Proposal: September is the true new year. The autumn equinox always signals drastic change, but this year it’s more like chaos. So although this batch of the month’s best mixes includes an ambient mix that’s just right for spiced latte season, it’s likely you’ll need something stronger: how about a special all-Enya session from Naive artist Ilana Bryne?
And for an undiluted blast of posi vibes, keep this mix from Chicago’s Smart Bar crew handy–you never know when you’re going to need 88 minutes of Frankie Knuckles-inspired disco-house with a champagne top.
The month’s seven best mixes go harder and weirder, with Brazilian bass chaos from Limitrofe Television, London’s Yazzus in turbo mode, chunky breaks mixed by DJ Voices, and a searing live recording from one of Ukraine’s coolest clubs. Karen Gwyer drops an introspective mix for this transformative time, plus Ron Like Hell offers an anytime session you’ll be coming back to for many moons. Happy True New Year.
Yazzus for Lobster Theremin
It won’t be long before this column has recognized all six of London’s 6 Figure Gang, but that seems right and fair–they’ve had a stonking year, Covid be damned. This month it’s time to throw our bouquets at Yazzus and her high-revs mix for Lobster Theremin. We start at the classic end of her record crates, dipping into Luke Vibert, DJ Assault and some newer tracks with a vintage flavor: garage, electro, slinky house. Sometime before the second half Yazzus locates the button marked “turbo” and everything becomes a blur: we’re smashing round a polygonal racecourse of donks ‘n’ breaks, hubcaps flying. Listen out for several of Yazzus’s own productions too.
DJ Voices for Daisychain
Brooklyn bookworm and Nowadays associate DJ Voices joins the Daisychain, a growing network of women and nonbinary DJs and artists, with a classy mix that owes a debt to the heads-down, ears-open vibe of Bristol bass techno. Slick mixing leads us between chasmic breaks and spiral-eyed, drum-heavy rave trax with an international flavor–listen out for J:Kenzo, Parisians Sunareht & Sylvere, and other heavy operators from across the pond.
Karen Gwyer for Crack
Machine conductor Karen Gwyer has come up with a stunningly miserable mix for the shortening days, full of frostbitten synths, keening strings, and various shades of seasonal sadness. Sometimes you just fancy a wallow, you know? There’s no tracklist, so it’s possible that some of these spectral pieces are from the Don’t Be Afraid affiliate’s own archives; otherwise, fuzzy downers are provided by patten, Cienfuegos, and dubby Trilogy Tapes duo CS + Kreme. Just the thing for your headphones on the first cold day of autumn.
Carollė for Wixapolonia
This mix is not for babies, real or adult. Warsaw DJ and tattoo artist Carollė summons her darkest powers and heaviest kicks on an intense session for Polish hard crew Wixapolonia, which balances the white-hot heat of gabber with various shades of experimental electronics. The intrigue comes when the donk dies down, as Carollė uses her artful transitions to explore deconstructed noise, 8-bit bleeps, ripped-to-shreds rhythms and Princess Nokia. This will be the sound of post-pandemic dancefloors, trust.
DJ Spit for APXIB/Standard Deviation
This month’s selection is rowdier than usual, much aided by this rushing set from Berlin’s DJ Spit. Keep your mask and gloves firmly secured because every surface feels grubby–it’s a spit ‘n’ slide ride across squelchy bassline (Mintnite), filthy electro (DJ Mell G), slippery juke (DJ Astrobee) and all kinds of unhygienic rhythmic surfaces. We arrive in the middle of a three-hour set recorded live at a club in Kyiv called ∄ (that’s a mathematical symbol meaning “does not exist”). The club is affiliated with mix hosts Standard Deviation, a “multidisciplinary label” that’s worth keeping an eye on for future missives from Europe’s newest rave capital.
DJ Working Class for Limitrofe
Limitrofe Television is an art project comprising a crew of Brazilian “dissident creatives” and led by Berlin-based Pedro Ferreira, AKA DJ Working Class. This month Limitrofe uploaded a bumper compilation of mixes under the banner of Border Control, featuring artists like Slim Soledad, Miss Tacaca and Ventura Profana. There’s several hours’ worth of fresh and futuristic music to get to across the comp, but it makes sense to start with the ringleader. DJ Working Class plays it fast and furious, blitzing vocals edits and banging baile drums into a vivid rainbow of huge club energy. Even in these bleak times for the radical youth of Brazil, this music feels like an iron-clad guarantee of hope.
Ron Like Hell for Juanita’s
If you’ve not caught Ron Like Hell’s regular show on The Lot, let this soothing mix for Juanita’s be a reminder that he’s one of the best radio DJs in New York City. From the laidback moods of Digable Planets and Jan Hammer Group to the dreamy chug of Andrew Weatherall and Roman Flügel, this mix simply flows like a stream. One to save for unexpected hangouts and weekend mornings, with something for everyone in your compact Covid bubble.
Chal Ravens is a freelance writer based in London. Find her on Twitter.
Additional graphic design by Ekaterina Kachavina.
Published September 26, 2020. Words by Chal Ravens, photos by Guarionex Rodriguez Jr.