While dance floors lie dormant, DJs are left to record and release their mixes from home. It’s no perfect substitution for the real thing, but there’s plenty of great sets to be heard from some of the world’s best selectors. This is the first of what will be a recurring roundup of the month’s best mixes.
On this installment: new mixes from AceMoMa, Peach, and Logic1000, archival releases from Daft Punk, Skee Mask and Simo Cell, and Nathan Micay, and a tribute to SOPHIE.
AceMoMa – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix
AceMo and MoMa Ready asserted themselves as the new faces of dance music in 2020 and wasted no time upping the ante in 2021. After releasing a career’s worth of music in a calendar year, AceMoMa rang in New Year’s Day on electronic music’s most prestigious mix series, BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix. The duo made great use of their ever-deepening discographies, trading turns on the CDJs playing solely their own productions across the two-hour set. As the mix bounced back and forth between AceMo and MoMa Ready, each transition became a one-up, two friends pushing each other to higher levels, exuding a chemistry that few other artists could match. As their set came to a close in the final minutes of January’s first day, it was clear: it’s AceMoMa’s world. We’re just lucky to be living in it.
Peach – RA.762
If her Resident Advisor mix is any indication, Peach is primed for a huge year. It’s a patient mix from the London selector, slowly working her way into the peak-hours-pumpers we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from her, but it might just be her best. Peach really starts firing on all cylinders when she digs into her hard drive for unreleased tracks, all four of which instantly rose to the top of my most anticipated IDs list. There are plenty of fun little easter eggs on here too, with samples from PEEP SHOW and ZELDA BREATH OF THE WILD popping up randomly. It’s the happiest mix I heard this month.
Skee Mask b2b Simo Cell – TemeTape1
Taken from a seven-hour back-to-back set from 2019, Skee Mask and Simo Cell’s TEMETAPE1 is a fucking barnburner. The limited release cassette is a new prized possession of mine, offering just a glimpse of what was certainly one of the most insane sets either artist has ever laid down. The two 45-minute halves we get are absolute treats, cycling through a plethora of genres that’d be impossible to list. TEMETAPE1’s A-side burns with a tremendous amount of heat, but pales in comparison to the 160bpm beatdown on the B-side. It’s a tremendous feat to maintain that energy without growing exhausted but Skee Mask and Simo Cell do it flawlessly, even throwing down a sick “Personal Jesus” edit and somehow ending the tape with a Mac DeMarco flip that has absolutely no right working, especially in the context of the set, but it does. Get your hands on it while you can. The Discogs sharks are relentless.
Nathan Micay – Revolver 2020
Recorded on March 13th of last year, Nathan Micay’s headlining set at Revolver in Melbourne was one of the last parties before the pandemic locked down dancefloors indefinitely. Those three hours from Micay were a hell of a way to go out—the Canadian formerly known as Bwana put on a tech-trance clinic. Like any set that employs the Joy Orbison and Overmono collab, Revolver pops off 20 minutes in when “Bromley” peeks it’s head out. The hour that follows is among the strongest of any this month, storming through a fantastic selection of tracks that’ll have your head spinning like crazy.
Daft Punk – Le Privé 1995
January delivered not one, but two holy grails from the French house kings. The crown jewel, of course, was the Daft Punk 2007 Lollapalooza headline show finding its way online, the first time pro-shot footage of the legendary Alive 2007 tour has ever been published. The recording was so unprecedented that officially licensed documentaries of the tour didn’t even have access to it, instead relying on blurry fan-captured footage shot on shitty camera phones. But a deeper piece of Daft Punk history emerged just days earlier, a three-hour recording of the duo DJing a small club in Avignon. It’s exactly what you’d expect, a cornucopia of classic house tracks with plenty of selections from Green Velvet, DJ Sneak, Joey Beltram, and Jeff Mills with some at-the-time brand new Daft Punk tracks, as well. This set is a menace from start to finish and we are incredibly lucky to have it.
Logic1000 – RA.764
Logic1000’s turn on the Resident Advisor podcast is only an hour, but she doesn’t waste a second. Opening up with the incredible SAULT track, “Wildfires,” the set eases you in, then quickly turns up the dial, and by the time she’s spinning her own tracks you’re yearning for the dancefloor. Standout selections from Stenny and AceMo are both notable peaks, but she saves the best for last, closing out with Earth to Mickey’s “Brace & Bit,” a massive banger that sounds like it was beamed straight out of 1985. It is without a doubt the best end to any mix this month and will surely be hard to top.
SOPHIE – Boiler Room 2014
SOPHIE changed the game. When “Bipp,” “Elle,” and “Lemonade” came out, the language did not exist to describe either the art nor the artist. The music we were hearing was entirely fresh and unique, and the musician making it defied every standard of the time. SOPHIE was acutely aware of this, simultaneously playing into and defying the public’s expectations and conceptions, constantly bending the SOPHIE narrative further from the collective and closer to the truth. SOPHIE’s illustrious career was one of endless peaks; August 22nd 2014 was one of the highest. There was no such thing as a good 35-minute Boiler Room set before SOPHIE. There was no such thing after, either. Composed mostly of unreleased tracks, SOPHIE’s Boiler Room mix is a tour de force, sending infamously uninterested Boiler Room attendees into a feral conniption fit. “Vyzee” makes the crowd lose their fucking mind (one exceptionally loud fan is extremely audibly yelling while many more scream in elation—this essentially never happens at Boiler Room shows), and the bubble-popping intro on “Lemonade” alone has them ready to cave a hole in the dancefloor. This is just how it went at SOPHIE shows: no matter who was in attendance, people were going to act a fool.
There will never be another artist like SOPHIE, a visionary that permanently changed the landscape of music, art, and identity for the better; SOPHIE’s legacy is indelible. Rest in peace SOPHIE, you were, are, and always will be a queen.