Hi-Five: DJ T. - XLR8R

Hi-Five: DJ T.

Enjoy these five future classics, courtesy of the man from Get Physical.
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Raised on disco and funk, steeped in Teutonic electronics, Germany’s Thomas Koch—better known to clubland citizens as DJ T.—is one of the founding fathers, along with the Booka Shade and M.AN.D.Y. duos, of Get Physical, the label that first came to prominence in 2002 through a series of releases that tended to focus on steely and spacious electronic house. But to some degree, Koch's sound stood apart from his labelmates: His productions tended to add plenty of boogie and bounce into the equation, and tunes like 2003's "Philly" sounded as good in the headphones while rollerskating down the boardwalk as the did on a dark dancefloor. Get Physical, of course, went on to be one of the millennium's defining clubland labels, and Koch is going as strong as ever. And now, there's this: Not only has Koch just released a splendid new EP, The Growing, on Moon Harbour, but Koch and Classic cofounder Luke Solomon (currently serving as the Defected label's A&R guru) have put together the three-disc compilation Defected Gets Physical Mixed by DJ T. and Luke Solomon, coming out in late August. Koch mixes disc one, a selection of tracks from the Defected vaults; Solomon tackles the second disc with tunes from the Get Physical discography; and the third sees Koch and Solomon contributing eight exclusive (unmixed) edits to the comp. In the run-up to the album's release, we tapped Koch to give us five of his favorite…well, we'll let the man himself explain.

"The older I get and the longer I work as a DJ (currently 27 years) the more discerning my ear gets when it comes to listening to club music. In the past five years, I put more time than ever before into listening to music and digging around for new gems. In the process, I realized that I generally divide club music (all styles as well as each individual track) into two large groups; timeless music that transcends decades and short-lived trends, and what some would call fashion music. You can’t miss the styles in the latter category; they completely dominated the scene for one to two years before inevitably turning into a formula that has been copied to death, then vanishing from the scene. The type of nu deep house with its bouncing baselines and deep-pitched '80s R&B samples suffered this fate, and new Minimal progressive house (or whatever you want to call it) that has dominated Beatport’s charts in the Deep House genre for the past 12 months is in for a similar fate. I have focused on timeless music more than ever before in the past three years, and I am increasingly losing interest in trendy fast-lived music formulas. Some of my most important roots are in '80s Chicago and acid house, which, in part, only needed a handful of elements, but this is exactly what made it sexy and funky, there’s just no other way to achieve this. Of course, hardly anyone today produces music that sounds exactly like it did back then, but old school house and techno have never fully vanished from the scene. Countless producers draw on these styles from the '80s and '90s and preserve the legacy of this music. That’s exactly that I wanna tell in this Hi-Five piece: the funk of reduction, simple drum machine madness all represented by five tracks that cite the old, but are still very much a product of the here and now."

Makam "What Ya Doin" (Dekmantel)
I’ve always liked it when tracks elude categorization. Makam is an underrated Dutch producer, a resident DJ at Trouw and a gifted DJ in general. His love of '90s house and techno emanates from all his tracks. “What Ya Doin” is a mixture of jacking Chicago beats, New York house, and a powerful shot of R&B all combined in a way you’ve never heard before. A track that definitely polarizes the dance floor, I’ve seen all types of reactions, from total indifference to collective orgasm.

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Anthony Collins feat. Big Willy "Lie To Me" (HAKT Recordings)
What the hell was Anthony Collins riding when he produced this track? At least as far as I see it, “Lie To Me” is the complete opposite of everything the Frenchman has stood for in past years: elegant, minimal deep house. The vocalist Big Willy obviously must have had an influence here. The simple electro-funk of the piece reminds me of Detroit bass à la DJ Deeon or DJ Assault. If I had to categorize it, I’d call it minimal booty house. An obscure track on the obscure HAKT label, an enterprise of ex-DFA Records manager Justin Miller.

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Blaze "Do You Remember House" (Flashmob Edit) (unreleased)
Ever since the two Italians carved out their own sonic niche four years ago with their first two critically acclaimed releases on Get Physical, they’ve held that spot. Reduced to the bare minimum, they produce old school Roland drum-machine house—sometimes suitable for the big room, sometimes deep and dreamy. My favorite track of theirs is “Do You Remember House,” which was never released; they only gave it to DJ friends as an edit of Blaze’s track of the same name. It always goes through the roof no matter where and when I play it.

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Serge & Tyrell "Pump-o-Matic" (Clone Jack for Days)
What would the legacy of Detroit and Chicago be without all the people from the Benelux countries, who with unflagging zeal and burning reverence continue to fly the flag? One of the holy-grail epicenters is Rotterdam’s Clone—not just a label, but a store and a distribution company with a lot of related artists who all have one thing in common.: They make retro music that doesn’t just cite older music, but that strives to preserve the vibe of the past as authentically as possible. My favorite of all the sublabels is Jack for Daze, and my favorite track of theirs is “Pump-o-Matic.”

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DJ T. "Dis" (Kink (909 Tool) (Get Physical)
Although his sound doesn’t embrace any of the current formulas in music, Strahil Velchev, a.k.a. Kink, has blossomed into one of the world’s most popular live acts over the past five or six years, to give him credit where credit’s due. His creative, sporty show offers the eyes and ears exactly what most of the others are missing. Kink seems to feel the way I feel: His heart beats for both Detroit and Chicago. That’s why his productions always sound like a mixture of both. His remix of my track “Dis” is one of the hardest productions I’ve ever heard him do; it’s just total drum machine madness.

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