Power through the rest of June with our selection of top-tier mixes.
In our roundup of mixes from May 2021, we’re highlighting essential entries from low-key rising stars, beloved genre stewards and everything in between. Sonically, we’re featuring a range of sounds: think hypnotic club transmissions dialled in from Copenhagen and bombastic rave ammunition straight from London, all the way through to an audio ode to Nigerian music, soothing Sunday sounds and a rare Digital Mystikz special. Whatever your plans this week – whatever your mood, too – there’s sure to be something for you among these selections. Bookmark this list, plug in and hit play.
Mars89If-Only Podcast 88
Mars89 recently brought his dystopian brand of dance music to If-Only’s mix series. In his entry, the Japanese DJ, producer and Bokeh Versions affiliate turns to a trusty grab bag of heavy hip-hop, cut-throat rhythms and dubby textures supplied by artists like Death Grips, The Bug, Sons of Simeon and KevinTheCreep. The end result is a mix fit to soundtrack some big-budget, triple-A RPG, or a blockbuster post-apocalyptic flick. Fast forward to the 27-minute mark for a devilishly good Total Freedom edit that combines the dulcet tones of Beyoncé with Bok Bok‘s decade-old Dark Hearts Dub. It’s been a while since we’ve heard this one, so we’re elated to be reminded of it.
Digital MystikzBBC 6 Music Guest Mix
We know what you’re thinking: Mary Anne Hobbs, the BBC Radio airwaves and Digital Mystikz – is this a new mix? The answer is yes. This is indeed a new entry from the cherished duo that is Mala and Coki, aka Digital Mystikz, broadcast a few weeks back as part of some unofficial MAH birthday celebrations. For 30 minutes, the pair take turns – Coki steps up for the first half, with Mala on hand for the second – to spin classic dubstep tracks and nostalgic cuts from artists such as Compa, Kaiju and Peverelist. A must-listen mix and an excellent way to spend a lunchtime if you managed to tune in live.
8ULENTINATaurus Season Mix
Season is an astrology-inspired club night that also exists as a newsletter, mix series and radio show. For its May (aka Taurus Season) mix, the Leeds-based crew called upon Bay Area DJ, producer and “interdisciplinary bitch” 8ULENTINA, who you’ll also know as co-founder of Oakland’s influential Club Chai. Given that taurus is an earth sign, 8ULENTINA ensures to root their mix deep within the sticky tiles of clubland. It’s a slick, celestial offering that glides between genres and eras with the utmost control, whilst keeping up the good vibes. Plug in for tracks from Kush Jones, DJ Plead, iLL BLU and Eartheater, plus some excellent edits from 8ULENTINA, which you can pick up on Bandcamp.
AnzNTS Radio (22/05/21)
May, among other things, will be remembered in the UK as the month of dull weather and endless rain. Thankfully, OTMI boss (and Crack’s Issue 120 cover star) Anz was ready and waiting to transport us somewhere far more inviting through another edition of her Letters to Eko series, which is devoted to Nigerian music. Across the hour-long NTS broadcast, Anz journeys through sounds of the bright, warm and rich variety; from traditional tracks dusted off lovingly from the vaults to Burna Boy or Naira Marley-supplied Afrobeats and Afro-fusions, jazzy disco and shimmering vocal cuts from musicians like Martha Ulaeto. Be sure to listen back to previous Letters to Eko entries when you’re done tuning in, and check out an Anz cover story teaser.
Patrick BelagaSunday Mix
Sometimes a mix sneaks up from out of nowhere and takes you by surprise in a way akin to your first bewildered steps into a surprise birthday party. Patrick Belaga’s entry into our Sunday Mix series offered this very experience. Prior to tuning into this offering from the LA-based cellist and composer, we were half experiencing a suitably serene accompaniment to his recent PAN-released album Blutt. However, instead of beatless odysseys, or classical-meets-electronic experiments, Belaga opts to explore the last 60 years of US history and music across his mix. From start to finish – or from Mary Lou Williams to Jimmy Scott – it’s a tribute, of sorts, to American music and some of Belaga’s musical heroes.
Malika MahmoudRarepeace Mix Vol. 53
Malika Mahmoud is a Copenhagen-based DJ and curator. She caught the DJing bug while living in London and interning at places like NTS Radio (she secured the gig at the beloved Dalston station after emailing founder Femi Adeyemi on a whim). When she later returned to her home city, she channelled what she’d learned at NTS into her own non-profit station, MMH Radio, which has since ceased broadcasting. In this mix for Brooklyn platform Rarepeace, Mahmoud demonstrates her prowess as a selector as she dips between Arca edits, Fractal Fantasy heat and melodic bass-driven tunes from artists like Yayoyanoh, Dæmon, Endgame and Ytem. A continent-hopping tour of bangers from a criminally under-the-radar talent.
Sofie BirchIA Mix 349
If Mahmoud’s mix is destined to soundtrack our pre-party antics, then Sofie Birch’s is an appropriate post-rave accompaniment. Well, maybe not for those sheeny, sweat-licked hours immediately after a stint on the dance floor, but for the fragile days following. Birch is best known for her ambient magic and restorative compositions, though here she channels something a little murkier; picture a dense fog floating through a tranquil realm and altering the atmosphere simply through its looming presence. In an interview that ran alongside the mix, Birch says she imagines it as, “as a journey through a dark tropical forest where rain has just stopped falling and the sky lightens up as a pale lid on top of the trees.” A fitting description for this bewitching mix.
ionaUntitled #909 Podcast 073
Proper good fun from a proper good DJ. Here, Field Maneuvers resident, producer and London-based party starter iona jumps aboard the essential Untitled #909 mix series for an hour of boisterous jungle, house, hardcore and more. Expect brain-fizzing dance music that demands your full attention – and just can’t be enjoyed passively in the background as you go about your day – from artists like Prayer, Kaotic Chemistry and Traxman. As iona leads us to the halfway point, expect the occasional flash of something woozier and dream-like, before the tension builds once again and it’s time to let loose right through until the end: hands-in-the-air and whistles-in-mouth style. This is the kind of mix you’ll feel compelled to rewind as soon as you’ve finished listening.
PolygoniaGroove Podcast 298
Mystical techno from Munich. As a producer, Polygonia’s output ventures into the vast depths of techno with the same compulsion as a deep-sea diver heading out on a new excursion. Her releases also paint a clear picture of her taste and artistic signallers, with a focus on lush and supple grooves, organic elements and themes of the natural variety. Elsewhere, she’s a co-founder of IO: an audiovisual label and artist collective dedicated to deep techno and ambient music. With all points considered, it makes total sense for her mixes to follow a similar path to that of her production and other music-based ventures. This emotionally-charged entry for Berlin-based platform Groove, for example, does a stellar job at showcasing what Polygonia’s all about.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Scratcha DVA’s recent mix for Resident Advisor features in this list. Like many, we’re longtime fans of the vital UK figurehead and ‘Scratchanese’ pioneer. We’ve also enjoyed his more recent pursuits into South African dance music and its many sub-genres. This mix in particular is an all-bangers outing that flows between SA club tunes and tracks from some of Scratcha’s musical peers, prior label mates and collaborators from cities and boroughs a little closer to home. Naturally, the producer navigates his way through an abundance of big tracks and brilliant artists with the calm ease of a veteran and the eagerness of a wide-eyed music stan. A master at work.