Music

Matthew Dear: DJ-Kicks

Matthew Dear offers an accessible mix that embraces the idiosyncrasies of electronic music’s most beguiling talents.


Matthew Dear

DJ-Kicks

Label: !K7
US Release Date: 2017-01-27
UK Release Date: 2017-01-27
Amazon
iTunes

The latest edition of the long-running and critically lauded DJ Kicks series sees DJ, producer, and vocalist Matthew Dear spin the tunes that inspire him. As one would expect from a man whose output has ranged from intricate minimalism as Audion to more full-on, in-your-face techno as Jabberjaw, his selections are hugely eclectic, demonstrating the various facets of Dear as an artist. It is a fascinating mix that fully embraces the idiosyncrasies of a man who has put his heart and soul into the underground.

For fans of Dear’s oeuvre, there are three brand new and exclusive cuts from the man himself. Two under his Audion alias and one under his name. These bookend the mix and are as unpredictable as the man himself. To make things even more personal, snippets of his friends and family are diffused throughout the mix. In effect, this comes across as a very intimate set with the listener privy to Dear’s thought processes. That said, it is still very accessible. The mix can simply be enjoyed as a whole, while there are plenty of deep cuts and left-field choices to satisfy even the most knowledgeable electronic music fan.

The whole thing starts on a slightly downbeat note as he elects to begin with a somewhat mournful and introspective piece from Nils Frahm. It’s a bold move, but it works as something of a palette cleanser, setting up the first of Dear’s contributions all the more successfully. “Wrong With Us” (written in collaboration with Simian Mobile Disco) perfectly showcases his sparse, airy, and less is more approach. As ever the laid-back drawl of the vocals give the track a trippy, late night/early morning vibe. Happily, it stands up against anything else in the mix and proves to be an undoubted highlight. The lenitive atmosphere of the first three tracks, which includes the Hypnotic “Ongaku” by Mahal, suddenly gives way to a glitchy, more experimental tune courtesy of Monsieur Georget. From then on things get a lot more interesting indeed as Kreon’s jazz-tinged epic “Silo Sol” builds casually to a wonderfully distorted, malfunctioning finalé.

The sheer diversity of his choices is demonstrated by his decision to include the relatively more obscure Thatmanmonk remix of Caserta’s soul infused deep house future classic “Ricky” rather than the Deep Mix. This is seamlessly paired with Gwilym Gold & Doc Daneeka’s “Lust for Sale” with the whole mix benefiting from the introduction of Gold’s languid vocals. From there, things take a darker turn as Smoke’s almost 15-minute slow-burning dub techno “Nuutri” takes center stage. It encapsulates everything that is right about the mix as it incorporates sudden stabs of synths before shifting to gloomy, claustrophobic dub beats. After such a kaleidoscopic and epic journey, what better way to recover than with some classic acid house courtesy of Decius.

From there the trajectory is most definitely up as Vin Sol’s jittery techno gives way to Groovesh’s thumping house tune “Glowing” to get the blood pumping. The mix stays airborne but takes a decidedly stranger turn with what follows. Duff Disco provide an unsubtle, wacky mix of disco, funk, and house, building to a cry of “look at that freaky shit” before enigmatic production brothers Alex & Digby add far out, esoteric, Japanese inspired melodies. Just as things look like they can’t get any weirder, Dear drops in Gary Sloan and Cloan’s frankly batshit crazy “Harmonitalk”. It is a supremely confident and bold mid-section highlighting the ingenuity of the taste-maker behind it.


Please don't ad block PopMatters.

We are wholly independent, with no corporate backers.

Simply whitelisting PopMatters is a show of support.

Thank you.


It would have been impossible for things to get any crazier from there and, happily, Dear doesn’t even try. Instead, he drops in Markus Enochson’s banging house classic “Hot Juice Box” following it with the stern and frugal return to form of“Staring at All This Handle” by Simian Mobile Disco. It segues perfectly into “XLB” by Pearson Sound which is equally as exacting and meticulously crafted. It leaves you hanging on for the bass and boy is it worth it as it suddenly switches to an energizing pick-me-up of a tune. Soulphication keeps the pace up with swirling, distorted beats but also acts to make the mix subtly more threatening and ominous. This leaves the way clear for Audion’s two entries. “Starfucker” is a grubby tune with a dark and battered heart. It builds tension towards droney sections that buzz and hiss.

Dear still shows signs of his flirtation with German minimalism, but the tune sounds like the perfect fusion of the two distinct sides to his Audion output and it works majestically. “Brines” is a brighter affair that perfectly illustrates his ability to create beats and hooks from fractured and dissonant sounds. Dear brings the curtain down on his mix with DJ Khelab and Baba Sissoko’s Mailian infused Afro-beat in the form of “Kumu”. It’s a perfect conclusion and an appropriate tune that you can imagine listening to as the sun comes up.

This album is an inspired mix from Dear and a worthy addition to the DJ Kicks series. It is clearly scrupulously thought through but never comes across as overthought. Additionally, Dear was wise to keep his work to a minimum here. Any more and they may have overshadowed the mix as a whole and impeded on its success as, what is on here, is a triumph. It’s a classic sounding yet contemporary mix that would sound just as good at a freaky after party or in your car on the way to work.

8

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
9
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image