!K7 Records is releasing their forty-eighth installment of DJ-Kicks with German dance trio, Brandt Brauer Frick, at the reins. If you have not heard of DJ-Kicks before it is a series of mix albums, each put out by an artists or group a under the !K7 label. The DJ-Kicks series also comes with a bit of legacy, this being the nineteenth year since the start of the series in 1995, and is considered to be “the most important DJ-mix series ever” by Mixmag.
So who is this next group of artists that are about to leave their mark on dance music history? You may know Brandt Brauer Frick for their work in mixing classical with techno in their album You Make Me Real and then mixing classical yet again with club, including a live ten-piece ensemble for their album Mr Machine.
While this installment of DJ-Kicks has little resemblance with their backlog, it does share the approach that Brandt Brauer Frick likes to take when composing dance music; that is a constant human element in conjunction with a machine rather than a ridged computer controlled sequence. The trio mixed live and loose, taking the idea of the human element to heart, and recorded the album in one session outside of their studio at the Watergate club in Berlin.
Because of this processes, the group acknowledges that there were some mistakes and rough transitions and even capitalize on it as part of the human element they want to capture in their mix. Personally, the quality of the transitions never took me out the experience allowing me to focus mostly on the selection and sequence of the tracks.
The trio wasted no effort in curating tracks for their mix. listening through the 25 to 30 tracks that each member brought to the table, they unanimously agreed on the tracks they wanted use. Some tracks were edited to extend outro’s for example and they even had several dub-plates made for tracks that were not yet available on vinyl.
Some of the tracks in the mix like “Better Change Your Mind” and “Transition” by, Galaxy 2 Galaxy, have a message in the vocals that are political and about the human condition to which Brandt Brauer Frick feel to be true about the world. In the case of “Transitions”, they strongly feel that message is very important to what they do when it comes to “mixing this with that.”
The album ranges from trippy, experimental sounds like Inkswel’s “Australaborialis” to a more down tempo trance like “Rollercoaster” by, Dollkraut, and even some standout tracks like the previously mentioned “Better Change Your Mind” by William Onyeabor, that is famous funky track from the 70’s.
There is a wide variety from old classics, to tracks made for the album that were fresh out of the cutting room. However, there is an overall old school house feel, whether the track leans more towards acid or deep, it doesn’t quite feel like the contemporary, high fidelity, house that many of us are used to. This has lead me to wonder how many people would seek out this album on it’s release date. Nonetheless it is a very well selected, and well mixed album that any techno guru would appreciate listening too and it may even be a good introduction to the DJ-Kicks series.