- Despite the gaunt, grey frame staring out from the sleeve, the sounds which lie within Apparat's DJ Kicks make for a technicolour lesson in computer music. Apparat's pedigree in electronica is second to none. The Berlin-based producer operates with fellow Germans Modeselektor as Moderat, worked with BPitch Control boss Ellen Allien on the acclaimed Orchestra of Bubbles and has also released three solo albums of his own. Apparat's mix, following in the wake of dance floor-orientated efforts from Juan Maclean, Kode9 and James Holden, explores electronic pastures less immediately concerned with making you move. As he puts it, DJ-Kicks features "good new music—music that gave me hope that there's more out there than boring minimal techno."
It begins with "Circles," a fresh production from Apparat himself, pregnant with glitches, a croon and an ominous bass thud. It sounds, like much of his solo work, as if it was conceived in the early morning half-light and sets a bittersweet mood of flickering otherworldliness. As it progresses, the mix builds from the shimmering layers of percussion and synths of Telefon Tel Aviv and Oval, to a more industrial, yet danceable landscape. Not only are the shadows of machines and buildings heard in the music, but they're also right in the titles. Ripperton's "Echocity" and Cosmin TRG's "Tower Block" both represent music at its most primeval, with the former sounding like a steelworks pounding its way through the night.
Elsewhere, Four Tet's influence is writ large. Kieran Hebden's reworking of Born Ruffians' "I Need a Life" and "Moth," the killer collaboration with fellow South Londoner Burial, subtly wind the mix out of the dream world. Vincent Markowski and his "The Madness of the Moths" uses synths and drums nabbed straight out of the DFA's studio to up the ante, while "Sayulita," another new work from Apparat, is one of the highlights and indicative of Apparat's take on electronica—a blend of warm glitches and muted guitars rise into a gentle, yet swelling crescendo.
Composed from 24 tracks, DJ-Kicks adds up to a cleverly conceived collection located somewhere within the hinterland between emotive techno, indie and dubstep. If one was to complain, you could say that everything about this mix takes itself very seriously. But, as a result, it hangs together beautifully with a blend of ebb and flow and light and dark which can't help but draw you in.
01. Apparat - Circles
02. 69 - Rushed
03. Telefon Tel Aviv - Lengthening Shadows
04. Apparat - Interlude
05. Luke Abbott - More Room
06. Oval - Legendary
07. Patrice Baumel - Sub
08. Martyn - Miniluv
09. Ripperton - Echocity
10. Cosmin TRG - Tower Block
11. Scorn - Falling (Autechre "FR 13" Remix)
12. Born Ruffians - I Need a Life (Four Tet Remix)
13. Pantha Du Prince - Welt Am Draht
14. Phon.o - Intervall
15. Burial + Four Tet - Moth
16. Vincent Markowski - The Madness of Moths
17. Ramadanman - Tempest
18. Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
19. Spherix - Lesser People
20. Oval - TV Power
21. Joy Orbison - The Shrew Would Have Cushioned the Blow
22. Apparat - Sayulita
23. T++ - Worn Down
24. Tim Hecker - Borderlands