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DJ-Kicks

The Juan MacLean

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Album Review

In the liner notes to his DJ-Kicks, Juan MacLean makes the process of producing a commercially released mix sound as nerve-wracking as making an album with a band. From merely listening to this set, one wouldn’t know the hassles involved in selecting and licensing the tracks, not to mention the mental fatigue caused by the sequencing and the actual mixing. In the end, simplicity won out. Heavy on 2009-issued house records, and mixed live on two turntables (as a preference, not as a jab at flawlessly beatmatched digital mixes), MacLean’s DJ-Kicks is simply a reflection of what the DJ/producer was into at the time it was made. Beginning and ending with brief appearances from separate mixes of the Juan MacLean's “Happy House,” and containing an effectively twice-deployed Theo Parrish dub of Rick Wilhite's 1996 beatdown “Get on Up,” the mix carries a shrewdly mapped-out, albeit unforced, circularity. Even when two successive tracks contrast with one another, as with Jee Day's chest-quaking “Like a Child” and Giom’s smoothed-out “I Know You Were Right” (tame enough for a mall clothing store), it’s all pleasurable and translates as easily to a club as a car ride. The Juan MacLean's own “Feel So Good,” featuring vocals from Nancy Whang and drums from Jerry Fuchs (who passed away in November 2009), generates the set’s greatest rush and might be the best DJ-Kicks exclusive track since the one provided by Claude Young.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Prior to becoming one of the most significant names on the DFA label, John MacLean was a member of Sub Pop band Six Finger Satellite. Initially, Six Finger Satellite fit in with the remainder of the Sub Pop roster, but after one EP, they took a sharp turn into herky-jerky post-punk inspired by Devo, Big Black, and Suicide. By the time they went to record their final album, 1998's Law of Ruins, Krautrock also began to play a major...
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DJ-Kicks, The Juan MacLean
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