Erlend Øye - DJ-Kicks [!K7 - 2004]The DJ-Kicks formula from the !K7 label is not an unfamiliar phenomenon anymore. Not surprisingly, when you notice that some of the best musicians have already contributed to these series. But Erlend Øye? Not that he’s a bad musician, on the contrary, but as a DJ? Is !K7 suddenly changing a winning concept?
Erlend Øye has won his spurs as a singer with Kings Of Convenience, Röyksopp and of course solo. Apart from Röyksopp, the dreamy indie-pop which keeps Erlend busy hasn’t got much to do with dance music. And we haven’t heard of a singing DJ very often. Fans of both DJ-Kicks and Erlend Øye can heave a sigh of relief, because there hasn’t much changed. However, Erlend has given the concept a whole new headstrong twist. He admits himself that he isn’t a real DJ, but adds that you don’t have to be a real skilled beat-mixer to come up with a delicious mix. Moreover, he gets a kick out of it himself, too.
Erlend’s selection for this mix consists primarily of new, and mostly quite known works. Many of Erlend’s predecessors in the DJ-Kicks series took a dive in the archives for old tracks no one ever heard before, but what’s happening here, is more like the opposite. Some work of the German label Kompakt is present in the shape of Jürgen Pape and Justus Köhncke plus some producers Erlend has worked with on his debut solo album Unrest. But also a remix of Röyksopp is there, as is The Rapture and Ricardo Villalobos. The variety is huge and covers relaxing ambience, but also techno, micro-house of course a tinge of indie-pop. Humour isn’t forgotten fortunately, judging by the presence of Avenue D with the track 2D2F. These lyrics always work very well on parties…
What really is special about this mix is Erlend Øye’s singing voice. Of course there are Erlend’s own make of tracks present (which never have been released before, by the way), but he didn’t hesitate to re-sing six other pieces. Erlend sings old hits like Venus (Shocking Blue) and Always On My Mind (Pet Shop Boys… or is it Elvis?) as a new layer above instrumental tracks which doesn’t seem to fit to Erlend’s sultry voice the first time. Nevertheless, it works. The Silicon Soul’s remix of Poor Leno (Röyksopp) suddenly gets the lyrics of The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. And unexpectedly, Lullaby by Morgan Geist sounds very nice now, and could as well become a hit.
The blending of the tracks can hardly be called subtle, although Mr. Øye has found a solution for this as well. In the majority of the songs he already sings the first verse in the previous song, often somewhat out of tune as well. As a result, the sudden change of beats and songs is completely overwhelmed by the abrupt change of tone in Erlend’s singing. An excellent way to put completely incoherent tracks together, and to keep intro’s and long instrumental pieces interesting.
The DJ-Kicks series have a new hero, and I tend to say that Erlend Øye’s version is one of the best this initiative has brought forth. With an unconstrained eighties-feel we can put our dancing-shoes on and move those hips. And that without Erlend renouncing his roots, because his unfashionable nerd-look with too big glasses is still there.Justin Faase