It is with great pleasure that we present to you our 100th podcast. Over the course of the series we like to think we have mixed up big names with the stars of tomorrow; have shined a light on lesser known DJs who deserve the limelight and given pride of place to people with their own distinctive sounds. One such artist is Helena Hauff, the DJ turned producer who cut her teeth at the legendary Golden Pudel in Hamburg. Though she is a DJ first and foremost, her recorded material on labels like Werk Discs and Handmade Birds has never been less than arresting thanks to its dystopian blend of electro and techno moods and grooves.
This mix she has done for us is just the same: it is ninety minutes of elastic electro, popping techno and slithering electronics that are shiny and metallic, crisp and futuristic. It will push and pull you in many different directions but is all tied together by an infectious sense of slick robo-funk. Right up there with electro greats like Drexcyia and I-F, Helena Hauff is a suitably singular artist to helm this landmark podcast.
From cult local beginnings on the Berlin circuit, Rødhåd is now very much part of the global DJ highway. What initially turned heads was his ability to hold down long and hypnotic sets of loopy, moody house and techno all masterfully mixed in immersive ways. His productions, too, mixed sparse ambient designs with rolling techno grooves on labels like Dystopian and Token, and just this month he put out his debut album, Anxious. It’s a filmic meditation on beautifully bleak and eerie sounds and is another reason we love the man after he turned in a memorable closing set on our UFO stage at this year’s Dekmantel Festival.
Over a ninety minute live mix recorded recently, he gets more energised with plenty of hurried techno and urgent synth lines all tightly weaving round each other. It’s a high pressure and enchantingly linear set that touches on Millsian space vibes, industrialism and unhinged apocalypse music in one smoothly mixed and sequenced session that will leave you out of breath.
Just a few years ago, Daniel Avery emerged from a famous Scrutton Street studio where the likes of Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J FairPlay were regulars. Since then, he has gone his own way, releasing a machine made, proudly analogue brand of indie-electro-techno-dance music that has come mostly on Errol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound label. Mixing dark beats with dense and smoky synth atmospheres as both a DJ and producer, he knows how to cook up a metallic and menacing groove with aplomb. After impressing with his debut album, Drone Logic, in 2013, we're proud to invite him to this year's Lente Kabinet, Dekmantel Festival (together with Roman Flügel), and our mix series.
The fabric resident kicks off his mix with some heady drones and deep, spacious grooves that are eerie and unsettling. The next 90 odd minutes sees him blend sublime acid, slithering synths and increasingly minimal techno into a seductive set that is expertly paced and seamlessly mixed. Perfect for the dead of night in some intimate back room, it shows a heady and atmospheric side to Avery that is truly compelling.
Working from his hallowed Stockholm bunker with Studio Barnhus label mates Petter Nordqvist and Kornel Kovacs, Swedish art graduate Axel Boman makes music with a rare sense of charm, wit, and humour. In both EP and LP format, he focusses on playful and curious atmospheres, kinked grooves and left of centre sampling. When not making earwormy dance music, in the past he has been found synthesising sound with nuclear physicists as The Radioactive Orchestra and also works on more clubby fair with John Talabot as Talaboman. His sets, too, are just as joyous and off beat, and are as effective for trippy after hour sessions as they are for peak time parties.
The one hour selection the singular selector cooks up here is something of a curveball, full of unexpected twists and turns that showcase a breadth and depth of his influences whilst sounding perfect for Spring time. It's an effortlessly jaunt through freewheeling melodies, excitable disco groovers and breezy, swinging house all peppered with classics, singalong vocals and feel good gems. Well balanced so as to not be all too sugary, the far ranging mix is another wondrous window into the colourful world of one of house music’s most likeable and easy going characters.
Happy New Year one and all! We hope you’ll agree there could be no better way to start it off than with a second mix from the one and only Ben UFO. Think of this as side-b to last week’s side-a as, says Ben, “I went about this in the same way I would go about making a tape: two distinct but related ideas that I think work better on their own than if I'd tried to jam them together somehow.” It is another standout selection that showcases the Hessle Audio co-founder’s dual skills as both a tireless digger but also a technically skilled and accomplished DJ.
Where side-a was an often heady affair with plenty of open space for you to get lost in, side-b plots a more high pressure and intense trajectory. It’s the peak of the trip that really gets you on your toes as it hurries through slamming grooves and a whole history of electronic music. The kick drums come on thick and fast throughout. Some feel blissed-out and dreamy, others feel dark and menacing. There are nods to the funky dread of hardcore, slither of electro and swing of UK garage along the way, and every new drop helps colour the mix and ensure it is anything but a linear and predictable affair. Once again mixing crate-digging smarts with a rare dance floor dynamism, these two Dekmantel mixes are the sound of Ben UFO at his best.
As you would expect of someone called Lovefingers, American DJ and producer Andrew Hogge has a very special touch when it comes to making, playing and releasing emotionally involving, blissed out music. Hailing from LA, he runs the magical ESP Institute label and is also half of The Stallions as well as being a self-proclaimed hippie. That always comes through in the organic, loved up music he works with, and visual aesthetics always seem just as important to him as musical ones.
The romantic and intoxicating mix he serves up is dedicated to Red Light Records owner Tako Reyenga and Mule Musiq affiliate Kuniyuki Takahashi. It is a loose-limbed, love-fuelled and fully horizontal delight made up of underlapping grooves, oriental motifs and gluey pads. The second half touches on more physical drums but also offers up yet more heavenly ambiance, bird song and jumbled percussion that will have you reaching for your shades and dreaming of summer.
Here at Dekmantel we are a big fan of Berlin based Brit Objekt. Evidence: you will see him play our festival in Amsterdam as well as Lente Kabinet, and then Dekmantel Selectors in Croatia. And right now, the man known for his unrivalled technical nous is in a fine run of form. His recent, self-released EP is another testament to his ability to skew house, techno and breaks into his own imaginative forms. Following on from releases on Hessle Audio, Bleep and an album on PAN, it is another boon in his fine discography.
And he is just as impressive across a 90 plus minute selection for us: it finds him serving up a cavernous world of intricate and hi fidelity sounds that are abstract and unusual. Moving through sparse minimal soundscapes into pummelling but atmospheric drum tracks and on to jungle, dub and experimental worldly rhythms, it is a wildly compelling and singular selection filled with unusual sounds that often leaving you wondering WTF?!
Midland is a quiet and reserved character but one that always makes a big impact. Despite only being active for a few years, he is already someone who resides in the upper echelons of the global house and techno scene. This is evidenced by the fact that as a DJ he plays only the most revered places, and when he does so he manages to reach far and wide, calling upon many different electronic sounds without ever falling prey to modern trends. It is the same when producing on labels like Aus and his own Graded, where his records are functional but fun affairs with corrugated drums, rugged bass and physical grooves that never fail to arrest a dance floor’s attention. This mix he has served up for us is another fine example of that.
Starting off in an abstract world of atmospheric sound and smeared chords, it’s not long before Midland establishes a groove that then grows in stature for the next hour. Atop the always physical drums are all manner of cosmic melodies, soul fuelled pads and spryly percussive patterns. Touching on house that ranges from dark and mysterious to more sun kissed and playful, this journey feels much long than it is because of how much Midland manages to so masterfully pack in.
Gerd Janson is the influential label boss, journalist, DJ and producer behind the Running Back imprint an doesn't need any introduction nowadays. With a fine ear for unearthing new artists and developing them on his label, Gerd has a very busy schedule and puts out a dizzying amount of music from ambient to disco, house to techno. As a DJ, he has no identifiable style but is a master of many and is someone who can play to just about any crowd and make them move. As if that wasn't enough, as one half of Tuff City Kids he kicks out the club-ready jams that keep kids dancing.
Back on New Year’s Eve 2015, he played back-to-back with Irishman Krystal Klear, who is at the heart of the modern house scene in his hometown Manchester. His fresh take on a classic sound has seen him win plenty of favour with the youth of the day, as well as getting him signed to Kerri Chandler’s MadTech label. Only active for six years, he has already become a regular on the global circuit and now heads up his own Cold Tonic label as well as hosting an influential show on Rinse FM. With a great sense of humour that always permeates his music, former Hoya: Hoya resident Krystal Klear has a passion for a wide range of sounds.
Our latest mix is taken from the five hour b2b the pair played that NYE. As such it really found them stretching their legs and playing across the board. From slow disco to playful r&b grooves, 80s synths to classic house, it is a truly playful set that is chock full of jams, all carefully mixed into one explosive and loved-up whole.
UK artist Lone emerged on a wave of rave nostalgia and computer game sound effects back in 2009. His earliest albums and EPs were like juicy peaches with reflective and refracted stabs making for succulent party sound tracks. Since then he has emerged with a new direction on each new album, his latest being full of jungle and hardcore tropes that cannot fail to make you move. As well as releasing on Werk Discs, he has made R&S his home and has become a real jewel in the underground’s crown.
As such it is a real treat to have a specially recorded mix from him, and one that gives us a hint at where he is at musically right now. Featuring four brand new Lone cuts as well as unreleased material from Ross From Friends and Gnork, his selections are decidedly deep and seductive with bumpy house and deconstructed grooves the order of the day.
After a couple of lesser spotted DJ stars, we now look to someone who has blown up in a very short space of time. Based in the Windy City, The Black Madonna has not only released some highly sought after, steamy disco-house 12”s on Argot, Stripped & Chewed and The Nite Owl Diner, but so too has she started making her mark as chief booker at Chicago’s famous Smart bar. As well as this, she has found time to lay down sets all across Europe and North America and this latest podcast proves why the opinionated feminist is so in demand. It is a kinetic and athletic mix that goes from deep and heady to jump up and jacking, from diva vocals to dazzling disco and one that both starts and ends with a fat bottomed reggae swagger.
She says of the mix: ”I had so much fun doing this. I got snowed in at the house where all the guys from Stripped & Chewed live. We're lucky the electricity stayed on. There was a terrible blizzard here! So I just stayed there and recorded. It's the first time I DJed since my hearing came back too. I had a little audience trapped with me, so was a great time.”
Being a long time resident DJ somewhere teaches you the sort of skills that stand you out from the pack. Cologne’s Lena Willikens is one such special selector who has very much made Salon Des Amateurs in Dusseldorf her own. As well as serving up singular sets there, she is also a key part of the Comeme Records crew with the likes of Barnt. For them she hosts a regular radio show, and for them she has released her brooding, industrially bleak techno sounds.
Lena’s influences come from well outside the normal cannon - proto techno, industrial boogie, synthesised disco, outlier house and robot jack all characterise her work, and the set she has served up here. It is one hour of unusual grooves, unsettling atmospheres and metallic textures that are abstract and dehumanised and take you to a raw and visceral place that is hugely intoxicating. Easily one of the best mixes this year so far in our humble opinion!
Marina "Dr" Rubinstein comes at her DJing from the perspective of the dancer. She grew up loving to get down to techno back home in Israeli (though she is Russian born and Berlin based) and will always be a hardcore raver at heart. It means her sets are defined by a certain energetic dynamism that finds her calling on acid, 90s rave and pumping techno to get the floor sweating. She does so at key places like ://about blank and Berghain, and this summer will play Dekmantel Festival.
Her adventurous spirit and quest for that “special feeling” on the dance floor characterises her mix for us. It is seventy minutes of grooves designed to make you move, from rugged techno to slippery electro via pulsing kick drums that burrow deep into the night. Contrasting dark with light, wild acid with more streamlined sounds and overtly physical tracks with those that are more cerebral, it makes for an arresting trip filled with special dance floor moments.