Only a few months after mounting a comeback of sorts with Keokiclash, his first release for Cleopatra Records after an eight-year relationship with Moonshine, Keoki followed up that electroclash mix with a mash-up one, Kill the DJ. Like electroclash, mash-up mixes couldn't have been more fashionable during the early 2000s, best evidenced by the uproarious popularity of such releases as 2 Many DJ's' As Heard on Radio Soulwax, Pt. 2 (2002) and Kid 606's The Action Packed Mentalist Brings You the Fucking Jams (2002). It's perhaps no surprise then that Keoki of all people spotted the trend and responded accordingly (i.e., capitalizing on it) -- and he deftly does so by also tying in the burgeoning '80s revival, making his mash-up mix an '80s-themed one. As with Keokiclash, however, his reaction time is a bit lagging, as he's about a year or so behind the initial trend and thus comes across as bandwagon-jumping. But that's Keoki (aka Mr. Johnny-come-lately), and such is life. And besides, it's the music that matters, right? -- when it's all said and done, the quality of the music should be the bottom line, not the fashionability of it. Well, if that's the case then Kill the DJ is a travesty, particularly when held up against the aforementioned mixes by 2 Many DJ's and Kid 606. Sure, Keoki throws down plenty of classics throughout his mix: some of the more notable inclusions are Gary Numan's "Are 'Friends' Electric?," Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead," the Cure's "The Walk," Kiss' "I Was Made for Loving You," Siouxsie & the Banshees' "Israel," Blur's "Boys & Girls," the Ramones' "Judy Is a Punk," the Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary," Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record)," Joy Division's "She's Lost Control," Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," New Order's "Blue Monday," Laid Back's "White Horse," and Soft Cell's "Sex Dwarf." The track listing is astounding; it really is -- except that none are the originals. For licensing reasons, Keoki spins cheap electroclash-style remakes and remixes, which sound similar but are definitely not authentic. Moreover, his mixing is layman at best. Of course, it's still fun to trainspot -- everyone knows at least some of these tracks -- even if the reinterpretations are awful at times. And for that reason Keoki at least deserves some credit for his intentions. Had Cleopatra dished out the big bucks to license the well-known originals, Kill the DJ could have been a superfun mix, and certainly a mashed-up one. But as is so often the case with popular music, there's nothing like the real thing.
Kill the DJ Review
by Jason Birchmeier