’Twas professed that Matthew Dear had the DJ-Kicks series locked down for 2017 (review HERE), but Kompakt’s Michael Mayer is now running him close. Voyaging on a wing and a prayer through the looking glass made out of shattered glitterball mirrors, the European dance titan sculpts a fantasy electro-house sequence out of dry ice, mixing dancefloor form and function, line and length with pop pizzazz that has characterised Mayer’s storied recording and mix series career. Do not confuse with Michael Myers, though stomach-flipping is evident amongst twirl and twizzle bordering on the theatrical.
The mix’s centrepiece electrifies like a fork of lightning after bobbing along in a serene afro house tide, feeling its way towards land and in no way foreseeing the storm clouds of Justus Köhncke’s ‘Feuerland’. Alter Ego’s ‘Gary’, an 8-bit thunderbolt with Gary Numan-trained droids clapping in time, ushers in the amazing Mayer remix of Kaspe Björke & Sisi Ey’s ‘Apart’, the vocal turning the theme of falling in love with a starship trooper into a decadently-edged disco saga of Romeo & Juliet pathos.
Mayer intercepts a potentially massive comedown afterwards with synth shimmers pushing energy to the brink of epic in the face of heartbreak (Ratcliffe’s remix of Throbbing Gristle). Grand chord and string arrangement on Röyksopp’s dancefloor ignition of Mekon’s ‘Please Stay’ can’t lose, as the mix’s synching of the kitsch takes flight like Stardust’s glider. Then getting low, elusive and dangerous, Boreal’s deep house trap ‘Canopy Target’ reduces the emotion of tracks past to a dot in the distance.
Returning to an optimistic ascent for the mix’s remainder before safely docking with Idioma and a Moderat remix of Jon Hopkins, Mayer again plays to grandiose levels of sensitive spectacle without over-blowing it before the lights come back on. The German comments that the mix, where every track is allowed to virtually run the distance, is made from “a group of records that are like friends to me. All of the tracks I used went through heaven and hell with me.” The adventure through the back of the record box is well worth it.
Words: Matt Oliver
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For tickets to the latest Michael Mayer shows click HERE.