The DJ Kicks series of releases from !K7 Records has previously featured an impressive roster of talent: Gold Panda, Chromeo, Hot Chip, Four Tet and Annie have all contributed to the series in the past, and now it’s the turn of German electro duo Digitalism. But, I hear you cry, is it any good? Well it’s definitely not bad.
Digitalism have amassed a number of contributors for the record: French DJ Alex Gopher and Danish band WhoMadeWho, and features remixes of such diverse acts as The Rapture, Surrender!, and Gai Barone. Even though some of these names may be unfamiliar, the tracks they’re involved in are all pretty interesting. Alex Gopher’s track ‘Brain Leech’ is an out-and-out summer pop track complete with shimmering guitars and sing-along chorus, while WhoMadeWho’s contribution, ‘The Sun’, is a Friendly Fires-esque dance track that, again, bursts with sunshine. And summer vibes are certainly the dish of the day on this record. Don’t be surprised if your hay fever starts acting up.
Seeing as this is their compilation, it’s no surprise that Digitalism crop up with a few tracks, as well as a few remixes, of their own. On the remix front, the duo’s remix of Gai Barone’s ‘Alicudi’ is massive, with Ibiza synths and a real trancey atmosphere, and the remix of The Rapture’s ‘Sail Away’ has a bit of the LCD Soundsystem about it – properly modern dance music.
As you might expect, their own material is similarly inclined. ‘Fallin’ sits somewhere between Does It Offend You, Yeah? and more middle of the road Metronomy, while ‘So Totally Good’ is, while not totally good, certainly not bad, although it doesn’t really amount to anything more than a fairly straightforward dance track. But album closer, ‘The Pictures’, on the other hand is a screeching, repetitive ode to nothing that ends the record on an oddly misjudged note.
But this is the problem with the vast majority of compilations: there are good tracks and bad tracks – it’s almost unheard of for a compilation to have a 100% success rate, particularly if there are twenty-two songs on it like there are here. The TWR72 track, ‘Summer’, doesn’t really go anywhere; the same can be said for Tomas Barfod’s track ‘Came To Party’. And that’s really all this record amounts to: an occasionally great, but often repetitive mixed bag.
But, to its credit, it’s never bad enough to justify turning it off. And that’s all anyone really wants from a compilation, right?