Like a crazy masked avenger, The Deuce Cake himself has reappeared on the scene. A new mix of significance has been dropped for us, so all you tech house & garage heads take note. My boy Deuce is one of the most talented sleeper agents in NYC. He was my first Hometown Fire for a reason. The first 10 minutes are some of the most crucial tech house I’ve heard in months. But the hits keep coming with clutch remixes and some stupendous transitions. I’ve watched this guy spin and even I don’t know when he starts some of these. He’s one of those DJs that will give you a taste of something and forget about it for 5 minutes. Making you think you lost your damn mind placing that sample incorrectly, then bam, it’s in your face, re-worked and grooving. I need the names of the tracks 36min in & just over an hour, as those are some of the high watermarks for me when it comes to the vibe that the combo between house & garage can be. By the time I was done with this mix I was even more sad I didn’t have Disclosure’s home phone number. This sound needs to get way bigger.
This week, drift away with CMA. This tight little EP is made of clouds. The excessive talent of CMA is on display as this sextet of relaxing sonic snowflakes float down upon you. Dream Away gets us off to a winking, almost uptempo start, before Caught In Out Thoughts pulls us back into that chillstep vibe. Don’t Look Back brings in some atmosphere that you wouldn’t find out of place in a Rameses B track, which given how much I love that dude, is high praise. The arpeggio work is solid and it never gets too intense. Moving Forward manages to both be heavy & soaring, while still keeping in the feel of the EP. So, an oppressive giant made of clouds. Or someone screaming but the only thing coming out is sparkles? Not sure if that metaphor is decidedly positive enough. Without You showcases CMA’s piano skill, which is on point. I am glad to see more and more producers coming from strong piano backgrounds, as I find it to be tremendously helpful to production. This gives a flexibility that we see throughout the EP, that other producers should take note of. Friends brings it back to the chillstep vibe we all showed up for. Great work by CMA & it’s a Creative Commons licensed EP, so go put it into your student film so people discover CMA.
This week ladies & gentlemen, I’m happy to bring you two more dope mixes by people I’ve actually had conversations with. We’ll see how long I can keep this streak going, but starting us off, Steve James! I’ve talked about this wunderkind excessively, but please hit play if you’re still one of the 4 people that don’t think kids learning how to produce their own music on laptops won’t get you farther than learning how to play the bassoon. Not only is the mix done right, but there are definitely tracks on it I’ve never heard and need in my life. Imagine that, the younger ones finding it faster and serving it up nicer than I could. Almost the way of things, huh? If you’re in Miami get at his sets here, you won’t be disappointed. Switching gears to my always favorite, liquid drum & bass, my boy Just Dan delivers. This set of impressively vintage Hospital records hits shows what the guy can do when he wakes up with an idea in his head. He’s also doing a mix experiment which I’m super into. He’s going to do a series of “One Takes,” which will be one off-recordings, authentic, however it goes, it goes. This kind of risk taking is something we only hear from the DJs that do live shows, at regular intervals and it’s the same sound week-to-week. This series, spanning genres & styles, is definitely not something our press-play DJs do. Respect.
For this week, I wanted to spotlight two mixes friends I don’t get to see very often released in the last couple of days. These two are interesting ghost talents in their respective cities, and I couldn’t choose between them, so you’re getting them both. Don’t ever say I don’t give you things. First up is Existential Frequencies by D:[JR]. He’s one of the most technically skilled & thoughtful DJs I’ve ever encountered. The first time I saw him spin live, it was the kind of night that involved watching very fucked up people attempt to fix a gas leak. All things were ok, and he spun a set I’ll never forget. This one is ridiculously well mixed, with seamless transitions & track choices that make me go and spend many dollary doos on things from his track list. It’s soothing, if not a bit dark. I’ve always thought that this guy was just as competent of a selectro as most of the talent working in NYC. He’s got a dope day job and living the life, so I can’t blame him for not showing up on more billings. This is another understated talent here that keeps me grooving as much as I would in the lounges & bars I orbit. The mix is uptempo but takes its time getting there. It’s almost as if he’s not trying to impress anyone, and just building for the listener who is in it for the long hall. An admiral goal, and one that he pulls off. It’s the slow builds that do it for me in this kind of house, and he doesn’t disappoint. It stays techy, but has spasms of soul & funk that are most welcome. Great work by the former president.
Canadian stunner & wunderkind Tennyson has put together a stellar little EP for us all. Trust that this kid, can produce beyond his years. This kind of stuff has bedroom phenom written all over it. The flowing bass work lilts along with a soothing melodic sunrise synths. You’re Cute starts quietly, but pulls into some fun breakbeat & originally composed rambling bass. This shuffle & whine works and got me interested for where the rest of the EP was going. For You has a little bit of that indietronica vibe to it, but with an almost West Coast feel layered on top. The dreamscape breaks through and the tune saunters along with some clutch & well recorded vocals while Tennyson does work on the keys.
No Answer is a future funk chip extravavangza. Moody bass & keys work is unmatched by people 2 & 3x his age. Smoother reminds of some Homework era Daft Punk meshed with some Air, two of my favorite French artists by the way. And yes, I don’t make the comparison lightly. Aphasia Rewinding gets into a bit more of the experimental realm with the synth work and walks a fine line between funky & IDM. Violet Alturas finshes out the EP with some rounded sunny beats. They make me think I’ve just beaten a game for the Sega Genesis and am walking away on the beach at sunset as the credits roll. The tonality & the attitude is powerful, but he’s got so much damn potential. This is textbook potent composition, and what this kid needs is production assistance, and good mentorship. Does Monstercat give scholarships yet?
I had the chance to hang out with this DJ for a couple of days back when he lived in Amsterdam. One of the most humble & quietly talented DJs I’ve ever met, he’s done us all a favor, and posted his latest from his new home base out on the Best Coast. The Rev was one of the beat wizards at the loft warehouse I cut my teeth on in NYC way back in the 00’s. This set features some of the vibes, groovy tempos, soulful selectro work and a classic attitude that a lot of house dance floors have forgotten as of late. I could listen to this stuff for hours, like, if they could pipe it into my job, I’d probably be 30-40% more productive. But enough of me yapping, take this Sunday that’s hopefully brightening for you, and let this mix wrap around it for you. Show my man some love so he makes another one soon.
Ferry is one of the greatest trance legends still innovating & still climbing. Up there with PVD, Tiesto (before the fall) & Armin, he’s been consistently generating dope trance since before I graduated from high school. This quick 30min mix he did for Above & Beyond is framing his latest EP, of which was my soundtrack for the month if you missed it. The mix is a refreshingly non-anthem trance set, with one unidentified track that I now can’t wait to identify. If it’s snowing where you are, hopefully this helps you warm up a bit.