Monthly mix roundup: backyard boogie, sci-fi party tracks and South African house

Chal Ravens gathers April’s highlights featuring Theo Parrish’s epic NTS session, Hannah D’s euphoric trance chuggers and sets from Shannen SP and Wonja.

Spring has sprung and no one cares about music, actually – time to get drunk on shit wine in a pub car park while your mate’s mate plays wafty house in the corner. Only fair! We’ll keep these mixes warm til you get in.

This month’s listening was dominated by the big brother of internet radio, dear old NTS. The station has been broadcasting from East London to the world (and back) for 10 years now, and along with the banner mix from Theo Parrish in this month’s round-up, there are plenty more wildcards like Eric Andre, Marshall Allen and meme account Patia’s Fantasy World.

Elsewhere we’ve got a set of hard sci-fi party tracks”, some vintage South African kwaito, a touch of filter house fromage and three hours of seriously good ambient, brought to us by DJs from Melbourne, Oakland, Rotterdam and Lille.

Theo Parrish presents Eargoggles for NTS10

Six hours inside one of the world’s best record collections

Remember: there’s always somebody in a worse state than you,” is the reminder at the start of this marathon set from the king of endurance raving, Theo Parrish. In happier times that worse state” might have had something to do with being caught in the glare of one of the Detroit DJ’s legendary long sessions on the decks, if anyone can remember such a thing. In this case, though, it also means we should donate to the Global Foodbanking Network, the organisation that’s being supported by NTS Radio’s 10-year anniversary celebrations. Parrish was just one of 10 guest curators marking the occasion, but his generous six-hour donation of dusty Afro-funk, tunnelling house, smooth love songs and hi-tech jazz stood out for its sheer largesse.

Shannen SP’s FACT mix

Joyful kwaito and house from 90s South Africa

Shannen SP is one of the more conceptually-driven DJs in the UK club landscape, known for her collaborations with tough Angolan kuduro producer Nazar and her narrative-rich mixes of South African gqom and bass. So on first spin her FACT mix might seem like a dramatic pivot to a sunnier, breezier sound, centred around 90s house and kwaito from South Africa – but as she explains, this music is weighted with trauma and joy in equal measure. As we hopefully move towards the end of this pandemic I just wanted to make a mix people could universally fuck with and enjoy,” she says, but beyond that, hearing the music coming out of South Africa after the collective trauma of apartheid – and the sounds being so bright and joyful – was powerful.” Fans of SA’s amapiano sound will find much to love in these sweet vocals and bubbling grooves.

Hannah D for Animalia

Dilated chuggers from the raviest city in the world right now

It would be easy to hate Australia for getting back to the rave while the rest of us are still finishing The Sopranos. But when the Melbourne scene is pumping out material as undeniable as this googly-eyed voyage from Hannah D, maybe there’s some karmic balance at work here after all? Originally from Brisbane, Hannah D runs a label and agency called The Space Between Us and plays the kind of euphorically dilated trance chuggers that I like to imagine blaring at an Aussie bush doof, despite never having been to one. No doubt Hannah D’s selections are more polished and less daggy, but she does throw a bit of psytrance in for luck.

Wonja for Dekmantel

Border-melting selections from an Oakland collector

One of the most obviously unique characteristics of the DJ mix as a musical medium is the way it offers complete immersion through the absence of borders. Tracks that might have no relation to each other in terms of genre, era, mood or design become hopelessly entangled – the unfamiliar listener has no idea whose parts belong to whom. All of which is to say: Wonja’s Dekmantel mix is gonna smack you upside the head.

The Oakland DJ obviously has a firm grasp of this border-melting phenomenon and her two-hour set of hard sci-fi party tracks” will take you to places you only suspected existed. Confirmed IDs include Rian Treanor’s cyberkore singeli, DJML’s glittering balearica, and The Seven Thunders’ groggy deathwave – but who can be sure, really! And is it so important? Just know that you’ll come out the other side a slightly changed person.

Myd for The Lot Radio

Backyard boogie and filtered fromage from Ed Banger

Being the resident oddball on a label as eccentric as Ed Banger is quite the responsibility, but Myd – previously known as one quarter of Lille supergroup Club Cheval – nails it with this session for The Lot Radio in New York. With fingers glued to the filters he whips up a euphoric mix of disco stompers and hypnotic house, backyard boogie and even a dollop of Euro-fromage (with vocals from Jarvis Cocker). Also, it’s always a great sign when you think, yo, what’s this?” and it turns out to be the DJ’s very own tune – in this case the Gaspard Augé (Justice) remix of Myd’s Moving Men, with a whistled top-line from Mac DeMarco of all people. If loving this is wrong, and so on and so forth.

Deborah X for United Identities

Speed, agility and flair from a Rotterdam newcomer

Deborah X is a fresh face with a taste for heavy polyrhythms and juicy sample-flips, according to this mix for United Identities, the radio show and label run by De School resident Carista. Categories are speed, agility and flair, with pacey techno and breakbeats interrupted by a few high-risk stunts – the highlight being a sped-up version of SexyBack by our cancelled king Justin Timberlake. When she’s not blending rock-hard Jersey edits with ice-cold electro, the Rotterdam DJ is getting on with her PhD, which consists of researching product design for the circular economy – which gets a big green tick from the eco-worriers around here.

Son of Philip for Insert

A feature-length ambient dunking

Fresh from the release of his Play Monotonous EP (which includes a punchy Actress remix), the Nottingham artist known as Son of Philip draws the blinds and settles in for a feature-length” ambient mix. Coming in at two and three-quarter hours, that’s feature-length in the Tarkovskian sense – feel free to dip in and out of the zone at your leisure. As well as a smattering of his own itchy, insectoid productions, the mix takes in classical complexity from Oneohtrix Point Never collaborator Kelly Moran, 70s synth-drift from krautrock supergroup Harmonia and impossible drum duets from eternal eccentric Acid Pauli. Not your everyday analogue bubble bath.

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