Maybe it’s seeing all those awkwardly distanced raves appearing up on the timeline, or maybe we’ve been spending time with more of our friends at once–but is it starting to feel okay to listen to fast and furious mixes again? This month’s selection goes harder than usual, though it’s not without its doomy moments, as Tzusing puts on an apocalypse rave to remember and Angel D’Lite flirts with outright hysteria on her “love core” mix.
We wave goodbye to one of the best mix series in town with a set of gloomy steppers, and then welcome a new series of eclectic home listening sessions dedicated to the moon. A rising Canadian producer gives us itchy feet and we get a guided tour through the new wave of Indian electronic music–plus we commemorate the furloughed carnival season with the kind of mix that should have popped off at Notting Hill.
A few bonus items before we start–Night Slugs’ Manara celebrated Eid with a fierce mix on her first Pure Spice show on BBC Asian Network, and Crystallmess unleashed an hour of rackety Nicki Minaj club edits on NTS. Last one: Grand River, AKA Italian-Dutch composer Aimée Portioli, put together a total zoner of a mix, combining sinking ambient and found sounds to meditative effect.
Tzusing – RA 741
“The past is a foreign country,” a voice informs us at the start of Tzusing’s thunderous mix for RA. “They do things differently there.” Rarely has this famous line, from L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between, felt more apt. Tzusing plays on our end-times emotions with murdered-out 808 beats, horror-stomp techno, signal-jamming synthwave, and Depeche Mode (!) across a 90-minute marathon–it’s more like a movie than a mix. For our money he’s simply one of the best DJs in the world right now, capable of building narrative and suspense like some kind of techno John Carpenter. Shudder.
re:st – Blowing Up The Workshop 111
Matthew Kent’s legendary Blowing Up The Workshop mix series–the enterprise that brought us 100% Galcher and countless fantastic voyages through outsider music–is sadly no more. He’s ending on a high, though, with seven mixes landing at once, including this mind-mulching session from Lcp, boss of the recently launched ambient and D&B label re:st. Drifting from fogged up machine-music into hypnotic gloomstep and even a Cocteaus-inspired bass womper, it feels at least vaguely engaged with the club, making it more straightforward than your average BUTW mix. (The remaining six include industrial and drone from SL Comms and even a mix from Kent himself.) But in terms of being exposed to some the highest quality new music out there, this ten-ton slab is essential.
Angel D’Lite – H&S Mix 018
London’s Angel D’Lite pulls off a fantastic feat on her Hue & Saturation mix, simultaneously one of the hardest and frothiest mixes we’ve ever had the pleasure to rush to. It’s a sherbet-dipped wonderland of cheek-chewing ‘90s breakbeats, wigged-out acid and speed garage stompers, as hard and bright and sickly-sweet as the biggest gobstopper in the jar. Look out for her Netil Radio show, J’adore Hardcore, and her debut EP on Banoffee Pie Records with the spirited title, Dolphins Have Sex For Pleasure.
Text Chunk is the nom de rave of Edmonton-based producer and mastering engineer Brandon Smith. His mix for Untitled 909 goes some way to capturing the array of stimulating sounds he’s released on his label Kudatah, from braindance and juke to Taxman’s assault-grade D&B and Skee Mask’s screwed-up UK funky. If you like it fast and furious, you’ll find plenty of new faves here.
DISCOSÓDOMA – Moon Gazing
DISCOSÓDOMA, as the name might suggest, isn’t usually a space for ambient music. But these are unusual times, and the East London queer party has decided to launch a new strand to its mix output with Moon Gazing, a series of extraterrestrial soundtracks for stay-at-home adventures. You have to make your way through several minutes of drone before this first edition, from residents Stathis and Luigi Di Venere, kicks in–but then the treats unfurl like a lotus, from drifting krautrock to wiggly ambient techno and even a serenade from Terence Trent D’Arby. This month’s most eclectic and horizontal mix.
Bianca Oblivion – Dummy Mix 595
This time of year normally yields a bumper crop of carnival releases, as the summer’s dancehall anthems prepare to be crowned at the sound systems of Notting Hill. Not in cursed 2020, of course–but that’s no reason not to raise a paper cup and get down in your own time. NTS host and LA native Bianca Oblivion puts together an international mix in exactly this spirit for Dummy, traversing baile funk (loads of it), grime, hip-hop edits and off-kilter dancehall from the likes of Bored Lord, Florentino and Champion.
SUCHI – LT 138
As a regular on New Delhi’s Boxout.fm, Oslo-via-London DJ SUCHI has been a loud cheerleader for the current burst of electronic music coming out of India. Her Lobster Theremin session is “just the tip of the iceberg,” she points out, with a tracklist packed full of hard-hitting unreleased goods, mostly from the freshly launched Mumbai-based label Krunk Kulture. Stylistically there’s no particular formula here, which is partly what makes it such an impressive mix, as SUCHI works her way through tabla riddims and driving D&B into slamming ballroom and misty electro from The Hague.
Chal Ravens is a freelance writer based in London. Find her on Twitter.
Additional graphic design by Ekaterina Kachavina.
Published August 27, 2020. Words by Chal Ravens.