Album Review | Photek | DJ-KiCKS + mp3


Dub•step \ dub-step \ n + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb

Admittedly, I wasn't as excited about the idea of a Photek DJ-KiCKs as I found myself in actuality, after hearing it for the first time. Though I'm aware of the reverence he's held in by diehard drum 'n' bass fans, which immediately commands respect from me as well—it's not easy to have a career in electronic music that spans more than one decade—I've clearly never paid as much attention as I should have. All of the musical signifiers generally assigned to Photek's music even resonates strongly with me: deep, atmospheric, ambient. 

This would explain my obsession with this mix. In just over an hour he touches on spacey disco (Hot Toddy remixed by Morgan Geist), eerie techno (reaching back into the '90s with Baby Ford) and the murky realm of today's bass music scene with shuffling groovers from Sepalcure and DJG. Then there's his own personal contributions. Oh, how we can't neglect to mention those. These are a large part of the reason respected culture houses like XLR8R have been salivating over this release since the second it was announced back in January. 

There's the mesmerizing acid of "M25FM," a collabo with new-found production partner Pinch. There's the warm, jazzy-inflected dubstep-not-dubstep of "Levitation". And there's his exclusive contribution to the mix, "Fountainhead," which I've already gone to lengths to rinse wherever I can fit it into a mix. I may have slept on Photek's early-Aught hey day, but the sheer weight of new original material on here—reinforced by an impeccable selection of simliarly-vibed mix mates—has me paying attention now. And from the looks of things, his career won't be dying down anytime soon.

About three-quarters of the way through this essential listen, the words "Can't get you out of my system" come wafting out atop a bed of broken beats, frantic bleeps and bright chords. For me, this is a sentiment that rings true of this mix from start to finish.

— Joshua P. Ferguson

DOWNLOAD: Photek "No Agenda" | 320 mp3 (courtesy of XLR8R magazine)


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