Ever since her breakthrough single, “What They Say”, came out on Real Tone Records in 2010, Maya Jane Coles has unquestionably established herself as the queen of house music worldwide. With festival curators aping to book the 24 year old Londoner for this summer’s season, it is not unfair to compare her hot commodity status to other house untouchables à la Jamie Jones and Lee Foss of Hot Creations fame.
The exclusive DJ Kicks format presents the challenge of essentially creating a home-listening version of the DJ set. But because every track’s details are logged and filed and recorded on the sleeve notes, the DJ’s credentials are subjected to even deeper scrutiny by the hipster powers that be. Which comes first – creating a sweet vibe to pump the listener’s cans, or showing off an eclectic and ‘edgy’ range of musical knowledge? Either way, excitement revolving around Miss Coles’s offering mounts with the inclusion of two of her own exclusive new tracks, the big hitting “Not Listening” and “Meant To Be”, a track full of melodic grooves from her more 2-step/ bassy side project Nocturnal Sunshine.
The mix opens with the muted synth chords and broken post-garage beats of “Loqux & Past” by Deft, gradually acquiring more rhythmic weight with tracks such as “Money”. Its harnessed up beats and reverb wobbles are then carried through into “In My Cocoon”, a moody throb of glassy sounding electronics, wispy vocals and globular bass.
There’s disappointingly little in the way of tangible direction at the start of the second half of the mix due to the flat middle section post-Maya Jane Cole track. It does however pick up with “Guess Who”, an out and out four-to-the-floor house banger that is imbued with the perfect level of euphoria, a constant and irrepressible feature of the entire mix itself. With that, the mix kicks back in the groove of funky break-jungle electronic beats as it rattles through bass stomper “No More Stories” before T. Williams’s “Analog Tour” leads the charge to the finish of the album with blend of tasty techno/house. So a solid, and occasionally brilliant house mix from Miss Coles, and one that, if anything, serves to cement her place at the top of the tree for the foreseeable future and wet many a festival goer’s appetite for the summer ahead.By Lev Harris