File in the same category as Midland – predictably exceptional, yet somehow flew past my radar without me registering anything. I don’t really have much to say about these guys that hasn’t been said by far more eloquent writers than me. They are brilliant. I went to their fantastic Sunday takeover of Fabric in November 2015, Dixon’s 2013 Essential Mix is one of my all time favourites, their Innervisions label releases gem after gleaming gem.
I’m a little late to the party on this one, and only really because it won Essential Mix of the year, it had somehow completely passed me by! But I got there in the end, and that’s what matters.
Midland has been on my radar for a long time, with a good few purchases of his stuff back around 2011 or thereabouts, but in the last year or two he really seems to have gone up a gear or two in both his production and DJing. Given that he was already miles ahead of most of the competition, that has propelled him to the very front of the pack.
This is a simply superb two hours of thoughtful, moving, brilliant dance music, largely (but not exclusively) drawing on house, techno and disco, the kind of mix the renews your faith in a world that is continually being debased by those who wish reduce it to the lowest common denominator and neatly package it to be sold to the masses. I can’t recommend it highly enough. He’s also well worth a follow over on Twitter.
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.
Bit of self-promotion I guess, but hey, this is all free, so I hope you don’t mind! Last Monday saw the release of my new 808 Bang EP on Lupe Fuentes‘ imprint In The Loop Recordings. It had a great reaction on promo, with the likes of Doorly (“808 Bang is wicked!”), Mark Knight (“Big!”) and Gorgon City (“Sick one!”) being fans.
This promo mix is a selection of my current faves and some older personal classics that I felt fitted the feeling I was going for – Paranoid and It’s So were real staples for me back in around 2008/09ish.
The EP is selling well, with the title track sitting at #25 in the Traxsource Tech House chart at time of writing – if you feel like buying a copy to help the surge towards the top 10, that would be just fantastic 😉 If not, no hard feelings!
Ben Gomori – Turned On Live 040 at Monologues, Berlin
I became aware of Ben Gomori, I believe, through his hosting of the Data Transmission podcasts. Via a brief spell with Eastern Electrics, he’s ended up quite a long way down the path of creating his own essential corner of underground dance music, with his excellent Turned On podcast.
This mix is one of his occasional live recordings that he shares from his DJing schedule, from Farbfernseher in Berlin. Funnily enough he was playing alongside an old friend of mine from the days when I used to play regularly at Stealth in Nottingham, Ben Start, small world innit?
It’s a cracking deep house mix (in the proper sense of the term, not the top 40 Now That’s What I Call Derp House that rules daytime radio), and full of tracks that I have since sourced and purchased – I think I broke my personal record for shazaming tracks, clocked in at 9 by the end of this! Enjoy.