The Story of A Mix
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It’s not very often as a DJ that you get to put together a mix where the challenge is to encapsulate the past 8 years and change of music in your collection into a two hour journey that is both reflective, inspiring, unique and challenging to the listener, where the ultimate goal of the mix is to be put together in a certain way where it becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
So many tracks over the years have taken on different meanings, either through the stories they tell themselves, or through the stories that they are associated with personally – whether it was hearing it for the first time in giant club, or something that was a staple of many memorable DJ gigs.
Each track in this mix is its own story within a larger book. Here is the story of my mix, for 709Sessions Episode100.
The first track of a mix can set the tone for the entire journey, especially if it’s an ambient intro-style track. Blufeld’s “Emotional Tentacles” really was spot on for leading things off. The build up of melodic elements and presence combined with a slow drop off in the second half allowed for the perfect blend into 4/4 beats.
One Day In Kowloon
After being introduced to Andrew McDonnell a few years back by fellow 709’er Matthew Belleghem, I quickly became a fan of his production work. This track, titled “One Day in Kowloon” has always stood out for me as it’s as deep as it gets when it comes to serious progressive music. Solemn, moody and introspective sounds combined with a well placed, heavy-minded conversation sample create a dreamy yet brooding feeling through the the track.
Wes Straub Mix
Coming out of the depths of the previous track, my remix of another old-time 709’er who is now blowing up the world over with his production skills, Ben Rama, fit really well here. This remix was one of my best works of 2015 and I hope to work with Ben on more projects in the future.
Luis Junior Remix
If there ever was a track that brought an instant visual of moving through a vast expand of space, it is this remix of DYNO’s “Aquatika” by Luis Junior. An older track from a few years ago, this one combines a straight up bass drone with building, expansive pads that really let you know you’re on a trip to somewhere.
Rick Pier O’Neil
In moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico I’ve been lucky to become friends with one of the true masters of progressive music, Rick Pier O’Neil, swapping tracks and exchanging feedback along the way. Out of the many tracks and remixes he’s produced, this recent one titled “Signal” really stood out for me. Signature pounding and driving RPO sounds here, that carry the mix into a darker underground realm.
The perfect track for transitioning out of the dark passages of the previous two, Mark Reeve’s “Arena” has always been near the top of my music collection since first hearing Scuba play it in the twilight hours at Ushuaia in Ibiza in 2012.
Originally produced in 2005, this was the track that introduced Sarah and I to Cocoon-style techno, after hearing Sven Vath himself play it at Amnesia in Ibiza in 2006. Gritty and dirty, yet warm, this track is the perfect fusion of techno and progressive sounds.
Antrim Unnofficial Remix
Antrim’s remix of Vangelis’ “Rachel’s Song” is simply a beautiful piece of music with its warming vocal sample and light keys, and comes out of the previous run of techy dark tracks very nicely. A recent track I snagged off the promo pools, this one has been near the top of of my track collection since the summer of 2015.
Dark Soul Project & Mathov
We Are Not Alone feat. Fe Malefiz
Nico Parisi Remix
A few names I’ve become a fan of over the past few years all come together on this track, with Nico Parisi’s remix of Dark Soul Project & Mathov’s “We Are Not Alone” that features vocalist Fe Malefiz who I’m just finishing up a new track with right now. This one’s a subtle and warm progressive number that allows the mix to breathe a little before moving into a very powerful next stretch.
Desaturate’s “And Justice For Some” Remix
Part of the first release on the previously mentioned Rick Pier O’Neil’s recharged and reloaded “RPO Records”, this remix by Desaturate of Anthony G’s “Pravda” is the definition of proper progressive. Driving bass and production coupled with some dark spoken word samples flawlessly mixed and mastered of course, push some serious moody overtones back into the mix. Taking the overall mix up to the halfway point, this track is the first of a big run of tracks that really get things going.
Dark Soul Project Remix
I was first introduced to the sounds of Kay D and Dark Soul Project, and this track in particular through John 00 Fleming’s Essential Mix back in 2012. Sweeping and dark deep trance is the theme here and this track is a screamer. Pads come out of nowhere and build things up to an energetic four to the floor peak.
It’s often a challenge to mix out of a track like the one previously, but as luck would have it in going back through various playlists Solee’s “Aragorn” fit absolutely perfectly. The off-beat dotted synth line carries all the energy built up from the previous two tracks and really keeps the mix at a peak-time level.
Cristian R & Kasall
Another production team that can be found all over recent set lists in recent months is the duo of Cristian R & Kasall, and their original track “Flying” is no exception. Warm baselines, driving percussion and some subtle keys and pads all come together to simply create a powerful arrangement, and bring the mix slowly down to a deeper level from the peak sounds of the previous tracks.
Kazell Influx Audio Remix
This one is a definite classic, with the original vinyl release nicely packed away in a container in my storage unit in Canada. Thumping tribal sounds true to the days of progressive music’s prime rule this track, which at the same time still hold their weight when mixed with tracks from today.
From a classic, to a current day bomb, super-producer &ME comes into the mix with “Woods”, a techy, driving monster. Most people today shy away from calling this progressive and call it techno, but for those of us oldies out there, this is as progressive as it gets. What a track!
TUSOM (The Sound of the Underground Madrid)
As mentioned a couple of tracks earlier, some tracks are just produced to be timeless – which is especially a challenge in the electronic music world. Another piece of vinyl from the early 2000s, Dominic Plaza’s “Sundown” is one of these tracks with it’s warm tribal percussion and the big pads that come up like the sun into a lush and building breakdown / build-up.
I just could not do this mix without including something from a dj/producer that both Sarah and I have just loved since the beginning, Eric Prydz. I especially gravitated towards his earlier more underground work, such as this track, titled “Evouh”. Coming out of the previous classic, the track choice was a tricky one, requiring something that kept with some of the tribal sounds of before while taking the mix into another melodic direction, and this one builds to do just that.
Rise and Fall
A recent release by Rise and Fall, “Open System” this one is another driving and dark builder, where aggressive stabs come out of the depths to push things along. The idea here was to continue the mix in a dark direction for a couple of tracks before moving to the ending tracks, and “Open System” does this perfectly.
Rick Pier O’Neil
Up To The Groove
Look who’s back! This recent track on JOOF Recordings is one of my favorites from Rick and just had to be included. His signature ultra-fat bass sounds, percussion and voice samples unleash an absolute bomb here. Overall I didn’t expect to have three RPO tracks in this mix, but with so many great tracks and remixes coming from him lately, the challenge was actually to not include more!
Sunrise Over Xaman-Ha
2016 Beach Remix
With the mix reaching it’s final moments, what a better way to start concluding the journey than a ‘sunrise on the beach’ inspired rework of my “Sunrise Over Xaman-Ha” track I originally produced for JOOF Recordings back in 2012, that will be released on the JOOF 18 Year Anniversary compilation coming out in 2016. One of my stronger original production works, it was a really nice exercise to re-work everything, including Andrea Wettstein’s soft and lush vocals we recorded so long ago, into a new version of the track that fit with the slower tempos and deeper sounds that I tend to play today.
Lost & Found
Last, but certainly not least is an absolutely beautiful ending track called “Dizzy Moments” from Guy J, someone whose music I’ve followed and loved for years now. This one concludes the two hour mix brilliantly with sprinkling keys and warm pads that build and slowly fade out to nothing, perfectly summing up everything I like about the progressive and deep trance genres I know and love.