Record Review - 1 February 06 2002

Philadelphia's Vikter Duplaix has established himself worldwide with remix and vocal credits — under his own name and as Critical Point — for artists neo-soul to nu_jazz, Erykah Badu to King Britt, Eric Benet to Masters at Work. Now Duplaix joins the select group of international DJs contributing volumes to the impressive DJ-Kicks series, a series that requires the DJ to demonstrate class and sass in the selection process.

The DJ-Kicks cats are an incestuous bunch. Recent volumes by Jazzanova, Trüby Trio and more have featured tracks from the others or heavily complemented the others' moods — so it's no surprise that Duplaix's set also features the en vogue broken_beat sound, a jazzy juxtaposition of organic elements and meticulous digitally arranged polyrhythms.

Duplaix sets his percussive program as if it were a counterpart to fellow broken_beat/ seductive soul champion, U.K. radio jock Gilles Peterson, throwing in plenty of Latin- and R&B-influenced domestics and imports to keep things interesting. With his proclaimed lack of patience for any one tempo or tone, Duplaix arranges his DJ-Kicks volume as less mix, more mix tape, using computerized voices the way Funkmaster Flex uses guest vocalists to segue between disparate artists.

Showcasing Duplaix's tasteful tendencies, no track seems out of place. From the '70s show-choir vibe of Mr. Hermano's "Free as the Morning Sun" to the bleating and bubbling of Herbert's tech-house; from the deep underground house of Osunlade to the post-drum n' bass free-jazz blurts of Atlanta producer Chris Brann's P'Taah project; from the low-key hip-hop of De La Soul and Bahamadia to the low-lit "Sensuality" of Duplaix's own productions, DJ-Kicks is warm and fluid hot chocolate — rich comfort food for a cold day.

Vikter Duplaix spins at eleven50 Thurs., Feb. 7.??