For the Disc Jockey compilation, Esc.rec. invited a diverse selection of artists to deliver a track about DJ's. Not for DJ's, not by DJ's, not even with DJ's... just about DJ's. The result is a caleidoscopic impression of the world of the Disc Jockey as seen through the eyes of the featured artists.
It seems there are many approaches to producing a track about DJ's. And there are positive, negative and neutral points of view on this phenomenon represented here. In fact, even the word Disc Jockey is open for multiple interpretations. Just consider the many differences between radio DJ's, party DJ's and turntablists alone...
Not to go into detail about every single track, but to illustrate the broad variety of approaches... Some artists use lyrics to get their point across, others use samples, records and sounds. Some honor known DJ's with a tribute, others use parody to strike 'm down without mercy. Some emphasize the physical and auditory qualities of playing records, others dive into the culture surrounding DJ's. Some have allowed themselves to be inspired by DJ's (or one specific DJ), others use existing songs about DJ's as raw source material in an abstract composition. In some of the tracks the link with DJ's is crystal clear, in others you might have to do some research first (track titles are a good place to start in most cases).
'De DJ Is Een Mietje' (The DJ Is A Sissy) by Bedhelm was actually the trigger to finally execute the idea for this compilation, which had been slumbering for years in the mind of Harco Rutgers, the record label owner. That makes this one of the few tracks that wasn't specifically created for this release.
Review by JB in A Closer Listen:
Well, now, this is an interesting album, and goes to show how many ways you can interpret a brief. Esc.rec asked a selection of producers to make a track about DJs – not for, by or with, but about. The results are certainly varied, as clearly the definition of DJ is not limited to someone like Tiësto (although he does get a track dedicated to himself), but turntablists, experimenters and scratchers. So after a jaunty opening brace, there’s a lengthy sequence of tracks devoted to the subtle snap, crackle and pop of vinyl. It’s as if Tigerbeat6 signed Philip Jeck and Christian Marclay and stuck them in the middle of a label sampler. It takes a while for the pace to pick up, and when it does there’s a feeling that the tracks are not all they could be – yes “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” is a classic tune but is there any more need to sample it? Thankfully, there is considerable improvement in the final third, with the tracks sequenced in a cohesive manner that makes listening easier. It’s a nice idea, and a good way to discover new artists although the sense remains that the execution is a little lacking. Disc Jockey certainly has some great ideas on it, but it may have worked better as three volumes of EPs, rather than a full CD-length release.
Review by Mark in Eclectro:
Een compilatiealbum, niet voor DJ’s, niet door DJ’s, maar over DJ’s. Het experimentele label Esc.rec vroeg een reeks artiesten een plaat te maken met de DJ als onderwerp. Het resultaat is een bizarre verzameling van odes, abstracte contemplaties en parodieën.
Veel van de tracks zijn ondraaglijk experimenteel, maar dat wordt goed gemaakt door de (niet altijd even subtiele) humor. Zie bijvoorbeeld de parodie ‘DJ Triësto’ van Toxic Chicken en Ech(o), met teksten als ‘I wanna fuck Tiësto (skullfuck maybe)’ en ‘if I hear Tiësto one more time I’m going to implode’. Overigens staan er ook echt kwaliteitsnummers in de compilatie. Mijn favoriet: ‘Navels’ van Weerthof.
Review in Incendiary Magazine:
A superb record; massive and overwhelming and almost impossible to sit through in one go, but something you need to hear regardless. Brought out on the marvellous and ever giving ESC.REC, the conceit is as follows and a fine one it is too!
“For the Disc Jockey compilation, Esc.rec. invited a diverse selection of artists to deliver a track about DJ's. Not for DJ's, not by DJ's, not even with DJ's... just about DJ's. The result is a kaleidoscopic impression of the world of the Disc Jockey as seen through the eyes of the featured artists.”
So in essence you get 17 (yes 17) tracks covering everything that could be construed as being essential or incidental to the world of deejays. Along the way you get LOTS of samples thrown in, as well as every permutation on vocals you could guess at; wobbly voices, voices put through blenders, dragged through hedges, made to sound as if they’re doing weird things to their windpipes, and all of it laid over beats; yes, that’s right, the currency of all disc jockeys, beats. As well as sounds. Yes, that’s right, sounds. Because of this catholic approach there’s plenty of piss taking, real or unintended; God maybe a “pleaser” (according to Wieman’s highly trippy track on here, coming on all deejay Marcelle on our collective ass) but in De DJ is Een Mietje the vox can sound like “the deejay is a meathead” even though it MEANS the deejay is a softypants. And on X-Static Tics’ Diejay Hardway Replay the deejay is accused of having a “complex”. Well I never.
At times things get so cut up you could forgive yourself for thinking that you’re somehow having a groundhog moment or have turned into a goldfish; just listen to Jonas’ incredibly tripped out Blackballed for proof. Or try Teleferick’s A Lonely Stylus In The Canyon Of Grooves, which sounds, for all the world, like a coffin being dragged over a wooden floor. Oh, and beware Wieman’s God is a Pleaser if you fancy your sanity. What’s that about??
There is just so MUCH on here. But just don’t expect any dance music, well, not for a while. The whole thing sounds like something off a Thighpaulsandra record or a dinosaur giving birth on a pressure cooker (I bring the jury’s attention to the first 5 minutes of Kris Kelvin’s 42-hb) or, if you’re Weerthof, a mix of the Dutch John Shuttleworth (that’s the mighty Frietboer to you lot) and some flashy Duran Duran-style samples.
This record just keeps on giving. For every gnomic masterpiece (Jeroen Diepenmaat I’m looking at you here), there are things that sound like things that deejays would play, honest; tune into Radboud Mens’ minimal bleeping (1992 style) on Music For Cutting Up Vinyl and Kalima’s 1’s & 2’s (featuring Unannounced Guest) is a straightforward if trippy rap with the subject of… yup… Deejaying.
In contention for record of 2014, it goes ALL the WAY.
Review by KN on Yeah I Know It Sucks:
The first track on this compilation is the one that inspired label owner Harco Rutgers to invite a select group of artists to make a track about Disc Jockeys. Together they bring the phenomena of the DJ in all aspects, from the use of samples, humor, sound structures, positive and critical persiflages, to the seriously unexpected.
Bedhelm’s "De DJ Is Een Mietje", is what you might call the perfect track for an experimental DJ to play and make the blitz. It has everything that could make the record spinning ‘artist’ look cool. Chopped up, a bad ass rhythm, glorious affective synth use and thrilling baselines. All compromising the undermining hilarious statement that is being hinted through the Dutch lyrics.
Jonas brings a fine relaxed mixed up chill out track to the DJ booth. Sweet samples (probably recorded from vintage vinyl) are being delightfully rearranged to create a self adoring state of DJ heaven. This is the music that prefers to be played by DJ’s while chilling out in a bath of Rosemary and wine.
Teleferick brings a lonely stylus in the canyon of grooves. It shows the more sentimental part of the technique that is behind DJ’s. It gives the listener food for thought while listening to the mechanical sounds behind the recognizable dust clicks.
A dry mouth of wonder might appear, but the work of X-Static Tics will fill it up again with saliva while showcasing the DieJay Hardware Replay in all it's full glory and nakedness.
Artist Wieman brings a collection of information and facts about the pleasures of the DJ and their tools. Some all loving vinyl scratches seems to compliment a mechanical heaven of warmth. Is this the sound secret unveiled behind the success of DeeJays? Or is this just a warm up for the real glow of dust and sparkles created within the experimental track by Kris Kelvin? The work features the essence of a vinyl record, stretched under a microscope to team up with the never disappointing steam train beats of modern dance music. This is deep stuff and it’s hard work not to move to this fine groove. Here we go party people, wave one hand in the air and place the other one happily on the shoulder of the random club party goer and join the polonaise!
Than a different alternative dance mood to rock out on is coming out of the creative mind of Yop. A little criticism is spotted in the lyrics but it stays festive and positive within these fine vibes.
A lovely dutch electropop tune with poetic lyrics complimenting the baby’s of mother DJ, is an instant personal favorite. The vocals are sung in such a lovable way and the music is actually spot on in delivering a dance track with added sweetness and creativity, that it wouldn’t look out of place at a local electro night.
When you thought to have reached DJ satisfaction, artist Xaf turns every household into a dancing mania. Xaf got hold of the secret of groove and shoves it down with great fun and energy through the speakers of your choice. If there is a problem, you don’t call the A-team, but Xaf, as he definitely knows how to fix it!
Jos Smolders has put on his latex gloves in order to do some deep research into the scene of drvg cvlture. As enthusiastic as this artist is, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he dives into it a little too deep. With scalpel and a dedicated fist he dives into the internal tunnels of dance floor music, pulling out the core and shows its findings in his part of this compilation.
Micheal Fakesch doesn’t go in with his complete hand but uses someone else their fingers to create his take on the wide range that the Disc Jockey concept has to offer. He brings a mister Oizo-ish freaky baseline, tight funky electro beats and old school scratching to the mix.
A relative close friend of mine (Toxic Chicken) teams up with underground producer/writer Ech(o), to perform a spontaneous love making gesture to a larger than life deejay super star with a well known prominent toothpaste smile.
Radboud Mens takes over with some feel good minimal dance music. Behind it's steady groove you can discover some fine hypnotic crisper sounds. This is probably the perfect companionship while cutting up vinyl into little pieces.
The longest artist name on this compilation is the one of Bruno Ferro Xavier Da Silva. He gives the listener a calming tour through the radio ether-waves, relaxing the ears along the way with a nice warm flow.
Kalima featuring an unannounced guest keeps the flows flowing, but this time with with a cool track that breaths out a positive vibe that compliments the disc jockey in a friendly way. The words are clear and the music is sweet, give them some applause ’cause they deserved it!
A lovely track by Gluid is keeping this section very humane and friendly. This work features someone called ‘Andrei’, who lends his voice to guide the listener through a warm lucid poetic dream, with personal thoughts about music in a melodic test tube of prettiness.
The last track on this ‘Disc Jockey’ themed compilation is one by Jeroen Diepenmaat. The sound crackles of vinyl have appeared on many of the previous heard tracks, yet sublime and almost hidden as tiny minimal hints of nostalgia. Jeroen doesn’t hide these crackles away, but rather puts them under a magnifier and celebrates the sound in all it’s full glory.
With this sound in mind I wish that the compilation featured some dust at the end so the imaginable needle would skip all the way to the front and play the featured tracks all over again. Be free to check Disc Jockey out as I’m sure there is something on there for everybody that has, or has no affection with the Disc Jockey phenomenon.
released December 17, 2013
Many thanks to all artists involved!
Design by Harco Rutgers