- When you're one of the biggest DJs in the world, an official mix CD is as important as an artist album, especially when it's your first in almost five years. In the past year, Seth Troxler has gotten his ass back in gear as a producer, but there's been no mix album to reflect what he's doing behind the decks these days. Enter DJ-Kicks. Pairing up a selector like Troxler with !K7's legendary series has the potential for greatness, more so considering DJ-Kicks' history of encouraging DJs to try something different. For his turn, Troxler has taken a cozy approach, recording the mix in his house after a day of running errands while micro-dosed on acid. The result is a warm and welcoming session that feels neither revelatory nor especially interesting.
Even as he rose to being one of the most popular DJs in the game, Troxler has retained a remarkably weird taste in records. But you don't really get that from his DJ-Kicks. The mix begins with a selection of polite songs from Herbert, DJ Koze and Niki Nakazawa—music you could imagine hearing in the background of a dinner party. The first hint of a pulse is with Cobblestone Jazz's fidgety "Northern Lights," but it's a rocky start. He shoehorns in a bizarre rework by Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer, and then quickly brings the mood back down to candle-lit deep house, cruising through low-key tracks from Session Victim, Kerri Chandler and K Alexi. It's as if he changed his mind mid-stream about where he wanted to go.
Once Troxler pulls in Mood II Swing's classic "Ohh," the vibe is fully established: inviting, lived-in and familiar. You can hear the age on some of these records. This DJ-Kicks finds a comfy place to recline and doesn't go much further than that, as the remainder comprises older house tracks that, if not exactly overplayed classics, still feel unadventurous. Troxler's selections are enjoyable enough, so it's more that they don't offer any insight as to what makes him such a well-loved DJ. Nor does it reveal anything of his mixing style.
Since its inception, DJ-Kicks has been framed as a series tailored for home listening, instead of a replication of clubbing experiences. It's a wide-open field for DJs to operate in, and, to his credit, Troxler went all the way with the idea. He didn't merely make a mix for your living room, he made one in his living room. As the CD yawns and stretches through its closing section, my mind goes to the image of Troxler relaxing at home, listening to some of his favorite records. He's not worried about pleasing a giant festival crowd or a cramped nightclub full of fans, he's playing only for himself, and that's just what DJ-Kicks sounds like. It's nice, but it's not on par with his capabilities.
01. Niki Nakazawa - Should It Be
02. Herbert - Suddenly (Phil Parnell's Pianissimo Play Through)
03. DJ Koze - Bodenweich
04. Cobblestone Jazz - Northern Lights
05. Wolfgang Haffner - Melodia Del Viento (Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer Remix)
06. T&T Music Factory - De Natte Cel
07. Hauke Freer - XK
08. Butch - Dope
09. Session Victim - Stick Together
10. Club Artist United - Sweet Chariot (Kerri Chandler Dramatic Dub)
11. Jasper St Company - Reach
12. K Alexi - Sex-N-R-001
13. Mood II Swing feat. John Ciafone - Ohh
14. Derrick Carter - Dreaming Again
15. Byron Stingily - Why Can't You Be Real (Danny's 12" Version)
16. Vanessa McMillan - Stay With Me
17. Dean Street Crew feat. Sweet Pussy Pauline - The Credit Card (Original Tribe Mix)
18. Sun Ra And His Intergalactic Research Arkestra - Enlightenment