The best mixes of 2018
Despite 2018 being the year that Fabric decided to end its ongoing mix series, the format continues to grow in popularity.
In fact, you could argue we’ve hit “peak mix”, such is the dizzying amount of content uploaded by artists, online radio stations and publications alike. Frankly, Netflix’s infinite scroll has nothing on the homepages of SoundCloud and Mixcloud.
They might be free to enjoy and download, but FACT’s favorite mixes of 2018 – taken from our regular round-ups of the month’s best mixes and beyond – have been just as important a soundtrack to the year as everything collected in our lists of the year’s best albums and tracks. Read on for transcendental rave, beatless bangers, queer dubstep and much more.
The vibrancy, energy and sheer emotion running through this mix by São Paulo artist Badsista takes on a different hue in the wake of Brazil’s terrifying election results. The eclectic selector (a former emo kid) seems like the epitome of everything exciting about her city’s independent music scene, and this choppy session zips through dozens of tracks in under an hour, juxtaposing local heroes like Linn Da Quebrada against Smartbar DJ Ariel Zetina, ballroom maven Quest?onmarc, Bristol basshead Ossia and some outrageous blends (The Prodigy! Evanescence!). Fucking excellent. CR
HNYPOT 291: CCL’s Ode to the Queer Steppas
CCL’s brilliant entry into Honey Soundsystem’s HNYPOT series is, according to the Seattle DJ, a dubstep mix full of the kind of tracks they’d play at a “joyous queer party”. The word “dubstep”, however, is used quite loosely – CCL mixes classics from Peverelist, Martyn, T++ and 2562 alongside tracks by Urban Tribe, object blue and Laurel Halo to create one of the most ecstatic 140-ish mixes you’ll ever hear. More of this in 2019, please. SW
DJ Bus Replacement Service
From underneath her squidgy Kim Jong-un head, DJ Replacement Bus Service picks tracks from a motley selection of weirdos for her RA podcast – Roxane, Queen Latifah, Shitmat, a high school marching band playing ‘Personal Jesus’ – and dusts them with bizarre samples of North Korean newsreaders, all to demonstrate “how I construct my sets more like how a comedian constructs a full-length routine.” Her detail-oriented delivery and the accompanying meta-analysis (this is the first RA podcast to provide footnotes with the tracklist) also brings to mind the pomo antics of Stewart Lee. It’s a veritable rabbit hole of obsolete treasures and medium-wave relics – genuinely inspiring. CR
Mitamine Lab 296
Florida-born Kristin Malossi, aka DJ Voices, uses her mixes as a chance to tell stories or explore focused concepts. This deep and heady session for Mitamine Lab shows just how much mileage and breadth there is in the concept of “low BPM bangers”, using tracks from Luv Jam, DJ Zozi & Roza Terenzi, Or:la and more to create a wonderfully weird musical landscape of angular synth textures and chugging beats. An absolute gem of a mix. SW
Mixmag In Session: Eris Drew’s ‘Thundering Goddess Mix’
Smartbar resident Eris Drew broke through in a big way in 2018, taking her Motherbeat philosophy outside of the US and across Europe and giving us one of the year’s best house tracks. Drew isn’t the only artist putting ’90s gems alongside contemporary cuts, but there’s something about the way she does it – especially on this transcendental session for Mixmag – that will make you hear rave music with fresh ears again. SW
In short, this mix is – to paraphrase Jasmine Infiniti herself – ballroom, but techno. “I imagine someone voguing the house down”, she says of its energetic 53 minutes, though this still won’t quite prepare you for the number of dizzying left turns within, all executed flawlessly – for example, from Cristian Vogel to Sharp Veins, or the transition from bleep techno pioneers Detromental to LSDXOXO. Press play and expect to sweat. SW
Blowing Up The Workshop 96
Laksa’s comforting Blowing Up The Workshop mix starts off deep and dreamy with morose overtones; as a recently qualified social worker, he’s included a sample of an older colleague talking about the strains of the work (content warning: self-harm) and David Graeber lamenting bullshit jobs. A reflection of “where [his] head’s at” as he prepares to start his working life, Laksa says he designed the eclectic mix to provide solace during tiring daily commutes, with tracks from BFTT, Kloke, Etch and Strategy. CR
With his “no-kick rollers” mix for RA, Objekt proves that a club track doesn’t require a kick drum to bring a pulsating energy to the floor. The whole experience is like holding your breath underwater for 60 minutes – there’s a nagging sense that something’s not right, but meanwhile you’re suspended, just floating… who knows which way is up? Featuring Sunareht, Don’t DJ, K. Leimer and fragments of EastEnders, this high-concept wonder might be one of the greatest RA mixes of all time. CR
Crack Mix 205
On this Crack mix, Bokeh Versions boss Miles Opland invites us into his unique vision of outernational, quantum-travelling dub experiments, looking back to the industrial rampage of African Head Charge, the clanging dancehall of Pornosect and the Moog horror of Lucifer. He then moves forward to Bristol’s modern bass conductors Kinlaw and Young Echo, along with Bokeh artists like Mars89 and a curveball from Chilean club-noise adventurer Imaabs. Ragged, relentless and totally off on its own journey, this is a mix that doesn’t give a shit what you think and is all the more impressive for it. CR
How do you approach the mix CD now that CDs are largely obsolete? It’s a problem many have tried to figure out, but Mumdance’s Shared Meanings might be the best solution yet. A mix and compilation of exclusive tracks combined with a website that lovingly introduces each of the artists who contributed, Shared Meanings gives us a vision for the future of the format. Most importantly, the mix itself isn’t too shoddy either. SW
Keep up with all of FACT’s Best of 2018 coverage here.