Kode9 DJ-Kicks Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Consistently inventive mix from the Hyperdub head honcho.

Louis Pattison 2010

Still no sign of the long-mooted DJ-Kicks mix from Burial, who, since being outed as an ordinary South Londoner named Will in a rather dastardly move by The Sun newspaper, has reverted to type and is keeping as low a profile as he ever has.

In its place, though, comes a mix from Steve Goodman – boss of Burial’s label Hyperdub, author, university lecturer and, as Kode9, one of the most skilled and genre-unclassifiable DJ/producers the UK has to offer.

Goodman has gradually developed a sound that’s his and his only. Early releases slotted neatly into the emergent dubstep sound, but more recently his productions have been of a more singular stripe: complex drum patterns, silky, almost luxurious synthesiser, gently massaging bass.

Such an errant sound might spell problems when trying to build a coherent mix, and while Kode9’s DJ-Kicks does indeed go all over the map, it’s sequenced with enough care that shifts in style are eased in jolt-free. The first quarter kicks off on a UK funky tip, Kode9 cuts woven into tracks from fellow Hyperdub artists – Cooly G’s choppy, snare-heavy Phat Si; the smooth melodies and bubbling bass of Ikonika’s Heston – and breakout funky producer Ill Blu, whose robust Bellion is one of the mix’s highlights.

From there, the mix moves into slightly more upbeat territory – two tracks from Sticky rewire dancehall riddims in choppy, high-tempo style, while Mujava’s Pleaze Mugwanti is rowdy kwaito house crammed with vocal shouts and bashed tinpot percussion. The last third is dedicated exclusively to UK producers, taking in classic British grime and dubstep producers (Terror Danjah, Digital Mystikz) and a couple of fresh tracks from Addison Groove (aka Headhunter) and Ramadanman that fuse dubstep and the raw, ghettotech-tinged sounds of Chicago juke house.

As a mix, then, it’s difficult to categorise. But it’s consistently inventive, and as always with Kode9, rhythm – constantly mutating, but fluid, uninterrupted – is the key.

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