K7 – 2002 – 74 minutes

Since its inception in 1995, the DJ Kicks series has spoonfed clubbers chunky slices of fine mixing from a diverse spread of DJ talent. In compilation terms, the series has rarely dipped below its consistently high standard, including exceptional mixes from Andrea Parker, Kruder & Dorfmeister and Nightmares on Wax. The latest installment, brought to us by little-known French house DJ Vikter Duplaix, is an equally passionate musical journey.

Kicking off with African Rhythms and downtempo nu-jazz, the unfortunately initialed DJ swerves around musical cones of off-kilter breakbeats and organic vocals. The initial laidback breaks seep into sumptuous house and culminate in a welcome shout-out to hip-hop.

Deep grooves in the form of 4 Hero's 'Hold It Down' and Ashley Beedle's remix of Shawn Lee's 'Happiness' are notable high-points. Duplaix's own vocal track 'Sensuality' is a saucy fusion of electronica and R&B. The party atmosphere slows then with a mellow hip-hop blend of De La Soul and a fantastic live version of 'Bag Lady' by Erykah Badu.

Duplaix's stop/start mixing style won't win him any turntablist prizes and the vocoder thread throughout wears a little thin at times. But even if this is the least technical mix in the DJ Kicks series, the Philadelphia producer has to be commended for an interesting mix of seemingly unpredictable tracks. An album that will feel as at home in your party record bag as on your laidback listening shelf.

Sinéad Gleeson

Tracklisting: The Beginning (Critical Point) - Together [Cry Tuff original (Taurus) - Hold It Down (4 Hero) - The Crossing [Evacuation of Form – original mix] (P'taah) – Feelin Me Feelin You (Waiwan featuring Loretta Heywood) – You Saw It All (Herbert) – Tree Of Life (Osanade) – Sensuality [DJ Kicks} (Vikter Duplaix) –The Way (Nepa Allstars) – Happiness [Ashley Beedle West Coast Mix] (Shawn Lee) – Berimbau (Mandrake) – Free As The Morning Sun (Mr Hermano) – Welcome To The World (Hopper featuring Carina Andersson) – How Do I Move (Spacek) – Copa [Capanga] (De La Soul) – Philadelphia (Bahamadia) – Bag Lady (Erykan Badu) – Holy Sounds (Phillip Charles) – The Sun (New Sector Movement)