The 9 Best DJ Mixes of October 2020

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Featuring Roza Terenzi’s trip-hop revivalism, a primer of kinds on UK funky hero Roska, and a spread of ambient mixes throughout a powerful 12 months for deep vibes

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Graphic by Simon Abranowicz

Every month, Philip Sherburne listens to an entire lot of mixes so that you solely need to take heed to one of the best ones.

In instances of uncertainty, it’s a pure impulse to hunt acquainted floor. A variety of this month’s standout mixes discover artists exploring their roots, wherever they could lie: Armenian choral music, Saharan landscapes, or canonical types like liquid drum’n’bass and UK funky. Other DJs, sensing the transformations implicit in a second of upheaval, have opted for shape-shifting ambient mutations that counsel pure risk.

Azu Tiwaline – Groove Mag podcast

Somewhere across the time Azu Tiwaline moved to southern Tunisia, the place she inherited a home her mom had constructed on a small patch of sand, her music started to open up. When she started producing, across the flip of the millennium, her sound was charged with the power of France’s anarchic free-party scene; through the years, as Loan, she long-established an more and more intricate fusion of dubstep and IDM, stuffed with cybernetic textures and sharp angles. But in her latest music, these arduous edges have dissolved, changed by the fluid rhythms of rolling hand percussion and the stillness advised by her new alias, which is Berber for “eye of the wind.” Her love of percussion unites this outstanding combine for Groove Magazine, which kicks off with the liquid tones of Jakarta’s Wahono earlier than morphing into her personal melancholy “Violet Curves,” a latest collaboration with the Paris-based digital musician Cinna Peyghamy, who runs his tombak drum via modular synthesizer. From there, she wends via pulsing UK bass from Henry Greenleaf and Hodge & Randomer; minimal techno from Efdemin; and the complicated time signatures of Burnt Friedman’s group Drums Off Chaos. Since she moved to the desert, she informed Groove, “I have been nourished by more softness, calm, large spaces, and silence.” You can hear it within the set’s delicate textures and enveloping move.

Bakongo – Bleep Mix #140

As Roska, Wayne Goodlitt has lengthy been one of many prime movers of UK funky. He’s masterminded a driving sound that’s each powerful and giddily unhinged, like a drum circle powered by considered one of Rube Goldberg’s kinetic contraptions. As Bakonga, Woodlitt has progressively developed a extra expansive model, updating funky’s staccato signature with components of home, bass music, and damaged techno. Released together with his new EP for Livity Sound, Goodlitt’s Bleep mix is an invigorating deep dive into his percussive sensibility. He likes his drums blunt and syncopated, and he’s received a knack for prodding issues ahead with repetitive bursts of tone; the nooks and crannies of his grooves are full of needling guiro shrieks and sharp, stabbing synths. It’s an brisk, effortlessly propulsive sound, and with roughly half the tracklist penned by Goodlitt’s personal hand, the set makes for a superb primer on his music.

KMRU – KST – 25th October 2020

Joseph Kamaru’s latest Editions Mego album Peel achieves most emotion with minimal effort. Very little appears to occur within the Kenyan musician’s swirling ambient tracks, which ceaselessly stretch to 13, 15, and even 23 minutes lengthy, but they draw you in regardless. Taking of their minutely different drones might be akin to staring considered one of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s seascape photographs, the place perspective dissolves in a silvery blur. The same subtlety marks his mixing on this set for the Japan-based DJ KST’s present on Internet Public Radio. Over the course of an hour, Kamaru cycles via 10 tracks so progressively that it’s troublesome to say the place one begins and one other ends. The liquid droplets of experimental harpist Mary Lattimore’s “Til a Mermaid Drags You Under” appear to freeze into the crystalline drones of the Key’s “Of Air (Bethan Kellough),” which in flip give option to the glacial tones of Paperbark’s “Lampshade Dust.” Each successive mix looks like a metamorphosis of matter and power: a single entity morphing earlier than our eyes and ears.

Roza Terenzi – Bazaar 37

Trip-hop retains threatening to make a comeback; if Kruder and Dorfmeister’s forthcoming lost album doesn’t do the trick, maybe this set from Australia’s Roza Terenzi will nudge that long-promised revival a bit nearer to fruition. Keyed to the identical drifting tempo and billowing textures as “Jungle in the City,” the lead monitor off Terenzi’s latest Modern Bliss, her set for Tel Aviv’s Tofistock sequence is steeped in lush chords, dub delay, and drowsy breakbeat shuffle. Occasionally, she’ll inch proper as much as the sting of kitsch: A number of tracks have the elegantly narcoleptic sheen of classic Café del Mar comps or Cinemax hot-tub scenes, only one shakuhachi pattern away from Deep Forest territory. But even essentially the most faux-luxe textures listed below are genuinely evocative, in the identical manner that vaporwave calls up reminiscences of a not-so-distant period with a combination of fondness and horror. A number of latest tracks, like Low Flung’s “Microtear,” take the ’90s downtempo conceit and make it recent, whereas even the picks verging on camp have a real aura to them (or, as my 5-year-old daughter remarked, “This sounds like spy music!”).

Karen Gwyer – Crack Mix 378

Karen Gwyer’s personal productions are likely to tread the outer edges of dance music, however in her mix for Crack Magazine, the London-based musician abandons the rhythmic grid totally, as an alternative piecing her manner throughout an undulating panorama of eerie pulses and perpetually mutating textures. After a succession of metallic drones, the primary beat arrives some 15 minutes in, courtesy of Jako Maron’s ominous “Maloya Valsé Chok 1.” Over 74 minutes, Gwyer continues weaving between contrasting moods: Post-industrial dub clangor offers option to aimlessly tranquil marimba patter earlier than patten’s coolly thrilling “Valley Commerce” dials up the drama. The ultimate 15 minutes are breathtaking, with the just about devotional sounds of CS + Kreme’s “Saint” main the way in which to Caterina Barbieri and Kali Malone’s “Glory (Final Movement),” a meditative duet for electrical guitar that ripples just like the floor of a lake.

Pontiac Streator – XLR8R Podcast 663

“Mangy cursed energy”—that’s how Philadelphia’s Pontiac Streator describes their set for XLR8R’s podcast sequence. Demonic stray-dog vibes may not sound terribly interesting, however when you acclimate to the spooky environment, the outline makes a type of intuitive sense. Along with names like Huerco S., Caveman LSD, exael, and Ulla, Pontiac Streator varieties a part of a free constellation of artists who’re dissolving the hallmarks of ambient music into an uneasy stew of oily drones and degraded textures. Slipping between beatless passages and stark, chest-caving rhythms, this hour-long combine is a feast of ragged textures and murky shadows. Beats, just like the distressed drum’n’bass breakbeats of Florian T M Zeisig’s “Aspire (exael Remix),” really feel perpetually on the verge of disintegration, and ethereal tones slide woozily throughout the spectrum. Of particular word is a Huerco S. monitor that includes a rapper named SIR E.U that means a type of narcotized ambient hip-hop. Stitched collectively out of principally unreleased tracks, the set makes for a provocative glimpse at one potential near-term future for experimental membership music.

Darwin – Daisychain 144

Eleven years in the past, UK junglists D-Bridge and Instra:psychological breathed new life into the drum’n’bass scene with their Autonomic podcasts, abandoning the style’s goes-to-11 depth in favor of deeper, extra reflective vibes. “There was no space in drum & bass, it was just running 20 breaks on top of each other,” Instra:psychological explained of their motivations. “We decided to not fill the gaps.” The Canadian DJ Darwin pays tribute to Autonomic in her contribution to the Daisychain sequence, specializing in hypnotic, rolling grooves: deep-diving breakbeats, half-time pulses, dubby undercurrents, and the moodiest footwork, all of it suffused in aquamarine chords and fluid textures. The set can be a tribute to the ocean: Darwin’s Berlin-based social gathering sequence known as REEF, and he or she spends half the 12 months browsing in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. (She’s a cofounder of Clean Scene, a gaggle centered on local weather activism via the lens of the dance-music neighborhood.) Oscillating between gradual and quick, darkish and lightweight, her immersive set gives the look of highly effective currents in fixed flux.

Jake Muir – Space Afrika Presents Jake Muir

Jake Muir’s new ambient album The Hum of Your Veiled Voice is a spotlight in a 12 months that has hardly lacked for nice ambient music. Following within the footsteps of artists like Philip Jeck and Marina Rosenfeld, the American-born, Berlin-based musician massaged vinyl samples into atmospheric tracks impressed partially by homosexual bathhouse tradition. His attractive set for Space Afrika’s NTS Radio show evokes equally foggy, humid atmospheres. Across the course of the 2 hours, he traverses a variety of textures and sounds, mixing sci-fi drones, discipline recordings, fluttering chords, romantic strings, and even acoustic guitar with uncommon finesse. The trick in any good ambient combine is to seek out the steadiness between “not enough” and “too much,” and Muir’s session handles that balancing act completely: There’s sufficient tone to tug you in and simply sufficient subtly shifting variation to maintain you spellbound with out ever jolting you out of a deep reverie.

Club Chai – Peace for Artsakh & Armenia w/ FOOZOOL & 8ULENTINA

As although there weren’t sufficient hell on earth in 2020, renewed tensions have damaged out within the former Soviet autonomous area of Nagorno-Karabakh, or Artsakh, an Armenian ethnic enclave in Azerbaijan. Armenia and Azerbaijan went to struggle over the territory within the early 1990s earlier than signing a cease-fire settlement in 1994, however what had lengthy been thought of a “frozen conflict” exploded into full-blown struggle final month. Oakland’s Club Chai has used its October show for NTS Radio as a platform to name for peace and defend the declare of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian inhabitants’s proper to self-determination. In the primary half of the combination, Lara Sarkissian, aka FOOZOOL, performs Armenian classical, jazz, ballads, and Sharakan (Armenian chant)—picks supposed, she says, “to channel solace, spirituality, and the allowance to sit in sadness and grief.” Her personal haunting “A House Is a Being,” from the Beirut profit compilation Grief Into Rage, opens the set; Sona Koloyan’s improvised “Mother,” for piano and strings, deepens the unhappy temper, and in his 1983 track “Asa Asdvadz,” the beloved Armenian balladeer sings plaintively, “Tell us, God, what is our sin/Why are you torturing us like this?” 8ULENTINA takes over the combination’s second half, enjoying a choice of melancholy songs from Eartheater, Russell E.L. Butler, and Cocteau Twins that builds to a chilling climax with Special Interest’s “Street Pulse Beat.”



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