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Essential Mix Review: Tensnake delivers carefree house and disco to Radio 1 airwaves

On this past weekend’s Essential Mix, Hamburg-based Tensnake took over the decks for 120 minutes of what could quite simply be described as a whole lot of fun. Tensnake has been producing for over ten years, but has popped up in popular consciousness with the heavily rotated “Coma Cat” and more recent campy 90s revivalist track “Mainline” with Syron (of which you can watch a live performance at Cafe Mambo Ibiza here). If we’re looking at the sliding scale of genres between disco and house, Tensnake’s Essential Mix lies somewhere between Todd Terje, French Express, and Bicep — layering major elements from both canons of sound while still keeping a steady eye on more modern tropical melodies.

Tensnake keeps it interesting from the start — he opens with a short sample from Alice Coltrane (a jazz pianist and late wife of the great John Coltrane), pushes right into the first of two IDs from his forthcoming album, and then right into a particularly upbeat track from veteran ambient techno producer Move D. Continuing along with some great new material from fellow German producers, Kruse & Nuernberg and Poltergeist, Trujillo, and Ron Basejam from Crazy P, he lathers on driving deep house, nicely drawing one selection right through the following. Rhodes licks and funky synth lines in toe, the mix builds into its first peak with Du Tonc’s unforgettable first single “Darkness.”

Around the thirty minute mark, Tensnake moves along through the Latin-heavy “Los Tarantos,” and lands on my favorite selection in the mix — DJ Harvey’s remix of Galarude’s “Cero” (but not without first sampling a scene from Breaking Bad). Pushing for more deep flavors of four-on-the-floor rhythms, we get the preview of his unreleased edit of Jan Jelinek’s “Tendency,” “Your Lips” from Cadenza’s Martin Patiño and the absolutely killer Get Physical release from Anthony Middleton “Till The End Of…” from this past January.

The last hour of the mix is spent on tracks a bit more recognizable to devotees of this particular strain of dance music. He starts with Tom Demac’s chopped and screwed remix of James Welsh’s ever-popular “The Way” and moves through productions and remixes from Rampa, Deetron, Detroit Swindle, Hot Chip and Todd Terje (without neglecting FCL’s massive “It’s You”). The structure of the mix was a nice divide between discovery and recognition: allowing his audience to both reap the benefits of his crate-digging and eye for new talent, and also hear sprinkles of more prominent productions. He closes with his solid-sounding second unreleased original and Royksopp’s take on Felix Da Housecat’s “What Does It Feel Like.” The last track felt like an appropriate mix of styles for an Essential Mix that supported by on-point track selections, navigated the vast sea of syncopation and synthesization to deliver an excellent debut Essential Mix showing for the German producer. Take a listen below and check out the tracklist after the break.

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Tracklist:

01. Alice Coltrane – Krishna
02. Move D – Untitled B2
03. Kruse & Nuernberg & Poltergeist – Temperature Rise
04. Trujillo – Acapulco Gold (Ron Basejam Remix)
05. Bang Goes – I Can’t Hold It
06. Du Tonc – Darkness
07. Nickodemus – Los Tarantos
08. Galarude – Cero (DJ Harvey Remix)
09. EJECA – Dazed
10. Jan Jelinek – Tendency (Tensnake Edit)
11. Martin Patio – Your Lips
12. Anthony Middleton – Till The End Of Time
13. James Welsh – The Way (Tom Demac Remix)
14. Monika Kruse feat. Robert Owens – One Love (Rampa Remix)
15. Terranova – I Want To Go Out (David Mayer Remix)
16. FCL – It’s You (San Soda Panorama Bar Acca Version)
17. Gerd – Palm Leaves (Deetron Remix)
18. Medlar – Knockard Pearl (Detroit Swindle Remix)
19. Leslie Clio – Couldn’t Care Less (Iron Curtis Remix)
20. Hot Chip – How Do You Do (Todd Terje Remix)
21. Boe & Zak – Kiss My Cologne
22. Vicky Devine – The Beat Is Mine (Soul Clap Remix)
23. T-Coy – Carino
24. Tensnake – ID
25. Felix Da Housecat – What Does It Feel Like (Royksopp Return To The Sun Remix)

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