!K7's Tapes is a mix series with a twist. The tracks are split across two notional sides—one song-driven, the other dance music—and, in the same way that C90 compilations were once a highly personal way of sharing music, so these mixes are meant to shed some light on the inner musical life of your favourite bands.
Unfortunately, all this third instalment tells us is that Oxford indie dance outfit, Foals, still have a lot to learn about mix dynamics. "It's easy to throw some random music together and call it a DJ mix, but I wanted to make something more ambitious," pledges the band's DJ, Edwin Congreave, in the press release. Yet, this often sounds very, well, thrown together. That it proceeds through a series of fading segues, blends, lingering overlays and possibly knowing homages to the pause-button edit, before settling into a period of rudimentary beat-matched mixing, is not a problem. Technically flawless DJs often create boring mixes. Not-mixing is an honourable tradition itself; and in the laptop age, Foals deserve credit for not just falling back on Ableton.
But whatever route you choose, it must work. Repeatedly, here, as tunes clash, impetus is lost and genres are rammed together, you wonder why they didn't leave it unmixed. Don't get me wrong: messy cacophony can be good. The (at times) treble-soaked, ear-bursting moves from A-to-B favoured here could be thrilling, were they to cast the competing tunes in a new light or produce a fresh thunderclap of energy, but they don't. There may be a way of getting from Nico Jaar to Dorian Concept's lunatic bass-reverberations in three songs, but this is not it.
Yes, there is the occasional arresting selection (the manic, overclocked hi-life of Konono No1's "Paradiso" for one), but for all Foals' much-vaunted eclecticism, the roll call of names that dominate the second half—Art Department, Marshall Jefferson, Julio Bashmore, Caribou—will hardly set the average Resident Advisor regular's pulses racing. Moreover, it all needs rearranging, programming, as a specialist like Diplo or Dixon might, to build and manipulate tone and atmosphere, create a narrative exclusive to this mix.
Perhaps it isn't meant for you. If you come to Foals from an exclusively indie rock perspective, this may blow your tiny mind. But if this is Foals' attempt to infiltrate clubland proper, it falls short.
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Tracklist: Foals - TapesSide A:
01. Nicolas Jaar - Variations
02. Clark - Ted (Bibio Remix)
03. Dorian Concept - Tropical Hands
04. Condry Ziqubu - Confusion (Ma Afrika)
05. The Invisible - London Girl
06. JR Seaton - Way Savvy (Gatto Fritto Remix)
07. Blood Orange - Dinner
08. Tanner Ross - B Side
09. Teengirl Fantasy - Cheaters (John Talabot's Classic Vocal Refix)
10. Chateau Flight feat. Marie Daulne - Superflight (Maurice Fulton Remix)
11. In Flagranti - Effective Placebo Affect
12. Tony Allen - Kilode (Carl Craig Remix)
13. Art Department feat. Soul Clap & Osunlade - We Call Love
14. Cerrone - Give Me Love (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
15. Arnold Jarvis - Take Some Time Out
16. Oni Ayhun - OAR003-B
17. Sepalcure - Every Day Of My Life (Jimmy Edgar Remix)
18. Marshall Jefferson vs. Noosa Heads - Mushrooms (Justin Martin Remix)
19. Julio Bashmore - Battle For Middle You (Maurice Donovan Dub)
20. Caribou - Sun (Midland Edit)
21. Konono No1 - Paradiso
22. Gospel Comforters - Yes God Is Real
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