- When Nina Kraviz first announced her DJ-Kicks last year, her idea to include a spoken word section—as she did her old radio broadcasts—rubbed some people the wrong way. In fact, a lot of things the Russian artist does, whether that's dancing behind the decks or taking a bath on camera, seem to set people off. She's a personality, sure, but the controversy belies how un-flashy her music often is. Never has that been truer than on the latest DJ-Kicks, where Kraviz finds herself in a more heady place than we might expect. It's the kind of set that would keep an afterhours at a hum more than it would kick a nightclub into overdrive. Deep, hypnotic and often sedate, Kraviz's DJ-Kicks showcases her recently-launched трип label more than it does her skills as a club DJ.
трип is pronounced "trip," as in "trippy," which should give you an idea of what to expect on DJ-Kicks. Kraviz's method is a bit unconventional: she sets down a number of long, steady anchors (including selections from трип's first release, like Exos' "Nuclear Red Guard" and her own "Prozimokampleme") and layers other tracks over them. She does it casually, as if she were flipping through records on her shelf. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Kraviz's easy pace is easy to lock into, but there are a few dry stretches that are only occasionally quenched by more attention-grabbing bits, namely from Population One and Goldie. The latter's "Truth" and its wafting David Bowie vocals sets the bar high early on, a reminder that Kraviz is an inspired crate-digger.
There's another moment like that during the mix's final stretch, when Kraviz pulls out Freak Electrique's 2003 odyssey "Parsec." Filling in all that black space with a pleasing streak of light, it keeps the mix afloat before the closing section wades back into the slate grey ambience we started out with. Both the opening and closing stretches are murky and completely Kraviz, right down to that whispering voiceover that slots perfectly into the music's drowsy decline.
But in between those strong bookends, Kraviz is less generous, only teasing at release over long, sleepy stretches. It's an unusual style that sets the mix apart, but it could also lose the attention of less patient listeners. But little about Kraviz has ever been perfect or polished, and the sometimes her rough-around-the-edges feel is part of what makes her exciting. For better or for worse, DJ-Kicks shows Kraviz at her most unconventional.
01. Egotrip - Dreamworld (Acapella)
02. Nina Kraviz - Mystery (DJ-Kicks)
03. Area - Broken Glass Everywhere
04. Prototype 909 - Atma
05. Goldie - Truth
06. Bjarki - Revolution
07. Nina Kraviz - IMPRV
08. Bjarki - Polygon Pink Toast
09. Population One - Bonus Beat w/ Flatner / Ingram Project - Da Comin' (Jay Denham RMX) Acapella w/ Parrish Smith - 1.0 / 8.0 Afrika Genocide Acapella
10. Breaker 1 2 - In The Distance
11. Steve Stoll - Pop Song
12. Bradley Strider - Untitled
13. Stanislav Tolkachev - I Will Not Pee In The Pool
14. Armando - Pleasure Dome
15. Nina Kraviz - Prozimokompleme
16. Baby Ford - 24 HR
17. Fred P - Higher Mentalism (edit)
18. Exos - Nuclear Red Guard
19. Steve Stoll - Corona
20. Freak Electrique - Parsec
21. Population One - Out Of Control (Vocal Mix)
22. Exos & Octal - Grow
23. Porn Sword Tobacco & SVN - Complaints A
24. Plaid - Oi
25. DJ Bone - The Vibe
26. Adam Beyer pres Conceiled Project - Pattern 1
27. Polygon Window - Quino-Phec
28. Nikita Zabelin feat. dBridge - So Lonely
29. Rizhome - Corridor