Here at Truants Towers we are absolute fiends for NTS Live. The depth of our devotion to this broadcasting powerhouse is such that were it not for the good it does our souls and bodies, we would be forced to seek help for our addiction. Truants readers are probably well aware, but for those yet to welcome the love into their lives, NTS is the internet radio station to conquer all internet radio stations. Based in Dalston’s Gillett Square but with a community of DJs, hosts, and listeners which extends far beyond north-east London, NTS was founded in April 2011 by Femi Adeyemi and Clair Urbahn and is regularly proving just how spectacularly inclusive and eclectic radio can be. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that in radio’s recent resurgence, no-one is really doing it like NTS. They’re broadcasting real community spirit, which is easier said than done.
Since its launch the station has gone from strength to strength: they recently hosted a Gilles Peterson B2B Four Tet Worldwide special, they’ve had guest mixes from names as diverse as Roman Flügel, Leon Vynehall and Helena Hauff, they’re hosting a boat party at Dimensions, have a live event broadcast called Band Practice, they’ve got label shows, record store shows…the list really does go on because they’re unstoppable. But NTS is about more than big names or even new names. It’s a station that you can turn on with complete confidence that you’re going to hear something that wakes you up or shakes you up, and that kind of satisfaction guarantee simply can’t be beaten. Walking into a record shop, or going to a club night – these things have their own particular power. But radio, done properly, casts a different spell: it moves away from a sphere of demands and expectations to create a place where the exchange of musical knowledge is less about give and take, and more about sharing the love.
The DJs are 100% fuelled by a passion for whatever it is they’re playing or discussing, and the noticeable absence of advertising facilitates the unrestricted growth of that passion. One hundred and thirty one shows and counting, and each one of them presented directly to you by a real live human being. It would be difficult to catalogue the range of genres played on the station, and sadly we don’t have the space to document the brilliantly diverse chat shows. But to reiterate, you can turn on NTS at any hour and be given a little bit of an education, whether you’re listening to a specialist show or not. However, with sonic altruism in mind and fervent adoration in our hearts, we thought we’d give you a tiny taste of some of NTS’s champion sounds and the selectors bringing them to you for another Five Mixes special. Keep it locked.
Stream: The Hot Selection – 21st July 2013
The Hot Selection is the sound of Sunday evenings how they should be done. Presented by David Sacks and Francis Redman, the show for the most part leans towards the soft and sultry side of hip hop, jazz, soul and electronica. Its main concern, however, is taking the listener on that often promised, but rarely delivered “musical journey”, so you really can expect variety. This edition of the show meanders from early seventies jazz fusion and psychedelic afrobeat, into leftfield house remixes, back into jazz again before rounding it off with some space disco. THS is always a redemptive way to start the week, providing musical rejuvenation for body and soul, but rest assured its delights can be sampled beyond Sunday night.
Stream: You’ll Soon Know ft. ARP▲101 – 22nd May 2012
This little vibe was brought to you by You’ll Soon Know, the bi-weekly radio show found on NTS from midnight to 2am on a Monday night. Hosted by Tim Parker, the show itself can at times slip under the radar due to its late night slot on a monday night, but you’d do well to fight the ‘let’s get Monday over’ urge as you’ll be greeted by mixes like this. With an eclectic range of special guests, and boasting mixes from people like Om Unit & Laurent Fintoni, this particular show broadcasted just over a year ago showcases the talents of ARP▲101. Opening with Stray‘s ‘Matchsticks‘, which we hear is rumoured to finally be released on Exit Records later this year, and finishing with Jai Paul’s ‘Jasmine’, what’s sandwiched in the middle is well worth setting aside half an hour.
Stream: Future Times – 10th April 2013
While not physically in the studio like most of the NTS roster, the Future Times crew beam their transmission directly from Washington DC every month. If the tunes these guys release weren’t enough of a hint, their crates run deep. In just the first minutes of this bad boy (recorded in April) Mondo & Max D cruise through romantic boogie, international pop, heady techno, diva house, and more. Not to mention the arsenal of unreleased and limited records at their disposal. Every edition of the show is ace, but we chose this one because of a few standout jams that we’re still trying to ID. Seriously, we can’t believe how dope the Japanese track at 8:30 is! These guys are serious diggers! In short, if you want two hours of guaranteed vibes, this is the show for you.
Stream: Dazed Summer Season ft. Kelela & Friends – 30th July 2013
Even though she’s generated much internet buzz Kelela‘s debut mixtape still hasn’t dropped after many delays. Fortunately, she recently gave a fantastic one-off NTS special to whet our appetites until its release, which should hopefully be sometime this month. The show begins with an hour-long mix of her own tracks alongside tracks which inspired her dark/minimal R&B sound. Following that is a live rendition of her forthcoming tracks with Bok Bok on the decks. A superb introduction to a very exciting upcoming artist.
Stream: Blackest Ever Black – 24th April 2013
It’s not all fun and games at NTS. Much to our delight London based purveyors of bleak, Blackest Ever Black, joined the NTS family at the start of the year for a regular slot. You don’t name a record label Blackest Ever Black unless you’re down to throw some seriously dark audio recordings out into the universe, and despite having only been around for three years the B.E.B cohort have released beautifully gloomy cuts from Tropic of Cancer, Raime, Cut Hands, Prurient and many others in a variety of formats. However, B.E.B does venture out of the haunted fields of doom techno occasionally, as this mix attests. Presented by Luke Younger, it contains as much myriad ghostliness and reverb-drowned bleakness as you’d expect from B.E.B, but doesn’t stare at its feet for all 120 minutes. Wander far enough into the cavernous depths of this mix and you’ll find frankly groovy synths as well as some mystic dub. No chat, just that Black magic – if you’re not under its spell by the end we’ll give you your money back.
Words by: Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura, Jess Melia, Warren O’Neill, and Stephanie Neptune.