7 must-hear mixes from June 2018: Chicago house, sweaty rave and favela funk
It’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything that SoundCloud, Mixcloud and online radio has to offer. In our 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.
It’s the end of June, people are doing things outside, the deluge of mixes has slowed to a borderline manageable flow. Bliss.
In the miscellaneous pile this month, a few things of note: first, though it’s technically a cassette and the deckless Debbies among us will probably never hear this in its intended format, we have to mention Reggaetoneras 3. Mixed by Berlin’s Clara!, it’s just under half an hour of female-fronted reggaeton blends and edits, with source material pulled from the 90s to the present day. It’s absolutely killer – do whatever you can to get this coming out your speakers. Hell, buy a tape deck. Allegedly they’re in fashion.
Second, LA’s Maral gave us a lesson in Iranian music history in a Crack Magazine mix that traces Persian pop through four decades of upheaval, Westernization and revolution, from ancient instruments to modern synths. A potentially complementary mix comes from White Material’s DJ Richard, who drops the foggy techno for his own Crack mix highlighting his love of dark and devilish vintage psych.
For the Balearic contingent, high-dive into an al fresco mix from London party duo The Occasional Feel-Good: baggy grooves, FM synths and sangria-smashed vibes galore. Also on a summer party tip, Mr. Mitch continues his Devotion series with his most dancefloor-focused effort yet, featuring fresh bangers from Martyn Bootyspoon and Lorenzo BITW. Finally, you’ve still got a few days to catch Call Super’s Essential Mix: props for getting Powder and Donato Dozzy on prime-time Radio 1, and props again for ending on The Greatest Dance 12” Of All Time.
OK then here we go alright it’s the seven best mixes of June 2018!! You’ll find dizzy ‘90s rave from Toronto’s Ciel, thinky-face techno courtesy of Batu, a dose of spiral-eyed dub via Cera Khin, and industrial grit from Chicago eccentric Traxx. Plus there’s bleeding-edge blends from Shanghai star Tsuzing, cerebral big-room action from Apeiron Crew’s Solid Blake, and a genius fusion of baile funk and trap.
Traxx for Resident Advisor
Industrial beat dance with one of Chicago’s underground heroes
As some commenters pointed out, this is one of those RA podcasts that seems like it should have happened years ago, but here we are: there are still a few legends left untapped. (FACT got him in 2009; you’re welcome.) Traxx is a true underground hero, a Chicago eccentric whose three decades in the game have bestowed him with an encyclopedic yet irreverent attitude to his favorites: classic house, gritty industrial, ‘80s new wave and new beat, and the genre known simply as “Prince”.
The two-hour mix opens boldly with “Resident Advisor Mutant Segment”, a rowdy 10-minute collage of scratches, loops and malfunctioning machines that recalls the ‘80s dub-industrial experiments of Tackhead. That should get you accustomed to the dark and dirty direction he’s headed in: Richard H. Kirk, Chris & Cosey and Depeche Mode all appear, as well Mutant Beat Dance, his collaborative project with Beau Wanzer and Steve Summers. Fans of Powell and Helena Hauff will enjoy.
Batu for Dekmantel
Going less screwface, more thinky-face with the Bristol don
Batu’s name is a mark of quality in itself at this point but the lad’s outdone himself this time, he really has. On this extended mix for Dekmantel, the Bristol DJ and Timedance label boss plots a swerving, unpredictable course through the broken beat techno that he and his Bristol associates have been pushing for the last five years, with tunes from Ploy, Laksa and the like – but it’s a reminder, too, that things have been getting really weird down there lately.
The Timedance ethos – as summarized recently on the excellent Patina Echoes compilation – is less screwface than thinky-face, with slippery moods and spooky textures revered above all. The first half of the mix bubbles through the itchy thump of Siete Catorce’s ‘Diálogo’, Wata Hiragashi’s ouroboros acid and the heavy-set nu-IDM of Ingrate, before he takes it all apart with an unexpected ambient interval. The second half rebuilds from scratch, doubling down on space and atmosphere and making you wonder why more DJ mixes aren’t structured like football matches. Embarrassingly good.
Putaria Maxima Volume 2: Trouble In Paradise
Ghetto fusion from São Paulo to Atlanta
Last year we were bowled over by Putaria Maxima Vol 1, a febrile collision of US rap and Brazilian baile funk concocted by two DJ associates toiling in the R&D department of the club music megacorp. Selected by GHE20G0TH1K co-founder Venus X and Asmara of Nguzunguzu, the mix was born from a trip to São Paulo, where they partied with new gen funk stars like MC Brinquedo and MC Pikachu.
The result was “the perfect sync between the sound of the American ghetto and the Brazilian favela,” as they explained at the time. It was obvious the concept had mileage; hence volume two, “Trouble In Paradise”. This time round, you get raps from Peewee Longway and Playboi Carti, funk from MC Kitinho and DJ Guuga, freaky rhythms from Total Freedom and DJ Lycox, and the iconic reggaeton rattler of modern times, MC Fioti’s ‘Bum Bum Tam Tam’ – here in its updated version featuring London roadgyal Stefflon Don. Fingers crossed they make some of these edits available to download, as they did with the first volume.
Acid Camp Vol. 81 – Ciel
Dank and dizzy rave from the hard-grafting Torontonian
Ciel is Toronto’s Cindy Li, one of the newest additions to the Discwoman roster and a tireless supporter of unsung talent within her scene; last year she called out “lazy” local promoters with a Google Doc listing over 300 women, femme and non-binary DJs working in the city.
Even thinking about her GCal is enough to make you break a sweat – a radio show on n10.as, two regular parties (It’s Not U It’s Me and Work in Progress) and a burgeoning production career – but if that doesn’t do it, this mix for Acid Camp certainly will. There’s laser-twirling ‘90s rave from Orbital and Sunshower, belting techno-moderne from the mysterious SW & SVN, a couple of unreleased tracks by Ciel herself, and a prevailing mood of dank, dizzy, shirt-twirling momentum: bring a towel.
Tsuzing at Lente Kabinet
Bleeding-edge blends from Shanghai’s late-bloomer
Tsuzing’s set at Amsterdam’s Lente Kabinet festival is the most bleeding-edge mix of the bunch this month (and we don’t mean clashy Rihanna edits and low bitrate reggaeton). The Shanghai-based DJ has been around for well over a decade – he was once a resident at Chicago’s smartbar – but a raft of releases on L.I.E.S. and Bedouin Records have brought him wider acclaim recently.
Tsuzing plays music with the horizontal lurch of someone with a much, much bigger record collection than you. In this set – as flagged by PAN honcho Bill Kouligas – he finds routes from Acid Arab to Sega Bodega, from Hodge to Nelly Furtado edits – but crucially, he makes it all sound like it’s come from the same (galaxy) brain. The two constants are womping, crunchy bass and a go-slow sensuality (you can tell he’s a lifelong hip-hop head) but other than that, this is a rule-free zone.
Solid Blake – fabric X Modeselektion promo mix
High-IQ techno from the Glasgow contingent of Apeiron Crew
After Denmark’s Courtesy made an international breakthrough last year, the time seems right for the Glaswegian contingent of Copenhagen’s Apeiron Crew to take the spotlight. Emma Blake moved to the city as a student and quickly got involved with local techno scene, joining forces with Courtesy, Mama Snake and Smokey to form a collective of hard-and-fast techno lovers. Outside of Apeiron, she’s released glitchy electro on Glasgow’s Outer Zone and had a track featured on Modeselektor’s latest compilation, hence this promo mix for Modeselektion at Fabric a couple of weeks ago.
There’s a cerebral restraint to Blake’s selections, even at their rowdiest (Skee Mask, Facta and Mor Elian all appear). You feel like she’s actually planned her route from A to B, with rest stops and diversions factored in; chaos carefully administered to keep you raving harder for longer. It’s a Duracell pink bunny of a club mix, basically, and one we’ll be coming back to for a while.
Cera Khin at Griessmuehle on Noods Radio
Outsider dancehall and dub from the Lazy Tapes boss
Cera Khin’s slot on Bristol’s Noods Radio is one of several links she has with the West Country city; the Tunisian-born, Berlin-based DJ also runs a label, Lazy Tapes, distributed by Ossia, a member of local crew Young Echo. And though her tastes span everything from techno and ambient to jazz and folk from Africa and the Middle East, on this set Cera Khin underlines that Bristol flavor with a bunch of spiral-eyed dancehall dubs and gluey-bottomed techno.
We’ve no idea what most of this stuff is – although Miss Red’s ‘Dagga’ is a highlight – but fans of outernational dub label Bokeh Versions and the crepuscular grooves of Ramzi should take a good long sniff and reach for Shazam in hope.
Chal Ravens is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter.