Recommended Mixes of 2018
Written by katehazeldine on 21st December 2018
The concept of a mix is something that has undoubtedly come into its own in 2018.
With online sites like Mixcloud increasing in popularity, mixes are more accessible than ever. Sites like Mixcloud are pushing forward with their recent ‘fan-to-creator’ subscription which enables listeners to contribute to licensing costs in return for access to downloading offline shows and upfront track-lists making the climate for sharing mixes more viable and sustainable than ever.
Alongside many online archives for live sets recorded at festivals and events, Internet radio is also thriving. Stations are popping up in every major city over the globe providing some of the best mixes we’ve heard this year. On top of this, leading and long-established platforms such as Resident Advisor and CRACK Magazine are still growing in popularity through their highly popular mix series’. Mixes certainly provide artists with a medium to showcase more of their personality and musical palette – without the restrictions/expectations of a particular venue or event, it’s a liberating process for them to be more creative and expose a side of themselves that fans might not usually see.
As we look back onto some of our favourite mixes from 2018, our toes are tingling with excitement for which ones await in 2019!
Shyboi – RA.615
Chosen by Léa Ben Saïd (Bruits)
My favourite mix this year is probably Shyboi’s contribution to the RA podcast with RA.615. I have been following this artist for some time now and she always manages to surprise me with her selection. She plays techno, acid, hardcore and rave music more generally, but she manages to give it a hint of her personality at every set.
Heavily influenced by her Jamaican roots, but also by the city of New York where she lives, she layers electronic music with hip hop beats, vocals, crazy acid basslines and claps of all sorts. This contributes to keeping the energy and intensity high while she effortlessly moves between genres, which she believes are ‘in conversation with each other’. To describe this mix in two words would be easy: intense fun.
MICHAELBRAILEY – JEROME Mixfile #247
Chosen by Bryn Davies (BЯYN)
2018 has been a turbulent year for me, for music, for the UK, I guess the world actually… We’re living in wild times. This mix has been a resting place that I’ve been coming back to in all the madness. It sees Michael Brailey draw together field recordings and internet rips forming, in my opinion, the most beautiful half an hour of audio you’ll ever hear in your life and the best thing that has come out on the mega archive that is JEROME Mixfiles. Appropriate listening activity (according to my house mate): Having a bath.
Ben UFO live at XOYO – Rinse FM
Chosen by Nick Ibbetson (Archive Liverpool)
This was an easy one for me because it’s the mix I find myself listening to the most often. Recorded over 2 hours of a night of his XOYO residency, the mix manages to find the delicate balance between working in the club but not at home, or vice versa.
But what really seals the deal, and what drew me to Ben’s style of mixing in the first place, is the diversity of music on show – He goes from Objekt to Hugo Massien, into a Britney Spears remix, and 15 minutes before that he plays garage. In the first half of the mix he plays Floating Points and Ian Pooley. It shouldn’t work, you keep telling yourself it shouldn’t work, yet I had one of the best nights out I’ve ever had with him playing. If you have a chance to see him, you absolutely should. I don’t think there are any better DJs in the world right now.
Mafalda – Dekmantel Podcast 172
Chosen by Toby Taylor (Good For The Soul/MDR Promo Management)
I really struggled to pick a favourite mix of the year. Eventually I narrowed it down to this and Peach’s infamous ‘House Pumper’s’ Boiler Room set. Whilst each have their own unique merits, (it was refreshing to see a DJ cultivate such raw energy on a Boiler Room dance floor, where it’s depressingly rare to see people really let themselves go), after relistening to them multiple times, I eventually plumbed for Mafalda’s soul-stirringly beautiful mix. Mafalda is a joy to see live and this is a mix that captures the elegance of her selections and her ability to craft consummate emotive power on the dance floor through them. It opens with a beatless edit of the gently atmospheric and experimental sounds of a.bee’s breakbeat track ‘Emit//ode to be considered,’ which immediately had me hooked. The rest of the mix is a lovely sojourn through the likes of Nubya Garcia, Joe Harriott and Gloria Jay. Huge plus points as well for playing not only two of my favourite artists, but also two of my favourite tracks by them (De La Soul – ‘Breakadawn’, & Queen – ‘Cool Cat’). 2018 was a great year for Mafalda and this mix serves as the perfect introduction for those looking to acquaint themselves with her, offering a lovely snapshot of her quiet brilliance as a selector.
RA.632 Raphael Top-Secret
Chosen by Kelvin Slesser-Marriott (Prince Street Record Forum)
When you start a year writing about the history of vinyl records and the pitfalls of music streaming services, there’s an internal monologue that whispers ‘imposter’ each time you reach for a Spotify playlist. So I got rid of it, instead keeping a refined selection of downloaded mixes for on the go.
The standout from those is Raphaël Top-Secret’s Resident Advisor podcast. Far from having a breakthrough year, 2018 has certainly brought his unique selection of largely undiscovered party records to new audiences at trend-setting European festivals. This podcast showcases the full breadth of his global digging excursions. At 40 minutes in there’s a blend of Sheila Chandra – ‘All You Want Is More’, a 1988 UK downtempo, electronic cut, into De De’s sultry 1983 funk track ’S&M’ that’s slightly pitched down with the kind of precision vinyl cueing that can only come from knowing your records inside out.
It’s done with a level of swagger that demands your attention and sends you straight to the track-listing. Rinse repeat for all 110 minutes.
Darwin – Crack Mix 230
Chosen by James Zaremba (MDR co-founder)
A resident at the legendary Berlin nightclub Griessmuehle since 2014, Canadian-born DJ and promoter Darwin has thrived during her time in the German capital by bringing the sounds of UK bass to the discerning ears of one of the city’s most popular dance floors.
Her party, REEF, has become synonymous with acts that have encapsulated the UK techno, breakbeat, jungle and garage sound. Inviting artists from Livity Sound, Idle Hands and Hessle Audio along for the ride, her bookings offer a homage to the building blocks of UK club music.
Across a bold two hours, her mix for Crack Magazine cements the aforementioned stylings with rugged breaks and classic jungle from the outset. The second hour delivers a decent wedge of spacier, more chilled-out sounds and dusty DnB rollers.
No tracklist was released on this one, but as Crack Mag said: “We’re reliably informed that there’s a couple of dubs from Loefah and Kellen303 in the mix.” Heavy!
Minor Science – New Music Worldwide
Chosen by Jack Rogers (Flossy, Meraki)
I chose this mix because I love Minor Science’s productions. Down tempo and eclectic, but unpretentious, this gives an insight into his influences. I miss DJ sets that sit under the 120bpm mark – my favourite DJ of all time is Andrew Weatherall and this reminds me of the sort of set he would play (maybe a bit more crunchy).
Unsound Podcast – Skee Mask b2b Zenker Brothers
Chosen by Josh Aitman (MDR co-founder)
Disclaimer… the 3 hours recorded below are not for those looking for an easy ride. Founders of Ilian Tapes and regular releaser on the label, Skee Mask, come together for what was explained as their second attempt to play a joint extended set together following an abysmal disaster at an after-party in Prague back in 2016.
The mix is ruthless and unforgiving, combing breaks, broken-beat, techno, jungle, even more ruthless techno and even more ruthless than ruthless sounds all within 3 hours of absolute genius. Unsound Festival in Krakow continues to push the boundaries of experimental and left-field electronic music and this mix approaches this topic combining all areas of the form. Tuck in and watch your ears.