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Maceo Plex – DJ-Kicks (Album Review)

Maceo Plex joins the eclectic ranks of DJs and producers on the !K7 roster for the first DJ Kicks mix of 2013. This comes off the back of a stellar year for the american who has seen releases on the likes of Crosstown Rebels, Hot Waves and of course his own Ellum Audio to name but a few.

Maceo Plex has stated that the aim of this mix is to highlight the sounds that represent the future. Ironically he turned to vinyl, the format of the past for his curation process giving this mix a supreme level of exclusivity. Currently none of these tracks are available digitally anywhere else despite having been released  up to twenty years ago in some cases. Despite ploughing history to discover the future, it’s quite clear that Maceo Plex has fulfilled his intentions. Expectations are calibrated right from the off with Monster From IDs crispy smattering of drums and cosmic grandeur preparing the listener for a journey into the deep, dark unknown lurking just beyond the present.

In the future dancing won’t happen on the floor, humans will have merged with machines to create efficient but emotional beings and all dancing will occur virtually in the central processing unit. That’s what Maceo Plex thinks anyway. His entry into the DJ Kicks series is a cerebral affair, frequently underpinned with frantic percussion and swelling bass lines but just as often interspersed with eerie sound effects and bizarre vocal snippets. This is especially prominent on TV Baby’s ‘New York Is Alright’ as the line ‘if you like saxophone’ is immediately answered with a wheezing solo from said instrument, reminiscent of The Rapture’s early, awkwardly danceable, output. Techno has always enjoyed trying to freak its listeners out but there’s a delicate balance at work here; countering obscure noises with some of the most ear pleasing melodies to have ever been woven over four to the floor beats. Subtle electric guitar licks merge seamlessly with lush pads and soaring synths. Often the most enjoyable moments of this mix are when long meandering sections of tracks are allowed to play out creating a kind of fleeting bliss that’s chased away by the approach of sparse yet teeth-shattering low end.

As is customary for the DJ Kicks series Maceo Plex has created an original specifically for the release. ‘Galactic Cinema’ ups the ante slightly, a deep house bass line is embellished with the sound of huge machines malfunctioning and a saccharine-sweet vocal line that refuses to dislodge itself from your head. It’s, unsurprisingly, the focal point of the compilation but complements its neighbouring tracks in such a way so as not to feel gratuitous. The mix also features several other edits and remixes produced specifically for their inclusion.

Maceo Plex’s DJ Kicks represents an already respected DJ and producer spreading his wings. He’s subtly shifting people’s expectations and paving his way out of the current deep house scene. As a body of work it’s fantastic. It’s inventive and original whilst also exhibiting a knowledge and passion for music that stretches as far back as it does forwards. It’s diverse and it’s interesting and makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen. DJ Kicks have a reputation for picking exactly the right people to create their compilations and Maceo Plex has delivered a mix that fits the bill perfectly.

Maceo Plex – DJ Kicks (Drops April 30th)

Tracklist:
01. Monsters From ID / Spatial Lobe
02. Voice Stealer / Evaluation
03. Stingray313 / Defect
04. Mathias Schaffhäuser / Nice To Meet You (Maceo Plex Edit)
05. TV Baby / New York Is Alright (Blak Spun Mix)
06. Maceo Plex & Mark O’Sullivan / When It All Comes To This
07. Lab Insect aka Nomenklatür / Oh Happy Day (Maceo Plex Edit)
08. Kimbu Kimra / Raise The Dead (Love From San Francisco Dub)
09. Mattski / Escapism (Maceo Plex Conversation Remix)
10. Eric Volta / Rez-Shifter (Maceo Plex Remix)
11. Visnadi / Racing Tracks (Indianapolis Drive Mix / Maceo Plex Edit)
12. Maceo Plex  / Galactic Cinema (DJ-Kicks)
13. Move D / Sandmann (Maetrik Edit)
14. Zeta Reticula & Freaks / Creeps (Maetrik Fusion Edit)
15. Jaydee  / Payback (Maceo Plex Remix)
16. S.A.M. / Nangijala (Maceo Plex Reggae Edit)
17. Turner / Multiorgel (Schneider TM Mix)
18. Maceo Plex / Mind On Fire

Rating 7.8/10

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