The Best of Elliot Smith (arranged by Neoteric)
This week’s Mixtape Monday is a little different to your average mix. For a start, you probably noticed in the title that Neoteric describes it as “arranged” by him. And that’s a nice way to look at the art of the DJ in truth. With this material, it’s not beat driven and so any attempt to do a conventional DJ mix would have to compromise itself by the nature of tempo, beat-matching, time-signatures and so on. By eschewing the tyranny of beatmatching culture (and in all seriousness, lots of DJs think that if you aren’t beatmatching then you aren’t really DJing, which to me is an ignorant and absurd point of view), Neoteric is able to create a wonderful sense of mood and movement throughout this mix, often getting from A to B via little snippets of TV shows, interviews and live performance ad libs.
I’ve long been a fan of Neoteric’s output, as a DJ, producer and label boss (he runs Main Course), and it was a pleasure to hang with him at the world Red Bull Thre3style final I competed in back in 2010 in Paris. Elliot Smith on the other hand, I’d been recommended him many time by my brother, but had pretty much ruled him out due to a lifelong antipathy towards folk-type music, which is the pigeonhole Smith appeared to occupy.
So when Neoteric put out this mix, I was intrigued to say the least. And many years later, I would have to say that this might well be the DJ mix I’ve listened to more than any other, showcasing superb song-writing and Smith’s distinctively vulnerable vocal style and lovely multitracked vocal harmonies. To my shame, I’m still yet to explore Smith’s back catalogue as I keep saying I should. The life of a DJ, perversely perhaps, leaves relatively little time for “leisure-time” music – that is, music that is never going to have anything to do with what I play in venues. But off the back of this mix, I would absolutely describe myself as a fan, and I have no hesitation in recommending it as my latest Mixtape Monday.