Songs for Endless Cities is technically a Brackles DJ mix—and the first in a new series !K7 is distributing—but in function it comes a lot closer to a greatest hits set. That means the selections are super familiar to folks who've kept an eye on the last couple years' worth of post-Hyperdub activity: Cooly G's "Love Dub Refix," Martin Kemp's "No Charisma," Zomby's "Tarantula," Deadboy's "If You Want Me," 2562's "Dinosaur" and Dorian Concept's "Trilingual Dance Sexperience" are all present and accounted for. No surprises there, or in the way they're presented, which is more "Have you heard this one? OK, how about this one?" than the kind of headlong rush a great DJ brings to the table.
One of those great DJs, most of the time, is Brackles. There are miles of pleasure still to be had from his July 2009 XLR8R Podcast. It's kaleidoscopic, fizzy, full of delight. As unfair as it may be to make the comparison between something put together for a website and an all-contracts-signed, store-available mix for which the contributors got paid, it only suggests how much further ahead the web has become, especially for this type of music.
It also shows up just how little urgency Songs for Endless Cities puts across. Sure, it's great to hear the instant-canon items named above, but they're presented here as if under glass. "Love Dub Refix" may move neatly into DJ Dom's "Sunshowers," but there's little real sense that these songs have much connection to one another, and for anyone already familiar with the component parts, nothing in the way of revelation. It's the difference between polite surface dinner party chit-chat and real conversation. A great DJ mix can put over even the tracks you don't really care for. This one has the opposite effect.