Saturday, November 21, 2015

Best Mixes Of 2015

One of my favourite things about electronic music is the prominence of mixes and the curating that comes along with being a DJ. There are so many different kinds of mixes, some that are heavily pre-produced and others that are created organically, on the spot, both are valuable and can serve different purposes at different times. I love listening to them any time I'm doing anything, whether it be at working, working out, travelling, playing video games, washing the dishes or doing yard work. Over the years I've become a fan of a variety of different programs, podcasts, annual festival promo mixes or just whatever live set I can find. After the break, I'll be posting a large number of my favourite mixes from a variety of places. But to whet your appetite, check out this one from Alison Wonderland at The Mixmag Lab in Los Angeles.
Her set at the Hoxton was definitely one of the best I saw all year, the most energetic and intense DJing, that's for sure. I always feel like the more into the music the DJ is the more the crowd gets into it, Alison get top marks for this. Always really appreciate DJs not sticking to one genre or sound, especially when more than an hour long.

Note: The rest of the mixes appear in the order from my iTunes working back from now to January.
The fourth installment of RL Grime's Halloween mix which boasts the high level of production and care that we've come to expect from the man once known for his electro releases as Clockwork, but now seems firmly supplanted as trap lord. Hard hitting grime with the right amount of scare.
Clearly mixing comes easy to RL Grime, as he's the first in a star studded four hour farewell show for Aussie tastemaker, radio DJ turned label runner, Nina Las Vegas. This extended program contains mixes from the likes of Diplo, Cashmere Cat, Flume, Swick, Anna Lunoe, Flight Facilities and Levins. Make sure you've got a bunch of time on your hands or break it down into your favourites. Lots of great tunes and some really creative mixing. A-Trak pays tribute to the mid to late 2000's with this compilation of the rave house tracks from yesteryear. Keep this one on hand for a Throwback Thursday that you wanna get hype. Each year Hard presents Day Of The Dead and along with that a whole slew of promo mixes from a bunch of different artists and it often plays host to some of the best mixes of the year. This time the dudes Jack Beats got the nod, and they didn't disappoint with this deep and wobbly bass banging mix. Local hero Rezz has seen a meteoric rise in popularity this year, and it's as much about her productions skills as anything. She's already got such a massive library that seems every growing; the tracklist is entirely her own productions, and is more than half "new shit" in the form of IDs. There's no question of Diplo's prominence in the music scene and his weekly program on the BBC is perhaps the best example of this fact. The rising talent that he books is seemingly endless. Take for example NGHTMRE whose been been taking massive strides, gaining the attention he deserves. Following very much in the same trajectory as NGHTMRE, GANZ has become a much bigger player, having garnered attention for his work with Alison Wonderland as well as his amazing original productions. He does not disappoint with this massive mix.
One dare not mention BBC Radio without acknowledging Sir Pete Tong and the hallowed Essential Mix. Each year there are at least a handful of can't miss mixes from the world biggest and brightest stars, and Flume is without question of that caliber. His debut Essential Mix is everything you'd expect and more. It takes you places only the enigmatic ex-What So Not member can. Pure brilliance. LIZ has been quietly producing sparkling and bassy club tracks for years now. Her biggest splash comes via Diplo, their collab "Set Me Free" and her one hour mix for Diplo & Friends. Now that I think of it, LIZ was probably my first real exposure to kawaii. Nero seem to take their time when creating content, there's no question they are perfections, and succeed tremendously at doing so. They finally released their new album "Between 2 Worlds" on the same day as dropping this awe-inspiring Essential Mix, giving us hours of listening ecstasy.
The Northmix on Vice's Thump network has consistent content from rising stars, including that of Toronto's own Pusher who dares the seasons to change with his "End Of Summer No Chill Mix." It features some great unreleased gems as well as his fast moving chiptune sound.
I think Dillon Francis should seriously consider acting. His vines and instagrams are almost always gutbustingly funny. His alter ego DJ Hanzel is the best and most well thought out side project since Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton. What a treat to hear them back to back on this Diplo & Friends. One of my favourite and most under-appreciated podcasts is the Tim Gunter x BroBible series. It often plays host to some of the hottest and under-the-radar DJs and producers. No matter how many people are at a Botnek show I think they'd still be underrated. They're intense style is beyond infectious, and their signature subharmonic manipulation moves you at your core. Benzi is another one of those guys that seems to have his hand in just about every cookie jar. He's half of TWRK, DJ extraordinaire, master of mixtapes and head of LiveDJService. His Girl Trapz series is simply divine, and filled to the brim with exclusive content. The power of The BBC is seemingly endless, take for example this amazingly awesome orchestral live show transforming dance classics like never before, all partnered with the vocals of Ella Eyre and John Newman, narrated by Pete Tong; pure musical perfection. There's just something about this Nina Las Vegas EDM Mix that gets me going everytime. Whether its the first track, the Hi-Tom track that follows it, the Hudson Mohawke, the Kochi Boy & Henrik The Artist, the cheeky Silento/Ariana Grande mashup or it's just the genius of Nina; it's pure magic.
Alison Wonderland makes another appearance on this list with her Quest Mix for Annie Nightingale. Alison's had a massive year with the release of her debut album, multiple music videos and touring nonstop. It just makes sense that she'd be pumping out amazing mixes too. I don't think 1D is the best boy band quartet anymore, Henrik The Artist, Torjus, DJ Karaoke and Hi-Tom make up Rytmeklubben. These guys have crafted some of the coolest tunes I've ever heard and its a mix of chiptune/kawaii at the club. Another shoutout to Nina Las Vegas and Triple J Mixups. One of the best shows I saw all year was from the seat of my chair in my basement just before bed; Digital Dreams was cancelled and after a long day of laughing at those that had tickets I was about to call it a night I looked at twitter one last time to find a live stream of Porter Robinson's 'afterparty' set at Tattoo for the Monstercat Showcase. I was so thankful for the internet as it helped me get a live tracklist as Porter ripped through genres and played one of the most entertaining sets I've ever heard. The TWRK Diplo & Friends mixtape series has reached legendary status. The combination of Benzi and eSenTRIK is can't miss, whether its original productions, remixes, collabs or making exclusive laden mixes are without a doubt one of the hottest duos out there. Every one in a while a DJ, at the top of his game, releases a mixtape that propels his music and that which he supports in said mixtape into a whole new stratosphere. Tchami has successfully done this twice now. His Confessions series found itself blasting all summer long for two years in a row.
DJ Mustard has quickly become one of the most successful and widely appreciated Hip Hop and R&B producers in the game, producing hits for Kid Ink, Ty Dolla $ign, and T.I. He makes sure everyone get down with some "Mustard On That Beat." I think this is my favourite edition of Girl Trapz, at the time it came out just about everything in it was either brand new forthcoming or forthcoming and exclusive. Benzi hit this one out of the park, the production value is beyond polished and the epic voice tracking is to die for. This is the single greatest Diplo & Friends episode. When taking about exclusive content and VIP edits, Ryan Hemsworth outdoes everyone. Hemsworth heads his own 'label,' Secret Songs, and puts it to good use. The epic blending of gangster rap and kawaii, propels this mix into hallowed air. As you likely know by now Boy 8-Bit has been one of my favourite DJs/producers for years now and sadly he's not performing as B8B anymore but his new project Sorcery, which has actually had some really nice and funky numbers. I've always been a fan of B8B in large part because of his fun and progressive mixing style. It's got more throwbacks than A-Trak's Bloghaus mix and takes you as many places as Flume's Essential mix; a great laidback and easily consumable mix. Toronto boys Zeds Dead always seem to come through when things are the coldest, stoking fires and listeners alike, delivering winter and holiday mixes for the past few years. This year they've broken through to wide-stream success, and since this track predates much of that it gives us the opportunity to hear things in their infancy, although the dudes have really found their own more mature sound.

With this list you should be able to find at least one mix to your likings, and possibly hours of enjoyment. Hope listening to them brings you as much as I had originally and listening again now.