It’s time again for DJ-Kicks, this time with Aus Music and Simple Records owner, Will Saul. Having completed a fresh debut album under his alias name, Close, he is now ready to join the !K7 legacy. Being the head honcho of two record labels, Will Saul has had the benefit of drawing on rarely heard talent like Komon and Sei A for his DJ-Kicks. Will hopes that his use of exclusive tracks will allow him to craft an experience that draws upon his favorite artists, and captures a sense of mystery as he flows from one track to another.
The album kicks off with a collaboration between Will Saul and one of his signed artists, Komon, on a track called “Bendy”. The track, with its long notes and pitch bends, ease you into the experience. The transition between tracks begins early and often bleeds deep into the next track. This at times cuts tracks short and has you listening to the next track half way through the current one, but this is only a small gripe. The long transitions actually make multiple tracks flow together in a very cohesive, and very organic sounding manner. However, these long transition periods do tend to get dull right before you get hit with something interesting.
Before you know it, your curiosity will be peaked when the first three tracks slip by under your nose and “Tozai” by Joe Gray elevates the experience with complex deep bass notes climbing up and down in a trance inducing melody. There’s isn’t much more going on in the track beside glistening sound effects in the background, but it’s a fantastic start to a album with many ethereal sounding tracks.
In an interview with DJ-Kicks, Will said that his aim is, “…a mix that rekindles the thing I loved about listening to mixes 20 years ago – that unknown aspect where each new track is a surprise.” While the mix is filled with many wonderful surprises like Jabru’s “Church” and Sei A’s “Reserve” (to name only a couple), there is quite a bit of dull time leading up to each suprise. Tracks like “Birds” or “Time” are enjoyable, but once you know what’s waiting for you next, it’s tempting to hit skip. To be fair, though, the album seems to be structured to give your head a rest and pace out the album.
Once you get past what may well be the downfall of this album; “Dubbel” and “JTR”, two songs that are painfully boring and out of place: You will find yourself listening to the most brilliant transition on the entire album. October’s “KR-100 Dub”, a fairly simple deep bass track, making a long and slow transition into David Clement’s “Follow”. Instead of just cutting off the previous track as the current one begins, “KR-100 Dub” plays way into the first verses of “Follow” and seamlessly becomes part of the instrumentals until the climax dismisses it. If your not paying attention you will probably miss it entirely.
From here the album cruises to a finish with a few old school sounding tracks exclusively for Will Saul’s DJ-Kicks that fire up that sense of nostalgia, like “Nova” and “Baseball” as well as spacey tracks with gorgeous synths sandwiched in between like “Ethereal Techno Music Will Never Die” and “Wanting Needing”.
It’s hard to decide whether or not this album was an absolute smash hit, or just done well. There are many beautiful tracks lined up perfectly to flow together and create something greater than their sums. There is also an unnegligible amount of time that you will be waiting to hear another genius line up of hit tracks. Still, the good outweighs the bad where you might be willing to skip portions of the album and enjoy the parts that really came together!