By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
She's a Dancing Machine
Micromanaging normally annoys, but in DJ mixes we can tolerate it when the results are as rewarding as Magda's hundreds-of-edits-per-hour M.O. on She's a Dancing Machine. Similar to mentor Richie Hawtin's method in DE9:Transitions of weaving countless minibytes from several artists into an über track of awesomeness, Magda constructs a minimal-techno magnum opus from 71 discrete pieces (mostly from M-nus Records' superb roster: Marc Houle, Ryan Crosson, Plastikman, Run Stop Restore, I.A. Bericochea, Magda herself). The effect is like delving into dance music's internal organs and discovering what makes them thrum, burble, and click. Magda's mix inspires a deeper appreciation for minimalism's subliminal kineticism. As a bonus, Dancing Machine also lifts your spirits and revs your sex drive.
10. Henrik Schwarz
The DJ-Kicks series has been trending eclectic this year (see Four Tet above), and with selectors like Herr Schwarz at the controls, this is wise. One-dimensional, perfectly beat-matched mixes in which all flaws—and surprises—are digitally airbrushed away are bo-ring. Heads are jonesing for risk-taking and deep, diverse crates. Schwarz's DJ-Kicks delivers and then some. Taking listeners/dancers on a "journey" is a hoary DJ mantra, but Schwarz rejuvenates that cliché with a transcendent blend of excellent cuts from Moondog, Cymande, Drexciya, Robert Hood (his minimal techno cut segues into an African chant and Pharoah Sanders' astral-jazz piece to stunning effect), Arthur Russell, Rhythm & Sound, and many other essential, soulful musicians rarely heard in clubs-plus certified gold from James Brown, Marvin Gaye, and D'Angelo, just to keep you off balance.
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