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Charm Offensive

Baltimore's deep house dude Karizma has us charmed

Looking for a deep house DJ to charm you onto the dancefloor? Then look no further than Karizma. A dive into his aquatic new mix CD for NRK - 'Coast2Coast – Karizma', out 10th September - reveals a submarine world of jacking rhythms and underwater keys, funk-inflected bass and resonant vocals that balances perfectly on the line between the old skool sound and the more electronic future of house.

Born Kris Klayton in the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, he began DJing at various parties at the age of 13, before graduating to a radio show on the city's college radio station, where he earned his DJ chops. Later, moving into production, he joined the Basement Boys alongside Spen, remixing a wide variety of artists including Lenny Kravitz, Roy Ayers and Everything But The Girl - bringing them an extra, intangible edge of house-flavoured funk.

But this wasn't enough for the young wunderkind: he wanted to go deeper. All the while, Karizma was developing an unpredictable, exciting DJ style that allowed him to blend hip-hop, broken beat and house with alarming alacrity, and keep the crowd bouncing.

"I feel that you shouldn't box yourself into just playing house music," Karizma reasons. "I just like good music. I like to play some hip-hop, some r&b, and make it work within the house tempo." It's this anything-goes musical adventurism that aligns him with other open-minded soulful visionaries, who it comes as no surprise are big inspirations to Karizma.

"Osunlade, DJ Spinna, DJ Gregory, they've all influenced me in some way or another. There are quite a few artists who I find inspiring, too many to name!" he smiles.

With the new mix dipping into the tech-tinged lagoon of artists like Manuel Tur, as well as the soulful vocal tones of Shuya Okino featuring Vikter Duplaix, the 'Coast2Coast' mix draws from all areas of house at its most soulful.

"With the 'Coast2Coast' mix I wanted to do something different," Karizma reveals. "Something you could listen to at home or when you're getting ready to go out to the club. I didn't want to completely bang it out, I wanted some nice vocals in there. I wanted to show people a side of Karisma that people don't normally hear." The mix contains several of Karizma's own productions, ranging from the electronic bruk beat of 'In the D.ee.p' to his jazzy Detroit inflected 'The D'.

Having already released remixes and original tracks on labels as diverse as Brownswood Recordings, Ricanstruction, Sonar Kollectiv and Defected, and an album, 'Mind Of Its Own' on R2, Karizma's got a load of fresh music to drop on us.

"Upcoming, there's a mix for Eddie Meets Yannah on Compost Records, there's a remix of 'Alright' by Urban Soul coming on Juno, a mix of Taylor McFerrin featuring Bobby McFerrin's 'Georgia' on Rude Movements, and a compilation with Kenny Dope. That's keeping me busy!" Let this Karizmatic cat into your life.