DJ Citizen Kane’s mix CD manifesto

CITIZEN KANE with DJ SCRIBE spinning as part of UPROC with KOLA, DJ SERIOUS, JOHN KUMAHARA and MIKE K tonight.

CITIZEN KANE with DJ SCRIBE spinning as part of UPROC with KOLA, DJ SERIOUS, JOHN KUMAHARA and MIKE K tonight (Thursday, May 16) at Una Mas (422 Adelaide West). $10. Rating: NNNNN

The generic-looking beige-sleeved mix disc produced by DJs Citizen Kane and Chairman Mao — residents at New York’s happening 13th Street hangout, APT — doesn’t seem like anything special.

In fact, the nondescript CD, often referred to by its catalogue number, Selects 001, was meant to be merely a promotional giveaway for the Selects streetwear line that Dennis “Citizen” Kane helps design.

Yet over the past year the elegantly programmed mix of obscure funk, soul and bumpin’ disco — and phenomenal word-of-mouth buzz — has made the disc hugely popular.

Part of Selects 001’s appeal is that, unlike other mixed discs and breaks collections on the market, it doesn’t stick to a single style of music or rhythm pattern, but instead maintains a smooth flow through a wide assortment of sounds and vibes.

It’s a personal selection, like a homemade compilation tape you might get from a friend, albeit someone with impeccable taste and a seriously deep record collection.

“Selects 001 is sort of deceptively simple in its presentation, because it sounds just like a bunch of cool tunes,” says Kane, who built up his vinyl stash while working at Manhattan collectors’ mecca A-1 Records.

“But a lot of effort went into choosing tracks that hadn’t appeared on other mixed discs and that all fit together in the overall structure. We approached it like a single composition with a beginning, a middle and an end, trying to maintain a constant flow using a wide range of music.”

The musical diversity of the Selects 001 disc is typical of Citizen Kane’s popular DJ sets at APT, where you’re just as likely to hear Brazilian swingers by Marcos Valle and Orlandivo as spiritual jazz joints from Henry Franklin or Eddie Russ. And there’s always room for old-school hiphop — whatever’s clever.

“I just try to play things that the other DJs don’t play in clubs. So while I might start off the night with some sweet Brazilian stuff, I’ll eventually get into some soul, deep funk and disco before ending the night with hiphop.

“It’s an amazing feeling when you get a whole crowd dancing and having a good time and you know that nobody in the place has heard any of the records before. There’s a much greater sense of accomplishment in that than in putting on the hot track of the moment and having a bunch of people shouting, ‘Ah yeah, that’s my shit!'”

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