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This is Cue Points, a series where DJs get granular with current tracks in their sets, giving us the low-down on what makes them work.

A master of mood and atmosphere, Paris-hailing DJ Ivan Smagghe has been twisting and melting dancefloors since the early 90s. His long career has seen him work behind the counter at Paris’s Rough Trade record store, write as a music journalist and co-run iconic label and party Kill The DJ. More recently he has teamed up with Vilnius legend Manfredas for their extended b2b series Dresden, which they have been taking to this summer’s festival circuit and are currently fresh off the back of two highlight sets at Glastonbury.

Throughout the decades he has also amassed an enviable collection of records spanning subtle techno chuggers, wiggy electro and off-kilter house grooves. From it, we invited him to pick out and analyse five current favourites.

Ricardo Villalobos – Wispa [Pressure Traxx]

A lot of Ricardo’s stuff is a bit too loose for me to play out, but there are a few that I absolutely love. They’re still very free (they are him) but also more driving, I guess? This is one of them. They are perfect mood switchers as well as they don’t fit any category or a lot of them. People tend to think of them as late night stuff but they’ll take a different colour depending on what was played before and after.

Stefano Greppi & Laric – Untitled Dream [Schermate Recordings]

One of those “control” tracks aimed at locking the groove in. With Dresden especially (the duo I have with Manfredas), we have a whole lot of these records that don’t seem to do much but drag you deep in. This is has whiffs of early minimal (chopped up vocals and length) but also a darker techno feel.

Steve Barnes – Cosmic Sandwich (Dominik Eulberg Remix) [My Best Friend]

By my own definition, the peak time record. Of course, it is not straightforward: the intro is long, dubby and quite bizarre. The original is unrecognisable, the sound is quite dated (big 2005 digital), but the break that comes very late in the track never ever fails. Objectively, it is very weird and wonky but epic at the same time. A great anomaly.

DJ Rocca – Uros (I:Cube Remix) [Roam Recordings]

Nico is such an amazing producer and it it is very rare I don’t play one of his tracks in a set. Recently, his [track] Fractal P from 2018 has been a fave, but this remix is a huge late night classic – a peak me up before things can get really weird. As with the Steve Barnes remix, pure wonky breakdown.

Kosh – Enslaved (Vox Mix) [forthcoming on Convergence]

A fairly recent addition to the “last record of the night” pile. What makes a great end of night record is an endlessly debatable question, but let’s say it could, at the same time, sum the night/set up and open up something else that may be?

This is basically an electro-pop record (a not so surprising choice for me) but it is in no way ‘electroclash’ – it grooves, it does not cheeses. It’s not a euphoric banger (I find them quite awful in general), nor an intellectual IDM chin stroker (I like those but only there and now).

[Preview and pre-order the track here]

Ivan Smagghe plays Neopop Festival, which takes place in Viano do Castelo, Portugal, between 8 August and 10 August.