And I love to live so pleasantly / Live this life of luxury / Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Beg steal or bor­row – actu­al­ly no, scrub that – I strong­ly rec­om­mend you buy the Hen­rik Schwarz DJ Kicks mix on K7!, a label that has its moments but is also unre­li­ably patchy from time to time, as is this mix series. But this is, to turn a phrase, fuck­ing fan­tas­tic. I like it a lot.

I real­ly am not a huge fan of “mix CDs” I find most of them as dull as the major­i­ty of so-called under­ground plod­ding house. Nice­ly put togeth­er, full of for­get­table tracks, like a pass­ing blur and absolute­ly indica­tive of why house – the ordi­nary stuff that calls itself house – got so bor­ing, so passé in recent years. There are only so many form­less, vocal snip­pet loop­ing 4 on the floor noth­ings I can take, and god knows I heard enough of them on dance radio in Auck­land in recent weeks. Relent­less­ly drab face­less tracks mixed togeth­er with ten oth­er sim­i­lar tracks do not make good lis­ten­ing for any­one and are per­haps a big part of why the clubs are not so full any­more and why the records are not sell­ing as well.

And then you hear some­thing like this. Some­thing that pulls togeth­er all the strands, some­thing that realis­es that the best DJ is lit­tle more than an inspired tour guide, tak­ing you on a trip around his or her head. House music (and despite the pletho­ra – I like that word – of slow tracks here­in, make no mis­take this is ide­o­log­i­cal­ly a house album) was, like punk and every musi­cal explo­sion, about tak­ing risks. And Hen­rik, flavour of the year he may be, under­stands that and wan­ders from James Brown to Drex­ciya to Pharaoh Sanders effort­less­ly and it makes (repeat­ed and inspir­ing) lis­ten­ing sense.

And there is also the Kings of Tech­no dou­ble. Whilst the Carl Craig trib­ute to the Euro­pean elec­tron­ic her­itage is a near per­fect track list­ing, he, again marrs it with sil­ly talk­ing over tracks, although it’s nowhere near as annoy­ing as when he allowed it to wreck his recent-ish Fab­ric album. I think Carl, sad­ly has reached a point where no-one is will­ing to tell him the truth. It’s a shame but this album is more than res­cued by the Lau­rent Gar­nier paean to Detroit. Just lis­ten to the way he grinds from ADULT’s Don’t Talk into the open­ing chords of No Fun (yes, The Stooges – this about Detroit and almost every act on here is as punk as it gets), and then slips effort­less­ly into Jeff Mills. And Alice Coltrane into a majes­tic live take of Under­ground Resis­tance’s Ama­zon is utter­ly inspired.

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