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François K
Garth Aikens

Listen to François K’s exclusive playlist

Check a funky selection from the disco-house legend ahead of his London DJ set this weekend

By Tristan Parker
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There aren’t many DJs around today who can tell you what seminal New York clubs like Paradise Garage, The Loft and Studio 54 were really like. François Kevorkian – known simply as François K – is one of those few, having ignited the dancefloor at those clubs and countless others over the years.

On Saturday he'll be playing a set in London at high-end Victoria venue The Qube Project. A rare treat, but just as exciting is the playlist that Kevorkian put together exclusively for Time Out. It’s a great taster of the kind of funky, soulful sounds you’re might hear him play this weekend, and he’s even explained his choices. Over to Mr K:

‘Each of these selections are tracks that I feel are special, and the kind I am likely to drop into my sets. Even though they seem very different from each other, the one thing they share is that they all manage, in their own way, to bring out a strong emotional response.’

Listen to François K's playlist

George Duke – ‘Reach for it’

‘This piece never gets old. I just played it last week and felt the same rush I experienced when I first heard it back in the day. It’s pure jazzy funk with a soulful attitude. Doesn’t hurt that it’s Stanley Clarke playing that mean bass and none other than Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler on drums, the same badass player who gave ‘Billie Jean’ its groove. Like I said, it’s about funk. A masterclass right here.’

Kryptic Minds – ‘Rule of Language’

‘This one has been getting a lot of play from me at Deep Space [François’s New York club night] since it came out last year. It perfectly illustrates the dark, foreboding futuristic sound I’m enjoying lately, especially when it’s played on the exquisite soundsystem at Cielo [the club where Deep Space is held]. It makes me see the bass in 3-D.’

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Sadam Ant – ‘Baby Brother’ (DJ Fudge Remix)

‘It’s only been out a few weeks, but this cheeky little number does what it should: get everyone’s butts moving and their throats humming. It features the catchy vocal hook made famous by [US funk band] War on ‘Deliver the World’, but it also has a mean groove and features a nasty little organ solo that just begs to be worked. It’s the kind of record that makes it easy for me to go out there and play music at parties.’

Ashford and Simpson – ‘Bourgie, Bourgie’

‘It never fails. Every time I put this one on, I get those rushes towards the end. When it leads into those lush symphonic strings, surging horns and that counterpoint melody… It just gives me guaranteed goose bumps every time. A very simple reminder that music is first and foremost about emotions, and when sharing such a gem with crowds everywhere, I really feel that it helps us connect. Beyond words, beyond language. Truly an expression of beauty through sound.’

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Daphni – ‘Ye Ye’

‘This record has a lineage to me. It feels like a direct inheritor of Eddy Grant’s ‘Time Warp’ and has a similarly hypnotic effect, because it aims for ‘deepness’ – that sort of quality that takes you beyond mere beats and cheap gimmicks. It’s that quirky, off-beat vibe that instantly signals serious zoning-out. It grows on you, and will haunt you once you’ve experienced it. That, to me, is always the sign of a special record.’

Function – ‘Incubation’

‘There are certain tracks I can only measure by how much I am unable to control my wildly working the EQ on the isolator. It’s something I just have to do: give it life, adding extra rhythmic pulses to those that are already there, begging to be brought out. This one never fails to have the spirits pass through my hands when it plays. I can only offer this excuse: “The music made me do it”. This track is abstract and properly dark-as-fuck, but is there any other way to have your techno?’

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Joeblack feat. Angel B. – ‘Voltar’

‘Whatever this artist produces has a delightful old-school sound that’s a throwback to the best of the ’80s kind of groove, with that electro-boogie attitude. Think Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis or D-Train, but updated for today, and you’re about right. I can’t get enough of it – it’s dripping with electric soul.’

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