BioLet's just pause for one second; now, think about all that music that has so enriched your life down the years. All of it, without fault, and regardless of any strict genre definitions, is soul music. If it flicks a switch deep inside you, speaks to you, comforts you and makes you feel good about yourself, then that, my friend, is soul music. German DJ and producer Henrik Schwarz understands this musical truth more than most.
A long-time aficionado of those musical forms that are commonly rooted in some appreciation of this sonic legacy - funk, house, disco, jazz, techno, and yes, the dictionary definition of soul (James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Motown etc, etc) - his adventures into hi-fi are testament to such a fact.
And nowhere is this more readily apparent than on Schwarz's latest venture: a much-deserved foray into that Holy Grail of DJ mix albums, !K7's acclaimed DJ Kicks series. Across 23 tracks, Schwarz enthusiastically takes us on a musical journey that without wanting to get too chin-strokery about it, manages to entertain, enthral and educate all at once. And that he achieves this without losing sight of the style and sophistication that are the hallmarks of his unique DJ sets and his much praised productions and remixes is only added grist to his musical mill.
Schwarz's background is jazz: free-flowing, improvisational and inspirational jazz, the likes of which set the pre-rock'n'roll years alight. And it's this mindset that initially informs his well-chosen mix. Rather than go for the latest bunch of tunes that are burning a hole on dancefloors across the globe, Henrik has paid homage to the music that he has loved down the years. Consequently, Moondog's jazz classic 'Bird's Lament' sets the scene for the journey we are about to undertake. When this segues into Double's blissful slice of Balearica, 'Woman Of The World', it's clear that we are in the hands of a rare talent. For Henrik Schwarz is a DJ who utilises all the tools of the modern sound sculptor - his usual sets are comprised of him jamming live via his trusty laptop - with a reverence for what has gone before. It's no wonder that Gilles Peterson is such a fan of his productions 'Supravision', 'Chicago', 'Jon' (which is featured here) and 'Leave My Head Alone Brain', nor that his music is lapped up by Manchester's hugely influential Electric Chair coterie.