Review: DâM-FunK – DJ-Kicks
Making a new album can be a daunting task, even for the most seasoned artists and producers. But while putting out your own material comes with its special set of challenges, stamping your name on a mix series is a whole different game.Not only do you have to communicate your message through other people’s music but without a live crowd, whose dance floor energy you can bounce off ideas from, the DJ mix series is an almost absolute display of self-expression and I say ‘almost absolute’ because the weight and prominence of the series itself can be perceived as a substitute for a live audience. And in the case of DJ-Kicks, it’s an audience consisting of certified musicphiles who’ve come to expect the most imaginative selections from some of the world’s most innovative musicians.
For more than a quarter of a century, DJ-Kicks has been inspiring DJs and artists to dig deep into their record collections to reveal unexpected influences, braid them with all-time favourites, and do it in such a genuine way that the listener always ends up feeling closer to the DJ than they did before they hit play.
Recent editions of DJ-Kicks releases boast the names of some of the most influential people in music today including Actress, Will Saul, John Talabot, Nina Kraviz, and wMoodymann to take the reigns – a pretty tough act to follow. Not too tough though it turns out, for DâM-FunK has joined the impressive DJ-Kicks line up with a remarkably curated mix of his own.
The Californian don of modern funk couldn’t have been a more excellent choice to take up the task for when it comes to digging deep and really knowing your music, DâM-FunK is arguably one of the savviest around. His DJ-Kicks combine ‘funk, boogie, electro, house, modern-soul, ambient tones… a push and pull of nostalgia and progressiveness…’ and span decades of quality sounds throughout its 19 tracks, all left to breathe and develop for almost their entire original Gemini’s ’97 house tune ‘Log In’ sounds incredible after Egyptian Lover’s cheeky proclamations of greatness on Uncle Jamm’s Army’s ‘84 gem ‘Dial-a- Freak’, while True Design’s ‘I Wanna Break’ immediately sent me on a mission to Discogs. DâM-FunK’s own production is present with ‘Believer’ – an exclusive new track for this DJ- Kicks edition – and ‘Can U Read Me?’ in collaboration with Nite Jewel as Nite-Funk.
Funky is the operative word for this DJ-Kicks edition and it goes beyond the musical genre itself. No matter the sound of the individual track, be it electro or disco-leaning, it’s DâM- FunK’s sophisticated selection and arrangement that makes the mix fall under the ‘Modern- Funk’ category that DâM-FunK pioneered and continues to champion. It’s an 80-minute lesson in music that you’re bound to come back to again and again, and always learn something new from every subsequent play.
01. Moon B – Oof
02. Nicci Gable – Close To Who?
03. Randell & Schippers – Love Jam
04. Verticle Lines – Theme From Beach Boy
05. Brandon – Suzy Hijack
06. Take Three – Tonite’s The Night (All Right)
07. Index – Starlight
08. Uncle Jams Army – Dial-A-Freak
09. Gemini – Log In
10. Nexus – Stand Up (Instrumental)
11. Reggie B – Poison Candy
12. L33 – Keepin It Tight
13. Gaussian Curve – Broken Clouds
14. Tony Palkovic – True To Yourself
15. Henning – Arrival / Departure
16. Nite-Funk – Can U Read Me?
17. DaM-FunK – Believer
18. True Design – I Wanna Break
19. Crystal Winds – Funk Ain’t Easy
Written by Raya Raycheva