Published Feb 17, 2016Right off the mark, Detroit icon Moodymann made known that his crack at the long-standing DJ-Kicks compilation would be about creating something accessible rather than presenting a collection of rare and hard to find tracks. The mix starts off stridently, launching into soul (Yaw's "Where Will You Be") before rolling through a bit of hip-hop; early in the set, Moodymann lands on the elusive Jai Paul's "BTSTU" and works in what is arguably one of Flying Lotus' best tracks, "Tea Leaf Dancers." Rather than having his DJ-Kicks entry move through a gamut of genres progressively, exploring each and seamlessly rolling into the next, the mix follows jumps from track to track, often exploring a previously highlighted genre, which gives the album a long, drawn out feel.
There are jarring moments, too. Just over an hour in, Moodymann abruptly moves from the boisterous bumps of house on "Hostile Takeover" (Soulful Session feat. Lynn Lockamy) to the sombre keys of a live rendition of "Our Darkness" by Anne Clark, stripped of everything save for moody vocals and sunken keys. Applause and a distant buzzing serve as a brief interlude before the mix heads into electro, but the groove is lost by then. The jump doesn't work; it severs the flow of the album, feels destructive.
While the artistry is evident in his picks, Moodymann's execution here could've use a more deft hand. (!K7)