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 series is a recurring roundup of the month’s best mixes.
On this installment: new mixes from Oneohtrix Point Never and Lera Foer, and a SoundCloud exclusive from A.G. Cook.
Lera Foer – IM MIX 62
The album art for online DJ mixes rarely does much of anything to amplify, accentuate, or even accompany the mood and tone of the mix. Most of the established mix series use cut-and-paste image formats that give the listener no visual clue of what to expect. It’s an incredibly trivial gripe, yet there is something to be said for completing the package with a compelling image. Lera Foer’s latest mix for Italo Moderni, however, is an outlier: leather and lasers are what you see and leather and lasers are what you get.
Plug this set into the biggest speakers you can find and have yourself a 56-minute workout. Bomb after bomb after bomb, Foer keeps the boldest mix of the year thus far chugging along at an insane clip, spinning huge EBM tunes into industrial, electro, darkwave, and, of course, Italo disco. I have returned to this mix more than any other this month and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon—endless energy. If this is your introduction to Italo Moderni, check out their fantastic Modernation compilation series on Bandcamp (Volume 3) that just dropped today. The Spanish label is one to watch; you’ll be hearing a lot more from them here in the months to come.
A.G. Cook – DREAM LOGIC
A.G. Cook has been pushing the boundaries of pop for nearly a decade. Whether it’s a music project marketed as a fake energy drink advertisement, a seven-disc debut studio album, or a follow-up “debut” studio album, Cook has always operated in extremes, but dropping a SoundCloud exclusive in the year 2021 may be his most avant garde move yet. DREAM LOGIC is more mixtape than DJ mix, weaving together a bunch of new edits and remixes with a couple new tracks. While it’s not as grand or sprawling as 7G, it’s far more digestible, a fantastic rebound from the lackluster APPLE, and a template that Cook should look to emulate in the future, as he is strongest when he is lending his talents to other artists.
Usual suspects like Charli XCX and Alaska Reid are highpoints, but the two best cuts are remixes of Oneohtrix Point Never and Smashing Pumpkins (the latter is proof positive that Billy Corgan was an amazing songwriter with absolutely no swag. It is honestly baffling that Mr. Humpty Too Damn Dumpty wrote that song. He is not a practitioner of the baller mindset. Smashing Pumpkins should kick Corgan out and replace him with A.G.—let’s get Charli on “1979”). Unfortunately, by law, DREAM LOGIC is docked points for including The 1975 not once, but twice!! Noooo A.G. don’t acknowledge Matty Healy you’re so sexy aha.
Oneohtrix Point Never – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix
Oneohtrix Point Never is having the biggest album cycle of his career. Last year’s fantastic MAGIC ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER is his strongest record since R PLUS SEVEN, he’s making his best music videos to date, he directed the fucking Super Bowl Halftime Show, and now, on the most prestigious mix series in the world, he delivers a top-tier mix that could only come from his brain.
Daniel Lopatin deals in many aesthetics; for this mix, it’s plastic. It’s a choice that firmly plants this essential mix in the ’80s despite copious inclusions from his contemporaries like Charli XCX, Palms Trax, and George Fitzgerald. Lopatin works wonders here to make the more modern selections seamlessly blend into old classics from Kraftwerk, Larry Heard, and J.M. Band—who said history lessons can’t be a party? Flexing his ear throughout, OPN’s most memorable blend comes half-an-hour in when he mixes a howling remix of Bjork’s “Pluto” in and out of a combo of Liquid’s “Sweet Harmony” and another Bjork cut, “Aurora.” It’s an enthralling three-man weave that would destroy on a dancefloor—the type of moment you’d be remembering for years to come.
Kraftwerk’s “Computer World 2” is a demarcation point in the mix, opening up the many sonic worlds that have shaped Lopatin as an artist. Gone is the tightly wound techno, as he meanders into calmer waters throwing in selections from Stereolab and some more Kraftwerk for good measure, before whipping back to the ecstatic with one of most massive songs of all time: Bicep’s “In Yer Face” remix. Then, in one of the most chaotic moves in the history of the Essential Mix, the madman mixes “In Yer Face” into Future’s “Honest,” which is absolutely the only time in human history those two tracks have buttressed each other. In keeping with the theme of the mix, he closes with SOPHIE, an artist who did more to shape music than just about every other legend in Lopatin’s history lesson.