Review: Jackmaster – DJ-Kicks

If there’s one word that most accurately describes Jackmaster’s DJ antics, it would have to be ‘unpredictable’. Whether it’s a deliciously cheesy Tweak-a-Holic set, an already cult Boiler Room b2b with Armand Van Helden, spreading Ibiza vibes with J.E.S.u.S., making everyone’s favourite end-of-the-year round-up in the form of a Mastermix, hosting a mildly drunken BBC Radio 1 show or hopping from 90s ghetto house to techno to acid in a warehouse near you – it’s fair to say that Jackmaster is a selector with a truly wide range, an enviable record collection and an insatiable thirst for digging.

It’s exactly this variety, as well as an undeniably fun personality, that has won the Glaswegian a dedicated following in the last couple of years. As a DJ who sticks strictly to DJing and doesn’t produce, Jackmaster is one of the exceptions in dance music today, but it’s also how he has become a certified expert in his craft. It then comes as no surprise that DJ-Kicks, one of the most reputable and long-standing DJ mix series, would finally give him the reigns.

So which Jackmaster do we get this time?

“The mix is influenced heavily by how I used to DJ at the first party I ever promoted, named Seismic, and another named Monox which was a straight up techno night where I was a resident from the age of 17. And although it wasn’t my plan, it turned into a kind of tribute to the cities that really formulated me as a DJ: Detroit, Chicago and Glasgow.”

In other words, if you come into Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks expecting to get the more cheerful tunes from his music library, you might find yourself slightly bewildered by what you hear. This is a club mix for the kind of club that’s actually a garage with a questionable legal status and on the wrong side of the tracks.It’s a place that goes hard.

Starting with an ambient track from Lndrcroy the mix moves into ‘MSNJ’ – an emotive exclusive from fellow Glaswegian and Numbers alumnus Denis Sulta, who makes a second appearance in the mix with ‘Dubelle Oh XX’. More exclusives come from Eliphino and Tessela, while the ‘legends’ corner is represented by names like Robert Hood, Mr. G, Mike Dunn and Ricardo Villalobos. I was stoked to hear Eli Escobar’s ‘Tension’, fittingly placed between the playful DJ Deeon/Playground Productionz rarity ‘Orgy’ and yet another exclusive, this time by Alcatraz Harry.

Did I expect this ‘kind’ of Jackmaster for a DJ-Kicks mix? To be honest, no. Am I glad I was wrong? Very much yes. Should you immediately listen to the mix (and possibly plan out your Discogs budget because you’ll inevitably want to buy a record from the tracklist)? Definitely.

Jackmaster’s DJ-Kicks is out now on !K7 Records.

Written by Raya Raycheva