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.
As usual, a few curios and gimcracks to flag up before we get into the meaty stuff, starting with two home listening treats for those moments of end-of-season contemplation. Dekmantel fixture Tom Trago has put together a “coastal ambient mix” to soundtrack his chilled new lifestyle in the Dutch seaside town of Bergen (also the name of his latest album). It’s gentle as the breeze and full of horizontal space and distant birdsong. On a similarly exploratory tip, Music From Memory artist Michal Turtle gave us an introduction to Fourth World music pioneer Jon Hassell with a mix of the Eno collaborator’s most essential music.
We were also forcibly introduced to the concept of “mecharave” via m.Kwas’s headsick video mix which fuses anime clips and other cultural detritus with absurd rave tunes from the likes of HDMIRROR and Mumdance & Logos (audio-only version here). Meanwhile, a recently re-uploaded mix of Detroit electro was flagged up by Objekt as “a huge inspiration for me back in 2012,” which is reason enough to check out Finn Johannsen’s 90-minute selection of thwocking Motor City jams.
And finally, for something a little more house party friendly, Manchester’s Homoelectric party dished out a perfectly pitched Pride mix, spanning soul, disco, house, UK garage and “snide funky handbag whoppers (that ya secretly love)”.
Enough of the curios, onto the finalists: this month, Lisbon’s Violet took us on a rough and raw rollercoaster, Vancouver DJ LNS smoothed the path with a subtle journey mix, and Brooklyn’s DJ Wawa flagged up the best of the underground. We went deeper with NYC’s Galcher Lustwerk, we went darker with Berlin bass don Orson, we went harder with Smartbar resident Eris Drew, and finally we went fully bonkers with eccentric UK wunderkind Iglooghost.
Galcher Lustwerk – White Material Mix Series #4
Pure sex from a master of tripped-out hip-house
Word of a new all-originals mix from the high priest of heavy-lidded hip-house stopped us in our tracks this month. Following on from his word-of-mouth hit 100% Galcher, a mix of original tracks made for the Blowing Up The Workshop series in 2013, this year the NYC producer dropped the sequel, an album titled 200% Galcher.
It’s pretty good, but at 20 tracks long, somewhat sprawling and directionless. “Wouldn’t it be great if this was just a mix, like the old mix we liked,” you might have thought. Great news! On this session, Galch collects the outtakes from his 2017 debut album Dark Bliss and weaves them into a perfect hour of deep-deeper-and-deepest house, delivering the kind of quiet ecstasy that’ll have you levitating on the last train home.
Iglooghost for Noisey
From club mashups to “sad microbe music” with a Brainfeeder eccentric
We feel a sort of duty of care towards young Iglooghost, an eccentric wunderkind with a terrifyingly active imagination – likely the result of growing up in the back end of Nowhereshire with nothing to do (same as us, then). The Brainfeeder affiliate returned this month with a pair of self-released EPs that take us on a high-concept journey through hyperspeed rave and melancholy string movements. On his very cool and weird mix for Noisey, he traces a path from Fractal Fantasy club mashups (Xzavier Stone, Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones) into warped UK rap (Loski) and Italian minimal ambient (“tiny, sad microbe music,” he calls it), which cheekily takes up most of the second half.
Violet for Mixmag
Raw and violent body-movers from Lisbon’s finest
Lisbon DJ, Naive Records boss and Radio Quantica co-founder Violet has been bubbling up rapidly this summer, and if you’ve not got acquainted yet, this raw and violent Impact mix is a fine place to start. Kicking off with the micro-aggro of Cuthead, her set showcases Lisbon talent (BLEID, Photonz) alongside Bristol bass techno (Hodge, Peverelist) and a crop of gruesome acid/electro perversions (Nightwave; a particularly sick one from Power Vacuum’s Bintus). The lesson here? Violet is a DJ with a firm grip on what keeps bodies moving.
LNS – Trushmix 125
A subtly clever journey mix from the Vancouver DJ-producer
Stepping up to the Trush controls with a deep and subtle journey mix is Vancouver talent LNS, whose name you may have spotted on labels like 1080p and DJ Sotofett’s Wania in recent years. Wafting in on a cool Pacific breeze with a bundle of dreamy breaks, her latest session for Norway’s Trush crew gradually works its way through her record collection, taking in wobbly UK riddims, neck-snapping electro-techno and fuzzy-tongued digi-dub. There’s a restraint and thoughtfulness to LNS’s selections and transitions that really marks her out as one of Vancouver’s finest.
Orson for Hyponik
Berlin’s bass don draws for the dubplates
As the founder of Version, a long-running bass night at Berlin’s dark and intimate OHM venue, Orson has done more than most to bring the sub-heavy, sound system flavour to the European capital of techno. Back in the day he was the first booker to invite dubsteppers like Mala to Germany, and he’s still evangelical about serious bass, putting out records on the Version label and booking the likes of Parris and Scratcha DVA on the reg.
On this mix for Hyponik, Orson digs into his archive of dubplates old and new for a mix that starts off refreshingly slow and spacious before ramping up to… well, you’d have to call it a skank. Expect super-dark, super-heavy riddims from Agrippa, Walton, Lamont and Orson himself, plus a smattering of hardcore breaks. Get your speakers/headphones in order for this one.
DJ Wawa for FADER
Underground inspiration from a Brooklyn cheerleader
DJ Wawa is a fixture on Brooklyn’s underground dance scene, and his mix for FADER is a cross-section of his dancefloor interests: smooth-toking deepness from Entro Senestre, magic, melodic house from the late Cherushii, kuduro grooves from DJ Lilocox, and Aaliyah-sampling club oddness from object blue. With local faces like Bergsonist, Earth Boys and Galcher Lustwerk represented too, it’s a mix that feels like a tribute to the underground energy of Brooklyn right now. As Wawa evangelises in the (very interesting) accompanying interview, “GO DANCE.”
Eris Drew for Mixmag
Rave euphoria from the Motherbeat goddess
This is not the first time we’ve selected an Eris Drew mix for the roundup, nor shall it be the last, probably. The Smartbar resident – whose seemingly rapid rise to prominence actually follows more than two decades of activity – is back with her “Motherbeat” philosophy for Mixmag, this time selecting killer old school cuts from Leftfield and Deee-Lite alongside new rave material that ploughs a similarly ecstatic furrow. There aren’t many DJs who can still conjure up a sense of innocence and enthusiasm with a stack of classic (or classic-sounding) rave records, but Drew has a knack for making familiar sounds feel vital again. Put that bag down, strip off your outer layers, down your drink and get stuck in.
Chal Ravens is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter