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Daniel Avery DJ-Kicks !K7

Daniel Avery’s debut album Drone Logic emerged in 2013, amidst a haze of well-deserved praise. It was simultaneously fresh-sounding and drenched in vintage influences. With playful vocal snippets from Kelly Lee Owens, rubber-band acid bass lines and a real ‘album’ feel (not a given for electronic artists), it marked the arrival of a major new talent. His Divided Love nights at fabric, and across Europe, have ensured that he is now an increasingly prized commodity, despite relatively sparse new material since Drone Logic. Avery’s commentary accompanying his DJ-Kicks mix gives a pretty good idea of where his head is at: DJing as the art of techno transcendence, so that “when the pivotal moments hit, your watch stops ticking”.

Lucid, bewitching and sombre techno is therefore the order of the day. One of Avery’s own offerings to this mix – a new track titled A Mechanical Sky – offers the type of transcendental moment he refers to. Elsewhere, stark, metallic rhythms rub up against swooping, trance-laced productions. In Artefact’s captivating The Fifth Planet, there is some rhythmic light relief, creating space for a nagging bass pulse to chart a course through the track. On its own terms, it’s a strong selection. But given the diversity and depth Avery has shown in terms of his own material (and the eclecticism of the Divided Love line-ups), it is difficult not to wonder if this wasn’t a missed opportunity to pull back the curtain on some of his less-obvious influences. Instead, on this mix – and increasingly in his headline sets – Avery has chosen the seemingly irresistible arc towards the purity of the techno palette.