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The Top 7 Mixes of November 2020

Columnist Chal Ravens digs up the highlights of a month which saw us carefully tap into our optimistic reserves.

Is this… optimism? A vaccine is on the way, along with the very real possibility of returning to the dancefloor next spring. Honestly, we’re not even sure what these feelings are–but if the universe has finally taken stock of all this manifesting and intention-setting then something good must be on the horizon. This month we cover Diwali hits and Punjabi garage, underwater 170 and peak-time 140, booty-shakers from Berlin, and deep-green grooves from Leeds.

Lapping at the edges of the seven chosen mixes, however, are three sets with their own chemical themes that you shouldn’t miss. First up is Ecstasy Forever, an hour of uplifting Amen chaos from the nerds behind UK Rave YouTube Comments–a Twitter feed celebrating high times and halcyon days as remembered by 40-year-old YouTube commenters called Darren. Next, save Star Trek Acid Party into your faves ready for some future afterparty, ‘90s style. It’s an hour of wiggy classics from BoC, Deep Forest, Pink Floyd, and Dr. Dre mixed with freaky visuals from the ultimate sci-fi series.
Finally, rave priestesses Octo Octa and Eris Drew supply the shroominess with their Fabric mix. It’s a shame these don’t come in metal tins anymore, but it’s a rare mix that’s worth investing in, and it includes two original tracks from the T4T LUV NRG duo. Now, for seven more sober selections…

Anu - Diwali mix for Dummy

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Glowing memories of fam and home

NTS treasure Anu invites us round to her Diwali celebrations with a mix that deserves to be on rotation all year round. On the radio her sets can go in any direction–bedroom pop, post-punk, techno, you name it–but here the London DJ sticks to the richest and most personal of themes while preparing to see her family for the first time in months. With Bollywood and Kollywood tunes strung between Indian hip-hop and Asian Dub Foundation–plus a glorious burst of Salma & Sabina’s version of ‘Mamma Mia’–it’s a set that reminds us that music is forever entwined with memory.

Samurai Music podcast 46 - Donato Dozzy

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Enter an alternative D&B dimension

Donato Dozzy turns his hand to another genre, with typically masterful results. His new EP on Berlin D&B label Samurai Music accelerates into the 170 BPM zone with four tracks that combine junglist verve, techno endurance, and the explosive energy of singeli. It slaps very hard indeed, and this mix is a fantastic expansion pack, turning records from Lemna, Pessimist, and Forest Drive West into a mood board of Dozzy’s recent obsessions. Sludgy yet scarily fast, like a piranha-infested watercourse, this mix demands proper headphones–and possibly even goggles–to assure safe passage into the depths.

SnS Members Mix 014 - Yung Singh’s Punjabi Garage Mix

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Asian Underground steppers from Y2K to present

You will recall that one of last month’s best mixes was a re-rewind back to ragga garage, courtesy of Mixpak associate The Large. Well, barely a day into the new month, this popped up on our feed–a journey into Punjabi garage put together by XOYO club resident Yung Singh. How could we resist? This sweatbox of a mix covers tunes from the ‘90s up to the present day in various garage styles, all produced and vocalled by Punjabi artists from the Asian Underground movement–that moment in UK music when garage and jungle got reimagined through Indian classical instruments and Bollywood samples. Yung Singh has resisted giving away track IDs, but the likes of 00’s sibling unit RDB (Rhythm Dhol Bass) appear. Frankly, the whole concept deserves a reissue compilation.

Dual Sim for Dimenzione Danza

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100% club screamers from the Berlin dance crew

After a slick B2B with Evin inside the fish-eye dance-cube that is HÖR, Dual Sim officially joined the Dimenzione Danza crew with this screamer of a set. In keeping with broader clubland trends, this mix has one ear on the next-gen of the bass ‘n’ breaks continuum, with tracks from Ilian Tape, Swamp 81, and Air Max 97’s DECISIONS label. Silky R&B vocals are swept away by rolling funky, bossy grime gets shoved aside for low-slung acid wiggle, and everyone stays on the ‘floor until the bitter end.

DJ Python & Anthony Naples - PEAK TIME 2

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The Incienso bros take it hardcore and heavy

Adding further weight to the theory that techno is dead but hardcore will never, ever die, comes this rare B2B from New York heavyweights and Incienso label buddies DJ Python and Anthony Naples. Known for “deep reggaeton” and cerebral house, respectively, they go off-piste in a fun time set recorded at Elsewhere, picking out a string of breaks-related tracks in this hour-long extract. From recent slammers on labels like Super Kitchen and Livity Sound back to vintage hardcore nonsense from The Ragga Twins and Digital Domain, it’s quite the tribute. 

Failed Units - Rescue & Research #12 with Daniel Ruane + Rama

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Cyberkore and e-waste grime from Manchester and Cairo

Failed Units is a label from Manchester specializing in strange, sci-fi-tinged electronic music and headed up by Daniel Ruane, a seriously impressive producer, and remixer. For the 12th edition of the label’s Rescue & Research radio show, he shares the slot with Rama, who runs the irsh label with fellow Cairo IDM producer ZULI. The first 45 minutes belong to Ruane, who picks out freaky cyberkore and re/constructed club monsters from Ani Klang, First Epoque, and DJ Vague. The second half gets nastier and uglier as Rama takes over, reaching for dank jungle and blasted remnants of grime, everything covered in e-waste and volcanic ash. Getting very desperate to hear this FWD stuff in the club, TBH.

Docterre’s Forest Green mix for Chroma

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Bold blends for winter walks in the park

Chroma is one of those series that delineates a network of makers, listeners, pals, and internet acquaintances (many of them based in the north-west of England), where the mixes feel as personal as a hand-written letter or zine. Having launched at the start of the pandemic, the series is now on its 16th edition. This time Leeds selector Docterre takes control with a “love letter to the forests and parks of towns and cities.” It’s ideal thinking music for a chlorophyll bath, and the blends are bolder than brass: ambient twinkle against tuff DJ tools, wonky disco against Mexican club riddims, and unlikely appearances from Skrillex and Ty Dolla $ign.

Chal Ravens is a freelance writer based in London. Find her on Twitter.

Graphic design by Ekaterina Kachavina.

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Published November 30, 2020. Words by Chal Ravens.