Scuba - DJ-Kicks

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  • It's one thing for a mix CD to put across a sense that the listener is in expert hands. There's not a second you're unaware of it during Scuba's volume of DJ-Kicks—the Berghain regular tasked himself with delivering something akin to his final set of the night at the Berlin club, which typically runs over three hours, and it's easy to hear that he's condensed a long set's progression into a CD's length. But it's another to give the impression that you're having a really good time putting all those records together, and in that sense Scuba's DJ-Kicks succeeds handsomely as well. We can imagine these 32 tracks stretched out in three hours, and we can enjoy the way they squeeze into 76 minutes equally well. Somehow, this doesn't seem commonplace, especially given the recent spate of podcast and web-available "flurry-mixes," which put so many tracks into such tight little spaces that it becomes a kind of can-you-top-this frenzy. Scuba doesn't seem like he's in a particular hurry; he keeps things moving for sure, but he creates a flowing line rather than a blip-fest, even as his selections vary widely in tone, attack and flavor. Still, there's a thread of unease in my enjoyment. Whatever the varied lineages of the tracks on offer here, their beats line up so seamlessly that those differences seem like matters of small degree, rather than the enjoyable clashes that have been so attractive about much of the last few years of dubstep-related DJs' genre-mixing. It's there right at the top: After some leadoff atmosphere from Sigha, Surgeon's "The Power of Doubt" creeps up, its slow-building intensity offset just right by the limpid synth and insistent subs of "For Tonight," by D-Bridge. It's the next step after the SCB 12-inch on Aus and the Back & 4th comp—the point where excitement gives way to neatness. There are neat percussive touches on some of these tracks: the clanks running under Peverlist's "Sun Dance," the reverse-run kick drum in the breakdown of Addison Groove's purple-synth-dancehall "An We Drop," the yelping syn-tom of Jon Convex's "Streetwalk." But the dark intensity of last year's Sub: Stance mix has lightened considerably here—the neat segue of "Streetwalk" into the bubbly, electro-lined "Don't Walk Away with My Love," by Mr. Beatnick, tells the tale. Even Sex Worker's semi-ghostly cover of Corona's "Rhythm of the Night"—the mix's selection from L.A.'s Not Not Fun—seems less spectral here. (Especially against Corona's original, which I love.) I hope Scuba doesn't get too maximalist, but he wages a good argument for being one here.
  • Tracklist
      01. Sigha - HF029B2 02. Surgeon - The Power of Doubt 03. DBridge - For Tonight 04. Badawi - Lost Highway (Incyde Remix) 05. Peverelist - Sun Dance 06. Until Silence - The Affair 07. Addison Groove - An We Drop 08. Roska - Leapfrog 09. Trevino - Shorty 10. Beaumont - CPX11 11. Function - Two Ninety One 12. Braille - Breakup 13. Quest - Everybody in the Place 14. Sigha - Let Me In 15. George FitzGerald - Shackled 16. Jon Convex - Streetwalk 17. Mr Beatnick - Don't Walk Away From My Love 18. Boddika - Acid Battery 19. Marcel Dettmann - Captivate 20. Arkist - Rendez-Vous (SCB Edit) 21. Locked Groove - Drowning 22. Recloose - Tecumseh 23. Sigha - Where I Come To Forget 24. Sex Worker - Rhythm of the Night 25. Scuba - M.A.R.S. 26. Jichael Mackson - Gedons 27. Rivet - Running S 28. Recondite - Backbone 29. Ludovic Vendi - Mental Bright 30. Rivet - Slant 31. Scuba - Adrenalin 32. Sepalcure - Inside