Mixtape Monday: James Blake x BBC, Mikael Seifu x Okayafrica, Ta-Ku, Carl Craig & More!
Happy solstice, happy holidays and happy Mixtape Monday, friends. Like little elves we've been hammering away, bringing the best mixtapes an internet connection can buy straight to your earbuds, no sleigh or chimney needed. This time of year brings with it travel, reflection, family gatherings and a resurgence of tradition, and the array of mixes that we've got on deck fit all those vibes and more. Leading off is James Blake's final BBC1 radio show, in which he melds Kanye West, Mavado, Stevie Wonder and (who else?) D'Angelo into an send-off for his year-end residency. Beyond Blake awaits a brand new set of searing African grooves from Mikael Seifu, a sonic travelogue from Ta-Ku, soaring stuff from Tycho and a very special Christmas mix from Cookin' Soul--just to name a few. We've made our list and don't need to bother checking it--this week's grip mixes is the gift that just don't stop.
It's been a beautiful thing hearing James Blake take the helm at the BBC time and time again this year, but sadly it's all coming to an end--last week marked the final show of the young brit's radio takeover. Well aware of that fact, as well as what time of year is is, Blake offered up a show that captured all of the elements that has made his residency great. Wide-reaching genre changes, due respect for the masters of the past, a willingness to take risks and play something strange, and a commanding sense of style put this radio show right up there with some of the year's very best mixtapes. In the cut you'll find D'Angelo's (technically) new beast of a track "1000 Deaths," along with classic Stevie Wonder, Rick James, James Blake himself, and a closing clutch of Christmas tunes. Leave it to James to go out with Art Garfunkel. Thanks for the year of sonic memories, James.
Pépé Bradock – "Deep Burnt"
Bing Crosby – "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"
Tapes – "Old Pan Riddim"
Trim – "Talking Dub"
Kanye West – "Jesus Walks (Late Orchestration Live At Abbey Road)"
D'Angelo & The Vanguard – "1000 Deaths"
Womack & Womack – "Teardrops"
Mr Assister – "Bala"
Stevie Wonder – "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion"
Blake Baxter – "Our Luv"
Real Lies – "Naked Ambition"
DJ Badger – "Club Banger 1"
Mavado – "Gully Christmas"
Elephant Man – "Sorrow To The World"
Dennis Alcapone – "Dancehall Christmas"
James Blake – "Roman Patience"
Happa – "Noisedrum"
Rick James – "Mary Jane"
Airhead – "Hundred Years"
Rhythim Is Rhythim – "Strings Of Life"
Donny Hathaway – "This Christmas"
Ray Charles – "Baby It’s Cold Outside"
Nat King Cole – "The Christmas Song"
Art Garfunkel – "O Come All Ye Faithful"
Artwork by Underdog.
Okayafrica was kind enough to sneak us one final installment of their Africa In Your Earbuds mixtape series before the year was through. This one cones from Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu, who welded together a massive array of African folk samples and acoustic tones to make a mix that goes above your average crossfade and beatmatch affair. OKA called it "an astounding, hazy journey through reinterpreted Ehtiopian folk sounds," and Seifu himself mentioned that mixtape's final two tracks are the only unaltered minutes in the entire thing. You can read more about the mix, and Seifu's own work, over at Okayafrica. With whirring dark synths and a cavernous kick throughout, Seifu's mix is anything but a typical conga drum afrobeat affair. If you're in for a wild, shadowy ride then press play and let the East African sunset be your guide.
Samples Used For Mix/Tracklist:
Tommy T-Oromo Dub(Cushitic Dub)
Gash Abera Molla- Enkutatash & other
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou : The Last Tears of a Deceased
Addis Acoustic Project: Soundcheck at Jazzamba Club
Hailu Mergia- Ambassel
Seifu Yohannes- Yekermo Sew
Zion Rebels ft. Lion Heart Soldiers, Tiger & Black Haze: Dess Yebelesh
Lema Guebre-Hiwot: Medina Zelessegna
One look at his Instagram feed makes it obvious that Aussie producer Ta-Ku is a worldly traveller indeed. Always ready with the right beat at the right time, the man has now joined forces with Cereal Magazine to deliver a mixtape inspired by transit and dedicated to anyone inhabiting that space between "Departures" and "Arrivals." Gently building out of acoustic tones into a more electric vibe, Ta-Ku's mix is more aggressive than your average window seat mix. This isn't Music for Airports drifting but rather sound that demands you set your mind to work and be present. Every gift needs a "to" and a "from," but then again so does travelling; if you're headed somewhere far-off for the holidays put this in and let the music be your co-pilot.
Caspian - "Epochs in Dmaj"
Shigeto - "Huron River Drive"
AIR - "Alone in Kyoto"
Arcade Fire - "Some Other Place "
Dimlite - "Roo (A Dedication)"
Dream Koala - "We Can't Be Friends"
Aloe Blacc - "Nascimento Scene II"
Hudson Mohawke - "Star Crackout"
Flying Lotus - "Aunties Lock feat. Laura Darlington"
Sebastian Tellier - "La Ritournelle"
Hans Zimmer - "S.T.A.Y"
Known the world over as a don of the Detroit scene, Carl Craig brought the techno to Tokyo this month as a part of Red Bull Music Academy's extended sojourn in Japan. A pupil of the legendary Derrick May, Craig has been dropping steadybeat gold since at least 1989, and has made house, techno, acid jazz and numerous other genres bend to his inventive will. As a producer he's pushed these music forms forward by miles, but it's as a DJ that he really shines. Craig's recorded live set from Tokyo is simply a blast; it covers techno both past and present and shows that a genre so steeped in tradition can still be the freshest thing on Earth in the right hands. Make sure you have some dancing room available when you listen to this one.
Photo by Dan Medhurst/Jody Hartleyfor Ninja Tune.
Does this guy ever take a day off? Simon Green aka producer powerhouse Bonobo rolled through the BBC last weekend with yet another set of electronic-inspired gold, this time playing it cool and selecting tunes that (mostly) fit a "bedtime" kind of vibe. Lil Silva, Thailand psych rock act Kuhn Narin and other offerings from both Mndsgn and Jon Hopkins. Bonobo's set was a part of Annie Mac's regular BBC show and comes near the end of the player below, but there's plenty of good listening to enjoy before he takes over. Check the full show's tracklist below; Bonobo's set is outlined in bold.
Rosie Lowe – "How’d You Like It"
London Grammar – "Hey Now"
Raury – "Cigarette Song"
Nao vs. A. K. Paul – "So Good"
Shura – "Indecision (Jungle Remix)"
Pomo – "Cherry Funk (feat. Kaytranada)"
Kiesza – "Bad Thing"
Spooky Black – "Pull"
Kindness – "Who Do You Love? (feat. Robyn)"
Bonobo – "Flashlight"
Danny Brown – "Float On (feat. Charli XCX)"
Royce Wood Junior – "Rover"
Mura Masa – "Miss You"
Sam Smith – "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"
Gorgon City – "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
Shivum Sharma – "White Christmas"
Låpsley – "Falling Short"
Eyedress – "When I’m Gone (feat. GEoRGiA)"
HUNTAR – "Bitter"
Y-Tribe – "Enough Is Enough"
Lovestation – "Teardrops"
Wookie – "Battle (feat. Lain)"
Jessie Ware – "You & I Forever"
Aqualung – "Eggshells (feat. Lianne La Havas)"
Bombay Bicycle Club – "Home By Now"
iLoveMakonnen – "Tuesday (feat. Drake)"
Ed Sheeran – "Thinking Out Loud"
Astronomyy – "Not Into U"
Boards of Canada – "Dayvan Cowboy"
Jack Garratt – "The Love You’re Given"
Hiatus Kaiyote – "Laputa"
D'Angelo The Vanguard – "Sugah Daddy"
Lil Silva – "Don’t You Love (feat. BANKS)"
Photay – "Static At The Summit"
TOKiMONSTA – "The Beginning"
Khun Narin – "Lam Phu Thai #1"
Mndsgn – "Homewards"
Chrome Sparks – "Goddess"
Oaktree – "La Fin"
Jon Hopkins – "Breathe This Air (Asleep Version)"
Four Tet – "Back 2 The Start"
If you don't know the name thestand4rd, then you better check your radar right quick. The Minnesota-based r&b ensemble, which includes the much-buzzed about Spooky Black, has been garnering buckets of indie cred and acclaim. Rife with remixes, unreleased tracks, and flat-out weird stuff, thestand4rd's recent Fader mix is almost tripping over itself in youthful energy. But that doesn't mean it's a sloppy set--the FKA Twigs remix is pure smoldering gold. Read about the group's inspiration and plans for the future over on the Fader and get ready for thestand4rd to raise the bar in 2015.
MTC S3RL - "Hentai Girl"
Chester Watson - "Fantastic" (prod. bsd.u)
Appleby - "Spit On Me" (prod. HNRK)
Wicca Phase Spring Eternal - "It Takes" (prod. Drip-133)
FKA Twigs - "Pendulum" (Psymun Remix)
Corbin & Psymun - "Unreleased Song"
Little Cloud - "From Nowhere"
Inner Wave - "American Spirits"
prime.cut - "Quit Your Job"
Earl Sweatshirt - "Molasses" (Psymun Remix)
K.Raydio - "Superstar" (prod. Ackryte)
Bad Bad Hats - "A Bout"
Kevin Abstract - "Heroina" (prod. Romil)
Glass Animals - "Gooey"
Jon Waltz - "Victoria" (feat. Allan Kingdom)
Happy Diving - "Sincere"
Swiff D - "Doug"
8-Ball & MJG - "Space Age Pimpin"
Bobby Raps - "Space Age Pimpin Remix"
A.K. - "2 Zips" (prod. The Brain)
Bobby Raps & Sinister Grinch - "Stankasious"
Young Thug - "Shooting Star" (feat. Gucci Mane)
Bobby Raps - "Brixndastash"
Here's another guy who just can't seem to step away from the workbench. Tycho has turned out at least a half-dozen excellent new mixes in 2014, and now he's added a final set for Noisey. While Scott Hansen (the brains behind Tycho) seems to be perpetually in love with summer, this set is seasonally on point and offers dark, chilly cuts from Jamie XX, Caribou and (who else?) Bonobo.
Telefon Tel Aviv - "The Birds"
Apparat - "Arcadia"
Tstewart - "Untitled"
Bonobo - "Flashlight"
Jamie XX - "Girl"
Dreams - "Bloodsport"
Howlings - "Hearing Voices"
Jai Paul - "Jasmine"
Dusty Brown - "Hide No Signs"
Caribou - "Silver"
Blackhall & Bookless - "Kevins Spacey (Virginia Remix)"
Dauwd - "Moiety"
Beacon - "Fault Lines (Dauwd Remix)"
Spoon - "Inside Out (Tycho Remix)"
She's done it again. Sofie's day job is helping to steer Boiler Room, but by night she spins amazingly erie and forward-thinking mixes on SOS Radio. Her monthly assemblages of hip-hop, ambient, and rare grooves. This month's set is quite a bit brighter than the sultry offerings of the past, and Sofie keeps things almost entirely hip-hop before Mndsgn takes over and does his thing. As always, if you're looking for listening that's apart form the beaten path, you'll want to listen to this brilliant woman and the company she keeps.
If you're short on holiday cheer this year, then call on the powers of Cookin' Soul. The Spanish DJ duo are perennial favorites of Mixtape Monday, and never fail to bring the right mix at just the right time, even as the criss-cross the globe spinning wax 12 months a year. Donny Hathaway, James Brown, Michael Jackson and many more come to call with funky carols on their new Xmas Mix, which strikes just the right balance between synthesizers and sleigh bells to ensure that even if you're a grinch, you'll be merrily getting down.
Astute mixtape historians (aka hip-hop fans older than 22) will probably recall Age and his top-notch funk mixes. Replete with rare soul grooves and old school hip-hop that soothes the soul, Age's Three Mixes Too Old harkens back to a simpler time (it was released well before 2008). Enjoy this textbook example of a mixdown done right, and stay tuned for next week's year end Mixtape Monday wrap-up. Rock around that Christmas tree, y'all.