Hello fellow SSGs,
Chris and I have decided to take a full fortnight off. Yes, SSGs are having a fully-blown, no alibi holiday. Never fear, we shall return…. and in greater numbers… with some new ‘casts that we’re particularly excited about... more on that in a fornight, natch...
In the meantime, I thought I might list some of the mixes that have been favourites of the year so far. This list is in no strict order, and for reasons of humility (I suppose) I've excluded all SSG casts. Anyway, here they are. All of them come with my double thumbs up guarantee, having proved not only their superlongevity, but also the slow revelation of some glinting hidden gem.
Seth’s second Save the Cannibals podcast (Episode 22)
this one is just divine…. feels like you’re floating, then there’s the final track (sounds almost Depeche Mode-y, can someone confirm). Seth proves with every one of his very many ‘casts what an excellent DJ and tasteful selecta he is, but with this mix he’s created something elevated, rare, and, for my money, perfect. This has undoubtedly given me more pleasure and longevity than any other mix this year. Get on it.
Mike Huckaby’s Bunker podcast
Mixing is over-rated; track selection is not. This, to me, reminds me of an older tradition of mixing records. Huckaby lets every record shine (and picks classic after classic) creating dialogues between them that end up telling a bigger story, which then brings the whole thang home with a final track that ‘reveals’ the gestalt. I just dig this so much.
DJ Koze’s RA podcast
I’ve included this one here because of, enjoyment aside, its timely, symbolic character. Bookended as it is with Mount Kimbie at one end and Animal Collective at the other, Koze seems to be saying (whether intentionally or not I don’t know) that the whole micro/click/minimal thang has run its full course… or that’s how I read it: a kind of symbolic completion, the full play-through of all the recombinations within a genre. In a way, this is the last possible ‘great Kompakt mix’ in the manner of Koze’s All People is My Friends and Tobias Thomas’ Smallville mix… an era passes into the past.
Steffi’s Panoramabar Mix II
Steffi, for me, has totally eclipsed Cassy of late as the Panoramabar stylist par excellence. Where Cassy just seems to be just mixing one record into the next in an almost totally aimless way, Steffi has a masterplan. Her pace and programming is always impeccable – everyone of her mixes (like this and her still incredible RA podcast from last year) has this fantastic arc to it. She builds tension, she moves deftly, AND she knows exactly when to grant you the big release…. Steffi takes you places… I’m not bored of this mix 6+months/12+ rinses in, and that, on an iPod with a few hundred mixes loaded, says it all.
Jus-Ed’s “On the Roof” (Roof.fm) podcast
The whole ‘shout outs to the massive’ thang that the UK has unfortunately inherited from soundsystem toasting gives me the howling, screaming shits… likewise ‘banter’ on podcasts…. to me several of the To the Bone podcasts become junk after one listen, despite the impeccable track selection, because of the irritating, sniggery-pokery banter going on. Yes, I know it’s a kind of a radio show, but having a recording as opposed to a live on the air broadcast (which you intend to listen and re-listen to) changes the game for me. I’m not sure the radio paradigm works for files…. But Jus Ed has gift of gab, he’s charming and engaging – and he plays amazing music. I gave this to a friend’s sister as a gateway mix into the world of house… now she might as well be Screaming Rachel….
Scuba’s new Hotflush mix
Every now and then, somebody does do something new. Paul Rose in 2009 is just such a somebody. And boy oh boy… as if the SSG SCB mix for us wasn’t enough, here comes even more: this mix covers dubstep, techno, minimal/house, and even some two step… with a rock earcleaner in the middle which I dug too. This is some new shit, this is fresh, this is just fucking excellent. Please do yourself a favour and get on it right away: Scuba is digging the trench; watch everyone follow in his wake.
Alva Noto’s Bunker performance
It’s amazing to see somebody cross so convincingly out of the white box of the sound/art world into the black box of the club/floor. This live set has so much white intensity (in all senses of the phrase)… ‘Gosh’, as a white person might say. So much intensity, so much passion in such precision. It’s not very often that Raster.Noton brings on a bout of spasming head-banging… I want to say: be careful listening to this one if you’re already on your way, you might just lose your shit.... unfortunately, the bass is way overblown on the other Raster sets, so I can't recommend 'em, but this one....
DJ Pete’s Wax Treatment cast
This one’s just got a real ‘sound’ to it. No super outstanding moments or ‘gee whizz’ Alva Noto-ish highpoints…. and yet… I just have to keep listening to it. What can I say? This is just extremely good dub/substep.
Bruno Pronsato’s Bunker performance
SSGs might know that Chris and I are split on ‘The Question of Bruno’: Chris can’t seem to see ‘it’; me and silent SSG Dave W both think that Make Up, Break Up is one of theeeee pieces of music this year so far in any genre, and both got longlasting microhouse stiffies (now there's an image to make weep) over Why Can’t We Be Like Us…. there are other Pronsato sets floating around, but for me, this is where he really, really, really nails ‘it’: not just his own material, but also the laptop/live perfomance… and it’s a perfect sublimation of most of what was interesting about minimal, but with more, so much more....
Matias Aguayo’s FACT mix
….I get that 14 tracks thing from boomkat, and when the Aguayo one came in the other week, I thought to myself: ‘come to think of it, Matias *actually* wrote several of the best tunes on Kompakt’… and might have been their most talented artist, or one of the three. Certainly, he’s one of he only ones who’s doing something now that doesn’t have a nasty whiff about it… anyway, I’ll spare all of us the Kompakt rant, not least of all ‘cos Matias is doing something new here, doin’ his own thang. The Whirlpool Productions track in this set is like a fucking firecracker up your sex bits…. in fact, that’s the hallmark of this whole set: it’s fucking sexy. Red rocket, coming right up ya.
…okay, so that’s the full set from me, what about you SSGs? Let’s use the comment section for everyone to nominate a few of their own faves from this year so far…. in the meantime, I’m off. See you all in a fortnight... oh, and sorry for the bodgy layout here, Word imported it with all this formatting, then I added the links (all too late) and, sorry, I can't be bothered going back and doing it again.... anyhoo....