark, sufficient colour between the shadows and constant sense of pressure to keep you utterly engaged from start to finish.
Mount Kimbie take the reigns of the DJ-kicks series with a 23 track mix that includes one of their own new exclusives. It’s a snapshot of exactly what the UK duo sound like in the club right now and is accompanied by a DJ-kicks tour that takes the pair to DJ and live dates all round the world.
2018 marks a decade since Kai Campos and Dominic Maker first hooked up and started making music. In the early years they refashioned dubstep into innovative new forms that drew on ambient, garage and electronica. Their DJ and radio sets have also developed a formidable reputation throughout this period. They have offered a glimpse into the duo’s varied influences and avant-garde tastes from across all forms of electronic music.
This is a mix inspired by a mini-run of DJ gigs that Mount Kimbie played with Actress. “It was an interesting and challenging experience, and I learnt a lot on the six dates we did,” says Kai, who explains that plenty of the tracks he was playing during those gigs make it into the mix. They make it a forward looking affair that calls on music the band have discovered recently; music they have found inspiring. Their own ‘DJ-kicks’ track was made specially for the mix and was initially influenced by Stanislav Tolkachev and Alexis Perala, who are both also included. Rather than a painstaking plan or meticulous studio approach, this session captures the improvised energy of a real DJ mix, but one where each track is given time to breath and make an impact rather than one where DJ trickery is at the fore.
The result is a succinct 50 minutes that often goes deep, with roughhewn drums and grainy atmospheres from the likes of Terrence Dixon, Severed Heads, Marco Bernardi and Object Blue. It perfectly knits together stripped back rhythms, percussive tracks and more harmonic techno while seamlessly joining the dots between the old and the new. It’s a well balanced mix that stays low and heady, and that sense of focussed tension is what makes it so utterly compelling throughout.
!K7 announce new DJ-Kicks curated by DJ Seinfeld The next installment of the series is set for release on CD, LP and digital on 13 July The first chapter of Armand Jakobsson’s musical career has been nothing short of remarkable. After establishing himself with rough but emotive house as Rimbaudian and jungle as Birds of Sweden, he unveiled his DJ Seinfeld alias to the world, first with underground hit single ‘U’, then with his Time Spent Away From U album on Lobster Fury in November 2017. It was a post break-up love letter to the dance floor with heart-on-sleeve emotions coloring the dusty and analogue house grooves. Acclaim came in from far and wide, with everyone from Rolling Stone to Pitchfork fawning over its heart swelling nostalgia and melancholic immediacy.
Since then, Jakobsson feels “everything around me changed beyond recognition, people and places I relied on for stability and comfort were no longer the same,” and so it has been a time in which he has had to find himself once again. Musically that means diversifying, and as such the Swede has veered into jungle, breaks and electro, as well as plenty of rough edged house, and continues to serve up electrifying DJ sets across the world.
Jakobsson approached his DJ-kicks with the intention of representing all the things that made him fall in love with dance music more than a decade ago, as well as showing some of the progression that has occurred in that time and “reflecting the simultaneous fear of leaving something safe behind as well as the excitement of venturing into unknown territories, musically and emotionally.” In order to make it as personal as possible, he called upon the many talented people around him making music. They returned with an enthusiasm that reminded Jakobsson of his own early passion, and in turn invigorated him and the whole process of assembling the mix.
DJ Seinfeld’s DJ-kicks is not only a testament of his characterful DJ skills, but also a complete artistic statement that showcases his unique vision of dance music.
Following acclaimed albums on Ninja Tune and Tri Angle, soundtrack and installation work, and remixes of the likes of Bjork, Forest Swords has curated a 27-track compilation that draws a line between past inspirations and his current peers.
“My favourite nights when I was younger, there wasn’t really a focus on etiquette; sticking to genres, perfect transitions – it was all pretty DIY, like having someone cook up their personal mixtape in front of you, just to share music between people” says Barnes. “John Peel’s eclectic radio show made a huge impact on me growing up, so that kind of personal, instinctive approach to selecting tracks always felt more exciting than something that was sterile and seamless. I wanted to carry some of that spirit into this compilation.”
Like much of his own output, Forest Swords’ DJ-Kicks dances around pristine electronics to embrace more organic textures: 80s post punk (Anna Domino, Dead Can Dance), classic 90s British electronica (Orbital, Mira Calix, Disjecta), and smokey digi-dub (Rhythm & Sound), all rub up alongside some of the most forward-facing producers working today (Demdike Stare, Laurel Halo) and avant garde explorers (David Toop, Kara-Lis Coverdale).
The compilation shifts through rhythms and emotions: from pop icon Neneh Cherry’s primal thudding to the zombified throb of exclusive Forest Swords track ‘Crow’, via Deena Abdelwaheed’s clattering deconstructions and the outdoor mountain singing of Ánde Somby. Drawing threads between decades, borders and genres, DJ-Kicks is a collection of tracks that feels as restlessly curious, and crucial, as Barnes’ own work.
Following from Deetron’s entry in to the DJ-Kicks mix series, !K7 are now serving up one of the original singles from it. Produced by the Swiss artist and featuring soul futurist Steve Spacek, it comes with the original and three vital versions.
Entitled ‘Choose Me’, the single is six minutes of musical electronic soul. On the Jupiter Version, the drums are more loose and broken up, lending a spaced out vibe that will be perfect on outdoor terraces as the weather warms up. Jumbled percussion tumbles next to the chords as the vocal soars. A Jupiter Instrumental closes out this cosmic and cultured house EP.
The latest DJ-Kicks comes from Swiss DJ and producer Deetron and features an exclusive solo track as well as exclusive collaborations with Steve Spacek, Jinadu and Jamie Lidell, alongside two unreleased tracks from DJ Bone. As one of the most famous musical exports from his Swiss homeland, he has pretty much done it all from fabric and Balance mix CDs to running his own label, from essential albums like Twisted and Music Over Matter on Music Man Records to a genre-spanning body of remix work as recently showcased on Re-Creation – Remixes Compiled.
This landmark mix shows off his timeless style and passion for the nostalgic emotions associated with Chicago and the serene machine soul of Detroit. Selected from records that have resonated with him over the years and that continue to conjure strong feelings, it also features various vocals from friends “in the style of a traditional mixtape,” explains the artist.
“Over the years I have worked on bringing techno and soulful vocals together and I wanted to represent that in the mix. On the technical side of things, the mix represents my work as a producer and remixer as well as my aim to recreate tracks using three decks when deejaying. A large part of the mix was recorded using three decks but I also included a section which I approached more like a production or remix.”
Love, Respect and Admiration is well-known as Kerri’s sign-off on messages to his fans, and this album is born of that spirit. His instantly classic and timeless DJ-Kicks mix, takes him out of the club and through a world of influences and inspirations. “It’s like me taking you for a walk in New York,” he says. “Like a music tour guide, we go through Brooklyn, Soho, midtown, the Bronx and Uptown, and parts of New Jersey.” It’s out now.
The resulting selection is an unhurried and very personal mixtape with blends, fades and cuts all allowing the music to do the talking. At various points throughout, Kerri speaks into the mic, adding to the feeling that you’re sat in his living room as he pulls out all his favourite cuts. He also lays down some of his magical keys at various points, lending yet more personality to the mix.
There’s everything from jazz to soul, downtempo house to hip hop, reggae to funk, and together they expose the very heart of Kerri’s musical world. It’s one that is warm and intimate, and filled with the same feelings and musicality that have kept him at house music’s vanguard for the past three decades.