Music

Lone: DJ Kicks (album review)

John Bergstrom
Publicity photo via Bandcamp

More than many other DJ Kicks releases, this one comes across like a cassette mixtape, with Lone trying to get in a bit of everything he likes in under 80 minutes while giving it some sense of design and flow.

DJ Kicks
Lone

K7!

6 Oct 2017

DJ Kicks mixes are not necessarily meant for the dancefloor, or any club setting, for that matter. As its name suggests, the series is meant more as a chance for renowned DJs to share some of their favorite stuff, what they listen to and get their "kicks" from. As such, these mixes can be eclectic, unpredictable, and sometimes disjointed. The very nature of this platform and the freedom it affords have led to success, as the series has run for over two decades, becoming renowned in its own right and spawning many imitators.

British DJ Matt Cutler, aka Lone, mixed his DJ Kicks in his living room with the idea the listener would feel they were just hanging out with him, spinning some tunes. Accordingly, it makes its way through multiple styles and moods with tracks spanning several decades. It isn't haphazard, though, as it has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The overall feel is loose and chill, even when the bpms pick up.

Opening tracks on DJ mixes like this are crucial, and Lone nails his here. "Go Hawaii", a turn-of-the-millennium-vintage track from Casino Versus Japan, is a stunning attention-grabber. Over swirling synthesizer chords, a female voice talks about how "in Hawaii people will never know the joy of coming out of a six-month winter find new grass growing on the ground". Then an analog rhythm box kicks in, and the synths keep swirling. If being alone outside in the middle of a powerful blizzard or floating in the cold vacuum of space could be blissful, this is the soundtrack.

The mix quickly makes its way into indie hip-hop, first of the instrumental sort with Lone's own pleasantly slack "Brooklyn Banks", an exclusive, and then with appearances by the late rapper Camu Tao's raw "Hold the Floor" and a 1999 gem from Lootpack, "Hityawitdat". Then there's an interlude of ambience, with Lone's "Arc" coming on like a giant, glimmering sheet of ice, followed by Boards of Canada's little-heard,cerebral "Orange Romeda".

One interesting facet of Lone's <i>DJ Kicks</i> is it contains some very '80s and '90s-sounding tracks that are, in fact, new. Gnork's "U" is trippy, propulsive, trip-hop-flavored house. Though it easily could have come from a mid-to-late '90s Shadow Records compilation, the track is from 2016. Likewise, the electronic handclaps, Syndrums, and icy analog synths of E. Myers'"Untitled" and Ross From Friends' "The Outsiders" are not vintage Chicago house tracks. Neither is more than two years old. Lone himself gets in on the retro groove with the acid jazzy "Saturday Night (DJ Kicks)".

After a couple more abstract, leftfield '90s-vintage tracks, DJ Kicks – Lone ends as starkly and beautifully as it began with the mournful pitter-pattering of Radiohead b-side "Worrywort".

More than many other DJ Kicks releases, this one comes across like a cassette mixtape, with Cutler trying to get in a bit of everything he likes in under 80 minutes while giving it some sense of design and flow. It's not going to be the soundtrack to a club night, or probably not even the chillout room. But as far as lazing around Cutler's living room, or yours, it's pretty great.

Related Articles Around the Web
7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

Music

Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump Whitehouse -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

OK Go's Emotional New Ballad, "All Together Now", Inspired by Singer's Bout with COVID-19

Damian Kulash, lead singer for OK Go discusses his recent bout with COVID-19, how it impacted his family, and the band's latest pop delight, "All Together Now", as part of our Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.

Books

The Rules Don't Apply to These Nonconformist Novelists

Ian Haydn Smith's succinct biographies in Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know entice even seasoned bibliophiles.

Music

Siren Songs' Merideth Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels Debut As a Folk Duo (album stream + interview)

Best friends and longtime musical collaborators Merideth Kaye Clark and Jenn Grinels team up as Siren Songs for the uplifting folk of their eponymous LP.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1993 Comeback 'Trade Test Transmissions' Showed Punk's Great Survivors' Consistency

PopMatters' appraisal of Buzzcocks continues with the band's proper comeback LP, Trade Test Transmissions, now reissued on Cherry Red Records' new box-set, Sell You Everything.

Music

Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu the Fudgemunk Enlighten and Enliven with 'Ocean Bridges'

Ocean Bridges is proof that genre crossovers can sound organic, and that the term "crossover" doesn't have to come loaded with gimmicky connotations. Maybe we're headed for a world in which genres are so fluid that the term is dropped altogether from the cultural lexicon.

Books

Claude McKay's 'Romance in Marseille' Is Ahead of Its Time

Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.

Music

Christine Ott Brings the Ondes Martenot to New Heights with the Mesmerizing 'Chimères'

France's Christine Ott, known for her work as an orchestral musician and film composer, has created a unique new solo album, Chimères, that spotlights an obscure instrument.

Music

Man Alive! Is a Continued Display of the Grimy-Yet-Refined Magnetism of King Krule

Following The OOZ and its accolades, King Krule crafts a similarly hazy gem with Man Alive! that digs into his distinct aesthetic rather than forges new ground.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.