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Mixed on two Technics 1210’s and a Pioneer DJM-600 in London, April 2012
(51:05, 120 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)
Direct link to the mix:
01. Digital Mystikz – Pop Pop Epic (DMZ)
02. L-Wiz – Centurion (Dub Police)
03. J:Kenzo – Mortal Kombat (Argon)
04. Sizzla – I Got Too (Virus Syndicate Mix) (Contagious)
05. Fused Forces – Calm Chaos (Substance Abuse)
06. Matty G – The 808 Bass (Argon)
07. DJ Kudos – Bring The Lights Down (Caspa Remix) (Sound Proof)
08. Mr E – Human (Dancing Demons)
09. Headhunter – 3 Mad P’s (Tempa)
10. Distance – Skeleton Grip (Planet Mu)
11. Kryptic Minds – Code 46 (Disfigured Dubz)
12. Omen – Rebellion (Tectonic)
13. MRK1 – Daywalker (Planet Mu)
14. Sarantis – Meditate (Black Acre Special Branch)
15. Skream – Merky (Southside Dubstars)
16. Silkie – Hooby (Deep Medi Musik)
17. Skream – Rollin’ Kicks (Tempa)
18. Martyn – Hear Me (3024)
19. Von D – Echolow (Black Acre)
20. Cyrus – Gutter (Tectonic)
21. Synkro – Wasting Time (Synkro)
22. Goth-Trad – S.A.T.U.R.N. (Deep Medi Musik)
23. Zomby – Test Me For A Reason (Hyperdub)
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Stream or download from Soundcloud …
Cover: Neues Museum, Berlin, January 2012
Sometimes you need a change of pace, and after banging together four freeform hardcore mixes in just over six months, I really felt like doing something different. So, what better way to switch things up from jaw-clenching fist-pumping hardcore mayhem than some deep, moody dubstep?
(That’s a rhetorical question … obviously there is no better way to switch things up. Duh.)
Hence this mix: a bold journey into the depths of my record shelves for some of the choicest dubstep sounds, both anthemic and obscure. Before I go on, I might as well admit that these tunes are by no means up-to-date; the most recent tracks featured were released in 2010 (fatherhood has meant massive cutbacks in terms of me buying new vinyl)! Therefore, as an unashamed crate-digging selection, I suppose this mix fits in with my Drop The Hammer series of mixes, but I’m a bit bored of that title, so I went for Behind The Mask, which, in all honesty, doesn’t have any real significance beyond me liking the cover picture (which I took at the Neues Museum in Berlin when I was there in January), and the fact that it has a certain mysterious vibe, which I like.
Conceptually, well, there is no concept – I wanted to do a dungeon-style mix of my own, in the same vein as most of the dubstep mixes I’ve been listening to for the last year (like Widowmaker’s Winter Mix, which was featured here a few months back), so, per the process described in my diary of a mix I took out a big stack of records and then whittled them down to a svelte 23 tracks, which I then hacked together in just over 50 minutes. Tunes wise, the mix is deep, dark brooding halfstep for roughly the first 15 tracks before switching up into some more propulsive beats, finishing on a melodic note with the sweet synths of Zomby’s Test Me For A Reason.
This isn’t the first deeper dubstep mix I’ve done; back in early 2010 I recorded Drop The Hammer 7, and since this mix is not too dissimilar in spirit, I’m going to be lazy and just copy and paste what I wrote about that mix (since it’s still true!):
I’ve tried to hit a happy medium on this mix, covering a range of moods, from deep and introspective stuff to more punchy dancefloor material without crossing the line into outright chainsaw wobble frenzy (not that I don’t like that stuff, I just didn’t think it was appropriate in the context). Peaks and troughs, mountains and valleys; this music allows you to program a varied set that can change feel and texture radically in a short time in a way that is not always so easy with more straightforward rave musics.
As per usual, this is a 100% vinyl effort, so there are one or two crunchy bits which came about as a result of me whacking the next tune in and adjusting the pitch on the fly, but overall it’s a solid effort, and I don’t have the time to be this precious any more:
I will junk a mix that has been entirely perfect if I am unhappy with a particular transition. Obviously, I could just re-record the relevant mix and stitch the whole thing digitally, but I feel like that would be cheating and so I don’t do it … All of this would be easier than the heartache and hassle of turning the recording off after forty minutes because the record has skipped as I was cueing it and I have missed my cuepoint!
It suppose it is an aesthetic issue for me. It’s a bit like cooking a complete meal from scratch – you take the raw ingredients and spend the time doing all of the different tasks involved to create a satisfying whole. It is easier, certainly, to eat a ready meal or a takeaway, but there is no real sense of accomplishment or satisfaction associated with it.
It’s been quite some time now since I was a regular clubber, which is why my experience of dubstep is at somewhat of an angle to many peoples’ – for me it is listening music, headphone music, not necessarily club music. Obviously, the ideal environment to experience dubstep is in a club on a heavy system, where it takes on an entirely new physical dimension, but in all honesty I’ve not been to that many dubstep events (although I did go to the first Dub War parties in New York, as well as a few FWD events when I moved back to London in late 2005, and a few bits and bobs since then), so, weirdly enough, dubstep for me is something I experience 99% privately, not communally.
Above all, for me, dubstep is commuting music. It’s what keeps me sane as I make my way in and out of central London every day.
I listen to music all day at work (one earphone only, of course, I am a professional after all!), from across the dance music spectrum, but usually when I’m commuting I listen to dubstep.
Why is that?
I would say that dubstep, especially at the deeper end, is the perfect accompaniment to commuting in London, because, unlike some of the more manic forms of dance music (which, needless to say, I love!), it is, by nature, pretty meditative, which makes it an effective shield against the unpleasantness of commuting in London – the squashed bodies, the delays, the hanging around (it doesn’t help with the outrageous prices, though).
The crunching, stepping beats and the deep bass are perfect for zoning out, for letting your mind wander off somewhere else … somewhere where you aren’t squashed into another man’s armpit.
Looking out the window, seeing the city go by, this music helps me start the day right. Don’t get me wrong, commuting in London isn’t some kind of nightmarish, painful process; it’s just boring and uncomfortable.
So it’s therefore nice to have music perfectly suited to the journey, which is why I have structured this mix in a particular way:
– It’s 50 minutes long, so about as long as my commute
– It starts deep and doomy, because usually when I leave my front door I’m still a bit dazed
– It builds up the energy levels as it goes, a reflection of the fact that I am gradually waking up as I travel
– And it ends on a fluffy, optimistic note, right as I cover the last few steps to the office, perfect for arriving in a positive mood
Wherever you listen to this mix, I hope it improves your mood, just like it improves mine. Enjoy.