Despite what a novel idea DJ-Kicks seemed at its onset, it has not always been the earliest adapters. Scotland-born, London-based Kode9 becomes the first dubstep producer to curate a DJ-Kicks compilation. This makes it seem like the entire genre is riding on Kode9’s shoulders. Luckily the producer has the chops to shoulder the burden. As the owner of Hyperdub, Kode9 has been responsible for releasing some of the most popular dubstep of the last half decade. Hyperdub’s releases include Burial, Zomby, and Joker.
As maybe expected, many of Hyperdub’s artists appear on Kode9’s DJ-Kick‘s compilation. Although it is unfortunately that Burial is not featured, other Hyperdub artist like Ikonika, Cooly G, The Bug, Scratcha DVA, and LD are included. Non-Hyperdub artists featured include Aardvarck, J*Davey, and Terror Danjah< among others. For those at all unfamiliar with dubstep, Kode9 provides a nice genre overview while delivering a high energy cohesive mix. The compilation mixes vocal with instrumental dubstep creating a consistently interesting listen where an all instrumental mix might get a little boring. There is a really odd R&B break towards the end of the compilation. Back-to-back tracks of Morgan Zarate and Rozzi Daime really slow down the album considerably. The only other disappointment on the compilation is it features just one exclusive track. Kode9 created "You Don't Wash (Dub)" specifically for this compilation. The track switches between very traditional dubstep drum programming and trance like keyboards. The trance parts almost sound like the Darude of dubstep while the other parts are simply barren drums. The contrast between the two parts make for an interesting listen, although it is far from Kode9’s best work.
Overall, I think Kode9’s DJ-Kicks is most powerful for listeners who are unfamiliar with dubstep and would like to become better acquainted with the genre. The compilation features some of the biggest names in the genre as compiled by the one of dubstep’s figureheads.