It is my distinct privilege today to share a little secret with you, dear reader. Are you sitting down? Here goes: your favorite DJ doesnâ€™t bend genre. Your favorite DJ just gets covered by lazy music writers who need to find another term for â€œincluding tech house and deep house in the same set.â€ Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with restricting oneself to a specific sonic palette – in fact, this technique can be a powerful creative kickstarter, and an important way to focus ideas â€” but pitching down the Beatport top 100 from 124bpm to 120 does not a rejection of genre constitute.
My favorite DJ, on the other hand, started his most recent mix with a Lil Flip/Squarepusher blend. My favorite DJ mashed up Drexciya, Outkast and Lorenzo Senni. My favorite DJ isnâ€™t scared of slam mixing into a #1 Billboard hit, or of turning it into a nightcore version by pitching it way up. My favorite DJ is Teki Latex, who just released The Naked King.
What an absolute treat, full of surprises from start to finish. The Brandy/Eero Johannes mashup alone makes this set worth checking out, but The Naked King as a whole is a beautiful collage composed of just about every style of modern electronic dance music. In Tekiâ€™s own words:
â€œIt is a stream of consciousness that ends up being more informed by the construction of a Lil Wayne verse than the typical temporality of your conservative DJâ€™s latest techno mix…the ride itself, no matter how chaotic, becomes the message.â€
It certainly is chaotic. The author uses classic, instantly recognizable tracks as touchstones to build familiarity, then constantly demands re-orientation. Witness the moment around the 26:45 mark: after two certified house classics in a row he introduces CLUBKELLYâ€™s Donâ€™t Call Me, quoting the universally-known build from the Eric Prydz original. The listener experiences the synth catharsis, but flipped into a breakbeat so choppy it sounds like a gated future bass chord.
Later, after having introduced the audience to current tracks like Finnâ€™s Sometimes the Going Gets A Little Tough and the legendary Steve Poindexterâ€™s instant-classic remix of Fractal Fantasy eccentric Martyn Bootyspoon, Teki brings back the classic Knuck If You Buck acapella. Most DJs would be content to successfully blend this with one track from the Criterion Collection of house, but not this one. This one shows off with four different instrumentals under the same acapella in the space of about three minutes.
The Naked King isnâ€™t so much a mixtape as it is an exploration of the different genres of dance music. Far from being esoteric, itâ€™s subtle, accessible, and danceable. By the closing notes of Lorenzo Senniâ€™s euphoric One Life, One Chance, I had felt confused, amused, nostalgic, intrigued, excited. But most importantly I felt new connections being formed between familiar and new songs that had been previously unrelated to my mind.
In the mixâ€™s description on SoundCloud, Teki writes: Â â€œitâ€™s all the same music to me and it all makes perfect sense.â€ It only took one playthrough for him to convince me.
For further listening, I highly recommend the previous two installments of the King of Blends trilogy: 2016â€™s 100% Radio Hits and 2017â€™s Impressions. You can also find Teki on Insta and Twitter. And even if you (like me 😭) Â canâ€™t afford to wear Acronym, I suggest living vicariously through Teki Latex on Pinterest.