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.
As summer fades and we head indoors, there’s a call for darker, weirder, more introspective sounds, and the month’s best mixes deliver on all fronts. The legendary Ryuichi Sakamoto kicks off with a dreamy selection that moves from avant-garde to hip-hop with ease, and we also hear from some of his countryfolk in a mix of vintage Japanese folk, rock and AOR gems.
At the other end of the spectrum, Oakland’s Russell E.L. Butler delivers a gritty and psychedelic techno session while Fever Ray collaborator Peder Mannerfelt opts for the bizarre and the brilliant on his mix for Newtype Rhythms. Most importantly, we’re paying tribute to the most unjustly derided instrument of them all: it’s jazz flute time.
Ryuichi Sakamoto for NTS Radio
Dazed and dreamy selections from the legendary composer
Obviously, essential listening: master composer Ryuichi Sakamoto helms an hour of gorgeous, eclectic selections for NTS Radio. The legendary Japanese musician (whose latest album, async, is perhaps one of the finest albums of his career, and of 2017) shows off the breadth of his musical taste, blurring ambient textures from Polish sound explorer Michał Jacaszek with dazed and dreamy material from Radiohead, J Dilla and Andy Stott. It’s always a treat to find out what your musical heroes are really into, and if Sakamoto isn’t among your heroes – well, seriously, what are you playing at? Dive deeper with our 2016 interview.
Peder Mannerfelt: Newtype Rhythms #25
Bizarro selections from an out-there electronic maestro
Here comes a bizarro mix from Fever Ray and Glasser collaborator Peder Mannerfelt, composer of one of last year’s most inventive electronic albums. Starting from the 47:30 mark (with the first half taken care of by Sheepshead), Mannerfelt picks out all manner of weirdness that shouldn’t go together but absolutely does, beginning by ripping our heads off with a blast of hardcore stalwarts Sick Of It All. Next up is a beauty from Shinichi Atobe, followed by tuff weirdness from Randomer, an astral wigout from Spacemen 3 and his recent remix of Special Request’s ‘Real’, among other unpredictable selections.
Gimme The Flute: Volume 2
All jazz flute, all the time
Don’t write off the jazz flute as a Will Ferrell punchline – if you’re not feeling the vibrations from the humble woodwind scene-stealer then you need to rethink your prejudices. This is a 58-minute, vinyl-only mix of jazz flute appearances from DJ Mentos, designed to “have everyone dancing: from the discerning crate digger to your weird aunt with the supportive shoes”. Listen out for James Brown, Jethro Tull, Roy Ayers and the sublime Bobby Humphreys, among other silver-tipped legends, and if this hour ain’t enough, rewind to Flute Funk Volume 1.
Russell E.L. Butler for Truants
One-take euphoria with a side of slop and grit
Bermuda-born techno provocateur Russell E.L. Butler offers up a one-take vinyl mix with a heavy Detroit influence and an edge of psychedelia: “I like a little slop cuz I want you to hear me work for it,” the now Oakland-based artist says. The modular synth fan – who gave us an insight into their analog passions for FACT earlier this month – also goes deep on their political and artistic doctrines in the accompanying interview with Truants, and it’s an illuminating read.
Softcoresoft – Hypnotic Groove Mix #162
Dynamic, driving selections from a rising Montreal DJ
Coming out of Montreal, Softcoresoft is a DJ, producer and radio host with an ear for strange textures and sideways maneuvers, as this mix for Hypnotic Groove demonstrates. It’s dynamic, driving stuff drawn from all corners of the electronic universe, from Jeremy Greenspan’s nightmarish techno to Scratcha DVA’s leftfield [HI:EMOTIONS] material via Joey Beltram’s downtempo experiments and the celestial moods of UMFANG.
Jake Orrall – Even A Tree Can Shed Tears
Japanese folk-rock curios from a distant time
Ahead of Light In The Attic’s tantalizing compilation of vintage Japanese folk, rock and AOR delights, Jake Orrall gives us a taste of the country’s underground scene as it sounded in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Expanding on a few selections from the comp, Orrall moves from feather-light flutes, softest-rock guitars and gentle folk ballads to material with a darker undercurrent, like the avant-blues nocturnes of Maki Asakawa. All of it seems both familiar and totally strange – look out for the compilation in October.
Surrealist directions for the bolder listener
Allow the autumn chill to envelop you with this genuinely quite terrifying mix from D. Glare, also known as one half of Leeds analog warriors Chrononautz. Surreal snippets of speech and storytelling waft through blood-curdling ambient atmospheres, swampy noise and proto-electronics, inducing a sense of paranoia that can’t be shifted. Horror season is upon us; get a headstart.
Chal Ravens is on Twitter