es! It’s Erlend Øye, the Singing DJ, and he’s brought some special records for you today, because he knows you are special people.
Erlend is the specialist in charge of the latest installment in the DJ Kicks series, previously taken on mixmasters like Playgroup, Nightmares on Wax and Carl Craig. And, as previously mentioned, his gimmick is that he has a tendency to start crooning over his records. Frequently the words are his own, but just as frequently he’ll lift a couple verses from some well-established classics to really shake things up—on this one, he takes on The Smiths, Elvis and Bananarama, and never makes the results sound anything less than natural, in the process creating something that blurs the lines between sample, mashup and cover. Occasionally he even decides to pre-empt the records he’s playing by getting to the first verse before the vocalist on the record gets a chance, which feels claustrophobic, but it’s still in good fun. It’s a pretty good gimmick, really, possibly crossing the line into innovation.
Erlend knows how to choose his records, as well. Starting things off with Jürgen Paape’s incredibly gorgeous “So Weit Wie Noch Nie”—Kompakt’s very own “Halcyon and On & On”—he takes us through the delicate plink of Cornelius’s “Drop” (remixed by his very own group, Kings of Convenience), the modernized synth-pop of Alan Braxe & Fred Falke’s “Rubicon,” and the jarringly raunchy she’s-gotta-have-it house anthem “2D2F” (I won’t ruin here what it stands for, needless to say it’s a real standout track)—all on the first side. The mixing is fine—witness the way “Rubicon” stutters into “2D2F,” and the way that track’s final “Wake up!” introduces the main riff to The Rapture’s “I Need Your Love.”
From there, things get even better, peaking in an incredible side two climax. It starts out with the Soul Remix of Röyksopp’s “Poor Leno” with Erlend crooning the immortal “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” on top of it (yet another house update of The Smiths’ classic—just can’t get enough!), segueing into the fabulous “Where’s Your Head At?!?!” growl of Skateboard’s “Metal Chix” vs. Erlend’s rendition of the Elvis/Pet Shop/Willie Nelson standard “Always on My Mind.” Erlend shows his remarkable audacity by not even bothering to get all the words to the unfuckwithable “Light” correct, but chances are even the biggest Moz purists won’t get too offended with the infectious results. The collection takes a turn for the micro and minimal there, sliding into Richard Villalobos’ heartbreaking “Dexter” (from last year’s Alcachofa) and Minizza’s beatless pogo “Winning a Battle, Losing the War.”
After this fabulous run, the mix pretty much ends with a whimper, closing with the merely pleasant “Luckycharm,” by Ada. But that’s OK—cramming almost 20 fabulous records into less than an hour’s time while totally recontextualizing nearly half of them, Erlend has more than proven his initial boast—he is the one and only singing DJ, and he really brought some special records with him today.