DJ Deep: Kern Vol.1
Tresor Records

An absolutely slamming mix set from DJ Deep (Parisian Cyril Etienne) inaugurates Kern, a new series from Tresor designed to bridge styles (house and techno predominantly) and merge old (some previously unreleased) and new tracks into era-transcending sets. DJ Deep, who got the call to pilot the series because of his dedication to Detroit techno and Chicago house, approached the project by thinking of it as a DJ's diary: “the picture of a guy writing down in his notebook which new and classic tracks would be relevant today.” Deep seamlessly mixes old and new, though does move things more into the present day in the second half, with names like Ben Klock, Jonas Kopp, Skudge, and The Traveller popping up.

It takes no time at all for the mix to get rolling, especially when the recovered track “Music In My Head” by A.E.S. (Arthur Forest, Eddie Fowlkes, and Santonio) kicks things into gear with a wiry organ-driven jam that carries over into Santonio's own organ-pumping “Amnesia” (in fact, a never-before released cut from 1993). While the mix largely concentrates on a furious techno style that's both tribal and militant, deep house is part of the picture, too, as the soulful vocal-based “Is This Real?” from Visions (featuring Juan Atkins) shows. Funk, electro, acid, and jazz figure heavily into the mix, also, as, for instance, the wild tribal-fusion moves showcased during The Bayara Citizens' “Kweyo Electric Dub” attests—it wouldn't take much to imagine someone like Chick Corea (in ‘70s Return To Forever mode) being the one behind the on-fire synthesizer solo blowing through the track.

Elsewhere, a Kerri Chandler edit of Rootstrax's “Harlequin” catches one's ear for its jazzy vibe and the way its horns feed into the track's irrepressible energy and propulsion, old-school techno dystopianism surfaces in Xperiment's “Karn Evil #10,” and Bleak's “Noon Shape” and Truncate's “Diffraction” weave hints of Basic Channel-Chain Reaction into their driving pulses. Pounding 4/4 techno in classic Tresor style rears its massive head in Zadig's “Maniac Mansion” and Will Azada's “Easy Does It,” while Jonas Kopp's “Reforce” and Jeff Mills' remix of DJ Hell's “Allerseelen” thunder with equally unstoppable force. Listeners who can't get enough of ringing cymbals, shotgun claps, and pounding kick drums will get more than their share here, but anyone thinking Etienne might ease up on the relentless pace for even a moment should look elsewhere, as the breathless mix powers on with locomotive force until the end arrives with Deepside's “III.”

January 2013