DJs haven't yet replaced rock stars as pop icons, but they're gaining on them. Where once praise for master BPM regulators and turntable technicians was restricted to clubs and dance-floor regulars, such otherwise anonymous players have begun to achieve stardom of their own. Similarly, the mix CD, with non-stop selections mixed and compiled by DJs, has become more than just a souvenir of what you did or where you were last night. Last year's double-disc The K&D Sessions, by the trip-hop auteurs in Kruder & Dorfmeister, was hardly even danceable, spinning two hours of music by other people into a cohesive and creative whole. On the other hand, DJs like Goldie have branched out into original music, sometimes successfully (Roni Size's New Forms), sometimes not (Goldie's Saturnz Return). His latest collection, however, returns him to the role of mixmaster. INCredible Sound Of Drum 'n' Bass allows Goldie to juggle jungle and drum-and-bass for two hours, impressively connecting the wild polyrhythms and hyper percussion of tracks by Doc Scott, Alex Reece, Dillinja, Grooverider, and Optical like a good night at his London club Metalheadz. Richie Hawtin, who often performs and records as Plastikman, has also created some impressive original works. As its title might indicate, Decks, EFX & 909 finds the DJ at his most minimal. Hawtin gets a lot of mileage out of those standard tools (turntables, effects, and a good sequencer), so even though his Detroit-indebted mix stays pretty subdued, it never gets boring. Finally, Michael Fakesch, one half of the Autechre-worshipping German outfit Funkstorung, redefines just what a DJ can do with Marion, crossing the line from mixer to remixer and in the process transforming others' works into original and identifiable tracks in and of themselves. Like Funkstorung, Fakesch solo is a big fan of fuzzy, stuttered beats, the tracks he's selected exploding into rhythmic static and garbled vocals. Existing at the other end of the spectrum from Hawtin and Goldie, Fakesch's cerebral work isn't especially danceable, demonstrating how more or less the exact same process—those decks and efx—can lead to wildly different results.

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