The criteria of what makes a good mix, DJ or otherwise, differ from person to person. Agreed? Now that's out of the way, here are three mixes that have stood out lately, and in no particular order. Apologies that like most things in life, there's neither fancy artwork nor tracklists available for these mixes.
Sevensol // neue Heimat // westwerk // 09.12.11
Best for: Weekend night in, room dancing.
Recorded last year somewhere in Germany, this mix presumably by Sevensol (Alex Neuschulz) of Kann Records (it is hard to tell with Google-resistant foreign names) starts off a bit rough on vinyl, but don't let it put you off…yet. With good and sincere intention, it soon slides smoothly into a glorious near 3-hour set of the deepest and downest house music rocking basements elsewhere from here.
One of the distinctions of a good house set is one that brings an unlikely favorite back to the forefront of attention, and one that also has you Shazam-ing like a freak. In this case, Moloko's Sing it Back, the Herbert Tasteful Dub of course, and a surprise killer, Tanita Tikaram's Twist in My Sobriety mixed in just after Jichael Mackson's The Grass is Always Greener. Omar-S's Psychotic Photosynthesis also makes an appearance as perhaps the penultimate high to this mix amidst the reliable backbone of quality tech-house tunes. Props to the ones who made this set, too bad there are less of these around than more.
Redshape Live in Tel Aviv, Israel 2012
Best for: All tomorrow's headphone parties.
Redshape has been slowly but surely punching out of the underground. One Sebastian Kramer from Germany first impressed with a change of direction, with this then-sole house/techno mix up on Soundcloud. But with that much talked-about 50-minute Boiler Room set, plus having a standout set at Trouw Amsterdam in ADE 2010, this masked crusader has made his mark as a Live performer rising the ranks.
This set is probably classic Redshape material, with a slow swelling buildup to a panoramic, cinematic landscape, exemplified with an extended dialogue excerpt taken from Martin Scorsese's seminal Goodfellas and an unidentified Japanese spoken word later. Under his experienced hand, this is fine, acid-laced techno aimed at the educated dancefloor through the peaks and troughs, with some playfulness and the presence of cult favourites like Literon's White Falls (corrected: Lil Louis' Why'd U Fall) sealing the total package.
STILL DIGGIN' Afrobeat & African music in the mix! selected by Antal // Rush Hour [mix]
Best for: Record lovers and a diggers reunion.
From back in 2007, Antal Heitlager of the famed Amsterdam-based Rush Hour record label, distributor and bricks-and-mortar store shows why he is the co-boss, with a well-marinated and thoughtful blend of choice African cuts old and new, including Segun Bucknor's Dye Dye and Shina Williams and His African Percussionist's Agboju Logun, that has too done its rounds in clubland. Get your afrobeat on with this slice of African madness at the table.
Be sure to check out Antal's soundcloud for other mixes spanning a world of music genres, including Turkish Psych and Folk, Brazil, Strings & things, Afro Latin, Spiritual Disco and Japanese Electronics. Save yourself the dusty digging and tuck into his mixes first. Makes you kinda want to be a record store owner yourself.