7 must-hear mixes from October 2018: Quantum jungle acceleration, “techno dancehall” experiments
It’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything that SoundCloud, Mixcloud and online radio has to offer. In our monthly column, FACT guides you through the must-hear mixes of the last 30 days, whether you want a club session to warm you up for the weekend, ambient soothers or a set of vinyl-only obscurities.
As the clocks go back and the world turns to darkness (ugh, AGAIN), it still feels right to seek out the sparks that make life on Earth a little brighter. Not to get heavy in a blurb about something as frothy and fun as a monthly mix round-up, but it seemed crazy not to acknowledge the decline we’ve witnessed since the last one of these.
Decent pickings in October, regardless! A hat-tip to Gabe Meier’s ever-reliable The Astral Plane blog for putting on a couple of excellent sessions: Sweat Equity rave guru C Powers and Fractal Fantasy maximalist Xzavier Stone dropped two very different but equally strong mixes that are worth your time.
Berlin DJ and Reef party resident Esposito laid on a selection of moody drum and bass rollers with artisanal flair, and – for a price – dubwise Dutchman A Made Up Sound offered 45 minutes of new material in a tasty downloadable package.
Finally, a shout out to Passion of the Weiss’s Abe Beame, who went potholing into the abyss of SoundCloud rap to create a download-only mix of the last decade’s best (or maybe worst) rap songs about drugs and ex-girlfriends.
Onto the best of the bunch: quantum jungle acceleration from Lee Gamble, Mr. Mitch’s “techno dancehall” experiments and a deep-thinking mix from Bristol’s Laksa all stood out. Fellow breaks enthusiasts Lil Mofo and Peach showed off their different styles for RA and Discwoman, N.A.A.F.I. crew member Lechuga Zafiro broke out the drums and São Paulo’s Badsista was a ray of light against Brazil’s turn to the dark side.
Laksa for Blowing Up The Workshop
An emotional comfort blanket from the Bristol talent
The always reliable Blowing Up The Workshop series continues with Bristol’s Laksa, one of the biggest talents to emerge from the city in the last couple of years with releases on Mistry, Timedance and, coming up this month, a stunning split 12-inch for Whities. His BUTW mix starts off deep and dreamy with morose overtones; as a recently qualified social worker, he’s included a sample of an older colleague talking about the strains of the work (content warning: self-harm) and David Graeber lamenting bullshit jobs. A reflection of “where [his] head’s at” as he prepares to start his working life, Laksa says he designed the eclectic mix to provide solace during tiring daily commutes, with tracks from BFTT, Kloke, Etch and Strategy.
Lee Gamble’s Jungle As Particle Accelerator Mix for NTS Radio
A two-hour time leap through broken beats
You might say that Lee Gamble – lifelong IDM nerd and jungle archaeologist-in-chief – has been clawing at this very idea all along: “Jungle as particle accelerator” is the nerdy title he’s given to a two-hour time-leap on NTS Radio. Starting in 1991 with the protean twitchings of Omni Trio, as jungle crawled out of hardcore’s primordial soup, the first half of the mix chugs through the bangers in chronological order, throwing up relentless WTF moments. It’s easy to forget just how fucking weird jungle was at its bleeding-edge best: moments of rolling rapture imploding on a whim, reversing and disappearing in quantum chaos. The second hour, in contrast, accelerates through some of the finest contemporary breaks. It’s a guided tour, too – a Brummie accent pops up to ID tracks just when you need it most.
Mr. Mitch’s Techno Dancehall mix
The next evolution of South London star
Mr. Mitch has been waging a long and bloody campaign to rid himself of the “grime” tag, so as a companion to the “techno dancehall” angle of his new EP, Primary Progressive, here’s a 45-minute demonstration of where his current interests lie. From the stunted shuffle of Equiknoxx to the rapturous percussion jams of TSVI, plus hints of rabid electro and video game tunes, it’s a neatly executed idea from an artist with many strings to his bow.
Badsista for The FADER
A São Paulo DJ marries madcap edits with big energy
The vibrancy, energy and sheer emotion running through this mix by São Paulo artist Badsista takes on a different hue in the wake of Brazil’s terrifying election results. The eclectic selector (a former emo kid) seems like the epitome of everything exciting about her city’s independent music scene, and this choppy session zips through dozens of tracks in under an hour, juxtaposing local heroes like Linn Da Quebrada against Smartbar DJ Ariel Zetina, ballroom maven Quest?onmarc, Bristol basshead Ossia and some outrageous blends (The Prodigy! Evanescence!). Fucking excellent.
Lil Mofo for Resident Advisor
Effortlessly cool breaks and techno from the Tokyo DJ
Imagine stumbling into a tiny Japanese kissa to find Lil Mofo slamming out euphoric breaks and breathless techno to 20-or-so dedicated heads: it’s a romantic notion for those of us who’ve never had the pleasure of visiting into one of those audiophile bars, but the Tokyo DJ’s RA mix seems to capture something of the essence. Recorded live at her local spot Grassroots, it’s effortlessly cool journey from Dillinja to DJ Deeon and beyond.
Lechuga Zafiro for Noisey
Euphoric drums from the rising Uruguay producer
Uruguay’s Lechuga Zafiro is behind one of the most mind-bending club EPs of 2018, the N.A.A.F.I.-released Testigo. If you’re down with the deliciously wonky, Foley-sampling sound of standout track ‘Agua Y Puerta’, then you’re gonna fall out of your tree for his Noisey mix. Moving from regional to global, he blends scruffy Brazilian funk and Elysia Crampton drum edits with the likes of Lisbon’s DJ Nervoso and Hyperdub’s “rough kuduro” newcomer Nazar. It’s euphoric, weighty and possibly drunk.
Peach for Discwoman
Athletic energy from the rising London DJ
Canadian-born, London-based DJ Peach is on a tear right now, having found her sweet spot as a genre-blending selector with a focus on peak-time highs. Casually described as “a collection of ravey and broken bits I’m into right now” and featuring tracks from Skee Mask, Overmono and E-Unity, it’s the perfect calling card for her tough, athletic style: every new blend gives a fresh jolt of energy to push you to the finishing line.
Chal Ravens is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter.
Read next: Deep Inside: November 2018’s must-hear house and techno playlist