Short Circuits 13: Mixes of 2013 - By Volume

What is this life, why do we strive? Fast on a wheel, too fast to feel. One day, my love, this life will slow. Sam Brookes - One Day

Short Circuits 13: Mixes of 2013

Topping off 2013 with, well, the thirteenth edition of Short Circuits, Tayyab highlights some of this year's excellent mixes. Author: on December 27, 2013
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Galcher LustwerkBlowing Up the Workshop #12 (100% Gacher)

House music. In 2013, you could probably divvy up house into four spaces: The “deep house”-not-deep-house crossover form opened up by way of gatekeepers including Duke Dumont and Bondax, Huxley and Disclosure and so on, the Detroit torch carried onwards by stalwart Kyle Hall and the like, the “outsider house” sludgy productions loosely grouped by their curiosity within the genre, and lastly, everything else. I found myself enjoying the less accessible house this year, otherwise going for experimental, techno and hip-hop; house was beginning to bore me but for a few particular delicacies. That’s just me, of course. In theory, house is the most intuitive blend of electronic, sitting around the right tempo to do things; to walk, to dance, to make love.

100% Galcher is a very recent listen for me — I’ve yet to spend a month with it, however I have no qualms about declaring it the best thing on this list. Before you make it to the quarter line you’ll feel it: House music. Distilled to its most potent form, you’ll resonate with it at an alarming rate, joyously letting Galcher’s sparse and seductive approach take hold. Entirely comprised of Galcher’s own material, this mix reminds one of the capability house music has, best enjoyed anywhere. Alone together, work or play, night or day — it’s Galcher time. It takes cues from the just-enough production style of older Chicago and Detroit works and applies it to a sound palette from the future – the kind of tomorrow that is globalised urbanisation with sprawling cities and parallax websites, metallic sheens and dim yellowish ambience in abundance. Vocals sneak in to ensnare without effort, as Galcher lazily, lustfully flirts, “I’ma put this on / I’ma put you on / One minute I’m on / Next minute I’m gone.” If this is just a one night stand, baby I’m not going to sleep.

Jon KFACT mix 364

Local legend and a DJ’s DJ, Jon K of Manchester’s Hoya:Hoya proposed a piece to FACT that for me turned out to be the most sonically interesting mix all year. Arriving right at the start, it prompted me to open my mind to new sounds throughout 2013, having a significant impact on my mindset and approach to the way music can be interpreted and repurposed. The few familiar names on the tracklist cover a wide spectrum, from Regis to Barrington Levy, Shed to Altered Natives; not to say it’s a completely obscure affaire, as The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” morphs into Muddy Waters. Still, Jon K lets his tastes do the talking on here with quality hand-picked spices from all over, blended without lumps – whether it’s field recordings below the sea or out-of-this-world ambiance, rock’n’roll or disco and other 4/4 of amicable tempo, I’ve seen very few DJs maintain such an intrepid attitude when it comes to handling the decks this year (another might be Heiroglyphic Being). Jon K’s mix for FACT isn’t the *airhorn* type, and probably more suited to an *Inception horn* – listening to it and trying to follow its wild path sure is reminiscent of DiCaprio and Page outside that Fench café: “How did we get here?”

The Haxan CloakResident Advisor: RA #359

Mere mention of The Haxan Cloak dims the room a little, such is the level of brutal, gutting dread on his second album Excavation, in which sounds were deconstructed, textures torn to pieces, dismantled and distorted into something weighty and all-enshrouding like the night itself. The Haxan Cloak’s aim with his Resident Advisor podcast was to expose an outlet for his other ideas and interests within music. It’s only testament then, to his imagination, that I found one of the most extraordinary moments of my year to be soundtracked by him, watching the sun set as my train passed through English countryside to the sounds of Sun Ra. Experimental, noise and techno are thoroughly explored as The Haxan Cloak whipped up his own takes on the likes of Boards of Canada and Sunn O))), then stirring them in with Autechre and Plastikman. Claustrophobic as much as it is ground-rumbling, it never feels forced despite how overbearing the mix is. Things draw to a halt along the lines of techno into jungle into some sort of a ambient, chiming dreamscape after an intimidatingly engrossing half-hour or so, that really discombobulates the psyche as very much intended side effect.

John TalabotDJ-Kicks

For me, the DJ-Kicks series has meant versatility, epitomised on entries such as Maya Jane Coles’ and Apparat’s. Ideally, the mix’d work anywhere — in an office, on a commute, relaxing outside or in a club, because the mix would be able to transport you into your own space, your own club. Talabot’s arrangement achieves this, with adequate mixing but finer selection that deftly balances between exotic dares and legacy choices. It slightly leans towards the latter third, though there’s a steady stream of highlights throughout: Andy Stott’s mind-melting remix to some typically bamboozling Madteo, a playful Axel Boman cut to the most wonderful transition between Moodymann and Alex Burkat. There’s a clear climax as Samo DJ’s wizardous “Tai Po Kau” malforms into the jaw-droppingly devastating “Escape To Nowhere”, a Motor City Drum Ensemble production that has the most dramatic chord progression on the release. Genius of Time’s “Juno Jam” is another nifty pick on a mix that’s light and fleet-footed yet never rushed, positively happy to settle for being delightful if not groundbreaking, and rightly so.

Dean Blunt meets James FerraroWatch The Throne 2

Atmosphere; that intangible extra dimension, the thing that beckons people to read or write in coffee shops, the explanation for that lethargy on an empty-office sort of day. Not only is atmosphere added in this performance, it’s the focus. Watch The Throne 2 is an impromptu live recording of labelmates and experimental provocateurs Dean Blunt and James Ferraro at Unsound Festival, Krakow, where the former seeps vocals as pianos circle around each other. While not really a mix, the intent of this performance seems to be, instead of curating a concoction of sonics to induce atmosphere, directly curating the atmosphere itself; Attendees were encouraged to chat and socialise, and against gig heuristics the main attraction became themselves. The recording is surprisingly listenable, enjoyable, indelible, so long as one doesn’t just keep an ear out for the music. Subliminally, all along we’re trained to blank out everything but the music, whether listening to a mix or recording or even when present at a live show. Watch The Throne 2 gently proposes we forget that idea, coercing us over this extended period to abandon such paradigms. Instead of pushing to find a thrill outside the comfort zone, it simply re-establishes the comfort zone – this isn’t a phenomenon that was necessarily hypothesised and as such can’t be deemed a success or failure, as the artists’ playing is dynamically proactive and reactive, uninhibited. The interesting thing is how results yielded involve this restored comfort zone, an area so familiar, is reached via a route one doesn’t even think to consider.

Honourable mentions:


DJ Koze -FACT mix 387

Powell – FACT mix 390

Wanda GroupSelf-Titled Mag Needle Exchnage 140






GantzSounds of Istanbul mix






Nicolas JaarBoiler Room NYC






Bok Bok & Girl UnitLive at Heaven






OnemanResident Advisor: RA #376






LuniceBBC 1Xtra Daily Dose Mix Episode 01


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