In January it was announced that Moodymann would be the first to curate the new DJ-Kicks mix of 2016. Following his 2014 self-released album Moodymann, I knew this year was off to a good start. Originating in 1995, with CJ Bolland the DJ-Kicks compilations have been dubbed ‘the most important DJ mix series ever’ by Mixmag, hosted in the past by the likes of Hot Chip, Four Tet and my all time favorite Nightmares On Wax. Moodymann creates the 51st entry, and of course does not disappoint.
Born as Kenny Dixon Jr , his 30-track mix explores genres of jazz, disco, techno and house and is reminiscent of his 20-year career and Detroit roots. Dixon is a man of mystery, often covering his face when he plays and this album expresses this, often reworking unknown and undiscovered disco and soul rather than the well-known classics in more recent DJ-Kicks compellations.
Dixon starts with the slow, sobering and soulful Yaw’s ‘Where Will You Be’, and moves to Beady Belle’s ‘When My Anger Starts To Cry’ which is infused with slow jazz and stagnant hip-hop, such as Dopeheads ‘Guttah Guttah’. He patiently builds up across the first 15 tracks before hitting us with some classic disco reworks. Examples of this come from the late Rodney Hunter’s mix of ‘Uptown Tricks’, originally brought to us by Fort Knox Five. He slows it down with Jose Gonzalez’s ‘Remain’.
It is the mix of old and new and highs and lows that Moodymann does so well, he tells a story with his mixes infusing his ere of mystery that is both calming and disorientating whilst listening. Nothing got me dancing more on the album than the addition of ‘Disco Maniac’ by Tirogo, a short but amazing 70s classic that sums up the feel of this soulful DJ-Kicks album.
The full playlist of Moodymann's DJ-Kicks mix is available here: