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DJ Earl, weightless music and vital drones: the week's best free music

Each week, FACT’s Mixtape Round-Up trawls through the untamed world of free mixes, radio specials and live blends so you don’t have to.

Change is afoot here at FACT HQ – the weekly mixes column will now be coming to you every Friday, with the mixtapes column being compiled into a biweekly list dropping every other Thursday.

This week selection is perfect for the cold weather blues, with warming washes and drones to keep your extremities from freezing over, booming bass to get the blood pumping and confounding avant garde experiments to give the brain a jolt of electricity.

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Mix of the week:

It’s far from Mumdance and Logos’ first selection of slippery ambient jams (a subgenre they’ve labeled “weightless”), but we’re suckers for the duo’s continuing mission to mine the best droning beauties the world has to offer. As usual there are some obscure corkers scattered around here, drifting coolly in-between jams from both producers, filling in the cracks like harmonic, synth-led polystyrene cement. When beats eventually emerge they’re spacious, tape-damaged and slightly broken – just the way we like ’em.


You can’t really go wrong with a bit of Beats in Space, Tim Sweeney’s radio show on New York City’s WNYU station, and this week it’s Scottish DJ-about-town Jackmaster in the hot seat. As well as cuts from Huntleys + Palmers, Phantasy Sound and Trax, he uses the opportunity to dig into a few records that might not make it into his big room sets, making for a pleasingly diverse, headphones-y kind of mix. (Worth a D/L for Jack’s introduction alone – he sounds excited as fuck, and even more so when Tim Sweeney presents him with a bottle of Johnnie Walker, which no doubt contributed some sparkle to the session.)


A teaser to the new producer’s very exciting debut album Pixel Wave Embrace, this ultra-soothing bath-to-bedtime mix combines mellow Japanophilia (of the Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboos variety) with breezy dreamcatcher vibes, birdsong, ominous RPG moods and a whisper of the grime influence felt more strongly on the album.



Another bass-heavy blend of up-to-the-second footwork from young Teklife operative DJ Earl, this hour-long mix packs so much punch you’d be forgiven for taking a breather mid-way through. The tempo might all rattle through at a sturdy 160, but DJ Earl doesn’t let his selections drag, dropping in influences from around the board to give a varied state-of-the-genre address with nods to Rashad, Gant-man, Spinn, Taso and plenty of other heads as well as repping his own productions.

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Kicking off with a track from veteran drone don Stephan Mathieu is a sure-fire way to our heart, and this cracking Secret Thirteen mix from Emptyset’s James Ginzburg and Berlin-based sound artist Yair Elazar Glotman only gets better from there on in. Of course, it’s not cheery stuff – we’re dragged through the kind of grim, gloomy neoclassical soundscapes that you’d usually find accompanying a monochrome Eastern European movie about infidelity and infanticide – but that only makes us love it even more. Ginzburg and Glotman know their stuff (Pärt into Köner – yes please), and blend their selection with an enviable light touch. Lock your razor blades and prescription meds away and sink into a delicious depression.


The naughty schoolboy of the global DJ elite unveils a smashing mix of weird slow jams, bedroom disco and freak rock under the banner ‘Rhythm Control’, from indie-pop one-hit-wonders It’s Immaterial to Bruce Springsteen in Suicide mode, with plenty of low-key dancefloor moments in between. Unveiling it over at Clash, Troxler summed it up thusly: “I’ve drawn inspiration from different places in time and different styles, and I saw this as a way for me to collect into one place all of those more eclectic influences that continue to inspire me.” Indeed.

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