Selections: February 2014 - By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel

Selections: February 2014

Serious music not taking itself so seriously. Author: on March 10, 2014
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One recurrent theme in this selection of mixes is unpredictability. There’s something surprising and thoroughly entertaining about juxtaposition, whether it’s dealt deftly or with heavy hands. Take Kanding Ray’s mix for Secret Thirteen, out around the time of his own album release, wherein Drake’s “The Language” is sandwiched between Sleeparchive and Marcel Dettmann. It’s perhaps the most audacious moment on a largely straight-faced affair, and the fact it isn’t there as a joke is even more wonderful. Elsewhere on the mix, Kelis is flanked by techno-brutalists AnD and Miles as Nick Cave is cushioned by Emptyset and Container. The main point Secret Thirteen 108 reinforces is that these areas between underground and mainstream are of equal importance and we can receive them as such – do away with the ‘rules’ because they do us no good.

Another example of serious music not taking itself so seriously could be Evian Christ’s Resident Advisor podcast. RA 404 (not found) contains conspicuous tongue-in-cheek prods at solemnity even on the tracklist, with ‘Actress – Our (Evian’s Where Were Thee in ‘93 Refix)’ pasted over Gareth Southgate. The mix itself ricochets between ambient and dancehall and refuses to look over its shoulder while you question its motives. Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf’s seventy-minute Truants appearance doesn’t lack in stoicism which might be the cause for the way it juxtaposes styles and moods. Undoubtedly it falls into the purview of the current wave of grime, yet unlike its peers, it isn’t aggressive, it isn’t dancefloor and it has no colour, just shades of grey for the most part. Filled with a large helping of Biberkopf’s own works, Functions of the Now V makes for perhaps the most interesting listens of recent times thanks to its introduction of neo-concrète grime, broken by a baile funk hit from MC Guime and a Jersey Club tune frequently encountered on twerking Vine clips. For more Jersey, I’d definitely recommend Neana’s Boiler Room set for the Night Slugs takeover (all those sets are worth checking), and this 1998 Baltimore mix is also a gem.

Japanese duo Steven Porter cooked up an earthshaking podcast for Juno Plus, with excursions through techno so nightmarish that the experimental pockets seem like moments to catch your breath in. That said, the most recognisable names on the tracklist include Nirvana and Emmy and the Emmys. If you prefer your avant-electronic interspersed with drunken swearing and unexpected draws then Melon Magic is your mix, as Powell’s Valentines Day mix features some unreleased clips from his Diagonal imprint along with a guest mix from Blackest Ever Black’s industrial doomsayers Raime. Perc’s FACT mix supporting his new album is also a nice back-and-forth between rocks and hard places, weathering the iron blizzard of Eschaton’s “Kali” and finding reprieve in Young Male, culminating in a wonderfully-shifted Forest Swords cut.

Kyle Hall, Jay Daniel and Kai Alce accidentally recorded a tape of themselves in Detroit, and the result so-near-but-oh-so-far house mix swamped with lively, talkative atmosphere, and the gentle, bright-eyed party vibes make for an amiable listen. For more house Nina Kraviz (seemingly uncharacteristically) threw together a celebration of Dance Mania records in light of the seminal Chicago label’s retrospective compilation. All Dance Mania and all vinyl, it gets a bit sticky at times though never becomes off-putting in the slightest. Lastly – and this one’s a bit of a wild card if you’re not aware how into his music Elijah Wood is – the star of Flying Lotus’ “Tiny Tortures” (and that Hobbit Fellowship of the Lord Rings thingy) curated a mixtape of West African goodness for Okayafrica. The only vaguely recognisable track in Africa in Your Earbuds #50 is the sans-Daphni version of “Ne Noya”, though the tape does come certified with a full co-sign from yours truly.


Plenty of mixes there, but if none tickle your fancy then peep below and see if any names in these honourable mentions prompt a glimmer in your eye:


        • Benji B’s 1Xtra J Dilla Tribute from 2006 (composed entirely of works from the then recently-departed hip-hop revolutionary)
        • Future Brown on NTS (Grime supergroup of Fatima Al-Qadirim, Nguzunguzu and J-Cush with added Ruff Sqwad MCs guesting at the end)
        • iNTRiKeT on Step-A-Side Fokus FM (Plenty of dubstep heat from the likes of Gantz and Thelem)
        • Goth-Trad Short Mix (The Deep Medi mainstay teases new material)
        • Bill Kouligas & Mat Dryhurst on BCR (PAN experimentalists are perfectly happy to spin some Pusha T)
        • Reckonwrong’s Right on Traxx (Amsterdam producer unveils imbalanced, bass-weighty unreleased works to delight techno lovers)
        • Vereker: Berceuse Heroique Mix 1 (L.I.E.S veteran spins for Berceuse Heroique, who look set to rival The Trilogy Tapes for label of 2014 so far it seems)
        • Wen on Trap Mag (Rise Up #019 details the beautiful, darker frequencies between grime and dubstep)
        • Pearson Sound on Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel (Hessle boy and percussion malpractitioner Pearson Sound shows why he’s been in-demand so long with one of the best unreleased libraries on exhibition)
        • Kode9 on Rinse (Two hours of the Hyperdub boss dashing all around the record shop but lingers in the juke section)

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