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.
A carefully selected mix can be the most faithful obituary: thank you for all of this, no hyperbole needed. That doesn’t make the appearance this month of several Nipsey Hussle tributes any less depressing but two sets from LA’s Earoh and London’s Stephseeks are a worthy reminder of why the West Coast rapper was so well respected, as an artist and as a community figurehead. Similarly, Graeme Park’s tribute to the late Kim English is a fantastic introduction to a quintessential house diva.
On the kookier end of the scale, Blowing Up The Workshop invited New York Times critic Ben Ratliff to join its highbrow series and the New York Times critic did not disappoint, delivering a mix “inspired by a delayed spring and what carries us through the thaw: chant, ritual, locomotion, tresillo and swing rhythm.” Lol! Spanning folk, jazz, metal, Brazilian pop and more, it’s a reminder that most of us aren’t nearly as eclectic as we like to think we are. A bonus brainiac point goes to Warp producer Clark, who has done something complicated with J.S. Bach and MIDI files to create an utterly bananas “Cubist Bach” mix.
While we’re here, and as the weather’s finally turning, two summer tasting notes: cosmic king Daniele Baldelli showed up for Trax this month, and there’s Sp****y playlist by DJ Pete Gooding of Ibiza’s famous Hostal La Torre that we can’t get enough of.
DJ Plead for The Astral Plane
Hard drums and Middle Eastern roots
Australia’s DJ Plead is a drum addict. His own hypnotic, frenetic rhythm tracks draw on the UK’s Club Constructions lineage as well as the vernacular instruments of his Middle Eastern heritage, and in his DJ mixes those varied influences are writ large. For The Astral Plane, he showcases his deeply personal style, placing Syrian booty-shakers alongside DJ Python’s low-slung reggaeton, Arabic shuffles from Amar Du Désert and broken technoise from Szare.
Betty – Science Heavy mixtape
Cathartic bass from Rinse France’s finest
A cathartic experience and the beginning of a new chapter: this mixtape by Betty, star DJ from the Rinse France crew, feels more personal than most. It’s her first standalone mix in nearly two years, she explains, and in that time she’s faced down plenty of drama – but Science Heavy demonstrates why she’s one of the most vital talents on the Parisian club scene. Effortless manoeuvres through dramatic terrain, spanning modern bass from Chevel and Giant Swan, shady electro from Aux 88 and ghetto house from Jammin Gerald.
Traxx at KodeNation for L.I.E.S.
Straight thrusters from the Chicago ledge
Three roughed-up, scabbed-over, gloriously scuzzy hours from the incomparable Chicago DJ Traxx, recorded earlier this year at the Black Lodge in LA. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure deal: the truly depraved can start at the start, where the lo-fi punk and proto-wave action is at, while the impatient can drop the needle anywhere in the second two hours for non-stop thrusters and raw-AF drum jams.
Schatrax for Hessle Audio on Rinse FM
Impeccable blends in a rare outing for the UK DJ
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows,” says Sylvester Stallone, in character as Rocky, at the start of this mix from lesser-spotted Isle of Wight house producer Schatrax. “You gotta be willing to take the hits!” Well, “hits” isn’t exactly what we get in this hour-long session for Hessle Audio’s Rinse show (which, by Ben UFO’s estimation, is Schatrax’s first recorded mix in 10 years) but if you like your house music dusky, atmospheric and impeccably blended then you’ll be levitating. Check the wildcard Gwen McCrae mix too – now that’s how it’s done.
Mark for Groove
Scorched breakbeats from the Ostgut Ton outlier
As splintered and sinister as it sounds, this mix by the mononymous Berlin-based DJ Mark actually represents his most floor-friendly style. It’s “quote-unquote fun,” he informs Groove, like a set he might play in Berghain’s Säule. Expect scorched breakbeats and caustic electro, but just enough bounce to get your fist pumping – then compare with his equally brilliant new mix for The Trilogy Tapes on NTS, where he sacks off the sarcastic air-quotes and gets gnarly.
softcoresoft for Truants
Light-speed acid from a Montreal hero
As a central node of Montreal’s rave scene, softcoresoft is not only a great DJ but a clear thinker on the myriad challenges that face underground music communities – check her Truants interview for insights, then press play on this adrenalin-pumping hour of fast techno, trippy trance and an endless vat of acid. We must urge caution if you’re combining with other stimulants: even a strong coffee could be a recipe for lift-off.
Mr. Mitch – The Colour Series – Green (Botany)
Synaesthetic selections from the chameleonic producer-DJ
Always looking to do something more creative than just mixing one track into the next, Mr. Mitch has launched a new series of synaesthetic audio voyages, starting with the colour green. For those of us who hear sound and see… well, nothing, it’s hard to gauge the accuracy of his selection, but “green” seems to mean soft, rounded tones and relaxing pads. Not that this is an ambient mix – quite the opposite. Listen out for typically agile mixing through Shlomo, Gundam, Yamaneko and a dusting of Drake.
Chal Ravens is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter.
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