So for the most part, it’s officially summer, and what better way to kick off summer then to kick back with your favourite summer mix? If like us here at the Truants mansion you’re plagued with indecision when it comes to picking out the best for the perfect summer vibe, don’t worry, we’ve done the hard part and rummaged around to put together a bunch of them for you. We’re starting with a man that needs no introducing, which is useful because to write about his achievements in music would take more than we’re able to give in this article; it’s the main man himself, ‘The Godfather of House Music’, Frankie Knuckles. Regardless of the first song on the mix telling you to stay at home because it’s a rainy day, the immediate feel is upbeat, and with appearances from the likes of Shapeshifters, Electric Empire, Sean McCabe, Funiture Crew, and The Layabouts, the mix can boast a range of genres from House, Disco, Funk, and Soul, which is all you need really isn’t it? Hold up real quick though ‘cos we got more.
Despite our best efforts it’s a challenge to glean much information on Mysteries Of The Deep. The mix series shifts in tone from entry to entry but never strays from it’s motto “A podcast exploring sounds far below the surface.” A string of up and comers and veterans alike have contributed in the year since it began, ranging from Bunker resident Eric Cloutier to synth explorer Panabrite. Every edition of the series merits a listen, but for this mix bonanza we’ve chosen the third volume mixed by ISO. It’s an even spread of field recordings, forest drone, balearic chillout, and placid ambient. Perfect comedown vibes.
Summer isn’t all about cocktails and beach parties. Those dark, sultry nights can bring with them a painful restlessness, a foreboding sense that the world is melting. For those nights, we need more than slow jams or anthems. Picture a dark night around a campfire, the bugs in the forest lending a sense of unease. The perfect soundtrack? “The best thing about being dead is you no longer have to say ‘I wish I were dead’. The best thing about being alive is that you can still say ‘I wish I were dead’.” So opens Grouper‘s mix for Fact magazine from April of this year, 35 minutes of eery, unsettling songs that in isolation stand as interesting works or vignettes, but together present a work that turns the screw on the listener’s fears. Fans of The Wicker Man will love this. Haunting vocals, pastoral songs about poached animals, classical interpretations of Shakespeare and a painful sonnet set to music, it’s a morose combination that evokes the image of true death. Nothing lasts forever. We all need reminding of that sometimes, even in summer.
We love James Blake every day of the year, but we especially don’t mind listening to his mixes during the most sweltering nights of the warmest season. James Blake’s mix for Electronic Explorations was his first ever mix and subsequently the one of his we have listened to most often over the last few years, and we still listen to it regularly. It’s short but oh-so-very-sweet and perfect to listen to during any occasion, especially during the more nostalgic moods one might have. His initial showcase for EE was released over four years ago, in early 2009, and consists of some of his own tracks released on Hemlock and Atlas that we consider to be classics by now, as we do with the rest of the selection: from a Mala DMZ gem (2007) to a track taken from Pinch’s “Underwater Dancehall” LP, and Mount Kimbie. It came with a little note by Blake stating that “more recently [he’d] been including [his] own vocals in [his] music, which has really opened up a lot of possibilities, so expect new and interesting things in the future.” Little did we know what exactly to expect, but the once shy and awkward Londoner certainly lived up to his promise.
Stream: James Blake – 072 Electronic Explorations (2009)
After the boring self-parody that became of minimal at the end of the 00s the last few years have seen the resurgence of a more raw house sound. Many of those responsible, especially Mathematics label boss Jamal Moss, have cited 80s Muzic Box club resident Ron Hardy as a key reference point for this sound. Some would say that this resurgence is more of a return to the true sound of house rather than anything new and listening to this mix one would have to agree. The mix of industrial/new-wave tracks, acid and high-tempo/pitched-up disco bears a striking resemblance to many in-vogue djs such as Hieroglyphic Being, the recently lauded Helena Hauff and Kyle Hall‘s current rawified sound. The mix starts off with a 20 minute I Can’t Turn Around medley which jumps from 4 different versions of the House classic including the Isaac Hayes original. Following this, we are presented with a loose and highly energetic mix of “Muzic Box classics” such as Donnie, I’ve Lost Control and Shame. All in all, a perfect mix for anyone interested in the origins of House music or the rougher side of the Dance music spectrum.
Stream: Ron Hardy – Home Studio Mix – 1985-86
Words by: Jess Melia, Aidan Hanratty, Soraya Brouwer, Stephanie Neptune & Warren O’Neill.