- "I want to see if I can trick people into loving house music," says DFA stalwart Juan Maclean in a recent interview. There are some people, it seems, that Juan feels he's gotta trick—those, let's say, who might like a little four-on-the-floor with their indie grooves but who might break out in hives if served extended doses of straight-up house. It's fairly likely that Juan has accrued a number of such fans in the course of his eccentric career path from the noisy synth-rock of Six Finger Satellite to the sizzling downtown-disco style he helped pioneer during DFA's rise in late 2001. But if Juan's entry in the DJ-Kicks series is going to win over any hearts and minds, it's not going to be on the level of trickery, because there's nothing tricky about it: It's a thoughtful, lively house mix from a long-time devotee who has at least temporarily shed his outlier status and embraced the genre headlong.
So forget overtures to DFA's broader indie audience: Any mix that starts out with Still Going's "Spaghetti Circus," the sort of blood-boiling burner usually reserved for peak-time, is clearly not going for a soft sell. While the selection leans towards recent tracks, the sound is classic enough that you wouldn't necessarily notice it. One of the only actual throwbacks is Armando's "Don't Take It," a dark and sexy acid jewel which Maclean lets breathe before an abrupt switch-up into his compadre Jee Day's frustratingly unreleased "Like a Child." With its whirlwind sound and spacey vocals announcing "time goes by you...like a child," the track lifts off into a psychonaut journey through the outer regions of clubland. Maclean continues to show off his range by quickly leaving the cosmos behind for the sensual, featherweight spirit of "I Know You Were Right," which recalls Mark E's famed Janet Jackson edit. The other throwback here is Theo Parrish's version of Rick Wilhite's "Get On Up," allowing those jazzy waterfalling keys to tumble over the drums not once but twice, first towards the beginning and then again near the mix's end.
Maclean's own mix-exclusive "Feel So Good" is a delight, brimming with what you might call a quintessential Gotham groove, whirling and muscular. It's invigorating, but it also acts as a bittersweet reminder of the late Jerry Fuchs, the powerhouse drummer behind Juan Maclean and LCD Soundsystem's ferocious live sets whose accidental death in a Brooklyn elevator shaft deprived the New York music scene of a singular talent. Oh, and that MIDI tattoo? Another reference to Jerry, whose passing brought the band's tour to a halt. This trip on the turntables appeared in the aftermath—born in part of mourning, and it's nothing if not a joyful, down-and-dirty invocation of rhythm. It also, God forbid, just might trick a few heads into loving house.
01. Juan MacLean - Feliz Casa (Ian Breno Dub)
02. Still Going - Spaghetti Circus
03. Andre Crom & Luca Doobie - Ebony
04. 6th Borough Project - Planets (The Revenge Lost Groove)
05. A+O - Take Me
06. Rick Wilhite - Get On Up!! (Theo Parrish's Late Dub)
07. Florian Meindl - Here Today Gone Tomorrow
08. Armando - Don't Take It (Thomos Edit)
09. Jee Day - Like a Child
10. Giom - I Know You Were Right
11. Alex Niggemann & Superlounge - Chip Chip
12. Manuel Sahagun - Pieces of Me
13. Sonny Foderra - Everybody Get on the Decks
14. Danny Howells - Laid Out (Fully Horizontal Mix)
15. Shit Robot - Simple Things (Todd Terje Version)
16. The Juan MacLean - Feel So Good (DJ-KiCKS)
17. Rick Wilhite - Get On Up!! (Theo Parrish's Late Dub)
18. Juan MacLean - Feliz Casa (Frankel's Rhodes Workout)