DJ Kicks continues its mission 'to supply mixes designed for home stereo use as well...
Jack Smith 2003
Launched in 1995 by the influential German !K7 label, DJ-Kicks' ethos was "to supply mixes designed for home stereo use as well as for the dancefloor." Mixmag even went as far as proclaiming the imprint that has subsequently released sets by Carl Craig, Smith & Mighty, Tiga and CJ Bolland, as "the most important DJ-mix series ever"; high praise indeed in this overly saturated compilation market.
Chicken Lips are the latest deemed most worthy to follow in the wake of such esteemed music visionaries with their equally abstract mishmash of influential sounds and styles. At its best they uncover many near-forgotten memories from days of yore. At the other end of the spectrum there are times when there's a race to find the remote to skip to the next track - the yodelling "African Reggae" by punk high priestess Nina Hagen too horrid for words.
But the minuses are outweighed in the main by a style that boarders on dubbed-out abstract New York disco made famous by the likes of such influential deck generals as Francois Kevorkian and Larry Levan in the early '80s. Lola's kitsch "Wax The Van", Gwen Guthrie's Sly & Robbie-produced sparse smooth disco (recreated by Levan) on "Seventh Heaven" and the Paul Simpson Connection's experimental house offering "Treat Me", just three rarely-compiled groundbreaking releases.
Indeed, many of the 21-tracks featured helped to fuel Manhattan's burgeoning dance scene in the era. From the funk of Jellybean's Fun House classic, "The Bubble Bunch" by the eccentric Jimmy Spicer, to the hi-nrg of Sharon Redd's seminal recording high, "Beat The Street".
Andy Meecham, Dean Meredith and Steve Kotey, the trio who make up Chicken Lips, may now be influencing the next generation of breakbeat producers, but their roots are clear for all to see. And, whilst perhaps a little too esoteric for mainstream tastes, this will nonetheless help keep the DJ-Kicks brand at the forefront of its market.