Music Reviews

Kid Loco

DJ Kicks

Studio K7

Studio K7’s DJ Kicks series has been called “The most important DJ Mix series ever” by UK magazine Mixmag . Launched in 1995, it is without a doubt the most successful mix CD series in the short history of electronic music. After a brief stint into the realm of Detroit techno, releasing CDs by such pioneers as Claude Young, Stacey Pullen, and Carl Craig, the DJ Kicks series took a turn into the blunted realm of downtempo (the style formerly known as trip-hop). Artists such as DJ Cam, Kruder and Dorfmeister, Thievery Corporation, Smith and Mighty, Rockers Hi-Fi, and Terranova have all done mixing time for DJ Kicks .

This version, from the French downtempo master Jean Yves Prieur (aka Kid Loco), is long overdue. After putting out a slew of 12 inch singles and remixes in Europe, Kid Loco’s first album, A Grand Love Story , was released in 1997 in Europe, and due to legal matters, is not available in the United States. Since then, he has released in the United States two remix albums, Prelude to a Grand Love Story and Jesus’ Life For Children Under Twelve Inches . With this DJ Kicks album, though, Kid Loco shines as not only an incredible producer and remixer, but also a competent and intelligent DJ.

This album, like many DJ Mix CDs, is a journey. There is a definitive beginning, middle and end. It starts with a bit of an Indian feel with the song “Om Namah Shivaya” by the Bill Wells Octect Vs. Future Pilot AKA, but soon moves into the realm of jazzy downtempo and hazy hip-hop, with outstanding tracks by the Cinematic Orchestra, Jazzanova, and the abstract B-boy classic “Theme from Conquest of the Irrational” by DJ Vadim. Moving into the middle of the album, “Blueski” by Underworld is a 2-minute long piece of psychedelic guitar and bagpipes, and Deepseason’s “Jesus Christ Almighty” returns to a Middle Eastern feel, mixing in nicely with “Happy Cycling” by the Boards of Canada. The beats get bigger towards the end of the album, with notable tracks by Tongue, Lisa Germano, and my favorite track, “Flyin on a 747” by Kid Loco himself rounding off the album.

All 18 of the songs on this CD stand alone as great tracks, and fit together like puzzle pieces under the hand of Kid Loco, and although the actual mixing of the songs could have been more intricate, I’m not going to complain. This album is a must for any fan or would-be fan of downtempo music.

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