Tuesday, June 05, 2012

DJ Mixes Revisited: DJ Kicks Mixed By Stacey Pullen

I've always been an avid consumer of DJ mixes; besides listening to promos that's how I tend to consume most of my music. I've always collected them as well, but the commercial mix cd, barring a few exceptions, had its day a while back. This is the first in an occasional series which will recall such releases and the impact that they had on my good self, and I think we're getting off to a good start.

You can see from the comments on its Discogs page that this is a mix which divides opinions. I like it more because it sums up a moment more than anything else. I was living in paris at the time and went with the Missus and a friend Jim, to see Pullen play the Rex on part of the tour to promote the CD. Jim brought some very strong beans over with him. Say no more. It wasn't just because of the life-enhancing help that Pullen was on invincible form that night though. I've seen him a couple of times since and for me he's one of the most technically gifted DJs I've ever seen. That night he was untouchable, mixing up techno and house without thinking, and the results were always perfect - I think I'll remember him playing Johnny Fiasco's 'Kalimba' as long as I live - before taking the plunge with a track from Surgeon's debut album. . . .

 . . .and that's basically the spirit in which this mix seems to have been conceived, and from its 'Blade Runner' sampling opening, through to the end, twenty-five tracks later, Pullen gives a masterclass in live techno turntablism. There's an unevenness and lumpiness which seems to suit it perfectly with  a who's who of mid-nineties production skills crammed in. Wulf-N-Bear, aka Ralph Lawson and Huggy have dated very well, Sterac closes proceedings before Pullen sticks on a track composed from all of the preceding tracks specfically for the mix, something that was all the rage back then on these K7! comps. He's also present twice as Kosmic Messenger . . . Living in Paris at the time, and spending most of my time around the Rough Trade counter meant I had a soft spot for Daphreephunkateerz, aka Eric Rug. (I hope his dental hygiene has improved because my main memory of him is that he didn't have a full set of gnashers.) As alluded to before, the track selection, and sheer amount of music on this mix is one of the main reasons I was interested . . . I started experimenting around this time with turntablism and quick fit programming, and still dream of completing a mix as big as this perfectly; but it's the rough edges that give this mix its appeal. Smooth it is not, it fluctuates, grates, spins back and occasionally doesn't work. It's lack of polish is charming because that's exactly the opposite of what it was aiming for. You get the impression that Pullen at one point simply said "Fuck it, it's going out like that," and we should all be thankful that he did.

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