frank ocean – pink + white
erykah badu feat aubrey – what’s yo phone number / telephone (ghost of screw mix)
mark de clive-lowe – brukstep (atjazz astro remix)
outkast – spottieottiedopaliscious
cortex – prelude a go round
vaults – cry nomore (audiobot flip)
dj earl feat taso – smoke dat green
kaytranada feat karriem riggins – bus ride
childish gambino – redbone
johnny faith – neon
minus 8 – elysian fields
dBridge – too late (steve spacek remix)
maricopa feat nicola kramer – sens (lusty zanzibar remix)
bongo entp – lujón
sun palace – rude movements
boards of canada – olson (midland re-edit)
marilia medalha – agua escondida
kraak & smaak feat alxndr london – hands of time
minimal states – slow down the morning
james blake – meet you in the maze
Last mix of the year: a bunch of random stuff on the mellower side that’s been collecting in my head and my hard drives as of late. I leave for The Galápagos Islands in the morning and then straight to Cuba after that. I’ll be back early in the new year. Hopefully this will hold y’all over ’til then.
Outside Pt 1 – Yekaterinburg, Russia is the home of Evgeny Svalov – who, along with Anton Guzev, formed the Russian house duo 4mal. They’ve been putting out mostly progressive house tracks since 2005. This particular tune is pretty weird and moody, and I can’t quite figure out how you wake up in the morning planning on making stuff like this, but thankfully somebody’s doing it.
Pink + White – Four years later, Frank Ocean returns from oblivion and releases an album surprisingly worth the wait. I may not be his biggest fan, or even remotely his target audience, but I do really love this song. The poignantly tragic lyrics border on the surreal, while floating nicely up and down the melody. Pharrell and Tyler The Creator co-wrote it, and Beyonce sings back up for a hot second. Not a bad bunch of bad brains to sit around a piano with and see what bubbles up.
What’s Yo Phone Number / Telephone (Ghost of Screw Mix) – Remember that time in 2015 When Erykah Badu made a whole mixtape of songs about cellphones? yeah I almost forgot too, but this track kinda stuck with me. And with R&B concept albums being extremely rare in this millennium, I think we owe her another listen. I’m pretty sure ?uestlove programmed these drums, as they are rather subtly next level. Who did the chopping and screwing on the backend is anyone’s guess, but I can dig it.
Brukstep (Atjazz Astro Remix) – This also came out in 2015, on Mark De Clive-Lowe’s “Church Remixed” LP. Mark is a jazz pianist and DJ and all around musical magician. He was down with the London Broken Beat scene back in the early 2000s, right about the time we were all buying those records down at Halcyon in Brooklyn. Here he hands over the reins to the UK’s Atjazz, aka Martin Iveson, a man whose praises I have sung many times in my mixtape liner notes. My dude has a certain inexplicable touch with electronic music that few can duplicate.
Spottieottiedopaliscious – I keep coming back to this record more and more often. It’s firmly in my top 10 greatest Hip Hop records of all time. Andre’s storytelling prowess was in full swing, “talkin’’bout ‘now who else wanna fuck with Hollywood Court’ “ – a reference to the notorious grimey Atlanta housing project that was, to my eye, a dead ringer for the Baltimore low rises where Bodie n dem held court in the heyday of HBO’s The Wire. Except it was real life, not TV. Go on and marinate on that for a minute.
Prelude A Go Round – A short but sweet funky song from Cortex’s 1975 “Tropeau Bleu” LP. These guys were an obscure French funk group making library records for absolutely nobody. Only 35 years later did crate diggers unearth this gem and the samples started creeping forth onto tracks by Fat Joe, Jeezy, Rick Ross, and Curren$y to name but a few. As much as I like the music, I thank my lucky stars that I never went down the whole library sounds collecting rabbit hole. Abandon all hope ye who enter (t)here.
Cry Nomore (Audiobot Flip) – This track by the UK electronica duo Vaults originally hit the web in 2013, but it didn’t get officially released and remixed until the last year or so. If you ask me, most of this entire genre of chill out beats is strictly throw-away, but while we’re in the moment, It serves a purpose bridging together a mixtape of downtempo moodiness such as this.
Smoke Dat Green – Chicago’s underbelly has birthed more than its share of underground American music, and Footwork merely carries on the tradition – blending elements of juke, ghetto tech, house, and UK drum n bass with that secret sauce only the windy city can provide. DJ Earl aka Earl Smith came up under the wing of DJ Rashad, the Mr Fingers of Footwork, you might say. Sadly, Rashad passed a couple years back, but Early keeps pushing forward – broadening his sound and reminding those that take a moment to listen that there is indeed more to be discovered in and outside the loop.
Bus Ride – Another Dilla-esque album cut from Kaytranada’s 2016 opus “99.9%”. If you like a little future bass in your boom bap, you will love this record.
Redbone – Thusfar I had written off Childish Gambino’s rap career as a snarky actor’s cerebral side project – one that I just never connected with. But that was then. His new album is something altogether different. It’s a straight up funk record. Yes you still hear some Outkast in there, but to my ears, most of it sounds like Donald’s been listening to nothing but Bootsy, Sly, Prince, & P-Funk for the last 3 years. The whole record didn’t resonate with me, but he’s really made a heroic effort to rise above the deluge of R&B mediocrity – and for that he gets my full support. This is my favorite track but “Have Some Love” is growing on me.
Neon – Edinburgh-born but now Melbourne-based, Johnny Faith puts out future beat tracks like this that ride the line between drum n bass, trap, and Hip Hop. Just the kind of stuff I put on mixes like this.
Elysian Fields – a jazzy dreamscape of a track that dubs out some classic repartee between Bogey & Bacall in The Big Sleep. Minus 8 is Jan Meyer, A Zurich DJ and producer known for his work in Nu Jazz and Downtempo through labels like Compost and Stereo Deluxe. This came out back in 2000 when there was a lot of this type of sound going around. I got hooked back then and I still dig it up and give it a whirl from time to time.
Too Late (Steve Spacek Remix) – Speaking of future bass and future beats and all this new R&B, where does something like this fit in? It kinda sounds like a neo-soul track that was recorded underwater then slowed down to half speed. But then the drums double up weirdly from time to time. Anyway, it kinda grows on you. dBridge is Darren White, a UK veteran of the Drum N Bass scene. His other recent work is equally perplexing in the best way. If you like cats like Martyn & Instra:mental, you might just dig it.
Sens (lusty zanzibar remix) – If I ever open a restaurant-meets-nightclub on the beach in Tulum, this is what I’ll play in that middle hour when the sun is going down and people are just finishing up dinner before they start partying for real. Maricopa is a Belfast DJ and producer Michael Dillon, know for his Belearic-soaked chill out tunes. UK vocalist Nicola Kramer drops some ethereal, dreamy vocals that complete the puzzle. Check out more Maricopa stuff on his SOUNDCLOUD
Lujón – More moody niceness, this time from Andalucian producer Jakob Andersen aka Bongo ENTP. It’s a cover of Henry Mancini and you can contrast and compare the original on THIS MIX RIGHT ‘CHEA
Rude Movements – About a month ago I was eating an incredible, barolo-soaked steak dinner at home with wifey when this song randomly came on via iPhone shuffle. This was right around the time that we lost our disco Godfather, David Mancuso. His lasting effect on the planet, and on me personally as a DJ, cannot be overstated. His tragic passing last month has had me thinking on all the songs I credit him with introducing to the earth. This Sun Palace gem from 1983 is merely one of them. Will Sumsuch at Wax Poetics wrote an entire article about this song that you should just read right NOW
Olson (Midland EDIT) – An edit of some throwback Boards of Canada, from their debut 1998 album Music Has The Right To Children. I’m not sure exactly when Leeds lad Midland (aka Harry Agius) put a beat on this, or how he even managed to do it so perfectly, considering its ambient origins, but he did. I think he released it as a bootleg around 2010. I finally found a mix where it seemed to fit right in.
Agua Escondida – I recently went down an internet rabbit hole of Brasilian Jazz and Samba, and of the pile of tracks I dug up, this is the one that I kept hearing in my head long after I had put down the headphones. Marilia Medalha reminds me a little of Cape Verde’s Cesária Évora, and it’s not just the Portuguese. It’s dreamy and emotional, yet decidedly haunting. This came out in 1973 on her 5th album, Caminhada, on the Brasilian Jazz label RGE.
Hands of Time – Just when you think you have nu-disco darlings Kraak & Smaak nailed down, they release something like this. Who knew? London vocalist Alxndr London lays down some sublime vocals to boot. If you want to hear some really real next level soul shit, check out his SOUNDCLOUD
Slow Down In The Morning – a long, kinda trippy, kinda techy tune that seems to borrow some DNA from Jerome Syndenham and the like. Great for driving at night.
Meet You In The Maze – The latest James Blake album didn’t grab me too much, but I’m glad he’s still doing it. And after seeing him live a few years ago, he can do anything he damn well pleases and I’d still throw the panties on stage. This acapella autotune weirdness is equal parts Bjork and Laurie Anderson, and those are indeed good muses to channel. Hopefully next album he brings back some of the dub factor that made me listen to him in the first place.
Okay, that’s a wrap. Have a great holiday my peoples, and as always, thanks for listening.