Each week, FACT’s John Twells and Chris Kelly trawl through the untamed world of free mixes, radio specials and live blends so you don’t have to.
Eclectic is the watchword in the mix round-up, and this week doesn’t disappoint: from instrumental grime to hip-hop throwbacks, twisted lounge music to Arabian grooves and beyond.
Boxed Classics Mix
What can we possibly say about Boxed and its charismatic founder Slackk that we haven’t said already? The night has been instrumental (ahem) in stoking the world’s renewed interest in grime, and as they hit their second birthday we all need to put our hands together and give the lads a massive nod. Here the Scouse figurehead has selected some of the night’s resounding anthems, from Dark0’s ubiquitous ‘Sweet Boy Pose’ to Samename’s crushing ‘Okishima Island’. If you’re a newcomer and need a dose of instrumental grime to teach you right from wrong, here’s your mix – for the rest of us, we can slip into these tunes like a trusty old pair of AF1s.
Sonic Explorations 001
There’s a reason why we highlighted producer Ayman Rostom’s new project – The Maghreban – in our list of producers to watch in 2015. He’s quietly becoming one of London’s most interesting dance music producers, and this enjoyable, fathoms-deep blend is a pretty apt calling card. It’s not surprising given Rostom’s background in hip-hop beatmaking that he’s prepared to drop Madlib into the mix, but finding space for 4 Hero and Mood II Swing in amongst bangers from Pender Street Steppers and Call Super is just going above and beyond. Get on board before everyone else does, you won’t be sorry.
The Dance Pit Mix
Anyone who regularly tunes into FACT’s BBOX Radio show on Fridays will know NYC OG Geng pretty well already. The DJ, producer, promoter and occasional writer (check last month’s list of the 100 best indie hip-hop records if you haven’t already) is a commanding presence on the show, and brings his cross-genre taste to this 45 minute blend for The Dance Pit. Those familiar with the current state of contemporary club music should find plenty to sink their teeth in, and Geng mashes together plenty of the usual suspects – Celestial Trax, Rabit, CYPHR, M.E.S.H., Lotic – while throwing a distinctly American slant on proceedings, slipping in Future and Que bangers while nobody’s looking. Proper.
The Waiting Room in DJ Hell
Berlin-based techno conceptualist Physical Therapy shares a two-hour live mix from a recent performance at the Perez Art Museum Miami. “I had a vision of a tropical deep house hell made specifically for DJs. Somewhere in between the waiting room in Beetlejuice and a Far Side strip by Gary Larson where Beethoven is forced to conduct and orchestra of banjo players for all eternity. Basically DJs Complaining manifested as eternal damnation.” That’s better than any description we could come up with for this brain-melting mix of Muzak.
It’s not the size of your mix it’s how you use it Vol. 2
The legendary Prince Paul (Native Tongues, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gravediggaz, etc.) digs deep into the songs that he never gets to hear outside of his iPod, mixing 40-plus minutes of hip-hop throwbacks, from KRS-One to Da Lench Mob and MF Doom to Ghostface. “If you like hip hop that has been neglected and thrown in the gutter then you will love this,” he writes. And if you liked FACT’s indie hip-hop list, you’ll love this, too.
Jannis of Jakarta Records
Arabic 60s/70s Vinyl Mix Part. 2
A sonic outlier in the mix round-up, Jannis of German hip-hop obsessives Jakarta Records turns his attention to long-forgotten “Arabic groove” of the ’60s and ’70s. Acts from Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Lebanon and Syria lovingly fuse Western dance, soul, disco and rock with traditional music. A tip of the hat to FACT’s Laurent Fintoni for the strange trip.