Best Mixes of 2011

Another year, another Best Of list. Clicky-clicky the link for past years blathering. I'm going to try to keep this part short for the sake of my own attention (and yours, I suppose).

iTunes tells me that I've listened to fewer mixes this year, but I think that's because I find myself inheriting an opinion where "good mixes" sound less like DJs mixing on the fly and more like planned productions that are performed live. Explained another way, it means that most mixes I encounter automatically blitz to the trash bin if I deduce it's just DJs playing other people's music. Why so harsh, you ask? Well, there's absolutely nothing innovative about doing what a dozen different smartphone apps can already do without human intervention. Perhaps this is my subtle nod toward controllerism, mashups, re-edits, ableton live, and that gray area that sits between producing and DJing, but the DJ landscape is shifting and I would hate to be the guy/girl still making one-dimensional mixes on a dying medium.

You'll understand what I'm talking about over the course of this list. As always, chronologically ordered.

5. Geisha Twins - Filterglove 10 Min Minimix (January 2011) [10:16]

Back in the beginning of 2011 Filterglove solicited DJs to compete for bragging rights to the best 10 minute fan-voted filter house minimix this side of sliced bread. As you can guess, in flooded massive french touch and Stardust-esque disco sets that would excite any filter house fan. My personal favorite was assembled by the doubly talented Geisha Twins who managed to cram in 40 well-chosen samples from various old and new disco/funk tracks in a mere 10 minutes. Without fail, every time this mix comes on my car, I car-dance like nobody's business...and now I'll share its magic with you.

4. Stereo:Type - Promo Mix (February 2011) [41:42]

Stereo:Type made 2010's best mixes list, so it's really no surprise to see their return this year. They scratch, mash, and cross genres so effortlessly that there's no opportunity for me to get bored. For example, this February promo mix starts in the 110bpm booty breaks arena, transitions to electro house, then dubstep, until rounding out for the high energy 175bpm drum & bass anthems.  Going from 110 to 175 in 40 minutes and crossing so many genres in the same breath is a feat few DJs ever truly master, but Stereo:Type are the ones to emulate. Packed with popular BBC Radio 1 hits, these guys play top-shelf multi-genre EDM without compromising on style.

3. Krafty Kuts - Fresh Kuts - Volume 3 (May 2011) [39:45]

Krafty Kuts is a legend unto himself. Any DJ who doesn't know who he is needs to check themselves and study up on their history because you don't need to be a breaks lover to pay homage to the masters. When KK started his Fresh Kuts mix series back in 2010, I don't think he realized just what kind of fire he was starting. Now that the series is on its 4th volume and has amassed well over 100,000 plays, you should be slapping yourself if you're not already on the bandwagon. Volume 3 alone has 55,000 plays and ~20,000 downloads and from the first listen it's pretty obvious why. With KK's signature re-rubs or originals accounting for at least half the playlist and a breakneck megamix style pace averaging one track per minute, it's the perfect eargasm for any multi-genre EDM freak who's up on all the fresh shit! Highly, highly recommended!

2. CJ Milli - Summer Jams (September 2011) [8:25]

This best-of list would be pretty remiss if there were no ladies to represent what females can bring to the decks. Thankfully CJ Milli makes another reappearance in this year's list. Don't get me wrong, there are a number of female DJs bringing the heat - Anna Lunoe and Kayper come to mind - but when I think of mixes that I want to listen to over and over again CJ is the lone frontrunner. This year Christy started her own blog (NSFW - haha!) where she shares her affinity for moombahton, disco, and smang with the interweb. Besides being hip to all the latest underground talent, CJ also knows her classics as evidenced in this mix that starts off in miami bass/Jock Jams tribute with Quad City DJs transitioning flawlessly into C&C Music Factory. Wins. At. Life.

1. A.Skillz - Beats Working - Volume 2 (December 2011) [30:39]

Few things in this world get me more excited than an A.Skillz homegrown production. Whether he's remixing old school funk jams into monster ghettofunk bangers, putting the latest re-rub together for a DJ mix, or showcasing his smooth turntablism talents, Adam Mills is among the few musicians who kill with everything he releases. If you're like me and have a soft spot for 70s/80s funk and 90s hip-hop samples, then you'll love every minute of an A.Skillz party set. There's something extraordinary about a DJ whose music screams "crate-diver" even before you ask what genre they spin. In my opinion, there are far too many DJs spinning only the latest hit tracks without ever taking the time to study or appreciate the classics. Adam has a knack for picking recognizable 80s samples and modernizing them into massive ghettofunk earworms (see his California Soul remix). Much like the disco house and french touch scene, the ghettofunk/funky breaks scene was built out of respect and esteem for the generations of music that came before. However, it is simultaneously an extremely forward-thinking movement that tries to bring classics into the current decade. A.Skillz is pretty much the poster boy for this. Even early on in his producer wheelhouse he was all about sampling funky basslines found on no-name vinyl records - it's the kind of geeky music obsession that I tend to fall quickly for.

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.