Janine – DJ Kicks Thievery Corporation

The excellent DJ Kicks franchise has been under way now for more that 20 years. In May 1999 Thievery Corporation released their DJ-Kicks mix. The album is one of my all time favourites, with the tracks mixed into a gapless sequence. As a whole it feels like a trip to a tropical island, where James Bond could step out from behind a palm tree at any moment, brandishing a martini.

Of the 18 superb tracks, the innocuous sounding “Janine” from Pronoia is remixed to be the hardest hitter of the album, coming out swinging, and in a mere 3m40s manages to punch the speakers. If you happen to be driving, beware subconscious accelleration as the track infuses you.

This track as a standalone suffers from the leading in track and leading out being mixed to the adjoining tracks, but still does the job. The best prescription is to hear the whole album end-to-end.

From the opening insanely complex hand-drumming, female backing vocals setting the scene, with anticipation building, the listener is rewarded after 40 seconds when the bass comes in. After more buildup the plateau is rewarding, throwing it all at us just before the two minute mark. With more than one drop-out of the bass, building us back up every time, it’s a great bassline to follow along.

Species II – Minuit

Kiwi band Minuit began converging EP tracks in the late 90’s before releasing their first album “The 88” in 2002. They’ve been regulars on the Wellington live music scene with the very unique female vocals of Ruth Carr, showing that they can do more than studio electronics.

From the opening bars of Species II, and the first bass guitar lines, this track just makes you sit up and listen. Falling firmly in the “play it loud” category, your neighbours might regret that you ever found this one. Unbelievably they make 3:52 seem like an epic musical journey.

EastWest – The K&D Sessions

The excellent EastWest [Stoned together] track was released by Austrians Kruder & Dorfmeister in 1998 as part of their mind-blowing K&D Sessions album. The double album was both a compilation and remix pulling together years of prior work.

This track combines smooth female vocals, and on a listen through of the whole set, always results in an almost involuntary increase in the volume when reaching EastWest (track 3 on CD 2), to better absorb the compelling bass line. Five minutes just isn’t long enough.