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.
This month’s highlights include a live candombe drum ensemble jamming over cutting-edge club productions, introspective weirdness from PAN, a UK twist on gqom, slapping house from Chicago underground hero Chrissy and a summery mix with a Middle Eastern twist.
But a couple of other gems worth mentioning before we begin: after breaking his silence with an appearance on the Hessle Audio show, the ever-elusive Schatrax dropped a vital session for Trax magazine, while Addis Ababa artist Ethiopian Records displayed his “Ethiopiyawi electronic” style in a session full of hybrid wonders and unreleased tunes for DJ Mag.
STILL for Emulsion Magazine
Dizzying darkness from the PAN artist
From the very top of the month, this tenebrous session from PAN artist STILL, aka Simone Trabucchi, feels both introspective and intellectual, marrying shards of off-kilter dancehall with stumbling riddim-clusters and technoid bass-bumps. Listen out for Timedance crew like Batu and Simo Cell alongside Sierra Leone’s Lamin Fofana – a signing on Trabucchi’s Hundebiss label – and dizzying forest-techno from STILL himself.
Scratcha DVA for Dummy
Gqom, funky and garage heat from an undisputed king
After untold years in the game, Scratcha shows no signs of slowing down – if anything, he’s on the form of his life right now, pushing into new territory with his UK funky x gqom hybrids and producing one of the bangers of the year in the shape of Lady Lykez’s ‘Mohammed Ali’. His Dummy mix is a spectacular fusion of pumping gqom rhythms from SA originators like Griffit Vigo and Mafia Boyz, his own funky collabs with the revitalised KG, unreleased cuts from Zora Jones and Sinjin Hawke and a burst of UK garage diva Shola Ama.
Chrissy for Naive
An underground master’s nostalgic selections
Naive boss Violet has picked Chicago practitioner Chrissy for the latest label mix, hailing him has a “walking talking dance encyclopedia” and someone who “tries to debunk the gatekeeper mentality”. Finding connections between slapping house workouts, ‘80s electro-pop and dreamy disco memories, with tracks from Lil Suzy, Fast Eddie and Cherushii & Maria Minerva (and a complete tracklist), it’s a perfectly nostalgic summer mix.
Moving Still for Plain Sailing
A hot summer mix with a Middle Eastern twist
Newcomer Jamal Sul pops up with a summery mix of baked-concrete bangers with a Middle Eastern twist, looking back to ‘80s electro-disco, cut-up Arabic stompers, and chugging house topped with snaking modal melodies. Look out for his releases on Nail Shop and Jheri Tracks and his other guest mixes for NTS Radio and Nabihah Iqbal’s BBC Asian Network show – one to watch!
Gigsta for Truants
A fast-to-slow mix from the Berlin talent
Room 4 Resistance resident and Cashmere Radio host Gigsta is a lateral thinker – a brainy selector with broad-ranging taste who’s capable of planning a set around abstract themes, taking inspiration from spaceships or cult novels for instance (check her monthly show Fictions for evidence). For her Truancy mix, the Berlin-based DJ’s mix starts at 140 bpm and pulls off the rare trick of taking the BPM down without losing energy, with tracks from UK bass dons Lurka and Walton, her Berlin techno associate Johanna Knutsson, FDM maestro Hitmakerchinx and more broken, bassy riddims.
DJ Wawa for Good Room 146
An eclectic, all-in-one dance party from Brooklyn
Brooklyn’s Gregory Wawa has a sturdy enough internet presence but is somewhat reclusive in real life, “only ever leaving their cave to dance, listen and support [local] DJs,” according to Good Room, the Brooklyn club where Wawa has “had some very memorable nights.” With a subtle UK slant to the selections, Wawa’s eclectic and contemporary mix is a straight-up, heads-down dance party featuring tracks from DJ Haram, Kode9, Tirzah and Karen Gwyer.
Lechuga Zafiro & F5 for Boiler Room Buenos Aires
Candombe drums meet cutting-edge club weirdness
Salviatek boss Lechuga Zafiro is responsible for some of the most synapse-frying new club music on the planet right now – see last year’s ‘Agua y Puerta’ for evidence – and for Boiler Room’s Buenos Aires jaunt he came over from Uruguay to lay down some frantic percussion and Latin jams with C 1080 – AKA the Silva brothers, the fifth generation of a candombe drum ensemble from the same city of Montevideo. Along with DJ Pobvio, they form F5 – check out their debut Surco on Argentina’s HiedraH Club de Baile label.
Chal Ravens is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter.