- There's a clear line between Matthew Dear's music and what he makes as Audion. Audion is for dance floor-primed house and techno, while Matthew Dear albums like Black City and Beams are trademarked by electro pop, funk and indie influences—not to mention his emotive baritone. But, for whatever name he's booked under, Dear's club sets are exercises in house and techno. Although his fabric mix as Audion was satisfying in its steely techno focus, the deep house and minimal of Body Language 7 as Matthew Dear lacked the personality of his productions.
Given the range of this work, Dear clearly has the taste to put together a diverse mix, and on his edition of DJ-Kicks, he opts to go eclectic without straying too much from 4/4 beats. The first half has the same romantic air as his albums: following Nils Frahm's opening piano piece, "Ode," the mix goes straight into Dear's swooning electro-ballad, "Wrong With Us." (Themes of love and regret extend to the voiceover on Kreon's "Silo Sol.") Other tunes toy with the sexual ambiguity Dear has himself explored. Gwilym Gold simpers "I can be your baby doll" on his and Doc Daneeka's "Lust For Sale (MGF Mix)," while the gasps and moans on Decius's "Bread & Butter" are more psychotic than sensual.
In the mix's latter section, the 4/4 beats accelerate via the sort of raucous and wonky bangers—Markus Enochson's "Hot Juice Box," Simian Mobile Disco's "Staring At All This Handle"—that spur Audion. The route he takes isn't one you'd necessarily associate with either of his aliases. There's an odd but inspired diversion through the tropical chimes of Dudley Strangeways' "Hallam" and the folk vocal of Alex & Digby's "Angolan Rumble."
Even as a mix of two halves, Dear's assured pacing means his DJ-Kicks entry rarely sounds disjointed. Two new Audion tracks near the end of the mix stand out, in ways that are both positive and negative. "Brine" and "Starfucker" are great examples of that project's big-room sound, particularly "Starfucker"'s funky wiggle. But the Audion-produced interlude that precedes it, "Live Breakdown," feels like a device to shoehorn in tracks that don't entirely fit the mix. That doesn't detract from the CD's unexpected ending, which revisits African influences via DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko's "Kumu," showing that Dear is at his best as a DJ when he puts a few twists in the tale.
01. Nils Frahm - Ode
02. Matthew Dear - Wrong With Us (DJ-Kicks)
03. Mahal - Ongaku (HVL Remix)
04. Monsieur Georget - Double Lune (Third Child Boomer Mix)
05. Kreon - Silo Sol
06. Caserta - Ricky (Thatmanmonkz Remix)
07. Gwilym Gold x Doc Daneeka - Lust For Sale (MGF Mix)
08. Smoke - Nuutri
09. Decius - Bread & Butter
10. ItaloJohnson - ITJ10B1
11. Vin Sol - Instinct (Matrixxman Remix)
12. Groovesh - Glowing
13. Duff Disco - Feed The Horse
14. Dudley Strangeways - Hallam
15. Alex & Digby - Angolan Rumble
16. Gary Sloan & Clone - Harmonitalk (Alex & Digby Edit)
17. Randomer - Rendell Pips
18. Markus Enochson - Hot Juice Box
19. Simian Mobile Disco - Staring At All This Handle
20. Pearson Sound - XLB
21. Soulphiction - Sky So High
22. Audion - Live Breakdown
23. Audion - Starfucker
24. Audion - Brines
25. DJ Khalab & Baba Sissoko - Kumu