Throne of Blood may be grappling with the aftermath of an angry broad named Sandy, but does that mean they'll neglect their blogging duties? Heeeell no! This post is about favorite but perhaps lesser-known DJ mixes from the past few months written by TOB's official VIBES COORDINATOR, Fred Dulson. NYC represent!
As I bear down for a pummeling by post-tropical cataracts and sandy hurricanoes, rather than dwell on questions of existential vulnerability and helplessness (as well as in the interest of preserving what remains of the bottle of whiskey in case this thing goes on longer than expected), I have been reflecting on and revisiting some of my favorite mixes from this year. This in no way constitutes a "best of" for anyone other than me, but seeing that my very existence finds itself imperiled, consider this as a kind of testament, for in the deluge of podcasts and mixes that continually flood the data conduits of cyberspace, these are the flotsam and jetsam that have washed up on my little strand.
In September I went to a loft party in Brooklyn with Traxx, D'Marc Cantu and S.S.P.S. The show was put on by Mutual Dreaming, who have been behind some of the more exciting parties in New York in recent memory. For me, it was that special kind of evening that makes you rethink the potential for dance music in this city, and the level of energy and engagement from the crowd was refreshingly uncommon. D'Marc Cantu, whose new album A New World has been in heavy rotation in these towers of late, crafted this mix for Juno Plus that offers a sense of the sounds that from that night: stripped to their basic quality, refashioned and reshaped into something visceral and alive.
This year I have been keeping close tabs on the blog of London megaclub Fabric, as it has featured a number of stellar mixes that cover all sort of stylistic ground. In particular, Mike Parker's LOST X mix has been monopolizing time on my iPod, because it serves in a way as a distillation of the sounds that have been gaining currency with the continuing and fructifying cross-pollination of more conventional dancefloor material with experimental electronics and noise-centric experimentation. For over an hour, Parker delivers a mix that is at once uncompromising in its aesthetic and yet dynamic in tone and sweep.
A new DJ Stingray mix always gets me all hot and bothered, so when one day a few weeks ago I saw that the balaclava-clad urban techno soldier otherwise known as Sherard Ingram had contributed the latest installment in XLR8R's New Forms mix series, it goes without saying that the rest of my day was spent to the tune of punishingly high-tempo Roland drum machines and churning dystopian synth syncopations. (Caffeine is recommended with use.) Stingray keeps to a tradition of delivering digital heat, and creates yet again a mix that deserves careful and repeated listening.
At Dope Jams in Brooklyn, the latest Sistrum release bore the following caveat: "Further proof that Patrice Scott's sound has changed a total of zero in the past five years." Perhaps to those less partial to the sound this is a point of critique, but Patrice Scott's excellent mix for Resident Advisor back in February indicates that the sonic niche he has carved out for himself is still deep and expansive, and not at all spent of vigor. From a technical perspective, the mixing here is impeccable, with seamless transitions from moment to moment. This turns out to complement Scott's true talent as a selector, that is, his ability to craft compelling narrative, making his mixes more than just a collection of tracks.
By now it is no mystery that NYC-based imprint Long Island Electrical Systems (L.I.E.S. for short) stands as one of the premier outlets of challenging, experimental electronic music with considerable dancefloor purchase to boot. Ron Morelli, the man behind label operations, has a no-frills approach to curation and DJing that shines through on his Talking Shopcast podcast for Little White Earbuds. The interview also come as recommended reading: it marks an exemplary exercise in how not to bullshit an interview. More significantly, the mix itself shows how ethos finds understated expression with some EQs, a crossfader and the right slabs of wax.
God help us!