Hot on the heels of John Talabot’s 2013 mix and following luminaries such as Maya Jane Coles, Maceo Plex and Breach is Aus Music and Simple Records boss Will Saul who is next in line to mix it up for the esteemed !K7 DJ-Kicks series.
Englishman Saul has had a busy 12 months; not only did 2013 see him release his debut album as Close – an avant-garde dance-pop project that called upon high profile collaborators like Scuba and Appleblim – but also saw him debut live at clubs like London’s influential Fabric. Of course, in that time he has also continued to steer both his labels down the path of underground house, bass and techno, nurturing new talent and old heads alike.
“I wanted the mix to represent how I DJ in the sense that the majority of my sets are made up mainly of my own, or my label’s unreleased or forthcoming music” says Saul. “Hopefully this gives me something unique as DJ, not just as I play tracks that no one else has, but also because they are artists and tracks that I love enough to want to sign, so they really represent what I love about electronic music”.
Will Saul’s DJ-Kicks represents a condensed version of one of his DJ sets. It touches on all aspects; from warm-up, to headline, to closing sets. This highlights the taste-making label boss’s current musical fascinations in terms of the producers he is working with, be they new, unknown or more established. “I approached all my nearest and dearest for some tailor made exclusive tracks. The result is hopefully a mix that rekindles the thing I loved about listening to mixes 20 years ago – that unknown aspect where each new track is a surprise. In a time when all music/track IDs and myriad mixes are accessible at the click of a button, I hope this makes for something a little more interesting” he elucidates.
The mix kicks off with one of the three tracks Saul himself has had a hand in. Made in collaboration with Komon, ‘Bendy’ is a beatless, smeary synth sketch that leads into the airy and spring like house of Animal Hands. From there many members of the extended label families pop up – Cottam with his roughshod afro influences, Youandewan with his cuddly deep house and Sei A with his well swung grooves. Gerry Read serves up a typically raw jam in ‘Baseball’ and October proves how deep his techno can go. Away from the Aus and Simple labels, inclusions from Marquis Hawkes, Legowelt and Walton all fit in perfectly to the overall picture. Bicep’s evolution into ever more exciting forms continues with ‘Nova’.
Touching on all the styles synonymous with both Will Saul and each of his labels, his DJ-Kicks never stays in one place for too long. Instead it moves quickly and coherently through many different shades and sounds, and is another essential installment in the series as a result.
Will Saul’s DJ-Kicks will be released in June on CD, 2 x 12”, digitally and in the form of a special EP featuring four exclusive tracks from Bicep, Jabru, Marquis Hawkes and Leon Vynehall.
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Noemi Minami
May 20, 2014