Release Date: Nov 12, 2013
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Techno, Downtempo, Club/Dance
Everyone who's done a DJ-Kicks mix has had their own approach to the series, whether it's the brain-fried krautrock of James Holden or the slippery, on-the-nod jams of Wolf & Lamb vs. Soul Clap. For his edition, Barcelona's John Talabot presents a kind of audio travelogue, one that took shape during his travels. It tends to function, if not far from the floor, at least at its periphery.
It's not easy to establish a distinctive voice in the realm of house music, but since John Talabot's arrived on the scene, he's done just that. The Barcelona producer's spent the last four years crafting and refining his own prismatic take on the dance sub-genre, fusing psychedelic sprawl with a sense of pop-like pacing in a way that has established his position as a crossover artist in an area of music that is typically a niche concern. Interestingly, his headier work has gained just as much, if not more, attention than his more streamlined material: "Families", his 2011 single with Los Angeles electro-pop auteur and Glasser mastermind Cameron Mesirow, may be Talabot's most pop-refined cut to date, but it's "Sunshine", the hypnotizing 2009 single that served as his breakout moment, that still stands as one of his most widely beloved tracks.
Barcelona-based beat jockey John Talabot made waves back in 2010 with disco-inspired summer jam "Sunshine" and quickly followed up its success with mid-tempo cavernous club excursion fIN. However, while his recent musical forays showcased his interest in saturated synth-pop and tropical rhythms, on !K7's newest DJ-Kicks compilation, Talabot explores how deep his deep house can go, tracing his musical lineage from the early days of Spanish techno to his current dance floor domination. Starting things off with the apathetic chug of North Lake's "Journey to the Center of the Sun," over 27 broad tracks, Talabot's mix takes listeners on an autobiographical journey that acts more as an audio appendix to his career than a traditional club set.
Given his wide range of interests, the eclecticism of John Talabot's volume in !K7's DJ-Kicks series is unsurprising. His slight stylistic switch-ups and easy transitions give the 27-track program a restlessly steady quality. Rather than make a strictly up-to-date set, the Barcelona-based producer and DJ opted to insert some older and unexpected selections, such as a 1992 one-off from Nelson "Paradise" Roman, which (perhaps with a wink) trails Motor City Drum Ensemble's "Escape to Nowhere" -- a track indebted to Lil' Louis' sleazy 1989 classic "French Kiss.
With 46 releases now under their belt in the DJ-KiCKS series, it sometimes feels that !K7 Records are basically responsible for the dance and electronic world’s version of the Now and Hits compilations. Replace the names of Little Mix and Rihanna with Caribou and Pional, and all we’re really looking at is a mix of current critically-acclaimed electronic artists with some genre classics thrown in for good measure. Close to twenty years down the line, and with a couple of releases each year, the whole thing feels a bit tired and played out.