Carl Cox is one of electronic music’s anomalies. One of the most popular DJs in the world, “Coxy’s” a ubiquitous presence in the biggest clubs and magazines. Unlike other European DJs who’ve earned his level of success, when you look at the stats (i.e., his record selection and DJ skills), it’s clear that Cox deserves the props. The press release for Global refers to Carl as “the people’s DJ,” and although it’s fashionable to disagree with such clichés merely on principle, one can’t deny that it’s true. Nobody mixes the club, pop and underground sounds together as tastefully as Carl Cox.
Global, Cox’s first mix for the U.S. market since 2000’s Mixed Live — the debut in a series on Moonshine records — seems to be a technical departure. As one might expect from a studio mix, some of the energy that’s created by a crowd is compromised in the name of sound quality. Furthermore, there are far less chances taken on Global. Whereas Mixed Live found Cox mercilessly attacking three decks and occasionally cutting it up like Jeff Mills or Claude Young, Global is more in the John Acquaviva vein of precise record placement and subliminal EQ filtering where every track is juiced for its raw energy.
From a dark-yet-clubby beginning (“Kick back”) to the very bright diva wailing on “Turn it up,” Cox sets the tone like a night at New York’s defunct Twilo nightclub where he was a mainstay for years. The vibe is then taken much deeper as Cox methodically drops cuts such as “Trebble and Bass” and “Drumz for better daze.” There’s a kinetic ebb and flow between the darker tracks and moments such as “Watch the sun” and “Simulation” (a Eurythmics remix) that explode with fist-pumping danceability.
For skills, Mixed Live is difficult to touch, yet Global makes for better car listening.
Carl Cox plays Friday, Feb. 22 at Motor (3515 Caniff, Hamtramck — 313-369-0090).
E-mail Robert Gorell at [email protected].