Review: Six years after the release of their first inspirational Late Night Tales mix, fey Scottish post-indie miserablists Belle & Sebastian unveil a second volume. Given the unusual and exciting nature of their first collection, hopes are naturally high for Volume 2. Thankfully, it's every bit as odd, enjoyable and enlightening as the first edition. Psychedelic folk-pop, Indian soul, Balkan beats, Spanish crooners, Chanson ballads, film soundtrack compositions, Gold Panda, The Lovin' Spoonful, dancehall, The Pop Group and Pete Shelley all feature, alongside a range of thrillingly strange records that defy easy categorization. As a collection of music, it's breathtakingly brilliant, while the accompanying DJ mix is wonderful.
Review: Confusingly, this is actually the second full-length round up of exclusive tracks from the DJ Kicks mix series (the first, with the same title, was released in 2006). It gathers together notable exclusive tracks from some of the many DJs and producers who've contributed to the series in recent years. It makes for fascinating and enjoyable listening, flitting between sounds and styles at a breakneck pace. Highlights include jazz-flecked deep house from Motor City Drum Ensemble and Henrik Schwarz, dextrous dancefloor jazz from Four Tet, a Hall & Oates impersonation from Chromeo, booming bass music from Scuba and a dash of bleary-eyed New York disco from The Juan MacLean. Oh, and a decidedly bleep-heavy two-step rinse out from Photek & Kru. Check it.
An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds (DJ-Kicks) - (5:46) 120 BPM
Through Clouds - (3:28) 120 BPM
Kalimba_pedal_improv_stem - (1:52)
An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds (DJ-Kicks) (Peaking Lights dub) - (5:59) 120 BPM
An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds (DJ-Kicks) (Peaking Lights vocal remix) - (5:53) 120 BPM
Review: As an accompaniment to his wild and downright ace DJ Kicks mix, Gold Panda offers up this EP that takes his own "An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds" track and accompanying versions to shimmer under the microscope by itself. The original is a gloriously rich combination of ethnic instrumentation and awkward house groove, punctuated by a piano stab. "Through Clouds" distils a few of the key elements down to a short and punchy take, while Peaking Lights take an equally psychedelic stance on their two remixes. Of the two, the vocal cut wins out for pure stargazing loveliness.
Review: What's so striking about the tracklisting for Gold Panda's entry into the DJ Kicks canon is its diversity, erring towards a more stripped-down, experimental kind of techno but ranging across Drexciya, Zomby and Bok Bok. Despite this erraticism, the flow of the mix is relatively smooth to begin with, but around Christopher Rau's "Do Little", the mix drifts off into a strange and sparse minimal hinterland. By the time the wall of chords in Giuseppe Ielasi's "2" hits you, it's hard to remember where it all began. In that sense, Gold Panda has served up one of the most daring DJ Kicks compilations in a long time. Recommended.
Review: The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".