Heidi: Presents The Jackathon
Get Physical

With Jackathon, Heidi, the German-born, Ontario, Canada-raised DJ and BBC Radio 1 host (full name Heidi Van Den Amstel), serves up a funky mix that's a whole lot more raw than the typical Get Physical release, which is generally polished in the extreme and its rough edges smoothed down. What helps make her collection stand out from the mix crowd is that all of the album's tracks were especially created at her request by the sixteen artists featured, with Jamie Jones, Anja Schneider, Steve Bug, and Solomun just a sampling of those involved (that also means, however, that none of Heidi's own tracks appear). Her Jackathon parties were begun in October 2010 in Berlin and then London before expanding to Paris, Manchester, and Amsterdam, with the aim of reinvigorating the dancefloor with soulful house, tribal funk, and relentlessly swinging grooves.

After Derrick Carter opens the set with a brief spoken intro (he also closes it with an outro), the mix proper gets underway and does so splendidly with the lowdown bass thump of Soul Clap's “Incoming Bitch (Get Low!)” and Waifs & Strays' irrepressingly funky floorfiller “What You Want.” Slinky steamrollers such as Darius Syrossian's “I Am the Creator of Jack” abound, and vocals often appear too, sometimes in the form of voiceovers (Camea's “We Not In”) and disorienting swirls (Jamie Jones' “Whiff It Yawl”), and sometimes chopped-up (Juan MacLean's “Love In Tatters”), though it must be said that Steve Bug (“Jack Is Back”) clearly earns the award for the mix's most dazzling vocal surgery for his incessantly stuttering “jack” treatment. Trippier fare comes from Solomun (“What The Funk,” with its addled vocal effects) and Anja Schneider & And.Id (“Imagination,” a strutter that achieves liftoff courtesy of some well-placed synth blaze). Even when the mix brings the energy level down for a moment or two (as it does at the start of Deetron's “The Juggler”), it never takes long for it to rise again to its usual feverish pitch.

Though the artists bring their respective individual visions and styles to the project, their contributions are united by a shared taste for rolling grooves, funk, and soul. As a result, the mix flows smoothly from start to finish, with all of the contributions melding together comfortably, whatever their differences. Heidi's dizzying body music impresses most for staying true to its roots, which in this case is classic, bass-powered house.

September 2011