Skrillex‘s eclectic Essential Mix spurred all manner of reactions from various dance music factions, and his included bootleg of a track by UK techno producer Blawan has continued to generate conversation days after Mr. Moore left the BBC studios. As his underrated Burial-inspired Leaving EP indicated, Skrillex is exploring new sonic territory. Just as his time spent with deadmau5 contributed the plucky chords on “All I Ask of You,” Skrillex is clearly channeling a bit of current Dog Blood collaborator Boys Noize on this bootleg. From the robotic gulping bass to the stuttering electro sample stabs, this rework has Mr. Ridha’s influence written all over it. And you know what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Creative cross-pollination is one of the prime driving forces in today’s dance music, and as an extremely talented producer with six Grammys to his name, Skrillex has more than earned the right to spread his artistic wings and explore.Posted by
Essential Mix Review: Skrillex defies classification; blurs genres and transforms the Radio 1 airwaves
Skrillex is dubstep’s poster boy, a spirited musician, and industry tastemaker. His dedication to the craft is second-to-none, re-inventing and re-imagining what electronic music can be at every opportunity, leading the push for creativity in dance music with his label OWSLA and stable of talented producers under his wing. His solo career is a highlight reel of accomplishments most producer’s could only hope to achieve, all while staying true to the sound he helped create.
The Juan MacLean is a punk rock guitarist turned life-long DFA Records devotee. In the introduction to his Essential Mix from last week, he explains how he linked up with friend, DFA label head and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy — he was still in live music, in a band named 6 Finger Satellite and Murphy was their sound engineer. MacLean quit his band and through a bit of lucky happenstance, began making dance music. Along with the encouragement of his friend Murphy, he was responsible for the label’s 2nd release, a 12″ named By The Time I Get To Venus back in 2002. The Juan MacLean has been with DFA Records ever since its inception, and its the high standards and meticulous release schedule that’s kept him there for so long.
Eclectic North Americans Norin & Rad are back on the trail with Anjunabeats to follow-up “Aldo” with another cut from outside of the industry comfort zone. As featured on Mat Zo’s Essential Mix back in February, “Bird Is The Word” fuses euphoric progressions and astounding electro house elements to forge their most audacious yet wholeheartedly tailored installment for the label. At a time of endless musings over genre-boundaries and the global peak time overhaul, this Californian duo simply delivers an eclectic club asset indicative of the initiative that has sent them into overdrive for 2013.
It took three years in the making, but this week, Afrojack‘s “Take Over Control” received platinum status after surpassing over one million sales. This landmark feat calls for a look back to 2010, when his most popular single to date was only beginning to skyrocket, and tracks like “Pon De Floor” and “Bangduck” were still shaping his career. Nearly three years to date, Afrojack last took to BBC Radio 1 to deliver Pete Tong an Essential Mix that, in retrospect, paved the way for the self-titled phenomenon of “Afrojack Music.”
With the average festival set hovering around the 60-minute mark and even headliners putting in only 90 minutes on tour stops, things like a three hour Essential Mix may seem extravagant, even unnecessary. Yet last week Armin van Buuren took to Radio 1′s hallowed decks for a special 180-minute episode, packing every second with the mystifying formula of finesse and skill that result in the world’s best sets from the world’s best DJ.
While the set itself – an aural journey accelerating from a techy 125 to a pounding progressive 138 BPM with movie lines, trance fam favorites and the beloved “ESSSEEENNNTTIIALLL” marking the dwindling time – served as a reminder of why Armin has been crowned number one DJ in the world a record-breaking five times. It also served as a reminder that despite the emergence of harder-hitting genres, trance is most certainly not dead. Click below the break to read and hear why. (more…)Posted by
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.
This past Friday, Maya Jane Coles returned to the Radio 1 decks for her second appearance on the legendary show. MJC is one of my very favorite producer/DJs, so I was thrilled to learn I’d be able to digest another mix of hers less than two years after her debut in July of 2011. Her production style has that certain je ne sais quoi – quirky instrumentation, major grooves, and an undeniable sex appeal. In live sets, her DJing has always struck this perfect balance of emotional and danceable, introducing me to new material while playing the deep stuff she knows her fans want to hear. On top of her jaw-dropping number of accomplishments at the tender age of 25, she also emanates this air of effortless cool, DJing her way around the world with her stylishly cropped coiffure and docile demeanor.
There is no doubt Will Saul knows good music. He’s a producer, DJ, label owner, A&R whiz, and has worked with a staggering number of impressive artists in his almost two decades in dance music. Will got his start as nothing more than a passionate record collector (like most of us), and in the years that followed grew from a job at Sony, to his own label Simple Records, and more recently Aus Music.
Ten years ago, Greg and Voitek of Catz ‘N Dogz began playing together in their Polish hometown. Fast forward to 2013, through club nights, residencies, and radio shows, and the pair have landed themselves their first Essential Mix on the Radio 1. Both in this mix and more generally, their musical taste is difficult to categorize -it’s house, disco, tech, tech house, and bass. Like many of the other Essential Mixes that Dancing Astronaut highlighted so far in 2013, Catz ‘N Dogz use their 120 minutes on air to share their favorites in dance music, whether or not it fits into any particular categorical field or subgenre.
If there is, however, a bit of a theme associated with each artist’s mix, Catz ‘N Dogz’s is that of a overview of their time DJing and producing together. They ripped 12 inches of yesteryear, edited down tracks, and collected exclusives from friends at their own Pets Recordings, dirtybird, and Get Physical. You could dismiss this mix as simple, but that’d be too easy. More careful consideration reveals a deep and rich understanding of the history of house music and a discerning eye towards the future.