Review: Most DJs tend to see the DJ Kicks series as an excuse to not only show off their DJ skills, but also the eclectic nature of their music collections. That's the approach Jayda G has taken on her fine instalment, delivering a breathlessly brilliant mix and a selection of unmixed tracks that genuinely has something for every occasion. After beginning with the deep disco of Light of the World, Aged in Harmony and Glass Beams, the Ninja Tune artist offers up a mixture of 21st century Afro-soul (Kokoroko), dubbed-out Brit-funk (Atmosfear), synth-laden '80s soul (Don Blackman), sample-rich 21st century house (Gerry Read), chunky dancefloor deepness (Naomi Darkness, DJ Boring), Motor City-inspired futurism (LNS, Fit Siegel), sub-heavy techno (Haai) and dusty future R&B beats (DJ Koze).
Review: It's time to dive into something super experimental next as Special Request joins forces with the team over at K7 for a three track adventure in sound design and retro-flavours. We kick off with a real throwback anthem in 'Vellichor', a fantastic display of synthetic bliss, moulding electro-like synthesizer pulses with shimmering rhythms and sweeping pads, before 96 Back joins the party for 'Petrichor', another solemn sweep through stunning soundscapes and synth design. Finally, the title track 'Compassion' unleashes a more hard hitting feel, driven primarily by the grizzly bass instrument we find lurking beneath a wash of pleasing melodies and minimal percussive plucks. An unusual selection, but oh so satisfying!
Review: Following his debut Strange Folk EP in 2018, James Alexander Bright backs it up with a debut long player to boot in Headroom In The Dark! Touching on spacey electronic jazz, the crackle and fizz and pop of LA's Beat scene (or Berlin's dub techno mainframe) next to fractions of sub-pop folk elements, broken beat drums and experimental, psychedelic tendencies, Bright's Headroom In The Dark sparks with fire. Add breathy vocals, lo-fi frequencies, and interrupted patchbay signals to the fresh musicianship of a new and upcoming artist and you're met with newfound pop sounds for 2020 and beyond. Enjoy.
Review: A double dose later and we're welcomed into a Red Axes latest Trip, a multimedia project at large that's giving cross platform to music, film and travel documentations that seeks out far-flung collaborations from the countries they visit. Finding themselves in India for this EP (following excursions through Vietnam and Africa), the epicly charged, psychedelic-tinged and acid-dubbed burner "Pad Yoga Raga" delivers arguably the best track in the series (at 11-minutes long). Keeping it in the mangroves still is "Little Prince (Bangalore Rave version)" with its continued panpipe influences and vocal morphing techniques while the EP finds its clubbiest passages in the percussion-concussion of "Mumbai Syndrom". And for the real deal, Beatles and Ravi Shankar fans alike, all roads lead to "Delhi Little Prince". Please come again!
Review: After the first volume featuring all stars such as Nathan Fake, Shed and Mind Against, here is another action packed volume of remixes, the second of Bonn veteran Dominik Eulberg's 'Mannigfaltig' LP released last year. Once again, the titles are proper tongue twisters: "Sechslinien-Bodeneule" receives a pummelling peak time rework by Brazilian techno queen ANNA, while Robag Wruhme - the joker from Jena - delivers his idiosyncratic style as always on the sublime rework of "Siebenschlaefer" and Italy's mentalist maestro Donato Dozzy will no doubt hypnotise you into submission - bringing the Sound Of Rome to his perspective of the track "Eintagsfliege".
Review: Curating a fine selection of outstanding artists to rework some of the album's key tracks, here is the first of two remix EPs from Bonn-based veteran Dominik Eulberg's 'Mannigfaltig' LP - which proved a huge success last year. Revered Italian duo Mind Against appear first, with a typically slinky and mesmerising rework of "Golden Acht", followed by master hypnotist Nathan Fake's stomping grayscale perspective of "Dreizehnspecht" which is loaded straight off the factory floor. Elsewhere, there's more tongue twisters, like from Hamburg's favourite sons Adana Twins who continue with their style of infectious and pop-inflected tech house on a version of "Neuntoeter", and finally Ostgut Ton staple Shed is unpredictable as always, but still delivers the goods with his mid '90s IDM vibe on "Zehnpunkt-Marienkaefer".
Review: Putting Bright in James Alexander, the UK artist brings more of his acoustic, electro pop to K7 with the awaited Headroom LP. It follows his Strange Folk EP from last year and introduces to the masses a kaleidoscopic sound of 70s futurist synths, italo basslines and indie rhythms topped with folk-tipped drums, jazz, and more summer breeze than what we're all getting right now. Headroom brings a concoction of future feel good classics to be enjoyed in the outdoors, like sultry exterior numbers "Gold" all the way through to the finger picking, flute and ambient reverb of "Dancing With Birds". Heavier disco ballads in "Lead Me Astray", all time sax in "6am" to the chill vibes of "Go" and bassline country funk of "Friends (Lovers Lost)". Premium pop.
Review: 2020 marks the 25th year of !K7's acclaimed DJ-Kicks series with Mr Scruff following contributions of late from Leon Vynehall, Laurel Halo, Peggy Gou and Kamaal Williams! Mr Scruff's adventures in sound brings to DJ-Kicks more than 30 tracks of wildly varying styles featuring highlighted music from Equiknoxx, Tiger, Errorsmith, Max Graef and Zongamin. Scruff brings to his edition an exclusive collaboration with CyberPunkJazz ("3001: A Space Disco Remix") and an unreleased track from Andy Ash to boot. Alexander Robotnik makes in there with the wild New York post-funk of "Love Supreme" alongside a heavy Tony Allen percussion session in "Gbedu B". DJ Nervoso for the win too!
Review: It's time to dive into some Icelandic delights on this one as we are joined by the ever-more experimental sounds of Bjarki, a producer who is no stranger to testing out the weird and wonderful. That's exactly what he does here as he unveils his brand new 'Psychotic_Window' LP, courtesy of K7, drizzled with soundscaping brilliance and a deep understanding for electronic music in general. Across all fourteen tracks, Bjarki displays an incredible depth of sound, from the stuttered percussive clicks of 'MIRA' to the highly digitized arrangements of 'Cool You Peel2' and shiny pad work on 'Psykixk TV'. We would seriously recommend taking this one in on long play!
Review: It's not often we get a release through the gates that freaks us out as much as this one has, and in the best way possible. It's like a horror film: you're scared but awed in equal measure and the collection of sensations the medium induces within you. Bjarki has pulled it out the bag and he's done so by subverting expectations of rhythm and bass, relying not on formulaic calculations but on fluctuations, constant changes in structure that reverberate creatively in unforeseeable ways. It's hard to describe this track so you'll have to just listen to it, but trust us that it's definitely worth the time.
Review: While most editions of the DJ Kicks mix series feature at least one track created by the artist behind the mix, Kamaal Williams' forthcoming version features quite a few - hence this four-track EP of previously unreleased material. The talented keyboardist, DJ and producer first offers up a brilliant live, full-band version of "Bitches Brew" rich in spoken word vocals, snaking horn lines, frequent changes in tempo and his own sublime keys work, before delivering the stunning, piano-only lament "Shinjuku (DJ Kicks)". He dons his familiar Henry Wu alias to lay down the squelchy deep house hypnotism of "Wivout U" - a track seemingly created for the "We Out Here" festival - before reverting to jazz-funk/jazz-fusion mode on ear-catching closing cut "Strings (ATL)". In a word: delicious.
Review: K7 have looked all the way to Mumbai, India for their latest signing, snapping up this five-tracker from Sanaya Ardeshir, whose previous credits include an EP for Wind Horse and a remix for George Fitzgerald. 'Eleven Eleven' itself blends downtempo, dreampop, 60s psych and broken beat influences, and is supplied in vocal and instrumental mixes. Elsewhere on the EP, 'Shift' and 'Glock' have an ambient jazz kinda feel, while 'Ever Bridge' sounds like it was written to soundtrack a movie scene where the protagonist stares moodily out of the coffee shop window on a grey, rainy Tuesday afternoon.
Review: Bonn based Dominik Eulberg made his name in the mid noughties with some seminal releases during said era's minimal boom over a decade ago on labels like Trapez, Cocoon and Traum Schallplatten - being a stalwart of the latter with a couple of dozen releases for them over the years. Eulberg has mainly appeared of late on his own imprint Apus Apus but finds time for a rare outing outside of it for the revered Kompakt imprint based in nearby Cologne. Dominik Eulberg presents two choice cuts from his forthcoming fifth studio album entitled Mannigfaltig: a burning plea to preserve the breathtaking biodiversity of nature. It's classic Eulberg all the way, from the slow burning and evocative groove experience that is "Goldene Acht", through to the uplifting tones of "Neuntoeter" with its intricate layers of bell tones that soon give way to a brooding stromp for the main room.
Review: On the latest instalment of the long-running DJ-Kicks series, Peggy Gou paints a vivid picture. It starts with the widescreen ambience of Space Time Continuum's 1993 debut, "Fluresence", before moving into her own, cosmic "Hungboo" and the niggling acid of Pearson Sound's "Earwig", a contemporary cousin to Plastikman's Musik. There are other endearing oddities here, such as Andrew Weatherall's seductive house version of Sly & Lovechild's "The World According To..." and the raw drums of Kyle Hall's "Flemmenup". Gou has also included a Detroit techno classic, Psyche's "Crackdown", but balances this out with new, unreleased tracks from I:Cube - "Cassette Jam 1993" sees the maverick French producer deliver a frazzled, hazy affair - and Hiver's pulsating, acid-flecked "Pert".
Review: A taster from Peggy Gou's contribution to the DJ Kicks series, this split release showcases the range and breath of her selections. On one end of the spectrum there's I:Cube's "Cassette Jam 1993", where the maverick French producer delivers a frazzled, hazy groove that bathes in a mellow glow and is made even more trippy thanks the use of some indistinct vocal samples. At the opposite end sits Hiver's "Pert", where the Italian pair loop a pulsating, acidic groove to infinity and beyond. Gou's own contribution is very much at the mellow end of the scale: "Hungboo" is led by cosmic flutes, organic beats and some cosmic Asian vocals.
Review: Red Axes continue to roam the world, stopping off in studios and colleges in far-flung locations to collaborate with local musicians and pass on advice to students. This time they're in Vietnam, offering a second volume in their "Trips" series packed full of exotic, cross-cultural treats. They begin with the spacey dub disco shuffle of "Ho Chi Min", where ear-catching Vietnamese vocals and South East Asian string instruments ride a chunky groove, before stripping things back on the bass-heavy late night exoticism of "Hanoi". "Phu Quok" sees them brilliantly chopping up, mangling and manipulating vocals and snaking solos over a druggy groove, while "Hue" is warm, deep, groovy and almost Balearic in its' deliciously loved-up way.
Review: Over the course of numerous albums and Eps, Laurel Halo has made a name with her experimental, uncompromising take on electronic music - can she do the same with her DJing? Listening to this, the 68th instalment of DJ-Kicks, the answer is a resounding 'yes'. It moves from the abstract chimes of her own "Public Art" to the bruising rhythms of Stallone the Reducer and Red Axes' low-slung electro into the next-wave Detroit techno of Fit Siegel and the bleary European sound of Dario Zenker, representing here with "Koraimer Bro". However, Halo is also aware that to understand where electronic music is going to, you must first understand its past - and the inclusion of tracks from Jeff Mills' Final Cut band and Blake Baxter's catalogue showcases her deep knowledge and passion.
Review: It's time to dive deep into the realms of experimental tech on this one as we are introduced to this hard hitting four track compilation from the K7 imprint, showcasing 4x4 creativity at its very finest. We kick off with Laurel Halo's fabulous 'Sweetie', a moody rolling tech adventure, packed with percussive melodics. Next, Ikonika returns with her OG mix of 'Bodied' which plays off both grimey and techno themes, followed by the hypnotic synthesizer ramblings of 'Cricoid' from Rrose. Finally, it gets very tribal indeed as Nick Leon ventures forth with the Amazonian rhythms and rhythmic twists of 'Pelican Dub'.
Review: We've been saying for years that what the dance scene needs is more nouveau funk tracks named after large felids, and now young UK singer-songwriter James Alexander Bright duly obliges with 'Tigers Roar' and 'The Panther'. The title track comes on like the result of an unholy three-way between Amp Fiddler, chart-friendly pop-funk as pedalled by the likes of Bruno Mars and 70s yacht rock, while 'The Panther' takes a more experimental approach, and sounds like something that might have emerged from the axis around the likes of Flying Lotus and Thundercat.
Review: Following his three artist LPs for Nina Kraviz' Trip label back in 2018, Bjarki delivers his fourth artist album on K7. Like his previous output, Happy Earthday focuses on his unique interpretation of the sound of 90s UK labels like Skam and Rephlex. There's the down tempo, Wagon Christ-esque beats of "Alone In Sandkassi" sitting beside the hyperactive break beats of "( . )_( . )" and the haunting, Aphex Twin-like "AN6912", while "Bheiv_sheep" sees him emulate the glitchy, hop-hop of Autechre around the time of Tri Repeate. Earthday is an occasionally brilliant ride through the golden period of UK electronic music, realised through the lens of Iceland's most eccentric producer.
Review: The latest installment in !K7's esteemed DJ-Kicks mix series is by Brighton based Leon Vynehall, following up 2018's acclaimed album Nothing Is Still on Ninja Tune. Although this edition presents the unmixed tracks, his aim was to approach it more like a compilation rather than a standalone mix anyway - one that blurs the boundaries between genres. Features highlights and exclusives by the likes of: Ploy who delivers the hypnotic and bass-driven techno of "Pressure", the deeply flanged tribal funk of Pavillion's "Happy Track" or the breakneck IDM shenanigans of the AFX classic "Children Talking" and not forgetting two evocative and sensual cuts by Vynehall himself.
Review: The last commercial mix that Robert Hood did back in 2008 for Fabric re-ignited his career. Appearing at the tail end of minimalism, its hard-edged sounds provided a welcome relief to the prevailing sound. A decade on, the 66th DJ Kicks finds the Detroit artist once again in firing form. "Focus" signals his intent with its massive siren riff and pounding drums, while "Clocks", which builds and builds to electronic bee swarms, shows that he has lost none of his minimal techno firepower. Sure, there are other fine contributions, like Truncate's sheet metal banger "Terminal 5" and the shadowy riffs of Marcel Fengler's "Thwack" - itself a paean to Dr Motte's "Der Klang Der Familie" - but like the Fabric selection, this instalment of DJ Kicks is all about Robert Hood.