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Essential Mix Review: Alix Perez weaves an aural tapestry of liquid, electronica, bass, and more

Alix Perez hit the Radio 1 decks last week with his debut Essential Mix, a careful alliance of tracks representing the core of his preferred sound. Perez is first and foremost a drum-and-bass producer, but in his 120 minutes with Radio 1, it’d be easy to not really know that. He’s experimental and “nu skool,” often associated with the more “liquid” side of drum and bass. With fewer samples and more layers, liquid is often defined as a calmer, more appropriate cousin to the breakneck 160-180 bpm pace of a traditional, rave-friendly drum-and-bass.

Perez also produces as Arp 101 for a more hip hop or electronica-leaning sound and this influence is hard to ignore. A lot of his original productions on this mix are off his second artist album Chroma Chords, conveniently set to be released on May 20th.

For a producer making music that is not in the limelight as much as the buzzier genres of the hour, he certainly steps through this mix with confidence and resilience. I felt like I was listening into his personal record collection — jumping back and forth between Flying Lotus, Jai Paul, J Dilla, Shogun Audio colleague Icicle, Tyler the Creator, Fracture, Calibre, and Flosstradamus. The track selection is by no means lacking and for newcomers or more casual listeners of his more cloistered corner of dance music, the mix can usher in a welcome new variety of sonic manufacturing if you let it linger. Remember, there’s always a reason an artist appears on the Essential Mix.

TRACKLISTING

Alix Perez – Crystals [Shogun Audio]
OM UNIT & Sam Binga – Squares [Exit]
Two Fingers – Fools Rhythm [Ninja Tunes]
EPROM – Rwina [Rwina]
Lost Twin – Hecha La Trampa (Deft’s Loophole Remix)
Flying Lotus – Tea Leaf Dancers (feat. Andreya Triana) [Warp]
Stray – Matchsticks [White]
Jai Paul – Track 10 [XL]
J Dilla – Body Movin’ (feat. J Rocc & Karriem Riggins) [BBE]
Metronomy – Flying to Mars – Maida Vale Session (Bed) [Because Music]
Darkhouse Family – Brock Wild [Earnest Endeavours]
Alix Perez – Broken Heart (feat. Two Inch Punch) [Shogun Audio]
N-Phonix – Reach Out (Om Unit Remix) [Shifting Peaks]
Instra:mental – Watching You (feat. dBridge) [Nonplus]
dBridge, Skream & Instra:mental – Acacia Avenue [Autonomic]
Stray – L.A. Zoom [Exit]
Sam Binga – Ayo (feat. Redskin) [White]
ARP 101 x Elliot Yorke – Fluro Black [Donky Pitch]
Icicle – Trapstep [White]
Alix Perez – Move Aside (feat. Foreign Beggars) [Shogun Audio]
Digital & Spirit – Phantom Force (Fracture’s Astrophonica Edit) [White]
Sam Binga – 8Barr [White]
Alix Perez – Warlord (feat. Riko Dan) [Shogun Audio]
Skeptical – Delusions [White]
Dub Phizix & Skeptical – Marka (feat. Strategy) [Exit]
Tyler, the Creator – Yonkers [XL]
Flosstradamus – Roll Up (Baauer Remix) [Mad Decent]
TNGHT – Higher Ground [Warp]
Alix Perez & Stray – RIP N DIP [Dub]
Dub Phizix – Creator (feat. Skittles) [Exit]
Stray – Dropping Bombs [White]
Fracture – Bad Habit (Om Unit VIP) [Astrophonica]
Rockwell – Back Again [Shogun Audio]
Icicle – Minimal Funk [Shogun Audio]
Loxy & Isotone – Ancients (Skeptical Remix) [Cyclon]
Alix Perez – Shadows (feat. Strange U) [Shogun Audio]
Icicle – Dumbstep [Dub]
Alix Perez – Dark Days (2013 Edit) (feat. Foreign Beggars) [Shogun Audio]
Dom & Roland – Odd Job (Ulterior Motive Remix) [Dom & Roland Productions]
Alix Perez – Blueprint (feat. Metropolis) [Shogun Audio]
Noisia – Hand Gestures (feat. Joe Seven) [Vision]
Foreign Concept – Tag Team (feat. T Man) [Critical]
Stray – Ginseng Smash [Critical]
Commix – Justified (Spectrasoul Remix) [Metalheadz]
Adam F – Metropolis [Metalheadz]
Ed Rush & Optical – Watermelon [Virus]
Dillinja – Silver Blade [Prototype]
Calibre – Start Again (feat. Chimpo) [Signature]
Calibre – Wilderness (feat. Steo) [Signature]
SpectraSoul – Guardian [Metalheadz]
Alix Perez – Playing Games (feat. D.ablo) [Shogun Audio]
Planas – Breathtaking (dBridge Soulsteppers Remix) (feat. Ed Thomas) [Exceptional Records]
Calibre – Second Sun [Signature]
Alix Perez – Contradictions [Shogun Audio]
Alix Perez & Sabre – Solitary Native [Shogun Ltd]
Icicle – Klickstep [Dub]
Noisia – Facade [Ram Records]
Rob F & Impulse – Ultraviolet [Cryptic Audio]
Alix Perez – I’m Free [Shogun Audio]
Rockwell – Full Circle [Shogun Audio]
Skeptical & Chimpo – Bad Acid [White]
Louis Blaise – Love and Gwalla (Phillip D Kick Remix) [White]
Stray – Akina [Critical]
Jubei – Say Nothin’ (Rockwell Remix) (feat. Flowdan) [Razors Edge]
Alix Perez – Villains 1 Heroes 0 (feat. They Call Me Raptor) [Shogun Audio]
Alix Perez – Annie’s Song (feat. Sam Wills) [Shogun Audio]
The Bug – Skeng (feat. Flowdan & Killa P) [Hyperdub]
I AM LEGION – Warp Speed Thuggin’ [Division]
Aphex Twin – Window Licker [Warp]
Fela Kuti – Water Get No Enemy [Editions Makossa]

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