The month's best mixes: dusty house, spooky techno and sparkling jungle

We select the best mixes in March, including recordings from Lena Willikens, MGUN and DJ Klaus

Live at Robert Johnson Archive 0001: Lena Willikens

Over the last five years, Lena Willikens has honed her idiosyncratic sets in a residency at Düsseldorf’s Salon des Amateurs: a small, artsy lounge that celebrates a slower and stranger pace than many of its German techno-obsessed counterparts. Krautrock and Afro-jazz, cosmic disco and industrial, among myriad other sounds, are played with a laconic concern for how things “should” be done. Inspired by this attitude, Willikens plays house and techno that has a post-punk energy. Frankfurt club Robert Johnson recently launched a mix series of archival recordings, which Willikens kicks off. For almost two and a half hours, her robust, jaunty selections get plenty of elbow room.

Selectors Podcast 021: Palo Santo and Coco Maria

After Dekmantel takes over Amsterdam for its annual festival, they decamp to the Croatian coast for Selectors, which tends to focus on more relaxed grooves and slower tempos, with an emphasis on Afro and Latin genres. Two artists playing at this year’s event are Palo Santo, from Barcelona, and Coco Maria, from Mexico. Both devote their sets to South and Central American and Caribbean sounds. For Selector 021, they’ve recorded a sun-speckled hour of cumbia, bossa nova and samba records they found during recent travels in Mexico and Brazil.

Interdimensional Transmissions: Erika

Each May, Movement festival consumes downtown Detroit. It is one of the longest running electronic music events in the US and a pilgrimage for midwest ravers, the after-parties as much a draw as the main event. Among them is No Way Back, one of the US’s finest techno nights: a psychedelic gathering devoted to deep, raw acid sounds. Scene pioneers Interdimensional Transmissions power the night with original productions and music from their record collections. Co-founder Erika specialising in trance-inducing electro and techno, most widely heard in her collaborative production project Ectomorph. In this recording of a recent solo DJ set, you get the feeling that Erika could shift tectonic plates with just a transition.

MGUN winter mix

Producer Benji runs Don’t Be Afraid, one of the best UK-based club music labels, which has released two albums and a few 12-inches by the Detroit producer MGUN (the most recent was Axiom in 2018). If you love the dusty house sound pioneered by producers such as Theo Parrish and Omar-S – celestial synth pads and low-slung bass lines, hissing analogue drum machine kicks and wilting vocal refrains – then a MGUN set will be an hour well spent.

Klaus Truants mix

DJ and producer Klaus runs an ad-hoc party at the London theatre and club space the Yard with End Deportations, a grassroots campaign that protests against the Home Office’s immigration tactics. In 2017, Klaus was among 15 activists who halted a deportation charter flight from London to Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Bringing the brutal reality of these flights into the mainstream news cycle, the Stansted 15 were this year found guilty of terror-related offences for their protest. In the interview accompanying Klaus’s mix for Truants, his first set for some time, he speaks briefly of the relief of getting back to music. Exploring meditative bass music, this recording, vibrates with energy.

Production mix by Ossia

Solely comprising a producer’s own tracks, 100% production mixes are an invitation for listeners to delve deeper into their sonic universe. Heard in prolonged isolation, they amplify the artist’s more minute themes, played with the pace and control that arguably suit it best. Bristol producer Ossia makes spooky dub techno that draws on improvisational jazz, half-time dubstep and ambient drone. Often played at dub reggae dances or blended into harder techno sets by his extended Young Echo label crew, this 100% production mix lets Ossia’s brutalist skronk reverberate. His recent album for downbeat techno label Blackest Ever Black, Devil’s Dance, features some of the mix’s tracks and further explores his ominous, heavy sound.

Noisey Mix: Sherelle

Londoner Sherelle has an infectious energy behind the decks. She’s been a regular on youth-focused Reprezent Radio for years, but last month she exploded online after her first Boiler Room set, blending UK breaks from the drum’n’bass and jungle spectrum into the juke and footwork sounds of the US midwest, with smatterings of Jersey club, R&B and house vocals. It’s all about putting those beats, and the crowds heart rate, into a tailspin – for Sherelle, anything less than 140BPM might as well be a waltz. For her Noisey mix, she blends spacious drum breaks with lashings of dubby bass, sparkling jungle synth pads and rip-roaring vocal snatches. Wicked stuff.


Lauren Martin

The GuardianTramp

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