For today’s GMM we’re rewinding to Major Lazer‘s inception, when the production output was made up of Diplo and Switch. At the time, the pair had just released Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do and structured the mix with one hour from Diplo followed by another from Switch. Mixing in classic reggae sounds and future classic Major Lazer productions, the two producers gave listeners insight into the origins of the rasta-inspired beats Diplo has now championed for the last 3 years. With everything from slow, airy productions to harder hitting tropically-infused outputs, Diplo and Switch treated listeners to the emerging sounds of electronic reggae making for another effortless genre cross-over for the Mad Decent label.
This past week on the dance music marathon (which as many of you know includes shows from Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Skream & Benga, and Annie Nightingale), Radio 1 also decided to throw a bit of a curveball for the Essential Mix – Amirali and Felix da Housecat recorded dual live hour-long sets recorded in the BBC Radio 1 studio. Radio 1 has done live mixes before (in Ibiza, at a variety of venues across the world), but this was the very first time the mix was recorded 100% live right in the studios.
Who doesn’t love a little old school Deadmau5? At the dawn of Joel Zimmerman’s peak to A-list status, dating back to 2008, he mastered his first Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1. The mix contains nostalgic records such as his breakthrough single “Faxing Berlin,” Kaskade collaboration “I Remember,” a unanimous favorite “Alone with You,” along with other brilliant productions from Random Album Title and For Lack of Better Name. It was the same year he played Ultra Music Festival for the first time, was nominated for his first Grammy for “Longest Road,” and won Beatport’s #1 electro and progressive house artist awards. 2008 established Joel as one of the biggest players in the current dance music scene, one that he continues to dominate five years later.
Like most producers, his style has evolved over time. Some prefer the more trance-infused mau5 classics while others side with his recent harder spin on things. Have a listen for the more classical experience and follow along with the tracklist found below.
Mat Zo’s Essential Mix was full of tracks from various genres and styles, ranging from drum n’ bass to trance and progressive. Wedged between a five-year-old trance tune and the recently released “Wakanda” was “Karmma,” the latest offering from relatively unknown producer John Dish. The stuttering beats, heavy bass, and rolling drums caused us to do a double-take — err listen — and thanks to BBC’s handy dandy accompanying tracklist we were able to identify the song. The tune has received support from the likes of Fedde Le Grand, Hardwell, W&W, and more.
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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.
Greet your Tuesday morning with Tiësto‘s debut Essential Mix from 2001. This was Tiësto before selling out the Staples Center, before Vegas residencies, and before Club Life compilations. Tijs hit the decks in September of that year fresh off the success of his remix of Delerium’s “Silence” and was still considered a DJ to watch — rather than the most recognizable name in the game. His style was not as large; it was more celestial. Some prefer his club-ready style of the last few years, but some miss this iteration of the iconic Dutch DJ. Regardless of which corner you stand in, it’s always good to reflect on successes of years past – especially when they are so flawlessly crafted. Enjoy your time warp below and click through for a full tracklisting.
Following up an Essential Mix from the legendary Eric Prydz is no easy task, but if there’s anyone to do it, it’s 23-year-old Matan Zohar, better known as Mat Zo. Having made a name for himself in both the house and trance worlds with gorgeous productions such as “Easy” and “The Sky,” it’s easy to forget Zohar’s drum ‘n’ bass alter ego MRSA. With both aliases in mind, it was impossible to predict what Mat Zo had in store for his 70-track BBC Radio 1 debut.
An interesting thing happened in the electronic world on Friday night: A little British radio station called Radio 1 was hosting a little show called Essential Mix, and a little Swedish DJ was the guest. His two hour appearance resulted in the mix that launched a thousand tweets, and soon — on both sides of the pond — a #PrydaEssentialMix was trending, with tweets that seemed to literally gush adoration down thousands of news feeds. The love was for Eric Prydz’s Essential Mix, and I was among the guilty gushers.
Before I get into this, let me state that I wasn’t what you’d call a devout Eric Prydz fan. I tuned into the mix at the recommendation of a fellow Dancing Astronaut editor looking for nothing but new background music to make my Friday night dinner to. Fifteen minutes later I had abandoned my panini and was dancing alone in my kitchen.
When I think Nero Essential Mix, I think “instant classic.” This Essential Mix from back in 2010 was undoubtedly the catalyst to Nero’s rising star in the UK dubstep scene and beyond. This was Nero pre-Welcome Reality. The mix starts off bass-heavy with the now hugely legendary Flux Pavilion remix of “Cracks” and their own remix of Plan B‘s “The Recluse” and moves into French electro like Alan Braxe, Kavinsky, and Thomas Bangalter. Nero sprinkle in many of their own originals and showcase basically every huge name in dubstep and DnB: Skrillex, Chase and Status, Netsky, Doctor P, Feed Me, Sub Focus, and Magnetic Man just to start. Kick start your Monday morning with this one and lap up one of the best Essential Mixes from any genre in recent years.
Astronauts, it’s finally here. The Essential Mix that will launch you straight out of this universe into the heavens of the Prydasphere. We haven’t heard an Essential Mix from our #1 artist of 2012 since a live recording of his 2011 Creamfields set. On the first of February, 2013, however, Eric Prydz has returned to Pete Tong’s weekly airing with an extra special two-hour selection that set the dance music community into a frenzy (and even started a nationwide trend on Twitter).
With 14 unreleased Pryda records, exclusive material from understudy Jeremy Olander, and even darker Cirez D tracks, Prydz has made his case for Essential Mix of the year only one month into 2013. Since there are no words in the English language that can describe the magic which unfolds before us, we must describe it in Swedish – Pryda – to beautify. Enjoy.
Dylan Farella contributed to this report.