Features I by I 28.07.17

7 must-hear mixes from July 2017: Roughneck rave, diggers’ delights and gay dancefloor classics

It’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything that SoundCloud, Mixcloud and online radio has to offer. In our new monthly column, FACT guides you through the must-hear mixes of the last 30 days, whether you want a club session to warm you up for the weekend, ambient soothers or a set of vinyl-only obscurities.

The usual overwhelming volume of mixes was exacerbated in July by the sheer length of some of them, with one highlight, Lorenzo Senni’s “Perpetual Trance Mix”, laying on a YouTube extravaganza of endless trance builds – no drops, no relief – that went on for an entire week. Sadly, this epic tease from the Persona producer was only on loan; the “live stream” has ended, the euphoria fades away. Your adrenal glands are grateful though.

On the Dekmantel airwaves, Resom turned in the mix series’ longest session yet – 140 minutes of techno-plus-curveballs from the ://about blank resident. Special mention should also go to Lisbon weird-house proponent Photonz, who snapped on his patchwork dungarees for a belting mix of “bargain-bin” UK house from the original rave era. All of this was excellent, but scroll on for the very best of the month, from headphones bliss-outs to vicious snare attacks.

Bill Brewster presents I Was Born This Way
A potted history of big gay dancefloors

Allow, if you can, your eyes to glide smoothly over the bit where this is a mix sponsored by an alcohol company to boost their “corporate social responsibility” during Pride month. What’s important here is that Bill Brewster – yes, that Bill Brewster, the man who literally wrote the book on DJing – has drawn upon his years of experience as a selector to pay tribute to the biggest, gayest dancefloor moments in history, on the 50th anniversary of Britain’s decriminalization of homosexuality.

“Some of the songs were written or performed by gay men and women. Some of them have a gay theme. Some of them were appropriated by the gay community and became anthems. And some of them are just amazing tracks that were played on the dancefloors of gay clubs,” says Brewster. He’s not fucking about, either – opening with a burst of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, the mix stomps its platform heels through four decades of club hits, from anthems (Diana Ross, Sylvester) to avant-pop (Soft Cell, The Communards) to hi-NRG hip-thrusters (Tronco Traxx, Lime), catching up to the near-present day with The Gossip and a Gaga remix. History lesson and instant party, in one.

Objekt live at Freerotation
An absolute master in risk-taking mode

Let’s get this out the way now, shall we? Anyone who hasn’t already set aside time for the traditional midsummer bacchanal that is Objekt’s Freerotation set needs to get on it, no excuses. TJ Hertz is simply very, very good at DJing – boggle at his folder organization techniques for supplementary evidence – but in the intimate surrounds of Freerotation, a low-key, heads-only festival in a Welsh country manor, he excels himself every time.

It’s “the highlight of every year,” he explains. “I was playing second-to-last on Sunday night, so I figured I’d leave out the drastic tempo shifts and just have A LOAD OF FUN keeping the party going instead.” That’s one way to explain why you mixed Run-D.M.C. vs Jason Nevins (YES, ‘90s children, I KNOW) into your set, but it can’t account for the utter, utter genius of the bit where he flips from early ‘90s hardcore ’n’ hoovers into Jlin’s freakazoid footwork. Too many other highlights to mention – do not sleep.

Akanbi for The Fader
A roughneck rave from the future

Keeping the energy levels somewhere between “anaerobic” and “fetch the foil blankets”, we segue directly into Akanbi’s sweat-soaked hour for The Fader. If you knew nothing of the NYC raver and GROOVY GROOVY resident before this mix, you’ll be setting up your own damn clubnight to bring him to your city by the end of this outrageous session, which genuinely has a vibe all of its own.

The Virginia-born, Lagos-raised DJ opens with a bunch of chugging, polyrhythmic records from Bergsonist, Randomer and Lag that set the pace for the beat frenzy to follow, a roughneck rave that feels futuristic and primitive all at once, with not a throwaway edit in sight. “I put this together with the vision of an erupting dancefloor in mind,” says Akanbi. “Ideally I expect every listener to be moving every single part of their body at a speed of at least 15mph while listening to it.”

Minor Science Texture Mix #19 for Cashmere Radio
A headphones mix for the discerning weirdo

Reminding us, if we really needed reminding, that DJing is all about selection, the latest mix from Whities and Trilogy Tapes producer Minor Science is sheer bliss. Appearing on Berlin’s Cashmere Radio (who have a very nice website), he provides a Texture Mix that focuses on sound above genre, spanning Fourth World electronics from Visible Cloaks, rumbling ragga from DMX Krew and The Bug, collapsing breaks from Mosca and Herron, and a Lurka track that sounds superb at any tempo.

It’s hard to put your finger on what these tracks have in common, but it’s like buying organic vegetables or something – you just know you’re getting quality. “Listening on high impedance headphones recommended,” says the DJ, wisely. PSA: Throw those white earbuds away, they are ruining your life in a subtle but real way. Thank us later.

Laurel Halo – Discwoman 27
Genre-sliding excellence from Hyperdub’s finest

After casually dropping one of the best albums of the year, Laurel Halo turns it up for Discwoman and gives us an insight into the many and varied influences on her hard-to-crack sound. It’s slippery stuff – from dreamy, daiquiri-sipping piano house to heads-down club onslaught, no transition is predictable and, crucially, even familiar tracks feel subverted in a playful dérive manner. Listen out for the debut track by Gqom Oh! boss Nan Kolè, a glitchy, glittery gem from Nídia, Sinjin Hawke’s outrageous ‘Nailgun’ and a spooky groove from NAAFI’s Zutzut. Typical SoundCloud comments include “M8”, “!!!” and “woiii”.

Friendly Potential Episode 60: Mikey IQ Jones
Summer vibes from a true digger

Accuse us of croneyism all you want, nothing can take away from the near-mint quality of this ultra-eclectic, brilliantly imaginative summertime radio hour from Mikey IQ Jones, a true digger whose record obsession has made him a regular FACT contributor over the years. This mix for New Zealand’s Friendly Potential is a dose of vitamin D for sunshine-deprived Discoggers and “very consciously ‘beatworthy’,” says Jones. Hopping from laid-back art-rock grooves (Arto Lindsay) to the Beach Boys in the style of J Dilla (Bullion) to exquisite pop (Kylie Minogue), it also contains a few Japanese pop gems you probably won’t hear anywhere else. Tracklist included, thank the lord.

LOFT for The Ransom Note
If you like piña coladas and taking walks in acid rain

We end not with a bang but a mile-high mushroom cloud on one of the most harrowing and bizarre mixes of the month – and yes, that is a good thing. LOFT’s lawless session for The Ransom Note is more of a mind-dump than a mix, carving out its own space in the club-noise-metal-WTF sphere. Vicious snare attacks rub up against heady ambience, doomy guitars melt into filtered-out future-R&B, and in one disgusting moment of genius, Show Me The Body’s crusty noise-rap slams into OutKast’s ‘B.O.B’. It’s visceral and ugly and fresh like acid rain. Check out the producer’s own genre-skirting productions on Astral Plane Recordings, the label that released his Turbulent Dynamics EP last year and just dropped a vinyl version of brilliant lead track ‘Heffalump’.

Chal Ravens is on Twitter

Read next: 7 must-hear mixes from June 2017



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