Reviews

Various Artists

The ten-year anniversary of the DJ-Kicks series is celebrated in DJ-Kicks: The Exclusives, a scouring of Berlin's !K7 respectable back catalogue. The results deal in a getting-the-guests-in-the-living-room-stoned type of downbeat as well as in coke-fueled club-floor dry-humpers. Standouts hold down The Exclusives in the first few cuts — in the dusty jazz break shuffle of "Black Baby" from Austrian producers Kruder & Dorfmeister and in the lush trip-hop of Kid Loco's sterling "Flyin' on 747." Loco isn't alone in his French decks trickery here, as Paris native DJ Cam's "Bronx Theme" also stuns. Built on a Gang Starr sample from "The Place Where We Dwell," Cam's admiration for beatmaker luminary DJ Premier didn't begin with his shoutout to NYC in 2004's Liquid Hip Hop; it first surfaced in these morphing, piano-spiked beat changeups. Erlend ÿye's sunny "The Black Keys Work" pins his airy vocal harmony against a lifting arrangement of synths for a welcome break in the frantic electrobuzz of the Glimmers and Chicken Lips. A retrospective disc can go either way, but a compilation that looks back at such a successful stretch of mix albums stands a better chance of being filed under "pretty solid."

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Dominic Umile