Henrik Schwarz: DJ-Kicks

Pulling together cuts by Curtis Mayfield, Julian Priester, Akufen, and Animal Collective among others, Four Tet's recent contribution to !K7's DJ-Kicks series was remarkably wide-ranging, and now Henrik Schwarz weighs in with his own equally inspired take. It's anything but a stock techno mix; instead, the German DJ roots his 23-track travelogue in soul and works outward in a multitude of directions including jazz, funk, reggae, acid, Afro-beat, Detroit techno, and microhouse.

After sparring tenor and baritone saxes in Moondog's jazz lament “Bird's Lament” establish the set's unique character, Schwarz effects smooth segues into the relaxed funk of Double's “Woman Of The World” and swinging house of iO's “Claire.” History lessons follow, though they're anything but dull when they include classics by James Brown (“Since You've Been Gone”) and Marvin Gaye (“You're The Man”). And as if their vocals aren't enticing enough, the 78-minute disc features Jae Mason's impassioned “Let It Out,” Sugar Minott's hypnotic turn on Rhythm & Sound's “Let Jah Love Come,” and Robert Owens' graceful outing on Coldcut's “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.” By following Drexciya's wiry future-groove (“Black Sea”) with Amampondo's steaming percussion workout (“Giya Kasiamore”), Schwarz exposes the thread that unites even the most seemingly distinct forms. Sometimes he connects the dots between genres within the same song: his own “Imagination Limitation” weds Chain Reaction dub techno to broiling Latin rhythms, while an African chant (“Chant avec Cithare”) gets mashed into Robert Hood's “The Core.” Ultimately, the most amazing thing about Schwarz's mix is that it retains coherence despite such panoramic stylistic breadth.

November 2006