Sunday, November 29, 2009

Whatever Happened To The Noughties? The Best Mixtapes Of The Decade

I'm going to put my top ten albums of the decade on my myspace because here it seemed more appropriate to write about something a bit different.  Something overlooked by our contemporaries at the Observer, but all too relevant to electronic drug people whose A.D.D. makes the space between tracks seem like a bleak eternity, here is my list of the best ten mixtapes of the decade.  Si señor.

10.  Goon & Koyote: Diamond Grills

Apart from or because of the loud and intrusive shouts from DJ Nasty, this is an incredibly slick mixtape full of all the essentials for number of repeat listens, including a 16 bar ghetto reworking of 'Good Life' by Inner City and a dope exclusive verse from Teki Latex.  This tape represents the French take on booty, which seems to have been massive amongst our Gallic cousins.

Ibiza Moment:  DJ Koyote: 'Playin With Witney'

9.  Toddla T: Ghettoblaster

If this is how it started, T Willy has had it down from day un.  This epic collection brought old favourites to our attention, scoured the ragga and bass scene for fresh gems, pushing all four versions of Toddla's first single, 'Do U Know'.

Ibiza Moment:  Tiger Style: 'Tiger Style'

8.  Aaron LaCrate & Low Budget: BMore Gutter Music

If ever a sound has been so easy to define it is B(alti)more Club.  This tape is as good as it got.  All the bangers you need to know about are contained within, with very few of the uninspired remixes that seems to have come to define this genre.

Ibiza Moment: Baltimore Club: 'Pork Chops'

7.  Metro Area: Fabric 43

Their sound may be modest and reserved, but don't equivocate yourself: Metro Area are a production juggernaut.  This Fabric mix came out about 4 years too late, but its classic content really negates time and fashions.  It is also the only mix (possibly ever) with a humourous spoken intro that endears the artist to the listener.

Ibiza Moment: Devo: 'Freedom Of Choice'

6.  DJ2D2: A Little Bass!

This is the gem of a selection of fine mixtapes from Barcelona's David Perez.  Effortlessly floating between genres, it is so up on the new shit that even now it sounds futuristic.  Why this lad doesn't have a residency in one of the city's larger dancing spaces I do not know.

Skream & Diplo 'Blipstream'

5.  Vitalic: Live At Fuse 2002

This is the only live mix in the selection but I could not possibly discount it.  Released bang in the middle of the electroclash years (I still shudder when I hear that term...), this hour of champagne techno sums up everything that is right about that sound.

Ibiza Moment: Vitalic: 'Newman'

4.  Modeselektor: Boogybites Vol. 03

As far as progression goes, this for me is an amazing collection of forward-thinking music from the last few years.  The mixing is eccentrically unpredictable, the order curious and the mood of each piece almost worlds apart from its predecessor, but these Germans with strange faces make it all fit.

Ibiza Moment: Holden: 'Idiot'

3.  Disco D: Funk Flava 2005

This is the saddest entry of all.  When David Shayman commited suicide, I read and watched quite a lot of the coverage about the why, and what emerged was that he was an incredibly hard-working character who wasn't getting the success that he needed, and this may have contributed to his depression.  This baffles me.  I saw both Disco D and Diplo at Sònar a year apart.  Where Diplo was blending some throwaway hits, Disco D played a live set on his MPC, influenced by his recent trip to Brazil.  Where Diplo came out with 'Piracy Funds Terrorism', Disco D dropped Funk Flava 2005, an engaging frenzy of Miami Bass, Baile Funk and Ragga.  Who's the better artist?  (No offence meant Diplo.)

Ibiza Moment: DJ Funk: 'Knock Knock' Vs Blacka Ranks 'Take Off Something'

2. Playgroup: Party Mix

The first time I heard this tape I found myself dumbfounded.  I was just trying to get into one beat when another one jumps in to take its place.  Apart from insane DJ Assault mixes, I can't think of any compilation that plays you less of any one song.  Trevor Jackson's Party Mix grew and grew on me, and the lack of tracklist made it all the more interesting, in the tradition of DJs covering the labels on their records to avoid people copying their choices.  At the time I read that there was a prize for anyone who could name all the tunes, which range from disco and funk to soundtrack and new wave, something that I have never felt confident enough to attempt.  Some of the tunes are obvious, some obscure, but they are cut and blended in such a fashion that this hour is irresistible to the backpack muso and the top-of-the-popster.

Ibiza Moment:  Too many to mention

1.  2 Many DJs: As Heard On Radio Soulwax Part 2

It's not hip anymore, but that doesn't alter the significance of this tape to me myself and the millions of others who couldn't get this out of the CD player for months and months a few years ago.  Ignoring the wildly ambitious selection of bangers, both old and new, the amount of work that went into the re-editing of some of the instrumentals and vocal tracks is unfathomable.  Not to mention the difficulty that they must have had in getting the rights to all the songs in order to sell this album.  This tape opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas and will be eternally indebted to it for that.

Ibiza Moment: The Cramps: 'Human Fly


  1. Dom U - Coop Session Mix CD 1
    Given away at the earliest Coop sessions it contains all the big tunes that created the broken beat scene. This is made all the more poignant by the fact Domu last week retired from music due to general dissatisfaction with the way music & the industry is heading.

    DJ Haul & Mason - Scion CD Sampler v9.
    I'd never heard of these boys before this mix CD won Scion's annual mixtape competition. 4 decks, impeccable taste, live mixing.

    Gangster Boogie - Arthur King & Uncle T.
    These little known Frenchies help set the standard for hip hop breaks mixes. Wonderfully mixed, great selection of original soul & funk as sampled by the West Coast gangsters. Look out for their Jay Z, Nas & 80's pop breaks mixes as well.

    Impaville - Jonny Paycheck.
    Now I like a good concept as most mixes tend to be pretty tired variants of the same old themes. This boy invented his own back in the day barrio latino radio programme with a great selection of classic tunes with some great radio presenting & funny as hell 'live' phone ins.

    The Illegible DJ Caps & P&emonium Jones - Bouillabaisse.
    This mix title I'm sure will be close to the Plat Du Jour crew's heart. Not only is this a great multi genre mix, the CD covers were made out of old record covers & the CD title & the CD were sprayed on.

    Rap Phenomenon I & II.
    DJ Vlad & Dirty Harry put together the first mix, their tribute to B.I.G & the way they mixed, blended & freshened up the freestyles with such an amazing attention to detail just deserves respect. DJ Green Lantern joined them on the production for volume 2 & the 2PAC tribute was perhaps even better.

    Edwin Stats Houghton & Jamal Ali - 48 hours in Transit.
    Now this CD is a nice enough mix, funky fresh tunes mixed nice style but what sets this one apart is the packaging. Think a Geisha's best dress that has been cut up & converted into a material CD sleeve - styling!

    DJ Spinbad - 80's Mega Mix Vol. 1 & 2.
    Was Spinbad the first dj to put an 80's pop mix together? Being as I've got the first volume on cassette, maybe so. The mixing is tight & - Cameo & Cyndi Lauper never sounded so good.

    Ruckus Roboticus - The Record Player.
    When a mix wins the Solid Steel mix of the year you know it's going to be a monster but this one was particularly good. This boy mixes up everything from Air to Squarepusher via Led Zep, Ray Barretto & The Cookie Crew - check it!!

    DJ Ayers & Cosmo Baker present Hip House.
    Ayres & Baker led the hip house revival with this mix combining a host of originals & modern bootlegs. You might also like to check DJ Spinna's tribute to the genre playing his original faves at the original slower tempos – but you'll have to go to Japan to pick up a hard copy.

    ANYTHING by J Rocc. There's a good reason he djs at so many top ranking bboy sessions. Personally I love his Syndromes series but it’s ALL good - this boy is deep & tighter than a nats chuff.

    Paul Nice - Soul On The Grill 2.
    Paul Nice is another old school mixtape legend & his mixes are always worth checking but the way he doubles & cuts up this early 80's selection just tickles the old soul boy within me BIG time.

    Steinski - Nothing To Fear, A Rough Mix.
    One of the all time mix tape kings & an inspiration to many. This mix was originally recorded for The Solid Steel radio show many moons ago & was bootlegged mercilessly (by me as well!). This is a lesson in good taste & faultless mixing - DON.

    Global SoulJah

  2. I definitely considered the Spinbad tape for inclusion, but it was made in the nineties so didn't qualify. I'd love to hear his 90s tape too.

    I am also interested in any of these other mixes that you care to pass me!