Vikter Duplaix/Various DJ Kicks

Adding to the vision demonstrated in artists selected to contribute to the DJ Kicks series, the K7 folks have chosen well with Philadelphia's future-soul son Vikter Duplaix. Working as a producer, songwriter, remixer and vocalist with artists ranging from fellow Philly heads Erykah Badu, King Britt, and the Roots to Jazzanova, Jamiroquai and numerous others, Duplaix is hotly tipped. Here, he displays open ears, bringing forward a top-notch collection of soulful nu-jazz sounds and futuristic beats, providing listeners with a virtual "who's who" of today's cutting edge producers. Duplaix moves from his own dramatic Critical Point spiritual soundscape "The Beginning" to the chilled instrumental jazz of Taurus's "Together" and is off. 4hero's current, catchy, bumpin' and beautiful "Hold It Down" is deftly mixed into Opaque's rough-riding, brilliant remix of P'taah's "The Crossing," which in turn gives way to the lovely, though much more down-tempo, contribution of Waiwan and Loretta Heywood. Herbert's quirkily soulful "You Saw It All" shimmies and shifts along nicely into Osunlade's gorgeous spiritual house gem "Tree of Life." Other underground nuggets come from artists including Nepa Allstars, Mandrake, Mr. Hermano, Spacek, and De La Soul, demonstrating that Duplaix hears and breathes the connections between jazz, broken beat, two-step, batucada, hip-hop and beyond. He also contributes one of the comp's standout pieces, "Sensuality," a seriously deep original showcasing Duplaix's sexy, soulful voice alongside syncopated beats and lovely, spacy keys. This one is destined to be huge and is, all in all, a sweet, must-have collection. My only beef is Duplaix's creation and use of computer voices to frequently bridge tracks. While they add a sense of Vikter's personality and presence, they frequently disrupt the flow. (!K7)