The month's best mixes: romantic grime, reverberant birdsong and more

Amid the bushfires, Ciel highlights Australian sounds, while Carista, Galcher Lustwerk and Anunaku are among the other selectors in our underground dance roundup

Elijah & Skilliam: Valentines

Rhythm & grime is the genre that never quite was. The term was coined in the early to mid 00s when grime producers DVA, Terror Danjah, and DaVinChe started collaborating with UK R&B singers, notably on DVA’s album The Voice of Grime and DaVinChe’s work with Katie Pearl. Though grime purists felt these experiments dulled the genre’s warrior mentality and eight-bar mayhem, and the singers never got the support needed to break through, R&G has had a sporadic afterlife, in the Night Slugs productions for Kelela and Kano’s more tender moments, among others. For Valentine’s Day, Butterz label and party heads Elijah & Skilliam recorded a mix linking R&G favourites with new voices such as Jorja Smith.

Beats in Space #1029: Galcher Lustwerk

Brooklyn-based producer and DJ Galcher Lustwerk spent his teens driving around his home town of Cleveland, listening to quiet storm-style R&B, jazzy rap and post-rock. Those louche drives influence his own style of deep house music: a tempered blend of minimalist beats and pads, with rap-adjacent vocals that spin out the wordplay until it all sounds as tired and wanting as he does. It’s a sound that he’s honed on albums – he released his third, Information, in 2019 – but makes the most sense in his silken mixes, his latest as a guest for Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space show.

Bleep Mix 95: Anunaku

Anunaku is an alias of TSVI, an Italian producer and DJ who runs the London-based Nervous Horizon label with fellow Italian Wallwork. The label’s been going for five years, but ever since he released his 2018 debut album, Inner Worlds, TSVI has been a serious one to watch in the UK underground club scene. Intricate yet catchy drum tracks, laced with Middle Eastern and north African percussion and powered by gargantuan bass, have become his signature. In this mix for Bleep as Anunaku, he further explores the terrain of Inner Worlds, channelling some quasi-psychedelic elements of these drumming patterns.

Euphoria in Amsterdam … Utrecht DJ Carista.
Euphoria in Amsterdam … Utrecht DJ Carista. Photograph: Laisa Maria

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix: Carista

In an earlier instalment of this column, we gave a nod to Carista, a DJ from Utrecht whose euphoric Boiler Room set at Amsterdam’s Dekmantel festival marked her out as a future favourite. In the months since, Carista toured Europe and returned to Dekmantel in 2019, to play on its impressive main stage. Her star in the ascent, she’s just stepped up to BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix (which has made an impressive run of younger artists part of its programming lately). Carista’s currency behind the decks is joy: from soul, disco, and funk, to melodic deep house and big garage swings, you get the sense she always packs her personal greatest hits in her record bag, whatever they might be in the moment.

Melbourne Deepcast #238: Ciel

After playing a run of shows in Australia, Canadian artist Ciel was struck by the beauty of the land, the warmth of its ravers, and the devastation caused by the recent bushfires. With these fond memories and fresh horrors in mind, she has recorded a tribute mix for the Melbourne Deepcast series, focusing on Australian electronic sounds and featuring new producers she discovered on her travels. It’s a tactile smattering, thoughtfully arranged, that frames the Australian landscape before the fires took hold: birdsong reverberates and fauna rustles between the beats, some of which are field recordings of Aboriginal music; new house, techno, and left-field ambience carry the rest of the mix through.

DJ Bone: fabric x Collisions mix

DJ Bone comes from a lineage of Detroit techno but is something of a renegade agent, not directly associated with any legacy crews. Known for a highly technical style of mixing and a penchant for the genre’s soulful side, he has kept a loyal fanbase going through his Subject Detroit label and has had something of a renaissance in popularity in recent years: regularly playing the UK and Europe, and releasing two excellent albums – one as DJ Bone and one under his Differ-Ent alias. As a DJ, Bone’s style is typically funky, playful, and layered, with a turntablism backbone, but in this new mix for Fabric, he carves out a steelier, more minimal route for himself – and it’s masterful.


Lauren Martin

The GuardianTramp

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