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.