When Andy Butler—essentially the locus around which the sprawling Hercules and Love Affair collective of collaborators and artistic associates cluster—spoke to EB last month, he talked of the paralysis of choice surrounding how to approach his DJ Kicks compilation. He felt the need, the brand spokesperson’s impulse, to sell every facet his product: gay, obscure, intelligent, fun—to chisel the band down into its component influences, and these influences into records that could fit together in a kind of 90-minute capsule manifesto. This deconstructionist approach is one that works particularly well for a commercial mix album, providing context, footnotes and further reading where mixes available online, often club sets or otherwise dashed off as an appeal for coverage and content, deal in the here and now, released amidst the feverish white noise of “TRACK ID?!!?!?!” But really, when you’ve got one eye on the DJ box and one eye on the box to tick, you have to wonder: how fun can DJing by Post-It note ever really be?
Thankfully, Andy Butler’s stab at a DJ Kicks feels more akin to a psychic topography, on which Butler plots his own dance epiphanies. With an inherent love for these records, which of course is traceable in his bands own stringent purism, the mix feels buoyant, graceful, reverent. The set rarely wavers from the early 1990s sweet spot, with the earliest track Rhythm Mode :D’s “Can You Feel It (Reach the Top)”—from 1988—lending the mix a raw grain right from the beginning. While there are departures into 2012, including exclusive H&LA track “Release Me”—an warm, piano-laced track that possesses the kind of robustness that would have rendered it a Hacienda classic—they execution is so faithful to the period they’re emulating that the gulf between the periods is experienced with nary a kink.
Of course, the retromanic nature of 2012’s house music obsession goes some way to making this set feel strangely vital. There’s no doubt that Hercules and Love Affair’s yen for post disco revivalism is a comfortable fit in 2012. Indeed, this installment of DJ Kicks consistently feels like a sonic Cliff Notes for the errant VHS-saturated time-tourist or disillusioned bass producer; the moment the clipped undulations of Fax Yourself’s “Strut Your Techno Stuff” folding into the glassy synths of the dub version of Klubb Kidz “Don’t Want to Hurt You” feels so perversely 2012 that you feel a touch of ego death coming on. And while Butler excavates the glassy timbres and tunnelistic impulses of acid in the third act with Mark Imperial’s “The Acieed That Ate New York” it’s executed with measured poise that marks Butler out as someone who intuitively knows how dance history slots together. This is, of course, where Hercules and Love Affair differ from, say, anyone on 100% Silk or My Love Is Underground’s roster: they maintain a fidelity to the source material that borders on obsessive. This may appear unintriguing to the dilettante or experimentalist, but it makes for one sleek as hell mix.
There remains the question of why you would shell out on a commercial mix when the internet is groaning under the weight of mixes you’ve already bookmarked, but that’s something to turn over during your own dark night of the soul. For now this mix certainly does what Butler set out to achieve, without any sense of over thought or strain: gay, obscure, intelligent, but most, most of all, it’s a lot of fun. ~
You can win two pairs of tickets to the forthcoming EB Presents Hercules and Love Affair Soundsystem in Zagreb and Warsaw by entering the form below. UPDATE, December 5th: Competition is closed, winners (Ana R., Michał G., Vedrana M., and Jelena M.) have been notified. Buy your tickets here.
The Prague-based label AMDISCS is, like its umbrella organisation the AM180, committed to a fierce DIY ethos and strong visual aesthetics. The label is one of their youngest of activities, which also includes the Creepy Teepee festival (read our review here), but has already carved its mark on the world’s underground scene with numerous releases.
This year’s installment of its annual compilation, A’M 2012, is a gargantuan 52-track sonic manifesto of synth-heavy, hypnagogic glo-fi fringes of ‘pop’, wyrdness and DIY dance as it stands in 2012 and beyond featuring tracks by the label’s roster including Teams, Police Academy 6, Dream Boat, affiliates such as Pictureplane, as well as promising new talent (including CVLTS, Men in Burka, Dubai, Sensible Soccers and others).
The compilation is released as a CD accompanying the Czech magazine Živel in March and a digital bonus download that also comes with covetable custom-made tees designed by AMDISCS and made by New York’s NVR MND.
Apparently, “A’M 2012? puts well being and pleasure constantly first!”, so sit back, relax, and enjoy a blissful journey into their audio pleasuredome.
!K7 are collecting together the exclusive Dj Kicks tracks from the last five years on one handy compilation. DJ Kicks has been running since 1995 and it has been de rigueur for an artist to create an exclusive track for their mix that is not available elsewhere. Recently highlights included MCDE’s ‘L.O.V.E’ and Kode9‘s ‘You Don’t Wash (Dub)’. The CD will be released in February – check out the track-listing below.
01. Four Tet – Pockets
02. Henrik Schwarz – Imagination Limitation
03. Hot Chip – My Piano
04. Chromeo – I Can’t Tell You Why
05. The Juan MacLean – Feel So Good
06. Holden – Triangle Folds
07. Kode9 – You Don’t Wash (Dub)
08. Apparat – Sayulita
09. Soul Clap – Lonely C feat. Charles Levine
10. Motor City Drum Ensemble – L.O.V.E.
11. Scuba – M.A.R.S.
12. Gold Panda – An Iceberg Hurled Northward Through Clouds
13. Photek & Kuru – Fountainhead
In 1995 Pet Shop Boys‘ released the complete-at-the-time B-sides compilation Alternative. The singles from the golden age of the pop duo’s career are considered to be classics but often the flip sides were equally good. Today, 16 years later, PSB officially announced their follow-up to Alternative which is called Format. The compilation features 38 newly remastered B-sides and bonus tracks that were originally released between 1996 and 2009 and will be released on a two disc package. Out on February 6, 2012 on Parlophone Records the collection will also feature interviews with Tennant and Lowe in an accompanying booklet by Jon Savage. Currently the Pet Shop Boys’ are working on their 11th studio album, which is due for release in early autumn next year.
Ja Ja Ja is probably best known as an established club night in London, which invites the most interesting and enthralling talent from the Nordic countries to come and show the city what they’re all about. Now the time has come for the second anniversary of Ja Ja Ja, and they’re celebrating it with a party in London and a free compilation available to stream below. We’re beyond ready for some Scandinavian music, and if you can’t make it to London, you might join us at our next Electronic Beats Festival in Zagreb, featuring the Danish alt-pop maestros When Saints Go Machine! But for now, grab the mix below. Here’s the full listing:
Karin Park – Tiger Dream (Photek Radio remix) (Sweden)
Sóley – I’ll Drown (Iceland)
Niki & The Dove – The Fox (Sweden)
Young Dreams – Young Dreams (Norway)
When Saints Go Machine – Kelly (Denmark)
Lára Rúnars- In-Between (Iceland)
Team Me – Dear Sister (Norway)
Bodebrixen – I Was Sad & You Were Lonely (Dreamtrak remix) (Denmark)
Zebra and Snake – Empty Love Song (Finland)
Hymns from Nineveh – Anywhere With You (Denmark)
Kira Kira – Welcome High Frequency Spirits United (Iceland)
Deathcrush – Lesson #2 (for Cliff Burton) (Norway)
Årabrot – Madonna Was A Whore (Norway)