I’m always happiest when I’m able to feature an artist who I also consider a friend. Of course, in order to get featured, that friend still needs to be doing something that is artistically worthy of a feature. With that in mind, I’m overjoyed to be reviewing a mix by my homeboy, Kev. Nice one!
While he’s become best known for his UK HARDCORE productions, under his PIKEY moniker, South Wales resident, Kev Thomas, also drops GABBER as ILLOGIKAL, and DRUM N BASS as KEVLAR. The latter is how he will be referred for the majority of this article (all of a sudden, I feel like I’m drafting a contract), but first a little background on Mr. Thomas.
Before the DJ gigs and original productions, Kev became a recognized figure in the UK rave scene, as a promoter, and general awesome party guy. It was in 2003, after a lot of practice and years of studying other DJs, that he found himself behind the decks, and the demand for his high energy, well executed sets grew quickly, seeing him on some of the UK Hard Dance scene’s most coveted lineups. His style has been described as “fast, hard, bouncy, adventurous and entertaining. Fully involved and very animated when he plays as he believes a DJ should also show personality behind the decks”.
The next logical step was to enter the studio and capitalize on his growing popularity and well-rounded musical instincts. As Pikey, his original productions quickly garnered him international acclaim, which led to appearances in New York, Pittsburgh, and Spain. I also hear that Belgians adore him.
As Kevlar, Mr. Thomas was able to branch out his sound encompassing a passion for Drum N Bass, and most recently, also HOUSE music, which is what brings him here today.
KEVLAR IN THE HOUSE
“After Dj’ing in Ibiza this year I’ve had a little dabble at a house mix. I’m not that clued up on the specific types of house but hope I’ve done ok” – Kevlar
Well, I’m about to let you know exactly what I think, but it’s YOUR opinion that’s important, of course, so do press play and have a listen. I can tell you right now that I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
**NO TRACK LIST**
HIGH POINTS: A musically inclined person can usually tackle any genre, and come up with something decent. It’s always interesting to hear an artist step out of their shell and explore a different sound. In fact, the result of doing so is often a product of pure passion void of the many hang ups that can inhibit an artist when working within their safe zone, like satisfying their fans, or adhering to their established branding. This Kevlar mix stands as a great example of such. Every track commands your attention, and there’s a nice variety of styles while still maintaining a comprehensive progression throughout. Kev demonstrates his proficiency as a DJ by showcasing enough tracks that you never get bored on any particular selection, and he does so without any vocal or key clashes. You can definitely hear the 90s influence in his style. This set is reminiscent of BAD BOY BILL or RICHARD “HUMPTY” VISSION during the heights of their popularity.
LOW POINTS: This is the first and only set I’ve ever reviewed, here on DKGL, that contains clunky mixing. Not all of it, mind you, but there are plenty of moments where the sync is off. Normally such a thing would be a deal breaker, but intention is important in a mixtape, and this one was meant to be a casual experiment, so Kevlar gets a pass. Isn’t it amazing how mixing House is actually a different discipline from Hardcore or DnB? You’d think beat matching is beat matching, but not so. There’s a subtle difference in the technique. I’m hoping that Kev will do more of these House mixes, and in the future, it would be great if a little bit more attention was payed to the polishing for maximum listenability. What’s with the sudden glitch, at 9:24? And why do I hear the pitch get pushed at 58:34? Use your KEY LOCK, mate. There’s no need for that anymore. Now I know I’m being a bit harsh. Is all this attention to fine detail necessary? Well, not entirely, but the polishing of the details CAN mean the difference between a listeners reaction being “great job, mate”, versus “Wow!”, and who in their right mind wouldn’t prefer that to get that wow? An absolutely brilliant first excursion for Kevlar, nevertheless.
GET MORE KEVLAR
So, when’s the next one coming out?