An impulsive, compulsive mix from one of techno’s coolest customers...
'Matthew Dear - DJ-Kicks'

Containing what the man himself says ‘is one the best techno songs I’ve ever made’ makes for an easy entry into Matthew Dear’s DJ-Kicks session. That it trails the pure muscle of ‘Starfucker’ under his Audion alias is saying something, but ‘Brines’ helps bring an impulsive, compulsive mix from one of techno’s coolest customers to a juddering conclusion.

The American’s apparitional, just-past-tipsy vocal welcomes you to the party with mix exclusive ‘Wrong With Us’, before his harlequin ear goes to work on mystical deep house vibrations, making you move to a tribal groove from two rooms away. Techno fire (Dudley Strangeways’ ‘Hallam’, Soulphiction’s ‘Sky So High'), puts its foot down without breaking stride, and plentiful funk ploughs further furrows without needing to announce itself. A twisting and tweaking levitation above a bed of nails, Dear keeps necks craned (Garry Sloan & Clone’s ‘Harmonitalk’, an electro woosh living on dry ice), as much as he puts the racing blinkers on, the mix sitting in an aura of rigid monochrome and a writhe of colours. The Nils Frahm introduction adds to the theatre while revealing little of what’s in store. The conclusion of DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko’s ‘Kumu’ hides all that’s gone before it, akin to clicking a Men In Black neuralyzer.

‘Whether you're in your car, preparing to open the club, or having a bottle of wine with friends at home, this mix is for you’ (as the press release goes) is a complete underselling of the selection’s club potency. Compared to Dear’s creeping curation of Fabric 27 and calm stewardship of ‘Body Language Vol. 7’, it’s not a soundtrack for your inner sanctuary, as inclusions of Randomer, Matrixxman, Doc Daneeka and Simian Mobile Disco (responsible for sending the mix falling down a labyrinth of booby traps when ‘Staring At All This Handle’) testify. One hopes Dear means ‘in your car, going 90mph with your full beams on’; ‘a bottle of wine turning into a taxi ride somewhere’; and ‘opening the club with a crowbar through a backdoor, ‘cos they’re at full capacity’. A mix that has 2017 in its pocket.

9/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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