Mixtape Monday, Vol 33

The Birdhouse 081 – Horse Meat Disco

Any self-respecting London-based disco dancer knows about Horse Meat Disco. But I have to say, I was a little surprised, pleasantly so, to see them pop up on the Birdhouse podcast.

Regular readers will be familiar with this podcast by now, as I’ve posted several editions of the Claude Vonstroke’s Birdhouse here, and normally its very much at the bass-heavy tech end of the spectrum, whereas HMD are very much more towards the old skool disco end of things.

But you know what, they are both awesome, so why shouldn’t they be together? And this is an awesome mix, a wonderfully eclectic journey through dance music, from the lengthy edits of well known dance-pop standards through to straight out weird, wonky underground dancefloor stuff.

Taken from a live recording of a Birdhouse Stage at a recent show, this is a brilliantly enjoyable and danceable hour.

Mixtape Monday, Vol 17

Solid Steel Radio – Lone

Lone has emerged as one of the most consistenly brilliant, exciting and prolific producers in recent years. The creation of Matt Cutler, he first came into my sphere of knowledge as one half of Kids In Tracksuits, who played regularly around my old stamping ground of Nottingham.

This mix brilliantly straddles home listening and something for the club, I’ve already given it 3 listens and I suspect it will get many more in the years to come! Enjoy.

Mixtape Monday, Vol 13

Last week I managed to miss my first Mixtape Monday since launching the blog, the power of the bank holiday to mess with schedules! No fear, I’m sure you all coped admirably with the absence of a new mix to listen to and my witterings on the subject. No such luck this week, I’m back baby!

So, to Vol 13. This week I bring you the 2014 Essential Mix of Bonobo. If you aren’t familiar with Bonobo’s work, well, this should serve as a solid grounding in his style.

While Bonobo’s popularity has exploded in recent years (with his sold-out Alexandra Palace and Tobacco Dock shows in London serving as testament to this), he’s been around a long, long time, beavering away at his wonderful music. I actually got to warm up for him a long time ago, in the back room of the legendary Nottingham nightclub The Bomb, at the long-running bass music event Detonate. It was around the time of his record Dial M for Monkey. I remember Big Daddy magazine (or was it Grand Slam, Big Daddy’s successor?) reviewing this, and channelling the spirit of Spinal Tap with their very very succinct “Dial B for Boring” contribution to musical criticism.

This seemed harsh at the time, and even crueller looking back. But back then Bonobo was nominally linked to the hip hop scene more than any other you could really identify, despite what he made not really being hip hop per se, so I imagine that was the metric they were using to judge him. These days he’s found a much more house oriented niche, while still floating around in that space between genres. Being honest, if someone asked me to define Bonobo’s sound then I’d struggle to go for a particular genre, and instead would head towards words like “organic”, “intricate”, “delicate” and so on.

This mix takes in a good few of his productions, along with the likes of Dark Sky, Maya Jane Coles, Maribou State, Jimpster and others of that ilk. You generally can’t go far wrong with Essential Mixes, and this one is at the top table of that already elite selection.

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Mixtape Monday, Vol 8

LTJ Bukem – Fantazia Takes You Into The Jungle

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Incredibly, after all these years I still have the CD triple pack!

I’ve been DJing for nearly 20 years now, and making a living from it for around 14. But what an awful lot of people don’t know is that for the first few years of that, I was obsessively, almost exclusively, a drum & bass and jungle DJ. My first track that I ever played out (and not as Santero, I was called DJ Blaze at that point in time!) was this little thing from DJ Red, at a friend’s birthday party at The Market Bar in Nottingham…

I’d been the guitarist and singer in a Pixies-esque band through my late teens, but when I started raving in earnest while at university I soon sold my guitars and bought a pair of Technics, and started hoovering up all the 12″s I could afford from Selectadisc. I think that the energy and power of D&B and Jungle appealed to me the same way as the music of punk acts like Hüsker Dü and Fugazi had, so it’s not the giant leap that it might seem to some, and indeed, I’ve often been struck by just how many people in dance music around the world have a background in punk and hardcore scenes – I would guess that the DIY attitude that they share is a big aspect in why so many were able to make that move from one to another, just embracing the new challenge and finding a way to make it work. Given the explosion in popularity in dance music in recent years, and the way it has been corporatised  in the more popular areas, I’m not sure if it’s as open to this mentality, but there are still people out there making their own waves, and long may they thrive.

Anyway, to the Mixtape Monday offering this week. LTJ Bukem is probably best known for his Logical Progression mix series that popularised Intelligent/Liquid Drum & Bass, and his label Good Looking Records. But this mix capture him before he’d fully gone down that road, and still has the raw energy and vitality of the early hardcore and ragga jungle sounds of the early 1990s, brilliantly marrying the intricate percussion and frenetic pace of this era with a more melodic, atmospheric and nuanced sound than most of his peers were capable of summoning. While I can imagine some who are unfamiliar with the pace of D&B will find it hectic, I tend to find myself periodically swaying to the half-beat with this mix, the 2nd in a 3 CD collection from legendary rave promoters Fantazia, with DJ Rap and Grooverider the other contributors. DJ Rap’s mix is also a cracker, while I never really got on with the Grooverider one, even though I was a huge fan of his for the Prototype Years era a few years on. The flow of Bukem’s mix is superb, and listening back to it here in 2016, while this is obviously of its era, it really does stand up as a superb selection of music more than 2 decades after it was put together, when so much from the early years of rave culture sounds horribly dated now. Listen, and enjoy a true master of his craft.