Instead of turning in a set of oddball disco finds or dusty house nuggets, Plessow's clearly made a conscious effort with this mix to spotlight the width of his influences. Though it may serve as a detriment to listeners who prefer the narrative take on the mix—with ascents, retreats, and sly advances—MCDE's DJ-Kicks is decidedly even-tempered for the most part. Plessow highlights the formative influences and genres that were so instrumental in the evolution of his more direct dance lineage and works as a kind of third-hand thank you to jazz, soul, African music and, of course, Chicago house. Opening with the bright handclap-lined jazz of Sun Ra's "Door to the Cosmos" before quickly segueing to the Curtis Mayfield-crooning Scratch 22 remix of Electric Wire Hustle's "Again," Plessow slowly, patiently winds his way through the stubby Afrobeat of Tony Allen's "Ariya," the warbling strutty house of Mr. Fingers' "The Juice" and newer touches on those same sounds like the whirlpooling synths and insistent pump of Fred P's "On This Vibe."
After submerging into the deep-space hypnotism of Phillippe Sarde's "Le Cortege Et Course," Robert Hood's "The Pace" and Loose Joints' "Pop That Funk," Plessow breaks into the light again starting with the hand-drum polyester disco of Walter Gibbons' mix of Arts & Crafts' "I've Been Searching." It's the beginning of the most loose-limbed passage, one that continues—and perhaps peaks—with MCDE's own "L.O.V.E." Though it streaks from the stereo immediately as a Plessow production—a dizzying, glittery bounce with a propulsive rhythm that takes cues from Thriller-era MJ—it's a testament to Plessow's skills that it can slide so cozily into a love letter of sorts to his heroes and still highlight that very homage (it's also easily the brawniest beast included). In fact, as he dries off to the subterranean electronica of Aphex Twin's "Actium" and the dubby twitch-house of Isolee's now-classic refix of Recloose's "Cardiology," it's the one track you need to hear anew, alone, devoid of sequence or tracklist binding. MCDE's DJ-Kicks won't sway those who've proclaimed the death of the commercial mix, but for the rest of us, collectors and home-stereo-bodies alike, it's another standout in a growing streak of DJ-Kicks curios.