K7’s DJ-Kicks series celebrates seventeen years of mixtapes with a collection of the best exclusives from participating artists. A distinguishing facet of this DJ mix series, and one that has floated Kicks above the horde of mixes and podcasts growing exponentially every day, is !K7’s requirement for their invited curator to provide one original track not available anywhere else. Over the years, [lastfm]Four Tet[/lastfm], [lastfm]The Juan Maclean[/lastfm], [lastfm]Hot Chip[/lastfm], and so many more talented producer/DJs have contributed quality exclusives that deserve another spot in the limelight. Fittingly, DJ-Kicks: The Exclusives breathes new life into thirteen tracks taken from artists as far ranging as [lastfm]Henrik Schwartz[/lastfm] to [lastfm]Scuba[/lastfm], a must for fans of club-oriented electronica.
On the surface, The Exclusives compiles a label’s greatest hits into one retrospective, a concept as generic as they come (R&S, Brainmath, Hessle Audio, and Hotflush all released similar comps in 2011). K7 is not a home for original music, and DJ-Kicks releases are mixtapes, not albums; considering this raises the concept at work. What we’re listening to our songs produced in the mindset of a mix, not a single, EP, or full length. Invariably the songwriting process skewed itself not only to the dancefloor (not uncommon for the majority of producers listed), but to an overarching theme built by the music of others. Four Tet’s “Pockets” feature trademark Hebden flourishes, “My Piano” Hot Chip’s love for sawtooth synths and smooth vocals, Chromeo’s penchant for 80’s slow jam sensibility, and so on; testaments to the signature sound of every producer behind a DJ-Kicks mix.
Though listening through The Exclusives feels as disjointed as most every compilation album, overall it proves at least this: K7 Records sure knows how to pick ‘em.
DJ-Kicks: The Exclusives (!K7)
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1. Four Tet – Pockets
2. Henrik Schwarz – Imagination Limitation
3. Hot Chip – My Piano
4. Chromeo – I Can’t Tell You Why
5. The Juan MacLean – Feel So Good
6. Holden – Triangle Folds
7. Kode9 – You Don’t Wash (Dub)
8. Apparat – Sayulita
9. Soul Clap – Lonely C feat. Charles Levine
10. Motor City Drum Ensemble – L.O.V.E.
11. Scuba – M.A.R.S.
12. Gold Panda – An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds
13. Photek & Kuru – Fountainhead