François Kevorkian, aka François K, who has just turned 70 years old (on 10 January), is quite simply one of the most influential producers, remixers and DJs in the history of electronic music.

It’s close to a half century since Kevorkian, originally hailing from Rodez, France, secured his first job as a disc jockey in various underground clubs across New York, while also establishing himself as an emerging remixer and producer.

As the 1970s came to a close, Kevorkian contributed a distinctive touch to a range of genres such as disco, Hi-NRG, electro, and new wave. Over the subsequent decade and beyond, he collaborated with some of the most prominent names in popular music, including Diana Ross, The Cure, Adam Ant, Kraftwerk, Eurythmics, Depeche Mode, the Steve Miller Band, and even Australian pop rockers Midnight Oil.

“I just think in general you have to be in touch with the moment,” Kevorkian told the MooKid Music blog in 2016. “I never think back so much on 10 years, 20 years, 30 years… or even the future. Maybe other people have big plans, but if you have big plans you’re constantly disappointed. If you don’t have no big plans it’s all positive.”

As time evolved, Kevorkian’s extensive tenure in the industry has allowed him to witness the evolution from four-to-the-floor disco to a more electronic sound.

In a 2018 interview on the Red Bull Music Academy site, Kevorkian emphasised the impact he believed the birth of house music had on the industry.

“Machines. That was the end of live playing. The most significant aspect of house music to me was the absence of live musicians. Instead, people were programming boxes, giving it a distinct sound. It was special – raw, primitive, yet compelling.

“It marked the beginning of a refining process where music shifted from elaborate compositions to raw, simplistic, dancefloor-oriented tracks.”

Over the years, Kevorkian has proven himself to be a maestro at blending genres and constructing sets that take the listener on a true musical journey, drawing on his extensive experience in a myriad of genres. The 909originals team were lucky to experience his selections in Tokyo last year, alongside Joe Claussell and Danny Krivit, for a Body & Soul set that soared through blissful highs and exuberant lows, as the sun set over nearby Shinagawa.

In a 2009 article in The Guardian, journalist and Art of Noise contributor Paul Morley, described Kevorkian as “a part of the invention of a new kind of disc jockey who created, as curator, whole storytelling nights of musical entertainment by piecing together bits of music, shreds of sound, and fragments of rhythm.

“The better, more interesting your musical taste, the more instinctive and metaphysical your sense of rhythm, the bigger your appetite for unusual and unlikely sources of beat and word, then the more successful you were as disc jockey.”

In line with this perspective, we present a playlist featuring Kevorkian’s early productions, remixes, and edits, showcasing his nearly five decades of contributions to the music scene. Thank you for the music, Monsieur Kevorkian! [Main photo by Laughlin McKee]

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