Friday, December 12, 2014

Top ten mixes/podcasts of 2014

I listened to fewer mixes this year than in the past couple of years, but the ones I did listen to were in heavy rotation from first listen/download up until the present day.  I listened to them as much or more than proper albums.  As in past years, this list is unranked and presented in chronological order of release, with one exception -- the one mix that was far and away the best of the year (it wasn't even close) that I'll save until the end.

Voices from the Lake, Beats in Space 720 (March 11)

This 80-minute ambient mix drifts by in what feels like five minutes, beginning with icy desolation, shifting into gentler fare that could almost accompany their anodyne beat-filled work, and winding down with more gloomy, sinister sounds.  Hypnotizing.

Haunting techno, alien electro, and bass-heavy broken beats populate this sweaty, ambitious mix. 

Abdulla Rashim, Resident Advisor 422 (June 30)

A very understated mix that keeps bubbling under and continuously threatens to really kick in at any moment, but never does.  Instead, it keeps subtlely churning along  and does so beautifully.  It reminds of another similarly structured mix by Bruno Ponsato, coincidentally enough, it was RA 222, exactly 200 RA podcasts before this one.  But it's not a simple mix by any means.  There are about 40 tracks packed into a little less than 70 minutes.  Much like Richie Hawtin's famed (but very overrated) DE9 mix CD, it's smooth and deep and there are a lot of little things going on in there that you'll miss unless you're paying close attention.

Throwing Snow, FACT 448 (June 30)

FACT said it best in the post that accompanied this mix: if Throwing Snow "stuck to one tempo he'd probably be a lot bigger by now".  To paraphrase Bill James, if you do one thing really well you'll be overrated, but if you do several things well you'll be underrated.  Nearly every track brings a different style or genre to the table, and it's as if he's throwing selected tracks against the wall to see what sticks.  Nearly everything does.

Efdemin, Electric Deluxe 123 (July 1)

Efdemin's tracklist-free effort for EDLX comes off like carefully constructed mix tape of epic leftfield tech-house tunes, oddball vocal samples and other oddities.   I saw him spin a main floor DJ set of rough and ready industrial scale techno earlier this month, but this mix couldn't have been more different while still maintaining a connection to the outer reaches of club-ready techno.  Keep this mix away from the main floor, but it's perfect for the denizens of the nearby smoking lounge.

Sawlin, Electric Deluxe 124 (July 14)

This type of mix is like catnip for me, it's practically my default mix when I get around to making them.  It starts out quiet and dreamy, and transitions to progressively harder and more aggressive techno.  The transition is something to behold too ("Stairway to Heaven"?  It works).

MaxM, K1971 radio show episode XT3 radio (July 24)

Deep, moody, cavernous techno not unlike some of my favourites from previous years (see the Dino Sabatini I wrote about here).  I can practically smell the cold fumes from the smoke machine in the club while listening to this mix.

LWE presents Rrose (September 9)

It was advertised as a no-nonsense mix that is typical of her live sets, and it delivered exactly as promised.  And along the same lines ...

Pan-Pot, Watergate 17 (October 13)

The only official mix CD on this list, if you're looking for a mix that replicates the experience of actually being in a sweaty Berlin club, look no further.  I've read far too many interviews where the artist wants to "show a different side" of themselves, but Pan-Pot's mix is peak time at Watergate from start to breathless finish.  

Best mix of the year that you should all listen to (or re-listen to) immediately:

This absurdly ambitious mix skips between genres without hardly any effort, staples rap over hard techno, marries R&B to squelchy electro techno, finds common ground between old school EBM, assembles music from over four decades, and takes in 28 tracks in 54 minutes without seeming the least bit rushed.  A truly inspiring mix that never ceases to amaze with every listen. 

No comments: