DJ Kicks Album Review
DFA’s very own house obsessive has stepped forward to complete a compilation for the seminal DJ Kicks series, and he’s gone Ritalin strength single minded with it… two turntables, a tape echo and a bag of big 4/4 straight dance floor vinyl; DJing as it used to be.
Apparently in the recording of the mix MacLean agonised himself into an ‘existential tailspin’ over the relevance of recording a mix album in a world where every chancer with a laptop and at least one working limb can pretend to be a DJ. His solution was to embrace the back to basics 1210s-and-decent-tunes approach that distinguishes a real spinner from the acres of soulless mp3 blenders clogging up blog land.
Sticking largely to the latest house music the globe has to offer- with a couple of exceptions, notably Armando’s dark acid drenched 80s basement classic ‘Don’t Take It’- this mix spans all the heady variables that house can throw up in this, it’s forth decade. MacLean builds up to hard peaks, flings filtered echoing vocals around willy nilly and pulls away from precipices with techy disco basslines, sudden bursts of sweet melody and stabbing Chicago pianos. The Todd Terje mix of Shit Robot is a real highlight, working up from a stripped bass groove to a jacking acid classic riding express train hi hats.
If there’s any criticism to be levelled at the mix, it’s that there are a couple of generic moments that shuffle along looking sheepish til the next break drops- but fortunately the next break does always drop. It’s heartening to hear a mix that’s clearly been so lovingly constructed by a DJ who is deep into his representing his scene, with little compromise and lots of funk.