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Narcotic r'n'b, How To Dress Well and vintage funk: the week's best free mixes

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’s bounty of blends is a Turkey Day special, with druggy rap and r’n’b jammers to spice up your cranberry sauce, sizzling house, disco and soul to keep grandma happy and some low-light drones for afters.

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Mix of the week:

Pelican Fly boss DJ Slow returns with the sequel to one of our favorite mixes of the year and delivers 75-minutes of syrupy goodness mined from the intersection of rap, R&B and club music. There’s a heavy focus on offerings from contemporaries Cashmere Cat, Sam Tiba, Lido and Canblaster — a crew of young European kids whose obsessions with US-born pop music shines through in every remix and production. And while it lives up to its “slow” billing, it’s more slow-burn than chop-and-screwed sludge, especially the detours through Jersey club (he was on our list of underrated DJs for a reason). Don’t miss the tracks by rap-R&B risers DJ Nate, BeatKing, The Guys and Johnny Cinco; producers-to-watch producers Murlo, Mister Tweeks and Richelle; or that piano remix of one of our favorite songs of the year.


Berlin-based producer Cosmin Nicolae (aka Cosmin TRG) might be best known for his slew of bass-heavy productions for the 50 Weapons label (among others), but you’d struggle to work that out from listening to this soupy, late-night selection. Instead of beats, Nicolae is concerned with texture here, blending blackened offerings from the Miasmah imprint with snippets of Delia Derbyshire, Ryoji Ikeda or Porter Ricks. It’s submerged head music and is perfect fodder for warming the soul as the cold weather sets in and the year draws to a close.


Say what you like about Jackmaster’s quickly-becoming-legendary party bro image, the man can throw down with the best of ’em, even when he can barely stand up unassisted. This latest in his annual Mastermix series drops finds the Glaswegian selector chopping together a selection of his favorite new tracks with a deep cuts for the diggers. As usual, the genre dial is hopping all over the place as we’re dragged from dusty soul and funk into chugging house and techno (with plenty of pit stops in-between) but thankfully there’s never a moment when you have to take a step back, stop and think to yourself “this is eclectic.” We can’t state strongly enough what a gift this is.


Rabit’s regular series of Pandemic Transmission mixes have provided some of our favorite listening this year, and the fifth installment is just as arresting as we’ve come to expect. It’s sludgy, Houston-inspired business from the outset, with Rabit drenching his usual skeletal set of sounds in all manner of reverb, echo and drone drapery. R’n’b and rap snippets appear out of the swamp (A$AP Rocky’s ‘Wassup’ and Kelly Rowland’s ‘Motivation’ are two obvious stand-outs) in screwed ‘n chopped (or is that chopped not slopped?) form and it all hints at an intriguing direction for the usually grime-affiliated beatmaker.


The latest mix from Hoodrich’s DJ Pretty Boy Tank does exactly what it says on the tin: 80-minutes of one of the decade’s most important figures in rap and R&B, Atlanta AutoTune addict Future. Tank mixes in old favorites (‘Dirty Sprite’), forgotten gems (DJ Scream’s ‘Shinin’), mixtape rarities (‘Hard’), recent hits (‘Move That Dope’) and box-fresh material (‘Fuck Up Some Commas’) with the DJ skills we’ve come to expect from the HPG: nothing outstays its welcome. Coming on the heels of his recent return-to-form Monster, it’s a treat to revisit some of the full-throated club anthems and rough-edged street rap (rather than the sweet boy ballads) that have defined Future’s catalogue.


Tom Krell delivers his second How To Dress Well mix of the year, and it’s another hyper-earnest mix of pop, R&B, rap and dance tracks that seem deeply personal. Along with dialogue from YouTube journal entries, there are a host of exclusive edits, mash-ups and covers from an artist who has made his bones by deconstructing pop music: a “totally broken” version of FKA Twigs’ touching ‘2 Weeks’, a “totally ravaged lofi cover” of country singer Iris DeMent’s ‘My Life’, a blown-out edit of Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and so on. There are also two of Young Thug’s best 2014 features (‘Lifestyle’ and Dej Loaf’s ‘Blood’), plus tunes by Philip Glass and Dean Blunt. Fans of HTDW will not be disappointed.

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