Will Saul - DJ-Kicks

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  • You can expect DJs to bring their A-game when they get the call to mix DJ-Kicks. !K7's long-running mix series is widely beloved. In 2013, Resident Advisor named John Talabot's beautifully Balearic edition the best mix of the year. Then, of course, there are those amazing contributions from James Holden, Henrik Schwarz, Scuba. Erlend Øye…the list of stunners goes on and on. But Will Saul is up to the challenge, and his chapter of the ongoing DJ-Kicks story easily meets the standards set by his predecessors. Saul has said the mix is a representation of his club sets, in that it's largely made up of tracks from his labels (Aus Music and Simple), his own productions and exclusives from his friends. (And when your contacts list boasts the likes of Axel Boman, Youandewan, Bicep and Sei A, why the hell not?) Throughout, an overarching feel of grandeur merges with one of intimacy—not an easy trick, but one that Saul's been perfecting throughout his career. Kicking off with the swooning, beat-free "Bendy"—made by the team of Kieren "Komen" Lomax and Saul himself—the mix begins with an aura of hazy serenity, typified by "The Visionary State," produced by Komen (again) and Appleblim. When that song drifts into the majestic deepness of Joe Gray's "Tozai," which in turn glides into the nebulous exoticism of Cottam's "Healing Process," it's sublime. After this swirling introductory passage, the mix enters a new phase, typified by Jabru's "Church"—featuring alt-soul singer Joel Culpepper, this one is graceful, elegantly rendered and fully resonant. The track weds its shivering sigh of a vocal—close-miked and sung in a whispering falsetto—to a yearning melody. Despite its relative sparseness, it's dripping with emotion. That feeling of restrained grace is one of Saul's specialties, and the tracks that follow—Leon Vynehall's melancholy "Time," for instance, or Walton's bleepy, Detroit-tinged "Birds"—carry that vibe forward. Things toughen up a bit towards the mix's finish. Bicep's "Nova" weds airy synths to a tough breakbeat, a spare, ecstatic vocal sample serving as the icing on the cake. Legowelt's "Ethereal Techno Music Will Never Die" sounds pretty much as the name implies. Gerry Read's "Baseball" is a nicely skeletal jacker. Finally, the set ends with the truly gorgeous "Oxygene" by Second Storey, all skittering rhythms and cathedral chords. There's a kind of serene stillness to Saul's DJ-Kicks; it's patiently constructed, progressing at an amble rather than a gallop. But pay attention, and you'll find a dynamic set that's expertly constructed and brimming with soul-stirring music. It's a dreamland testament to Saul's selection skills, one that deserves a close, uninterrupted listen.
  • Tracklist
      01. Will Saul & Komon - Bendy 02. Animal Hands - Beacon Island 03. Komon & Appleblim - The Visionary State 04. Joe Gray - Tozai 05. Cottam - Healing Process 06. Youandewan - Ego 07. Jabru - Church feat. Joel Culpepper 08. Lrusse - Presence 09. Walton - Birds 10. Leon Vynehall - Time 11. Will Saul & Komon - Two For One (DJ-Kicks) 12. Sei A - Reserve 13. Axel Boman - Dubbel (dub) / CLOSE feat. Tikiman - Born In A Rolling Barrel 14. Sei A - JTR 15. October - KR-100 Dub 16. David Clement - Follow Me Home (Lee Jones Remix) 17. Marquis Hawkes - Life Struggle 18. Bicep - Nova 19. Will Saul - Pedal Power 20. Legowelt - Etherial Techno Music Will Never Die 21. George FitzGerald - Wanting Needing 22. Gerry Read - Baseball 23. Escape - Flinch 24. Second Storey - Oxygene