DJ-Kicks has tapped up Life And Death label founder DJ Tennis for the next instalment in its long running and landmark series, which is due for release on 14th July. The Italian is the first artist to ever be granted not one but two discs across which to showcases his style, and he doesn’t disappoint.
DJ Tennis is Manfredi Romano, a life long music fanatic who has 20 years experience in music and started out managing punk bands, progressed to putting on leftfield events, started one of the most important Italian rock and electronic booking agencies, then started the Life And Death label. Since then it has slowly but surely carved out its own musical niche and has made stars of a number of acts. Tennis’s own recorded output is selective and stylish indeed, often featuring real melodies and a musicality that is frequently lacking in dance music, and includes releases like Make It Good, The Outcast with PillowTalk on Kompakt and EPs with Martin Buttrich on Rhythm Assault and an EP on Omnidisc last year. That knack for the musical and emotive side of things characterizes both cerebral mixes he has put together here.
The mix comes as a double CD and triple vinyl release and features four exclusive tracks. These include a brand new original from DJ Tennis featuring Fink and called ‘Certain Angles,’ plus new Tennis versions of tunes by Pole and Frank Bretschneider, and finally an unreleased track, ‘Paratrooper,’ from acclaimed Tel Aviv duo Red Axes.
Disc 1 is a slow burning seventy minute electronic trip that mixes plaintive piano with suspensory synths, gentle broken beats and textured sound sources with subtle and supple minimal grooves. Never hurried and always thoughtfully composed, the likes of Rephlex's Bochum Welt, Jon Hopkins, Mouse and Mars, Isolee and Four Tet all get called upon along the way. The result is an expertly sequenced and perfectly balanced selection that is deep and insular and, as such, it will work as well for post cub comedowns as it will for lazy and sombre Sunday mornings.
Disc 2 is more energetic but just as considered, so is perfect for sunny afternoons or long drives. Here, dubbed out atmospheres percolate round house and techno grooves of increasing intensities. Big names like Traumprinz and Robert Hood build the tempo, Kenny Dixon Jr provides soulful party moment and classic electro slickness from The Other People Place help oil things along. Later on, icy ambiance from Biosphere stops the mix from ever getting too hot and sweaty before Tennis zones us out with the blissful final section, including his own excellent and piano laced new cut ‘Certain Angles’.
In programming these two diverse, eclectic and yet coherent rides, DJ Tennis shows off his singular knack for nailing an aesthetic that is subversive yet seductive in equal measure.