The DJ Mix Album – The 90s

Looking back over the music that has influenced my life has landed at the 90s, and the emergence of the DJ Mix album. I’d always intended to create a best of the genre list covering all the years I bought mix albums, but realised this was a difficult ask. Firstly, the early 90s were the formative years, the time when those memories were created. It was all new then, we were all younger and a proper community/family vibe was around. People you recognised at club nights to the trainspotters beavering away creating the tracklists so we could say we knew what ID – ID was., we’re all crucial to that time. As time wore on and I got older, the times had were always compared to those early years. Renaissance at the Que Club and Bakers in Birmingham, Up Yer Ronson, Back to Basics and Vague in Leeds, The Rhumba Club and the early Essential Mix nights wherever they were held.

The upshot of all this nostalgia is a couple of posts: the first covering the 90s, then another casting a net over the noughties and 2010s. The only way to do this properly was to listen to the mixes again. It has taken months, but was most enjoyable.

The art of creating the mix album developed from live club recordings to studio mixes, Protools then Ableton Live. It is funny now listening back to the pre-Ableton mixes. In my head I’m trying to correct those wavering mixes that are now totally locked on via Ableton. It didn’t make listening to them again any less enjoyable. I only marvelled at how good they were given the technology available to them back then.

It began (for me) with bootleg tapes from various clubs or radio shows. Sasha’s ‘Giving It Up’ Kiss FM show did the rounds for a while. Lots of the tunes forming the original Renaissance Mix Collection. On the show he also introduced a young John Digweed. His ‘Unplugged’ tape was flawless, having been a studio mix rather than live. Shelley’s tapes, Pimp tapes, Rhumba tapes are were copied or shared amongst the troops. One the first mix CDs I can remember getting was Sasha & Dave SeamanDJ Culture Non Stop in the Mix which was a mix put out via Stress. The CD is nothing but classics start to finish (eg. Bedrock, Brothers Luvs Dubs & Last Rhythm) recorded in a seminal era.

Then house music gospel Mixmag created a Mixmag Live series which paired Sasha and CJ Macintosh on one CD, Digweed with Gordon Kaye on another as well as Nick Warren with Dimitri together, each doing shorter 30min (ish) mixes of contrasting styles. There were many others, some of which were a joy to revisit. Mixmag ended up providing a covermount CD with their monthly magazine. Some of those were well worth having as a release on their own.

Around the same time, or maybe slightly earlier the Jouneys by DJs series started with Billy Nasty and Judge Jules. Two releases from that series stood out – John Digweed’s Silky Mix (JDJ4) and Coldcut’s 70 minutes of madness (JDJ8). The series carried on for a few years but eventually slipped away due to the deluge of others that appeared. Another early notable series was DJ Power with Danny Rampling, Sister Bliss, Farley & Heller each producing a mix.

Pete Tong’s Essential Mix started in 1993 with Tong himself, Danny Rampling, Farley & Heller again initially. However, it was Sasha’s Essential Mix 15/01/1994 that generated such a buzz. It felt like a change of style, much more proggy and no more piano anthems. It still sounds fabulous today. This was followed by Junior Vasquez the following week, then the immense John Digweed mix from early March, where I first heard ‘Bump – House Stompin’.

The bootleg tape was taken a stage further when the Boxed series emerged. Some of the output were studio mixes showcasing the DJs talents giving them more control over the final product. Boxed was the precursor to the Global Underground cities series, which is still going today but with a much reduced release schedule. The premise was, a DJ is sent off to do a party in some glamorous location. They then recorded a studio version representing those shows and packaged them up in limited edition long box. Nick Warren and Dave Seaman particularly, did some air miles back then. The standard of the GU output remained strong throughout, with Sasha, John Digweed and Danny Tenaglia all providing multiple mixes. There’s only a handful of those releases that i didn’t listen to again, as I remember not liking them much at the time.

The Renaissance series was kicked off back in 1994 by the original, and still the best, Sasha and John Digweed mix. I was only to happy to listen to those 3 mixes again, It’s timeless. Perhaps they didn’t think so, as they added Kym Mazelle to the 10th anniversary edition also removing all trace of M People. I do however, understand why they did it. It is a perfect representation of the time I properly got into house music. I could talk about that album for hours, but suffice to say that they missed off very little of importance in this release. There was a quality to the Renaissance mixes in terms of the DJs they used, their music and the packaging. This was reflected in the club which was always decadently presented, wherever it was. The series carried on for years with Dave Seaman being a mainstay, but adding Nick Warren, Hernan Cattaneo and James Zabiela to name but a few. The later year mixes were by DJs I didn’t know. Often producers putting a mix together, pretty forgettable stuff. That was most likely, just my age.

The Ministry of Sound (MoS) releases started with Tony Humphries and Clivilles & Cole as early contributors to the Sessions mixes. Those mixes in particular remain great snapshots of that vocal house era. Strangely, Paul Oakenfold did Volume 2 but with a tracklist that fitted the brand. Nothing like the euroscreamers he played for the rest of his career.

Ministry of Sound as a label also gave rise to the Northern Exposure series. There were 4 Northern Exposure releases. Like Renaissance, it was Sasha and Digweed’s first that was the true gem. Two very different mixes – Sasha’s (North) was very atmospheric, less club friendly. It included Banco de Gaia, Morgan King and the late Scott Hardkiss with Raincry under his God Within moniker. Digweed’s mix was darker, more club ready. It included the epic Rabbit in the Moon mix of Inner City Life and ended with Underworlds Dark & Long. Castle Trancelot – The Gloom also sounds epic on a big sondsystem. Northern Exposure 2 followed a similar theme with Sasha’s home friendly disc the better of the 2. Northern Exposure 3 (Expeditions) was good but with both discs being much more aligned in terms of style. Northern Exposure 4 (Communicate) was really disappointing. I still feel that way about it today.

Ministry also put out Junior Vasquez – The Future Sound of New York Sound Factory mix. Listening back, some of the mixing was patchy, but those tunes were outstanding and a great showcase of that moment in time. MoS may just be purveyors of cheese for the masses now, but early doors, they had more of an eye on quality and contributed massively to the 90s.

Tribal UK put out a lot of great releases in the mid 90s. This is the Sound of…, and Mix This Pussy by Danny Tenaglia mixes were notables. As was DJ Vibe via Tribal America who did the Kaos mixes.

Out of Australia came the Balance series. Kasey Taylor and Bill Hamel delivered a couple of blinding proper progressive mixes. The 5th in the series by James Holden is the most revered and is still cited as the best in the series. Personally, I liked those by Chris Fortier, Jimmy van M and SOS but agree the Holden one is class. Balance is still going today, with a release last year by a guy who wasn’t a DJ but a producer. The same way Renaissance went.

Towards the end of the decade John Digweed started his Bedrock series. His own mix was my personal highlight, but the Jimmy van M offering was also stellar. His ’99 Essential mix was based heavily on this album but had an even stronger ending. Digweed would later do Transitions and his enduring Live at series. That’s for next time.

The Back To Mine series started with Nick Warren and Dave Seaman doing beautiful ‘chill’ albums designed for after a club night, when the comedown was in effect. This series gave rise to a multitude of similar themed albums over the next couple of decades. Late Night Tales being the most notable. For the middle aged ex clubber, those albums still get a play every so often.

In a similar vein to Back to Mine, the DJ Kicks series emerged in the middle of the decade. Thievery Corporation and the genre fluid Kruder & Dorfmeister mixes we’re particular highlights. K&D also did their K&D sessions, widely heralded as one of the great downtempo compilations.

It wasn’t all progressive house though. I have always had a soft spot for a bit of cheese. A vocal, big break and drum roll went down well. The Fantasia series, including Jeremy Healy and Jon Pleased Wimmin was enjoyable. Trade, was a gay club that was represented by music that could best be described as bouncin’. The late Tony Di Vit, Pete Wardman and their peers put out some incredible mixes as Trade. Tony Di Vit was also given the honour of the very first Global Underground mix from Tel Aviv. He was taken far too young. I also remember fondly Pete Wardmans Essential Mix in 1995. It was a time and place though, as I find Trade mixes difficult to listen to now on account of my age. Kudos though, they were an outstanding set of ‘hard bag’ mixes and part of my life for a while. My personal favourite cheeser was Vague – Now & Then. I loved Vague as it was the friendliest club I ever visited. The night I was there was a Coronation Street outing as Angela Griffin was around with some others. On the clubs closing night, they changed the club sign from VAGUE to UGAVE, beautiful. The album covers old Vague (Then – pre 95) and a mix from ’95 (Now).

That’s the 90s DJ Mixes as I remember them. The following list are just my favourites, the ones that have stood the test of time. It’s no surprise the list is dominated by two guys. They opened by eyes and ears to house music, and to the music that followed in the 2000s. In no particular order:

Journeys by DJs 4: The Silky Mix John Digweed. This is a very different John Digweed from the man you may know now. It’s an album of classics from 93-94 seamlessly mixed. A who’s who of bangers that never gets cheesy. Even Atlantic Ocean – Waterfall seemed to fit. That haircut though.

Essential Mix: 15/01/94 Sasha. Not even 2 news breaks in a 2 hour mix could take away from how well this flowed. It can’t be underestimated what this mix meant and still means. From Timeless Land right through, this is a phenomenal journey.

Northern ExposureSasha and John Digweed. I said it earlier, these are chalk and cheese mixes that together made the perfect package. I can remember the excitement of it coming out and first playing it. I’ll pretty sure i’ll never tire of it. It’ll be 30 years old soon.

Renaissance: The Mix CollectionSasha and John Digweed. Renaissance was important in my life. This album represents that period perfectly. Even if you don’t like house music, but were interested in what 1993 – 1994 was like, give this a listen. All 3 discs.

Global Underground 9: San FranciscoSasha. I ended up buying so many tunes from this album. Joi Cardwell, Stoneproof, Slick Mick, Incisions, the list goes on. The samples from the local resident and his harmonica, provide great intros to both mixes. The transitions suggested they were computer aided, but that doesn’t matter.

Global Underground 6: Sydney – John Digweed. This is fierce, as it’s played much faster than later mixes in the series. Disc 1 could be considered peak time stuff. I’m still stopped dead when The Crystal Method break happens on disc 2 – There is hope. Phenomenal mixing from Digweed considering this is done on 2 technics.

Unplugged: July ’93 – Sasha. From the ambient jungle sounds at the start and which permeate throughout, to the Def Mix of Kym Mazelle’s – Was That All It Was, this is textbook Sasha ’93. A clearly planned out studio mix which did the rounds as a tape. I’ve still got the tape.

Renaissance: The Mix Collection 2 – John Digweed. Sasha had moved on from Renaissance and Digweed was now the resident. For the second in the series he got all 3 discs to himself. He did a pretty decent job. His sound had moved on from the first album and was the beginning of him transitioning to where he is now.

Back to Mine – Dave Seaman. Often the back to mine series were eclectic tunes crashed together. This wasn’t like the rest. The mixing was seamless and the tracklisting was stellar. Craig Armstrong, Depeche Mode and finishing with Gorecki by Lamb. Very few chill albums have come close even as the technology improved. Timeless stuff.

Bedrock – John Digweed. The mixing on this release was something else. Over the course of the 2 mixes he slowly moved through the gears peaking at the closer, his own ‘Heaven Scent’. When I think of this album I always think ‘We Are Connected’. It’s a masterclass in DJing.


2022 Best Of

What a challenging year 2022 has been. With all that’s happened, I don’t feel like the same person that entered the year. It’s 12 months I’ll never forget but I’d love to. As always music played a crucial role in keeping some form of grounding to my life. The first half of the year was spent listening to an ever evolving playlist on Spotify called All Farewells Are Sudden, based on the A Winged Victory For The Sullen (AWVFTS) tune. AWVFTS feature every so often in the playlist. The tunes I heard formed the basis for my annual ambient mix of the same name.

The summer was long and helped push the earlier part of the year to the back of my mind. The albums I ended up buying were mostly not ambient but were returns by old favourites and also first time reissues on vinyl. I discovered a few artists, as is so often the way, well after they became established. Artists such as Julia Kent and The Soft Cavalry spring to mind. I also rekindled my love for Supertramp and early Genesis. I’d forgotten how much I loved Crime of the Century and Selling England By the Pound. Also, the band EAT from the early 90s and their album Epicure became a favourite again. Time spent listening to bands from that era (specifically 1992) gave way to a playlist. That was a golden era in music.

Here’s my best of for 2022. It wasn’t drawn from a massive pool but they are all albums I’ve grown to love. Apologies to Kathryn Joseph and The Smile.

10. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees.

It’s unusually been a couple of years since their last album. This is high quality psychedelic rock as always. There was talk of another album as a single was released. Maybe next year.

9. Suicide – Surrender.

One of the bands that influenced Spacemen 3. Not everything on this retrospective is easy to listen to but it shows what a great band they were. The title track will likely be familiar.

8. Loop – Sonancy.

It’s like they’ve never been away. A proper Loop album start to finish. I’ve went back and listened to A Gilded Eternity a few times of late – pure class.

7. Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia.

Another outstanding album. Watched their sets at Glastonbury and TRNSMT (on the telly) and they are excellent live. Maturing nicely.

6. Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful.

Still churning out great albums after all these years. It was May and the sun was out. We played this as we cleaned the house ready to move back home. I’ll forever associate it with that time ❤️

5. Tears For Fears – The Tipping Point.

Released back in February. 3 singles were released before the album which whet the appetite. An older TFF but still great songwriting and vocals. I’ve always loved Roland Orzabals voice.

4. The Dead Texan.

Taking liberties with this given it was released in 2004. This year saw its first vinyl release. One of the great ambient albums. Really pleased to have this in my collection finally.

3. Federico Albanese – Before and Now Sounds Infinite.

Another beautiful album made all the sweeter by an appearance by Ghostpoet. Federico Albanese never puts a foot wrong. One of Mrs W’s favourites so it still gets played a lot.

2. Andy Bell – Flicker.

The first album I bought in 2022. Every track is quality across both bits of vinyl. It’ll forever remind me of a difficult time but that doesn’t take away from how good it is.

Nils Frahm - Music For Animals

1. Nils Frahm – Music for Animals.

This stands head and shoulders above everything else this year. I’ve played at least one disc daily. I’m sure I read it was music to watch leaves rustle. I love an album with no surprises. He’s created so many great albums but none as ambient as this. A thing of beauty.

2021 Albums

2021 was book-ended by some amazing ambient albums. From Hotel Neon and Warmth back at the start of the year to some fabulous compilations and artist albums by familiar faces at the tail end. During the summer we were all let out to play again, so the ambient blanket was cast side in favour of something slightly more ‘upbeat’. As always, another stellar year. Expensive though, as all the lockdown albums came out this year. All ultimately worth it. Next year, I’ll reduce my vinyl budget significantly.

My 2021 album list. Unlike last years aberration where there was a Top 11, this year I went for a dozen.

12. Various Artists – Pop Ambient 2021. I’ve been buying this series since the early noughties. The last couple of years were a little weaker but this years edition is a return to form. The rota this year included Blank Gloss who put out the wonderful Melt in 2021. The vinyl is mixed unusually.

11. Nils Frahm – Old Friends, New Friends. 3 vinyl releases in 2021. Tripping with Nils Frahm, Graz then this. It might be a compilation of some old, some new but it’s my favourite release of his this year. Nils continues to cost me a fortune.

10. Stray Theories – This Light. A gorgeous lush album again. I always find it odd it sits in the ‘Ambient Post-Rock’ genre in some streaming platforms. To me it’s another warm blanket. I’ve followed his releases for a number of years. Hugely underrated guy is Micah.

9. James – All the Colours Of You. Another year, another pop masterpiece from James. Still one of my favourite bands even after countless studios albums. Watched them perform much of the album at the Isle of Wight festival and it cemented how good the album was in my mind. It was released the day after my 50th birthday. It’ll remind me of that time.

8. Various Artists – @0. A Ninja Tune compilation that arrived late in the year without much fanfare. A beautiful album supported by a mixed version by Mixmaster Morris and Coldcut. Proceeds from the album going to mens mental health charities. Lots of great artists, lots of great tunes and a great vinyl package. Autumn Leaves, however, makes yet another appearance on the mix version (not on the vinyl 👍).

7. Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth – Utopian Ashes. I buy all Primal Scream releases, so this was a given. It’s a breakup album and all the stages associated with that. An album I played a lot over the summer months. Includes the wonderful Remember We Were Lovers.

6. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Invisible Cities. I’m listening to this as I write. While it might not scale the heights of Atomos (we may never hear the likes again) it is nevertheless a great standalone album. It was the score to a multimedia production which I remember reading about at the time. I was delighted when it got a full release of its own.

5. Max Richter – Voices 2. This might have been leftovers from the Voices project but it is equally as good an album. If anything, it is a more relaxed experience, less epic in parts and importantly for me, voiceless. I read Max Richter said it provides room to breathe, it does.

4. Sasha Luzoscura. It has been great watching this project develop. Sasha curated a Spotify playlist during lockdown. There were 4 x 2 hour mixes on OpenLab radio. 2 shows at the Alexandra Palace once lockdown eased and this album in May. A beautiful ambient and breakbeat DJ mix at the time the world was opening up again.

3. Jon Hopkins – Music For Psychedelic Therapy. Probably the album I’ve listen to more than any other this year. Impressive given it only got a release in October. The album I always hoped Jon Hopkins would make. He does ambient very well indeed.

2. Cheval Sombre – Days go By. The 2nd of his 2 full album releases in 2021 arriving late May. I’ve listened to this a lot over the summer months. Very much in the same vain as….

1. Cheval Sombre – Time Waits For No One. Sounding more Sonic Boom than Sonic Boom. A friend bought me this thinking I’d like it. He was right. I ended up getting Days Go By as well. My favourite musical discovery in 2021 and also my favourite album. Sorry it took so long to get onboard.

Notable mentions go to Hotel Neon, Warmth, The Specials, The Coral, Mogwai, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Admiral Fallow, Blank Gloss and Sonic Boom for his remix album ‘Almost Nothing Is Never Enough’. Incidentally, the only gig I went to in 2021.

Until next year.

Jaykits 16

16 years of these, 16 years of ‘ambient’ music. I still get a lot of enjoyment from putting the annual mix together. This year it was more difficult to do as I didn’t listen to nearly as much music of that genre. Albums by Bobby Gillespie, The Coral and Luzoscura by Sasha were staples over the summer. Saying that, there was still great ambient albums peppered throughout the year. From Hotel Neon and Warmth right at the start of the year to the pair of Cheval Sombre albums in the Spring/Summer ending with Jonsi, Jon Hopkins and the immense @0 compilation on the Nina Tune label in November, it was still a year for stellar releases.

I hope you like volume 16. I was unsure what it would be like when I first started gathering tunes, but i’m really pleased how it turned out. Happy listening.

Jaykits vol. 16

1.     ‘Love Theme From Jesmond Dene’ – SL Walkinshaw
2.     ‘Time’- Michael E
3.     ‘Cirrus’ – Warmth
4.     ‘Towards a Distant Shore’ – Hotel Neon
5.     ‘The Mind Scans and Maps the World Behind’ – Tilman Robinson
6.     ‘Virga’ – Blank Gloss
7.     ‘The Celestial City’- A Winged Victory for the Sullen
8.     ‘Floodgate’ – Ryan Teague
9.     ‘Dreamsong’ – Cheval Sombre
10.  ‘Because This Must Be’ – Nils Frahm
11.  ‘He Was My Gang’ – Cheval Sombre feat. Sonic Boom
12.  ‘Elevated Pastures’ – Chinyami
13.  ‘Cryonics (Part 7)’ – Motionfield
14.  ‘Follower’ – Max Richter
15.  ‘Breaking the Horizon (Eluvium Broken Mix)’ – Michael Price
16.  ‘Hedione’ – Jonsi
17.  ‘Yin-Yang’ – Felsmann + Tiley
18.  ‘Remember We Were Lovers’ – Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth
19.  ‘Pink Soldiers’ – Theme from Squid Game

The Wonder Years 5

Spring is in the air and we’ve been organising stuff, loads of stuff. Thankfully, this has involved my music collection. Mrs W has graciously let me get all my CDs out of boxes and they are now displayed in 2 massive units.

Also, ALL my house 12s are now out on show and accessible. No more guessing which box a tune is in. No more emptying a cupboard to find an elusive bit of vinyl I thought I had. It’s like Christmas, the one we never had last year.

Being as I am, I decided to organise the vinyl by record label. I have a ridiculous amount of 12s on Hooj Tunes, Fluid Recordings, Eve Records etc. Many of the tunes I hadn’t seen in years. I started pulling out some vinyl and then a mix was forming in my mind. Fast forward a week and here is the mix. Most of the tunes are still in good condition, so not too much crackling and no skipping. They cover 1994 to last year. I decided to use a record from Joris Voorn’s recent Global Underground mix. I don’t hear much house these days but the Willaris K track is outstanding. It was the tune they used to promote the mix before it came out. Apart from that, the mix is all olden but golden.

The tunes:

‘Want Me Need Me’ (FOS Full Dynamic Mix) – Justine (1994) Digweed used to play this during 1994. That point where he and Sasha were interchangeable in their music. I loved this time. I must check what ever became of the Fathers of Sound.

‘Atom Bomb’ (Doomsday Mix) – DJ Pierre (1997)
Atom bomb, outta control etc. Twisted put out loads of good dark, deep garage/house. The Doomsday mix has always been THE mix. A big Danny Tenaglia favourite. Incidentally, it’s his 60th birthday this week (March 2021). Mad to think.

Much Betta Man – Mindtrap (1998)
This is a Eddie Vedder vocal and a big drum roll. I heard Sasha play it at an Essential Selection thing on the radio one night. It was a difficult bit of vinyl to track down. I never heard it played out.

Carbine (Escape Remix) Tungsten (1999)
Been trying desperately to remember where I heard this tune. It might’ve been a Global Underground, NuBreed or Renaissance. I bought it irrespective and the Escape Remix is still outstanding. Dark and progressive.

Lacuna (Original Mix)Tocharian (2001)
Another one of these I can’t remember where i heard it. I do remember Hernan Cattaneo playing it at a night in Edinburgh I was at. Sounded great out of a big sound system. Also, dark and progressive.

Pure Frictions GrooveVoyager (1999)
This is some tune. Needs pitched down to -6 to be acceptable. This is from Northern Exposure 3 (Expeditions). It could only be a record Digweed played. A joy to mix with. Darker than the ocean floor.

Black AM (King Unique Dirty Dub) Watkins (2001)
Sharam’s After-hours Toronto mix for Global Underground was where I heard this. However, I heard this on a Dave Seaman mix as well. It’s the King Unique Dub but includes a vocal sample to break up the prog of the last few tunes. King Unique put out a lot of good records during that period.

The Whoop (Dr. Slinky McVelvets Anadin Prescription)The Self Preservation Society (1995)
The Rhumba Club, This remind me of that place, those nights. It reminds me of that period but still sounds great now. One of those tunes I’m glad I own.

4AM (Marc O’ Tool Mix)Ballroom (1999) Dave Seaman Melbourne GU mix. I think it’s quite a beautiful record for a house tune. I see it was used by Tiesto further down the line. Probably one of his downtempo numbers.

Cobaki Sky (Joris Voorn Edit) Willaris. K (2020) Taken from the Joris Voorn Global Underground Rotterdam mix at the end of last year. Beautiful, lush tune. I don’t own this on vinyl so there was jiggery pokery to get this thing on the mix.

Sufi (Original Mix)Mavi (2001) I heard this on Nick Warren’s Renaissance Revelation Mix. Both his and Danny Howells mixes were excellent and are still enjoyable now. Proper progressive record. One of these journey in a tune types. A nice way to end.

I think of all the money spent on these records but still prefer to have the memories they provide. I hope you enjoy the mix.

2020 Albums

Music took on an even more important part in my life during 2020. Often providing solace and always providing joy. I spent a lot of time and money on vinyl as well as time spent on my own mixes this year. It was all worth it.

I could’ve had a top 50 list but here’s my favourite albums of 2020. I’ve got 11 for some reason.

11. Michael Rother – Dreaming. This took me by surprise. I heard a track from the album courtesy of Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone. The ‘Krautrock’ legends first album in many years they said. Not a hint of krautrock about it. Lovely downbeat stuff.

10. Olafur Arnald – Some Kind of Peace. I didn’t like the lead tune ‘Woven Song’ but once in the context of the album it made more sense. This is a beautiful album and seems to have influences from many places.

9. FSOL – Cascade 2020. My first Record Store Day purchase this year. My favourite FSOL tune turned into a full album 20 odd years later. Cascade Part 1 permeates throughout.

8. Joris Voorn – GU43 Rotterdam. It’s been many a year since I spent a lot of time listening to a house mix. The last Global Underground left me cold (Patrice Baumel – pretty heavy duty stuff) but this is a masterpiece. 100+ tunes over the 2 CDs. It’s totally inspiring stuff and pushed me to put a mix together. Sadly, not quite to this standard.

7. Fontaines DC – A Hero’s Death. I loved Dogrel, but after listening to this, that album feels like them just getting started. I love this album. Musical, catchy and mature.

6. Nils Frahm – Empty. Glad this got a vinyl release later in the year. A surprise arrival early in the year with no fanfare. Lovely piano work. His ‘Tripping’ gig on Mubi is amazing. It shows just how hard he works in a live setting.

5. Sonic Boom – All Things Being Equal. Really pleased to have Sonic back making the stuff i’ve always loved. Listening to this, it was like he was never away.

4. Goldmund – The Time It Takes. Keith Kenniff never disappoints. This grew on me over a period of time and still gets better with every listen.

3. Ghostpoet – I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep. Lockdown will always be synonymous with this album. Lyrically clever and with loads of hooks.

2. Max Richter – Voices. Reminds me of the summer. As with all of Max Richters proper artist albums, it is full of emotion. I won’t lie, I prefer the voiceless version but I have made a point of listening to the human rights version a few times as I did buy the vinyl.

1. Bruce Brubaker and Max Cooper – Glassforms. Loved it from when I first heard it and love it now. The piano work of Brubaker and the electronics of Max Cooper is a beautiful combination. I’m playing it again now as I write this. I can only hope they collaborate again.

Notable others include Doves The Universal Want, MotionfieldAlways There, Jonas Munk – Minimum Resistance, Sigur RosOdin’s Raven Magic and TineidaeExo.

Already pre-ordered for Jan/Feb 2021:

  • Tripping with Nils Frahm (Jan)
  • As The Love ContinuesMogwai (Feb)
  • Invisible CitiesA Winged Victory For The Sullen (Feb)

Looking back – The 1990s

Watching Top of the Pops 2 on BBC4 one Friday evening, I was delighted to find they’d finally moved onto the 90s. The show was a retrospective of 1990 and included TOTP performances from MC Tunes vs. 808 State and Orbital amongst others. Orbital’s performance of Chime included the plugs for their synths sitting unplugged in plain view. It mentions that Orbital never performed again on the show. It didn’t hinder them with their career.

The show got me thinking back to the 1990s. For me, a decade that was musically dominated by house music. Over the last few months I’ve also spent time listening to John Digweeds Bunker Sessions. He’s been playing some classics in his mixes. Tracks like Joe RobertsLove Is Energy (DOP Mixes) and Disco EvangelistsDe Niro. I dug out the Joe Roberts tune and found myself rummaging through the rest of my 90s tunes. I realised that some of these tunes I’d never used in a mix. So I made a mix. These are the tunes:

Schleichende Erkenntis – Sandmann. Sasha, Phoenix Festival 1997. First tune in a 4.5 hr set he did with John Digweed. I stayed for the duration, even as David Bowie was playing the main stage. This tune took a long time to track down, repeatedly referenced as ‘Unknown – Unknown’ or ‘ID’ in tracklists.

The Band (Original Mix) – Marco Zaffarano. Sasha, Twilo NYC 1997. All about the scales. Clearly I wasn’t at Twilo, I heard it on the wireless.

Heaven Knows (Galvatron Dub) – Angel Moraes. John Digweed, Essential Mix, Tall Trees 1995. ‘Deep Deep Down, all the way down’. A time and place.

In Front – Wan’ It? – NY Connection. Sasha, Essential Mix, Jan 1994 and Renaissance 2nd Birthday Party March 1994. All these years later, I’m still delighted to have this on 10″. It has stood the test of time well.

The Teazer – Solitaire Gee. Sasha, Rhumba Club June 1994. The only place I ever heard this getting played. As breaks and drum rolls go, this is epic. Can I have the rhythm?

Heart of Imagination – Sasha. Sasha, everywhere during 1995. This is a double A-Side with the more commercial Be As One. It builds to a massive piano breakdown.

Change (Brothers In Rhythm Mix) – Daphne. John Digweed throughout a lot of 1995. Typical Brothers In Rhythm vocal sound of that time. It makes me smile when I hear it now.

Run (Z2 Mix) – Ecano. I never heard this getting played out. To be fair, it was 1999 and I wasn’t going to clubs much at this point. Along with Size 9 (Josh Wink) – I’m Ready, one of the longest breaks I’ve heard. The drumroll goes on and on….

I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together. I apologise in advance for the condition of a few of the records.

If you fancy a listen:


I was going to do a blog about all the good music I heard during Q3 2020. However, given the weather went south once October started, I thought a mix would better showcase the tunes.

I spent time out on the bike as always but also enjoyed taking in the fabulous sunsets September often brings. Although, I’ll miss the summer, the sunsets are too late for an early to bed merchant like myself.

Up the hill.

The spot of choice is a hill south west of home and provides an uninterrupted view over the mountains to the west. During September the sun sets between the mountains. I’ve yet to encounter another person at the spot I go to. Happy with that.

Sunset from Mailer Hill, Perth.

The baw sometimes comes with.

This mix reflects time spent watching the sun go down during September. Good times.

  1. ‘Sonar’ – Nils Frahm
  2. ‘QP-06.33’ – Quiet Places
  3. ‘Atlantis’ – Forrest Fang
  4. ‘Recumbent Speech’ – Ezra Feinberg
  5. ‘Yet Another Reason To Be Still’ – Endless Melancholy
  6. ‘In Search Of Sleep’ – Aiden Baker
  7. ‘Aguas Frescas’ – LNZNDRF
  8. ‘Exit’ – Auscultation
  9. ‘Chorale Parts 1-4’ (Voiceless Mix)’ – Max Richter
  10. ‘That’s How You Get Hurt’ – Courtney Marie Andrews

Jaykits Vol. 15

It’s the time of the year that my annual ambient mix (The ‘Jaykits’ Series) gets put together. I’ve no idea why I do this in August/September when the end of year would make more sense. Maybe next year I’ll rectify this.

As always, I’ve loved putting this together. A majority of this was formed of the lockdown walks, often in the evening sun. The field recordings were either recorded in my garden or out in the woodlands of Perth (as was the cover photo). The early days of lockdown meant the bird song was just that bit more prominent and easy to capture. Reverb has been added to the field recordings and used throughout the mix.

In terms of the music, selecting the tunes was easy. The first track chosen was the The Slow Descent Has Begun by A Winged Victory for the Sullen from The Undivided Five. The album came out at the start of November 2019 by which time Jaykits Vol. 14 was done. After that the tunes on the mix are presented in some sort of chronological order. Motionfield, Jonas Munk and Federico Mosconi were early year favourites. The rest has been released since the world changed. That is except for the Virginia Astley track. The title track From Gardens Where We Feel Secure is included. I will forever associate that time with her album. A classic from the early 80s that I was lucky enough to discover this year. The mix finishes with Bella Ciao (Version Lenta) from Money Heist. We discovered that show during lockdown. It will long live in the memory.

I very much hope you enjoy.

Jaykits Vol. 15 – 1hr 11mins

Intro – Blackbird field recordings May/June 2020

1. CoastsLoscil

2. Always There Part 9Motionfield

3. Eastern HorizonsJonas Munk

4. Il Tempo Della Nostra EstateFederico Mosconi

5. From Gardens Where We Feel Secure – Virginia Astley

6. All Human Beings Part 3 – Max Richter

7. Blacklight TrailTineidae

8. Fleeting PremonitionASC & Sam KDC

9. Abyss Forms (i) Eluvium

10. The Slow Descent Has Begun – A Winged Victory for the Sullen

11. Visit Me Mogwai

12. Mad Rush Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper c/w Blackbird field recordings

13. For Now I Am Winter (Nils Frahm Rework) Ólafur Arnalds

14. No Sleep No Dream’- Gia Margaret

15. Bella Ciao (Versión Lenta de la Música Original de la Serie la Casa de Papel / Money Heist) – Manu Pila

2020 April-July: Hello Old Friends

As lockdown continued, time spent listening to music on the daily walk became even more important. I discovered some old albums (Virginia Astley – ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’), uncovered some new (ExoTineidae,  more to follow…) but most of all listened to new releases from some familiar names. Three albums in particular will remind me of this period:

GlassformsBruce Brubaker & Max Cooper 

VoicesMax Richter

All Things Being EqualSonic Boom

I’ve talked about the monumental Glassforms before so I won’t bore again. It’s all here →  Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper – ‘Glassforms’

Voices by Max Richter (of ‘Sleep‘ fame amongst many others), had been much hyped if you follow his work. The album is themed around the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Beautiful passages of music emerge out of short readings from the declaration. All Human Beings (the lead single) is peppered throughout, sometimes ushered in by an ‘Everyone has the right….’ spoken word extract. It’s Max Richter, so it’s layered with strings and piano, just the way i like it.

There’s a download with the vinyl where you not only get the original but also a ‘voiceless’ version. That version has been soundtracking my sleep for a few weeks now. It’s gorgeous, can’t recommend it enough.

Around my birthday Sonic Boom (aka Pete Kember Spectrum/EAR and former Spacemen 3 founder) released All Things Being Equal. The first proper Spectrum/solo album since Forever Alien back in 1997. I’d continued to buy his work through the Experimental Audio Research (EAR) phase. Some work was blissful ie. Mesmerised and even Phenomona 256. It all went a bit dark from The Koner Experiment through Millennium Music, Data Rape and Live at the Dream Palace. He was making music with oscillators and, if i remember right, Speak & Spell machines. By the time he released Pestrepeller (my last EAR purchase) I was pretty much done collecting his music as the albums were becoming an increasingly challenging listen (Try Continuum, the album after Pestrepeller, it’s darker than the ocean floor). I saw him in East Kilbride of all places doing a gig with the oscillator front and centre. You had to be a diehard.


He’d drifted a bit from memory over the intervening years until this release. He did release the War Sucks EP many years back which still displayed the early Sonic Boom/Spectrum sound, the sound I loved. So, All Things Being Equal was a bit out of the blue. It has all the hallmarks of a Sonic Boom album. It reminded me a lot of the Soul Kiss (Glide Devine) and High, Lows & Heavenly Blows era, as well as Recurring, the final Spacemen 3 album. He’s touring in March 2021, playing Stereo in Glasgow. Hopefully, gigs will be a thing again by then. I never realised Sonics music was missing from my life until I heard this album. Welcome back, I hope there’s plenty more to come.

Lockdown has eased, perhaps prematurely, but i’ll still be out with the headphones, far from the crowds gathering tunes for Jaykits Vol. 15. It’s shaping up nicely.