DJ Koze – with his friendly and sometimes slightly melancholic take on the world – is one of the greatest auteurs of club music today. Countless gigs worldwide, assorted productions and remixes have brought the Hamburg native to the center of the scene. He is particularly admired for the niceness, the weirdness, the soul and the humor in his music. And also because he makes it clear that music is something bigger and more encompassing than just a party. Koze is one of the few internationally active DJs who dares to make music that has relevance beyond the club.
Yet Kosi has never held up a certain style as a signifier for his music. He is concerned with the bigger picture, which is formed by a relentless curiosity and a penchant for making unlikely connections. His discography includes the hip hop of his early rap act Fischmob, the soul and funk of International Pony, the mixture between Dadaism and sonic research with Adolf Noise, and the reduced psychedelic house that he publishes under his own name.
During the 70-minute journey on his DJ-Kicks – the 50th edition – Kosi Kos manages to establish a uniform color even though genres alternate in a way that is rarely heard on a mix CD: the stripped down hip hop of Madlib, brutalist Berghain techno, timeless songwriting, floating indie-pop and outlier numbers that oscillate between absurdity and melancholy. Koze’s disregard for the stylistic yoke presents him with an immense challenge. Hence, almost all the tracks are more or less edited, and one is fully rhymed (Session Victim: Hyuwee)
Koze rambles on here himself: “I didn’t want to kick around sophisticated knowledge, but rather try and weave together some good gems that would make sense to anyone, even people who aren’t necessarily music nerds”. But this is blabbing that you can count on, also because he approaches the term “mix” from a different angle and doesn’t even try to make something fit that doesn’t fit: “During the day, I don’t need to hear anything that’s mixed on the beat. I put the focus on making sure that it works harmoniously – the idea is more to create the impression of a radio show, like people such as John Peel did so uniquely. There is a giant cosmos of music and it runs through my filter”.
He makes the point with his own brand new exclusive DJ-Kicks opening track – once again from a different angle. the Dilla-esque “I Haven’t Been Everywhere But It’s On My List” with its melting, fragile soul samples, the pinched, anxiously-expressive vocal snippets and sweet guitar riff says it all, and whets your appetite for more and more. The mood is gentle, laid back, extremely open and ready to take risks.
The space of the set has been opened. After the cool Dimlite track “Can’t Get Used To Those” and a long lost Boards of Canada remix, the journey heads straight over to LA, with three tracks from the legendary Stones Throw label. Two edited instrumentals from the maestro Madlib: Strong Arm Steady, Homeboy Sandman & Freddy Gibbs combine the sweetness of yesteryear with the beats of the present day – sweet surprise included! “The beats are unquantized and elements are too loud. Everything sounds broken, cracked. It’s punk and yet it has so much soul. There’s a hint of madness hidden beneath the blanket of harmony.”
MNDSGN’s “Camelblues” takes out the tempo and connects the sound world with the tangible. Suddenly, the Indian philosopher and guru Osho appears. That guy again.
The hitherto almost unused open mics of the hip hoppers are now gently taken up by the songwriters: “Pieces that are dear to my heart, that have a longevity, that are simply there and will sound good in many years. You don’t have to understand anything. They are greater and freer than anything else you’ll hear.”
Broadcast connect direct, serious, sixties-schooled narration with impenetrable electronic sounds, which are then met with Daniel Lanois‘ shimmering steel guitar. The next track is a mash-up (or a “Kosi Kos Mélange”) of a hip-hop instrumental from the Cincinnati-based producer Hi-Tek and the A cappella of The 2 Bears song “Modern Family“.
It’s pure magic! “When an A cappella is placed over another instrumental and in a different tonal setting, it’s usually even more beautiful than the original, because the vocal melody is no longer so understandable. Singers otherwise often follow the music too stringently. So then you wonder: How can somebody sing so monotonously over such varied music? The friction that arises is often magical.”
Also sad and melancholy is William Shatner’s “It Hasn’t Happened Yet”, a merciless pondering of a failed life that has the vocal magnitude of a Brian Ferry and the clarity and … read more...
Fresh from the release of a stellar mix from Russian heavyweight Nina Kraviz, !K7’s venerated DJ-Kicks series continues its hot streak with a singular hour-long set from British techno-related visionary Actress.
Darren Cunningham’s contribution, which will be the DJ-Kicks collection’s 49th instalment, follows a benchmark year of standout releases from the producer/DJ. He released his fourth full-length effort, Ghettoville, followed it up with a re-release of his debut LP Hazyville, and unleashed the limited-edition black label Xoul on his own Werkdiscs label. In addition to his own output, he supported other artists’ endeavors to push house and techno formats to new artistic horizons with a solid run of records on his own imprint, including a critically-acclaimed album from London’s Moiré, and by collaborating with Copeland on the production duties for her first solo LP, Because I’m Worth It.
Actress applied a similarly imaginative approach to his DJ-Kicks. “When I’m selecting music I’m not always thinking about the music alone,” Cunningham explains. “I’m thinking about the names of the artists, tracks, and labels, and what they mean to me. I often base my tracklisting purely on how well the track titles work together in a poetic sense.”
“I’ve tried to keep space between tracks, allowing them to speak,” he continues. “I tried not to force BPM shifts and to let the programming remain choppy and quick.”
His fearless transitions stitch together classics from icons like Chez Damier, Ron Trent, and Autechre with selections from the contemporary avant-garde, from trance deconstructionist Lorenzo Senni to the highly regarded PAN label. His eclectic set also draws from precocious outsider talents such as Greg Beato, whose release as Breaker 1 2 on Forbidden Planet opens the mix, and Hank Jackson, a Brooklyn-based beatmaker whose clever drum programming regularly appears on Anthony Naples’ Proibito label.
Of course, the DJ-Kicks wouldn’t be complete without an exclusive production from the author himself. “Bird Matrix,” a track he made just after he finished writing Ghettoville. “My studio was going through a transition, so I was testing all the equipment, and that was one of the first tunes that came out of those experiments,” he explains. It’s a fittingly exploratory tune for a mix that balances traditional functionality with dance music’s cutting edge.
CD TRACK LIST
01 Breaker 1 2 – 2
02 Lorenzo Senni – Elegant, and Never Tiring
03 Reel by Real – Look At Me
04 Autechre – Pen Expers
05 Chameleon – Thought 2
06 Beneath – Stress 1
07 Simbiosi – Impari
08 Zennor – Tin
09 John Beltran – Anticipation
10 Moon B – Those Moments
11 STL – Psychelicious
12 Snakepiss – Toil
13 Shit and Shine – Pearl Drop
14 Chez n Trent – Windy City Club
15 Mark Fell – Section 1-7
16 GNESIS – Pear
17 Shxcxchcxsh – LDWGWTT
18 Hank Jackson – Track 3
19 Actress – Bird Matrix (DJ-Kicks)
20 Gherkin Jerks – Red Planet
LP SIDE SPLITS
A1 Lorenzo Senni – Elegant, and Never Tiring
A2 Reel by Real – Look At Me
A3 Simbiosi – Impari
B1 John Beltran – Anticipation
B2 Shit and Shine – Pearl Drop
C1 Chez n Trent – Windy City Club
C2 Mark Fell – Section 1-7
D1 Actress – Bird Matrix (DJ-Kicks)
D2 Gherkin Jerks – Red Planet
BUY ACTRESS’s DJ-KICKS FROM
How much do you really know about Nina Kraviz? She’s a Russian techno DJ, an accomplished producer, one of dance music’s breakthrough names of the last five years. True enough, but there’s so much more to her story than that. She’s one of electronic music’s most interesting characters, someone who has stuck to her musical guns since day one, someone who has wide-ranging roots that run deep in the past, yet she’s also the embodiment of the future. Her signature sound is a raw blend of house and techno with a very acidic feel. If that feels very now, Kraviz has a lot to do with it, which is why she was asked to mix the latest instalment of !K7’s landmark ‘DJ Kicks’ series.
The result is up there with the best in the ‘DJ Kicks’
back catalogue. It’s a sublimely crafted set, deep and trippy, like you’ve tuned into a mysterious pirate radio station in the dead of the night or stumbled across a stream from an illegal party. Almost half of the 29 tracks are exclusives from Kraviz’s трип label, including three of her own: ‘Mystery’, ‘IMPRV’ and ‘Prozimokompleme’. They have a raw, minimalistic stripped down feel that’s clearly inspired by her Chicago and Detroit roots, sharing the same first take vibe. If you want evidence of what a force she is within techno, there’s your evidence right there. Elsewhere, the mix ranges from the spooked voodoo techno of ‘The Vibe’ by DJ Bone to the slightly mad electronics of ‘Bradley’s Robot’ by Bradley Strider (an Aphex Twin alias); from the spooked acid of ‘Pleasure Dome’ by Armando to Goldie’s atmospheric masterpiece ‘Truth’, featuring David Bowie. Speaking about the latter, Kraviz says:
“The mix contains lots of vocals. Words spoken in the most spooky and at times almost inaudible way. They come from nowhere and disappear into the music. This is like many of my own productions where I use vocals and verbal loops to achieve this trippy, going nowhere effect.
’Truth’ is a beatless song and it left a big impression on me when I first heard it in the late 90’s, along with the hour-long masterpiece of a track ‘Mother’. It was a very ambitious and brave move and a very weird album. It triggered something in me.”
Other key tracks include ‘Cobalt’ by Steve Stoll.
“He was one of my biggest techno inspirations with his label Proper when I was just starting out and his project Cobalt was especially influential. It had this really dreamy, hypnotic sound and plus it was one of the first ever techno records I bought in the late’ 90s.”
Then there’s ‘Nuclear’ by Icelandic producer Exos and ‘Persec’ by Freak Electrique.
“It gets me back to one big phase in my life where I was into Italo disco. Plus it was given to me personally by I-f. His online radio station, Intergalactic FM, was a big influence on me.”
Finally, there’s ‘Atma’ by 909 Prototype.
“Definitely one of my all-time favorite acid records. It’s quite obscure. I found it digging through a second hand record shop”.
Some history. Kraviz was born and raised in the Siberian city Irkutsk in Russia. Her dad is a passionate music collector and she grew up listening to jazz and psychedelic rock. In the late ’90s she heard acid classic ‘Downfall’ by Armando on the radio. It inspired her to set up her own radio show on a local station, focussing on techno, house and IDM. However, Irkutsk is about as far away from dance music’s centre of gravity as it’s possible to get, so even though she wanted to dedicate her whole life to music, studying to be a dentist in Moscow seemed like a more sensible plan. In Moscow, she spent her spare time working as a reporter for Russian music magazine Ptuch.
“That opened my mind to an even wider range of music,” she says. “I started building up my own record collection that captured many of my music phases, from techno, house and space disco to rare funk and ’60s and ’70s soundtrack music that I started mixing in small clubs and bars. I also found myself a job at an event agency, throwing parties with Underground Resistance, and it was through this that I met people like Juan Atkins, something I could have only dreamed about when I was in Siberia.”
A turning point for Kraviz came in 2006 when she took part in the Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne.
“That was the place where, for the first time in my life, I started to feel confident and believe in myself” she remembers.
In 2008 she started doing her own Friday night at the most … read more...
It’s all too easy for nostalgia to tip into something negative. At its best it’s a celebration of the best the past has to offer while putting it balance into a contemporary context; at its worst it’s moaning that things aren’t as good as they used to be.Hercules & Love Affair have always been firmly in the first category. Main man Andy Butler takes classic house and disco sounds and uses them to craft dance music that has one foot in the pas… read more...
Compilations series’ come and go, but one that’s not only survived, yet constantly sought to evolve and provide the best in cutting edge music, is the legendary DJ-Kicks sets on !K7 Records. What’s always impressed about their releases has been their willingness to work with electronic artists new and more established alike, offering a challenge to them that differs a little from the day job.
The much respected compilation series has seen everyone from Carl Craig and Hot Chip to Kode9 and Chromeo take to its decks in its 16 years and stepping forward to take on the latest instalment is last year’s massive breakthrough story Gold Panda.
You’re probably aware of the following already, but the story of the Peckham-born producer’s 2010 bears repeating. Having stormed that year’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton and earning US Summer tour supports with both HEALTH and Autolux, Derwin came back to the UK in October to find the nation’s blogs and critics alike going crazy over his debut LP Lucky Shiner, with DJ Magazine giving it 9/10 and the NME describing it as “just blissful” – not to mention an 8.3 back Stateside from Pitchfork. The album eventually went onto be win the 2010 edition of The Guardian’s First Album Award – for the finest debut LP to be released that year, and the introverted artist suddenly found himself thrust into the limelight.
The success has snowballed into this year, with headlining tours across Europe, the US and Australia cementing his rising reputation. The chance to take a step back from the relentless schedule and put his mind to use on the latest DJ-Kicks compilation then is a welcome change in pace, not that Derwin found it an easy transition to make; “I’d never consider myself a DJ, but through doing this I’ve really become more appreciative of it. I’ve so much more respect for people that do DJ now.”
He may have found it a challenge, but it doesn’t show on a 22 track mix (full tracklisting below) that weights perfectly between the bright awake and brooding nocturnal side of electronica – a sets that works best pulsing the headphones and emanating around the bedroom, rather than for the dancefloor. Lauded names like Zomby and Ramadanman are mixed in with new stars like Ninja Tune’s Matthewdavid and Berlin producer Pawel; “Tracks like Pawel’s ‘Coke’ and ‘Amstel’ by Opiate I sort of wanted to hide in the mix, hoping that people might go and find the original,” Derwin explains, “others I’ve gone for are because of the production; LV & Untold’s ‘Beacon,’ for instance, has all these little intricacies that makes it so interesting – [dubstep producer] Untold just seems to be a master at finding and building these lovely percussion sounds.”
The overall linear to the mix is the sense of strong melody that links all of the tracks within it; from Drexciya’s ‘Andraean Sandunes’ minimal 80s electro pop feel to Christopher Rau’s ‘Do Little,’ there’s a light touch applied throughout, counterbalanced by the more lo-freq friendly sounds of Nao Tokui’s ‘Monolith’ and ‘Shake’ by London techno producer Sigha. Altogether, the set showcases not only the breadth and depth of Derwin’s musical palette. But also an ability he’s already shown with his own material, including a brand new GP track ‘An Iceberg Hurtled Northward Through Clouds’ which opens and is exclusive to the mix and will also be committed to 12”, in keeping a constant momentum and freshness to proceedings. Of course, some tracks are simply in there because he loves them and couldn’t leave them out, “‘Puerto Rican Girls’ by Melchior & Prosanto has one of the loveliest hand claps ever, and then there’s ‘Maria’ by Closer Musik which has been a complete favourite of mine for a number of years.”
Though for Gold Panda the day job rumbles on, with an upcoming tour to Asia and the UK this October, Derwin may even the chance to sit down and work on a second album (“around Christmas time,” he speculates). This contribution to the justifiably celebrated DJ-Kicks catalogue is one of the most essential yet, proving that midway through its second decade, the series is still going from strength to strength.
1. Gold Panda – An Iceberg Hurtled Northward Through Clouds (DJ-Kicks)
2. Melchior & Pronsato – Puerto Rican Girls
3. Bok Bok – Charisma Theme
4. Drexciya – Andreaen Sand Dunes
5. Muslimgauze – Uzi Mahmood 8
6. Pawel – Coke
7. Ramadanman – Revenue (Untold Remix)
8. SND – Palo Alto
9. Zomby – Godzilla
10. Closer Musik – Maria
11. Gold Panda – Back Home
12. Christopher Rau – Do Little
13. Jan Jelinek – If’s, And’s And But’s
14. Nao Tokui – Monolith
15. Sigha – Shake
16. Opiate – Amstel
17. 2562 – Dinosaur… read more...
The one thing that Paul Rose, better known as Scuba, really doesn’t want you to do is to try and pin him down. His roots are in London’s dubstep scene, but he lives in the techno metropolis of Berlin. His music is located at some unspecified point between those two cities – bass heavy, sparse, full of atmosphere and with propulsive rhythms, but above all impossible to define. His label, Hotflush, is one of dubstep’s spiritual homes, with releases by Distance, Benga and Mount Kimbie, but it also has that hard-to-categorize quality Warp had in the ’90s. He is, in a word, a maverick.
No surprise, then, that his DJ-Kicks mix resists pigeon-holing. A mind-bending 32-track journey, it ranges from the doom-laden ambience of “HF029B2” by Sigha, to the stripped down squelches and bleeps of “Acid Battery” by Boddika and the muted keys of Jichael Mackson’s “Gedons.” It’s deep, a set that engages your mind as well as your feet. “It’s loosely based around the last couple of sets I’ve played at my club night, Sub:Stance, at Berghain in Berlin,” explains Rose. “It’s the last set of the night. It’s longer than the other sets. We tend to have lots of people playing for 90 minutes. But the last set is at least three hours or more, so you have more freedom. It’s really varied. You can play more or less anything and people will stay with you. That’s so special. A key thing I’ve been doing in those sets is starting off faster, say 138, and slowing down. It’s really gradual, slowing each tune down a little bit. The idea was to condense that three hour set into an hour. It drops about 12 bpm over the hour, from 136 to 124. Each tune is a little bit slower. I don’t like mixes that jump around, I prefer things to flow.”
“For me, “An We Drop” by Addision Groove is one of the key tracks,” explains Rose. “It’s a fusion of two things, that urban, UK kind of sound, and something more techno. It sums up what the mix and my music is about.” It’s also a DJ Kicks exclusive, alongside “CPX11” by Beaumont, “Let Me In” by Sigha, “Streetwalk” by Jon Convex, “Acid Battery” by Boddika and Scuba’s own “M.A.R.S.”. Rose also points to “The Breakup” by Braille as another pivotal track. The skippety beats, jazzy keys and soulful male vocal are a 2011 update of the garage scene on which he cut his teeth.
01) Sigha – HF029B2
02) Surgeon – The Power of Doubt
03) DBridge – For Tonight
04) Badawi – Lost Highway (Incyde remix)
05) Peverelist – Sun Dance
06) Until Silence – The Affair
07) Addison Groove – An We Drop [EXCLUSIVE]
08) Roska – Leapfrog
09) Trevino – Shorty
10) Beaumont – CPX11 [EXCLUSIVE]
11) Function – Two Ninety One
12) Braille – Breakup
13) Quest – Everybody in the Place
14) Sigha – Let Me In [EXCLUSIVE]
15) George FitzGerald – Shackled
16) Jon Convex – Streetwalk [EXCLUSIVE]
17) Mr Beatnick – Don’t Walk Away From My Love
18) Boddika – Acid Battery [EXCLUSIVE]
19) Marcel Dettmann – Captivate
20) Arkist – Rendez-Vous (SCB edit)
21) Locked Groove – Drowning
22) Recloose – Tecumseh
23) Sigha – Where I Come To Forget
24) Sex Worker – Rhythm of the Night
25) Scuba – M.A.R.S. [EXCLUSIVE]
26) Jichael Mackson – Gedons
27) Rivet – Running S
28) Recondite – Backbone
29) Ludovic Vendi – Mental Bright
30) Rivet – Slant
31) Scuba – Adrenalin
32) Sepalcure – Inside
Danilo was always incredibly young with things. He started producing at the age of eleven—“way
too early” as he jokes—having his first release out just five years later: Inverse Cinematics’ “Slow Swing”, released on Pulver Records in 2002, and ended up finding its way into Ricardo Villalobos’ record bag as well as onto one of the first Fabric mix CDs. An album under the same name and a string of EPs followed. Dailo’s latest releases, the Motor City Drum Ensemble’s Raw Cuts series in 2010, had the house music world responding strongly to the charmingly fresh and dirty sounding tracks, all mixed down in spontaneous two-hour sessions. Danilo has also released on top labels ranging from 20:20 Vision to Rush Hour as well as his own MCDE and Four Roses imprints, produced for Ben Westbeech and Rainer Trüby and never ceased to amaze with his challenging remix work for artists like Caribou, Jazzanova, DJ Sprinkles and Zero 7.
His understanding of how the parts of a track can work has never been more apparent than on his DJ-Kicks mix. In 10 years, playing 80+ gigs a year, including such temples as Berghain, Fabric London, Rex and MOS, he’s absorbed dance history through hard and disciplined work behind the decks. Look at the opening selections of his DJ-Kicks mix to get a glimpse of his amazing ability to fuse totally disparate sound aesthetics into a coherent whole.
With the next months holding an extensive tour schedule for Danilo, dancers around the world will be able to experience his gift as a selector first hand. That is, before he gets back into the studio to start working on his first album as Motor City Drum Ensemble as well as a live act. All this will prove, just as his DJ-Kicks is doing now, that there is no such thing as stagnation in the ever-evolving cosmos of Danilo Plessow!
1 Sun Ra – Door To The Cosmos
2 Electric Wire Hustle – Again (Scratch 22 Remix)
3 Rhythm & Sound – Mango Drive
4 Tony Allen – Ariya
5 Peven Everett – Stuck (Original)
6 Bad Jazz Troupe – Breakdown Treat
7 Mr. Fingers – The Juice
8 Rick “Poppa” Howard – Can Your Love Find It’s Way (Club Vocal)
9 Stone – Girl I Like The Way That You Move (Dub)
10 Fred P – On This Vibe
11 Creative Swing Alliance – Don’t Forget Your Keyz
12 Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats – Black Woman Experience
13 Philippe Sarde – Le Cortège Et Course
14 Robert Hood – The Pace
15 Loose Joints – Pop Your Funk (Vocal Version)
16 Arts & Crafts – I’ve Been Searching (Walter Gibbons 12″ Mix)
17 Motor City Drum Ensemble – L.O.V.E. (DJ-Kicks)
18 Aphex Twin – Actium
19 Recloose – Cardiology (Isolée Mix)
20 Latecomer – Cosmic Cart
21 Timo Lassy – African Rumble
22 James Mason – Sweet Power, Your Embrace
Buy the album here:
… read more...
There’s evil abroad in the world of dance music and the Wolf + Lamb/Soul Clap Justice League are the last line of defence. This coalition of glitterball superheroes and 4AM villains has come together to fight the forces of too dark, too loud dance music. The League’s mission statement: “We want to bring the sexiness back to the dancefloor.” OK, so it’s a daft scenario, but Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap, two of the most exciting DJ duos of recent times, don’t believe in taking themselves too seriously — at a recent press shoot they really did dress up as superheroes. Meanwhile, their DJ-Kicks mix is diametrically opposed to the banging soul-less beats that have dominated the club scene for, well, far too long. A 27-track journey full of emotion and changes of tempo and mood, it ebbs and flows like a moonlit summer tide, from gorgeous downtempo grooves such as Can’t See What Is Burning There by Nicolas Jaar to the slinky disco-house of South Aphrika by Lee Curtiss. It has more in common with Metro Area or even a disco icon like David Mancuso than anything else. Eli Goldstein from Soul Clap sums it up perfectly when he describes it as “gentle and deep”. Soul Clap (Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine) met Wolf + Lamb (Gadi Mizrahi and Zev Eisenberg) in September 2008 when they travelled from their native Boston to attend Wolf + Lamb’s underground club, the Marcy Hotel in Brooklyn. The four of them hit it off pretty much instantly. “At the time we had made a couple of edits and we gave them to Gadi and Zev,” says Eli. “We released stuff on their label [also called Wolf + Lamb].” When !K7 approached the four of them to do a DJ Kicks mix, the initial idea was do it as Wolf + Lamb versus Soul Clap. It wasn’t long before they realised something more collaborative was where their heads were at. Eli explains: “So much of the power of the music we do comes from the idea that we’re a collective, even expanding beyond the four of us to acts like No Regular Play and Nicholas Jaar that come under the Wolf + Lamb label umbrella. Performing together is our strength.” Gadi continues: “Yeah, the concept for this mix was originally that going to be to use our favourite tracks from the last two years —y’know, classic stuff — but then we thought it might be a stronger idea to do something that was about our world. We have such a strong sense of collective about the way we do things at the Marcy Hotel and on the Wolf + Lamb label. It’s very loose and we bring all our artists together and we kind of play it by ear and the vibe is very chilled out and deep. We figured if we could bring that to a mix and keep it in the family, with people who’ve released on the label we would have something special.” The collective vibe is reflected in the fact that the entire mix is music from family and friends, with 9 exclusive tracks being released only on this mix. Says Eli: “The two we are the most excited about are Lonely C by Soul Clap featuring Charles Levine. It’s a special vocal track, really deep, but still catchy and emotional. There’s also this one by SECT called In The Park with vocals from Ben Westbeech. It’s a really floaty slow track with an incredible pop feel.” As well as capturing the Wolf + Lamb/Soul Clap sound, the DJ Kicks mix also helped them to define it. “Doing the mix we realised that our vibe has something to do with emotion and I think it has something to do with tempo,” explains Zev. “The music that comes from our camp is slower than a lot of other dance music.” Charlie adds: “Also something that’s totally important is that we’re all American artists at a time when America is lacking in decent dance music. We’re very much trying to take the torch back and this legitimises what we’re doing. For Soul Clap, a lot of what we’ve done that has been hyped over the last couple of years has been edits. Now we’re looking at all original material released on !K7. It’s a timeless label and DJ Kicks is one of the oldest compilation series. It totally legitimises Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap and this new sound.” Charlie concludes with this thought. “ Growing up in America in the ’80s and ’90s we were exposed to funk, disco, R’n’B and black music. This music that we’re making is very much rooted in all of that. People also forget that house and techno came from the States. We’ve grown up studying … read more...
Sasha Ring’s work under his Apparat moniker has always been evolving; over three albums on the Shitkatapult label and the collaborative full lengths with Ellen Allien and Modeselektor as Moderat on Bpitch Control, he’s surprised a lot of listeners with his output. Confined to little or no definitive style his music has always been in a constant state of metamorphosis, simultaneously breaching new waters and staying true to his unique spirit of musical openness and his obvious passion for sound design.
Aptly joking that his DJ KiCKs selection reflects his style to “not really have a style” it’s evident that Ring is more than aware that his contribution to the series might look ‘intelligent’ on paper – with the tracklist aligning variant artists like Oval, Autechre, Ripperton and Thom Yorke – but given his recent tour at the start of the year, it’s simply a representation of where he’s at in terms of modern music. “I didn’t want to make this kind of ‘smart’ mix, that’s eclectic and sounds like it’s done ‘on purpose;’ but I need to do different things to keep myself motivated,” Ring explains. “At first I wanted to make a collection of influences, all kinds of old songs but then sometimes with those mixes it’s hard to keep some kind of flow and they’re just not very easy to listen to, so I ended up using good new music; music that almost gave me hope that there’s more out there than boring minimal techno.” The Apparat contribution is as stylized as the preceding mixes in the series from Kode 9 and James Holden; with Ring embracing the opportunity to create a mix that represents both his personality and his brave take on ‘club’ music. With an incredibly prevalent talent for manipulation of both tempos and melodies, Ring includes tracks from a handful of dubstep producers like Dutch producer Martyn – whose ‘Miniluv’ provides a glorious rhythmic propulsion when under-layed beneath Patrice Baumel’s ‘Sub’ – and Ramadanman’s ‘Tempest’ – whose melody all but dissipates at the optimum moment – layering and blending them perfectly with tracks from across an array of genres from Autechre’s percussive white noise to Oval’s erratically colourful sound slices or the echoed clicks of Phon.o’s ‘Intervall.’
“A mix needs a bit of dynamic,’ he states. “There were these weirder things I wanted to use, like this Four Tet remix (of Born Ruffian’s ‘I Need A Life’) and then there are some tracks i had to use as tools to glue it all togehter. The way I used the Martyn track is more of a tool to adjust the Patrice Baumel track dynamically to the following ones. But most of the songs are in there for musical reasons. All these artists have their own sound signatures and manage to inject that space into every new song they produce.”
Achieving a sense of progression in the mix through both his selections and his awareness of sonic space, Ring manages to harness his enthusiasms for frequency perfect soundscapes, often creating moments of sheer beauty out of his polarized composite parts.
“The mix isn’t that balanced when it comes to melody I guess,” he continues, considering his point. “There’s a lot of sweetness on there, but it is dark and mysterious at points. I guess the bittersweet-ness has long been kind of my thing and with this mix I was just trying to spice it up a bit.”
1. Apparat – Circles
2. 69 – Rushed
3. Telefon Tel Aviv – Lengthening Shadows
4. Apparat – Interlude
5. Luke Abbott – More Room
6. Oval – Legendary
7. Patrice Bämel – Sub
8. Martyn – Miniluv (Original Mix)
9. Ripperton – Echocity
10. Cosmin TRG – Tower Block
11. Scorn – Falling (Autechre “FR 13” Remix)
12. Born Ruffians – I Need A Life (Four Tet Remix)
13. Pantha Du Prince – Welt Am Draht
14. Phon.o – Intervall
15. Burial + Four Tet – Moth
16. Vincent Markowski – The Madness Of Moths
17. Ramadanman – Tempest
18. Thom Yorke – Harrowdown Hill
19. Spherix – Lesser People
20. Oval – TV Power
21. Joy Orbison – The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow
22. Apparat – Sayulita (DJ-KiCKS)
23. T++ – Worn Down
24. Tim Hecker – Borderlands
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Kode9’s grasp on the throat of bass music in 2010 is almost unparalleled. His trend setting record label, Hyperdub, is in its sixth year of viral contagion; he’s become a published author on the theory of sound abuse and sonic frequencies being used as weaponry in his book ‘Sonic Warfare’ and his production work has mutated from an almost simplistic marriage of beats and sine waves into a fusion of dancefloor Ebonics and discordant synths.
Becoming a figurehead of UK dance music hasn’t been a quick process, and Kode9’s single-mindedness has contributed in some way to his notoriety, but it’s simply his tireless work as a record label boss and A&R that has marked him out as one of the most powerful ears within the scene. Probably best known to the wider global audience as the label that gave birth to two genre defining albums from Burial, Hyperdub has become one of the most reliably testing labels out there. Just as likely to release a glut of two and a half minute beat sketches from American beat maker Samiyam or Zomby as sprawling house opuses from Brixton bass bin temptress Cooly G, the label is at the forefront of innovation and it’s something that he has infused into his volume of the DJ-KiCKS series.
“Very simply, [the mix is] just a snapshot of my DJ sets at the first half of 2010,” he says calmly. “It’s definitely not an exploration of my musical heritage, but it’s not all new stuff. It probably signifies something about my relationship to dubstep that the mix only has a few dubstep tunes in it, and is instead a mix of UK funky, broken beat, dubstep, grime and some R&B. Unfortunately, I fear some listeners, because of my background, will think that all the tracks are just mutations of dubstep.”
Starting off in serene fashion with Nottingham producer Lone’s upbeat exploration of steel drum snatches on ‘Once In A While’, Kode9 dives into the percussive textures of Dutch producer Aardvarck before steering the mix into a duo of his own productions: ‘Blood Orange’ and the specifically tailored exclusive single, ‘You Don’t Wash (dub) (DJ-KiCKS)’. Jumping off from this point into a journey through current UK funky, Kode9 aligns tracks from Hyperdub artists Cooly G and Ikonika with works by Ill Blu, Sticky, Grievous Angel, Mr Majika, Ikonika and Scratcha DVA, sampling the textures and suitably brutal drum patterns that regularly inject London’s dancefloors with such a sustained level of energy.
“I find the whole mix pretty danceable in different ways. Some of the stuff is around 8 or 9 years old like the Aaardvark tune ‘Revo’ which Martyn introduced me to last year,” he notes; “And in the early 2000s, I was a big fan of Nubian Mindz as well so it was great to dig up that remix of his for the mix as I feel rhythmically things have swung back round to some of that broken techno stuff, with all its scattered snares, bent synths and maximalist percussion. Also that Maddslinky tune ‘Cargo’ is an oldie, but I’ve basically been playing it in practically every set over the last couple of years. The first time I heard that tune played at FWD>> at Plastic People I remember it was like someone had suddenly let the sunshine into this dark basement…”
The tracklisting is mostly, but not all London-centric, featuring a selection of big booming riffs and asymmetic percussion possessed by a guttural sense of forcefulness. “Cooly G’s ‘Phat Si’ really is one of those tracks for me; it’s just a timeless, mean, deadly roller and is effortlessly a Hyperdub classic. Producers like Lone and Zomby definitely have a magic touch and Mala, for me is like a tropical island in an ocean of dubstep sewage.”
On this mix Kode9 surfs through those artists and productions that sideswipe you in an unexpected moment of surrealist realisation. Whether it’s being brought by a track bringing the sunshine carnival vibe to a Shoreditch basement or by the sheer level of production and temperament that a producer pours into each of their tracks. Veering from the taught and poignant snare snap of Morgan Zarate’s ‘M.A.B.’ he flips from the troubled soul of Rozzi Daime’s falsetto on ‘Dirty Illusions’ to the bruised rhythm of JDaVeY and on into the advanced rhythm science of Terror Danjah and Headhunter’s breakout 808 anthem under his Addison Groove alias, ‘Footcrab,’ distilling some of the more powerful strains of modern UK dance music culminating in the big moody tombstone of The Bug & Flo Dan’s ‘Run’.
“I love the sour R&B tracks of Rozzie Dame and Jay Davey in the middle. If only more pop music sounded like that…” he notes tangentially. “The first and second halves [of the mix] are pretty typical … read more...