Following last year’s full-length LP, ‘&’, which saw him extensively collaborate with an impressive host of contemporaries and friends, including Joe Goddard, Prins Thomas and Agoria, Michael Mayer is set to contribute to the legendary DJ Kicks series. Spanning sixteen tracks, the mix finds Mayer is just as generous of a mood, composing a musical journey that spans his ever-expanding record collection, and above all, his defining instinct to share the beauty of music with others.
“On an abstract level, the approach was basically the same for both projects”, observes Mayer. “For & I put together a group of people that are close to my heart. For Kicks it was a group of records that are like friends to me. All of the tracks I used went through heaven and hell with me. They've become true companions. Circling in on and bringing together these friends was the only criterion for the making of this mix. I wanted it to be as personal as possible.”
Perhaps unnervingly to some, fifteen years have passed since the debut edition to Mayer’s breathtaking, scene defining mix trilogy, Immer. Not that it’s legacy - Resident Advisor’s #1 Mix of the 00s, one of Rolling Stone’s 30 Greatest EDM Albums Of All Time - has disturbed Mayer’s formidable workload. A catalogue of no less than 23 EPs, 4 albums and 170 remixes informs a near constant level of international touring. Exhausting as this can be, even after all these years, it’s a ritual that informs the delicate construction of Mayer’s contribution to the DJ Kicks series.
“Kicks has turned out to be a pretty international affair, especially if you compare it with Immer 1 or Fabric 13, which consisted almost 100% of German productions”, highlights Mayer. “At that time, there were such incredible things happening in my direct neighborhood and all over Germany. In the meantime, that spark has traveled a lot since then. The sound I've been pushing is often falsely described as "minimal". Minimal used to be a thing in the pre-Kompakt days, mid 90s. After that I took much more interest in an eclectic way of playing music.”
Alongside this consistent, all-embracing attitude to music, ‘Emotive’ is still perhaps the term best associated with Mayer’s leanings as a DJ, and as the man himself once observed, “there is room on the dancefloor for emotions other than euphoria.” Certainly, DJ Kicks delivers on this expectation, balancing wistful passages with frequent bursts of high energy aimed squarely at the dancefloor.
Mayer’s own reliable talent and golden touch for remixing the likes of Kasper Bjørke, Dreems and CSS provides much of the mix’s atmospheric backbone, supported by dispatches from the contemporary underground from the likes of Jon Hopkins, SAVE! and Boreal. Resolutely a forward thinking affair, the Cologne master nonetheless takes a trip to revisit his timeless love of Throbbing Gristle, slides back over a decade for the electro euphoria of Mekon and Royksopp, as well as his good friend Roman Flugel’s Alter Ego persona.
“I'm constantly scanning my record collection for older tracks that could make new sense in a contemporary context”, reveals Mayer. “There's no system behind it. My record collection is too chaotic for a systematic approach. As much as it annoys me having to search for a particular record and often not finding it - during the search I'd always find 10 other records that deserve to be revisited.”