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.
Unless you’ve had your head in the snow for the last few weeks, then you’ll be well aware that arch prankster Richard D. James has been leaking unreleased material at a breakneck pace. Well this week you’re in for a treat, not only is there a bumper mix of Aphex-y goodness, but for those of you who are sick of the sighy of his ginger mug there’s enough brutalized techno, energetic grime and genre-bending blends to keep you grinning like a goon.
Mix of the Week:
Selected Aphex Works
Let’s be totally honest, who’s got time to trawl through over one-hundred Aphex Twin MP3s searching for glistening gold in a sea of demos, offcuts and b-sides? That’s not to sound ungrateful, but Ninja Tune veteran DJ Food has done the world a solid here by skimming off the cream, and he’s blended the mammoth collection into almost 90 minutes of Aphex-y goodness. If Syro didn’t really capture that raw, cheeky Aphex Twin you know and love, then Selected Aphx Works is for you; Food has picked tracks that work as a timely reminder of why we all fell head-over-heels for the Cornish clown in the first place.
That means there’s clippy beats, gorgeous melodies, haunting ambience and a smirking sense of humor, which is further exhibited in some carefully picked interview footage that Food weaves throughout the mix. Hearing Richard D. James bemusedly chat about copping the ire of Stockhausen while elegiac synths chime away in the background is everything Soundcloud was made for, and more.
Grovestreet & M. Wrecker
The follow-up to January’s corker of a mix, this second slice might be even stranger and even more combative than its predecessor – possibly thanks to the involvement of one M. Wrecker. Grovestreet admits that he’s “testing what’s accepted, what’s not accepted and what you could get away with if you’re left with a warm up set,” and he certainly tries his luck. It’s a no-hold-barred trip through future club modes, bristled grime, arched ambience and, err, hardcore punk? Yeah we weren’t expecting that either, and that’s why it works.
POW Mix XVII – LOVE to make mixes to
Daedelus has put in serious work over the years, helping foster LA’s influential beat scene but always staying close to the fringes, something that can be heard easily in his genre-bending catalogue. This latest mix (for Passion of the Weiss) illustrates his wide-ranging taste perfectly without crossing the line into parody. He blends Rae Sremmurd, Beyonce, East Flatbush Project (the unfuckwithable ‘Tried By 12’), A$AP Ferg and Arthur Russell, and even finds time to drop in Madvillain’s ‘Accordian’, a track that fans will remember featured our protagonist himself on the titular accordion. Good job.
The Warp-signed club Voltron previews their forthcoming album with a short-but-sweet mix that seamlessly blends their own concoctions with the tracks that inspire them. Chicago and Atlanta-born rap fades into Future Brown’s collaborations with Tink, Shawnna and DJ Victoriouz; the same goes for grime, as Terror Danjah sits comfortably next to the group’s work with Riko Dan, Jammer and others. Astute listeners may be able to pick out the Future Brown tracks, but it’s not as easy as you’d think, especially when everyone is pulling from the same bass-heavy templates.
“The idea for this mix comes as a result of being disenchanted by most popular music and wanting a bit of a mind bender,” says Lee Bannon. We say, “Mission accomplished.” The Ninja Tune producer’s mix for Boiler Room ebbs and flows between breakneck jungle, brutalized techno, twisted hip-hop and uneasy ambience as he drops in his own blown-out edits of Arca, Junglepussy and Joy Division. There’s more than a hint of Aphex Twin, who’d probably appreciate closing the mix with Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’, too.
Best of A$AP Worldwide / Yamborghini Records
The death of A$AP Yams last month is still being felt in the rap world: despite all his accomplishments, the 26-year-old hip-hop mastermind was still at the beginning of his career, his limitless potential sadly unrealized. A$AP associate DJ Nick celebrates the life and times of Yams by compiling an hour-long mix of the Mob’s finest moments. Yams inimitable voice punctuates the mix, and when Joey Fatt$’s tribute ‘Stevie’s World’ comes on, we had chills.