The Wolf + Lamb stable is more like a farmyard. It's noisy. Hype, parties, forum threads, fans, more hype make for an often cacophonic experience. This has, in the main, been no fault of their own. The brand of house music pushed principally by the four DJs behind this mix, Wolf + Lamb and Soul Clap, has captured a collective mood—not so much a post-minimal backlash but a way of doing things a bit differently. In turn, those warming to their lower tempos, good-time vibes and hip-hop, pop and R&B influences can't help but shout about it. What DJ-Kicks represents, then, is a cutting to the chase; a distillation of the babble and a reminder (if you needed it) that these guys are actually on to something.
The mix was recorded late last year in the group's winter home of Miami. If you hadn't crossed paths with their collective MOs until now you'd be forgiven for thinking that location was a key driver of sound. And you'd be right to a certain extent. Aside from Soul Clap's RA podcast, none of the group has sounded this humid before. While the influence of hip-hop and soul has run overtly through the Wolf + Lamb catalogue these past couple of years, it is, on occasion, fully embodied here. This also manifests itself in the structure of the mix. Soul Clap's Eli Goldstein described the compilation as a hip-hop style mixtape, and he wasn't just throwing words about. 27 tracks are presented as a highlights reel in the same way a hip-hop DJ will ruthlessly weed out the superfluous. Four interludes—which in the case of "Throw That Interlude" even samples "Planet Rock"—compound the feeling, their drops in tempo further oiling what is already an exquisitely easy listen.
This ear lubrication is in no uncertain terms aided by the names behind the music. All are, in different ways, part of the collective, their outlooks as producers attuned with that of curators. 27 variations on a theme could easily bore, but here the upshot is coherence, the music coalescing into one shimmering body of warm saltwater. SECT's collaboration with Ben Westbeech on "In the Park" is a perfect exemplar: four producers—Charlie and Eli of Soul Clap, Sergio Santos, Tanner Ross—coming together for a picnic of sun-kissed Rhodes and expressive bass that is only partly to do with house music.
The circus surrounding the collective seems to be a double-edged sword. Wolf + Lamb has become a scene unto itself. A cache of cool has attached itself to the group, which means for every person eulogizing over exploits at Wolf + Lamb HQ, the Marcy Hotel, there is another ready to dismiss them outright. Which is a shame. Yes, there's nothing revelatory about DJ-Kicks or the collective themselves. But for fostering a coterie of artists, bringing a sense of fun to the dance floor, giving us something to talk about and, most importantly, finding their voices as producers, they absolutely deserve recognition.
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Tracklist: Wolf + Lamb vs Soul Clap - DJ-Kicks 01. Greg Paulus - My Man's Gone Now (Intro)
02. Greg Paulus - Yellow Sky
03. Tanner Ross - Goodbye, Summer
04. Deniz Kurtel & Wolf + Lamb - Love Triangle (Interlude)
05. Double Hill - Everytime I Go
06. Charles Levine, Deniz Kurtel & Gadi Mizrahi - Stay Home
07. Michael J. Collins - You Lose (Interlude)
08. Greg Paulus - Suchashame (Soul Clap Remix)
09. Deniz Kurtel & Gadi Mizrahi feat. Camburn - Crank It Up
10. Eli Gold - Throw That (Interlude)
11. Soul Clap - 3 Wheel E-Motion
12. Lee Curtiss - South Aphrika
13. Soul Clap feat. Charles Levine - Lonely C
14. H-Foundation feat. Aion - Tonight (Wolf + Lamb Remix)
15. Eli Gold - Slow Down (Interlude)
16. Nicolas Jaar - Don't Believe The Hype
17. SECT feat. Ben Westbeech - In The Park
18. Slow Hands - Rough Patch
19. Nicolas Jaar - Can't See What Is Burning There
20. No Regular Play - Takin' U Back
21. DJ Harvey Presents Locussolus - Next To You (Soul Clap Remix)
22. Wolf + Lamb feat. Smirk - Therapist
23. Zev feat. Greg Paulus - We All
24. Seuil & Le Loup - Nautil Us
25. Gadi Mizrahi - I'll Set Your House
26. Benoit & Sergio - Walk And Talk
27. Voices Of Black - Fridays With Her
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