RA.851 Hamish & Toby : For some dance music fans, Hamish & Toby may be their new favourite DJs thanks to a recent US tour and excellent sets at festivals like Glastonbury, Dimensions, Houghton and Freerotation. 2022 was, after all, a breakthrough year for the UK duo. But in their own, close-knit world of Discogs fanatics and vinyl purists, Hamish Cole and Toby Wareham are admired and established names. They met while studying in Leeds, bonding over a shared love of wiggly bombs at countless clubs and hazy afterparties. They ran events (Butter Side Up, Dog Eat Dog), DJ’d tirelessly and continued to dig for obscure gems. Within a few years, they were both working full-time music jobs in London, booking Dimensions Festival (Hamish) and The Pickle Factory (Toby). (Hamish is now a director at Dimensions.) All in all, they’ve dedicated the past 15 years of their lives to dance music.
For all their behind-the-scenes work, Hamish & Toby’s true love is DJing together. They’re known for their long, expressive sets that go, in their own words, “all over the map.” Their RA Podcast, which was recorded live at Philadelphia party Subsurface in May, is a four-hour odyssey through golden-era house, tech house and UK garage. Proper party music, in other words. According to the duo, they were “fully locked in, as comfortable as we’ve ever felt DJing.” It really shows.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/851
RA.850 Nene H – 2022.09.19 : Whether you’re hearing a track or a DJ set, you can usually tell it’s Nene H pretty quickly. In just a few years, Beste Aydin has developed a very specific approach within the realm of techno. She inhabits the genre yet colours just enough outside the lines without losing the plot—or the pull—entirely. The focus is on fun, on groove and on hooks, with sets that dip into trance, electro, ghetto house and even hints of hyperpop, tying in neon threads into techno’s all-black garb.
She’s used techno as a jumping off point for orchestral and choral performances, as well as the poignant expression of grief (on her stellar debut album). She’s become a regular at Berghain and groundbreaking festivals like CTM, traversing a highbrow-lowbrow line that posits that every kind of dance music deserves the highbrow treatment. Her RA Podcast is an irresistible hour of techno full of what she calls “Neneisms,” turns into pop hooks amidst hulking techno beats and dips into funky, electro-informed beats.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/850
RA.848 Nikki Nair – 2022.09.05 : If you haven’t heard of Nikki Nair at this point, we’d invite you to come out from under that rock you’re living in. But jokes aside, the last 12 months have been the Atlanta producer’s year. He’s toured seemingly endlessly, has found his way into a number of local scenes and has put out records for labels like Dirtybird, Lobster Theremin and Scuffed Recordings. If that weren’t enough, he’s also been putting out an illuminating series of monthly singles on his Bandcamp that show off both his restless muse and his seeming ability to both perfect and put his own stamp on any sub-genre or style he tries.
People usually use some form of the word “bass” to describe Nikki Nair, because of the way his music flits between dubstep, drum & bass, electro and more. One moment he’s making staggering hip-hop instrumentals that would have fit right into the old LA beat scene, the next minute he’s making pneumatic techno or uptempo stuff that would fit right in one Juke Bounce Werk.
His voracious appetite for new sounds comes across on his RA Podcast, which is a sprawling two-hours-plus of genre hopping and careful mixing, hopping from mood to mood like a 2-D video game platformer. It starts off perhaps a little slower than you’d expect, but weaves through countless Nikki Nair tracks, older selections from Wolfgang Voigt and Drexciya and mind-melting club tracks from newer producers including DJ ADHD, Despina, Limewax and more. If you want to know what the hippest, most inventive dance music sounds like, bridging continents and oceans, this mix is it.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/848
RA.847 Bella Boo : As anyone who’s been to a Nordic country in the summer will tell you, there’s a certain magic in the temperate air that you only get from a place that is cold and dark for most of the rest of the year. That probably goes some way towards explaining how a country like Sweden produces some of the sunniest music around, whether we’re talking about pop or underground dance. Since she debuted on Stockholm label Studio Barnhus in 2018, Bella Boo has been at the forefront of this sound, making clever, fun and joyous house music on records like Once Upon A Passion, where pop instincts embed into deep house grooves.
Bella Boo’s RA Podcast both highlights her distinct personality and also the sound of Stockholm in full summer bloom, featuring local producers like Kornél Kovács, Axel Boman, Genius Of Time and Samo DJ. It’s full of catchy basslines, hooky vocal snippets, luxurious melodies and plenty of brilliant transitions. It’s kind of like listening to one of her records: a restless and kaleidoscopic approach to house, where the rhythms shift and a new earworm is always around the corner. Bella Boo has all the makings of a star, and this mix feels like another step in her impressive rise.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/847
RA.849 ¥ØU$UK€ ¥UK1MAT$U : Depending on who you ask, Yousuke Yukimatsu is the best DJ in the world. Or at least in Japan. The eccentric Osaka-born, Tokyo-based DJ has built up an arsenal of fans and disciples—most famously Tzusing—who revere his cross-genre approach and knack for out-of-this-world blends. Case in point: he recently released a mostly ambient mixtape that somehow felt more gripping and propulsive than many techno DJ sets. He also used that release, Midnight Is Comin, to highlight Japan’s underrepresented experimental electronic music scene, another sign of his wide-ranging and unusual tastes.
To go with his voracious hunger for all kinds of music, Yukimatsu can play alll different kinds of sets, from the meditative to the peak-time, all with the blending ingenuity and expert pacing we’ve come to expect. Just check his mind-blowing Boiler Room set from 2020. If that performance was nightclub madness and Midnight Is Comin was a slowly unfurling coil of downcast textures and moods, then Yukimatsu’s RA Podcast is something in-between.
Over two captivating hours, Yukimatsu brings in beats only to jettison them, returning several times to artists like Palmistry, Tzusing and Ryo Murakami. He anchors the mix with familiar tracks and voices before letting it drift out to sea again. It’s also deeply personal, focusing on tracks from people he played with at his Zone Unknown parties in Osaka and Kobe, as well as his friends who participated in Midnight Is Comin.
Some of these blends need to be heard to believed. But more important is the pacing: the mix moves at such a slow but intuitive speed that it’s almost tantric, the work of someone who knows how to keep the party going at a simmer without giving into the temptation to go faster. (He even says that the mix was supposed to be longer.) With hooky tracks from Palmistry and Equiknoxx up against explosions of noise and heavy EQing, Yukimatsu’s RA Podcast is like dipping your head above and below water, soaking in and appreciating the beauty of both realms at once.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/849
RA.846 DJ Noir : “You can’t take a sound and exclude the people who created it and say, this is our sound,” DJ Noir said in our 2020 feature about Juke Bounce Werk, the label she-cofounded. “No, it’s either Chicago footwork or it’s other.”
Back then, the Los Angeles-based imprint and crew was still primarily focused around footwork, but Noir and co—including artists like Kush Jones, DJ SWISHA, Surly and Sonic D—have branched out into all sorts of uptempo sounds, touching on house, UK garage, jungle and funk, but always with the fleet-footed approach that makes JBW what it is. “We used to sit down and say, we have to make 160, or we have to keep it footwork and juke,” Jones said in that same feature, “but we are also like, if you are strong and developed in another sound, then you should also be free.”
Sitting atop this empire of boundary-breaking, innovative dance music is DJ Noir, who is one of LA’s best uptempo DJs, or honestly, of any genre. Her sets can be speedy and intense, sure, but it’s the way she lets off steam at just the right moments, or gracefully dips into halftime, maybe even a spot of dubstep, that really sets her apart. The LA scene is spoiled to be able to see her DJ quite frequently, but along with the artists she tirelessly promotes and develops with JBW, she deserves a wider, more global spotlight. We hope her RA Podcast might convince you of that, too, an hour of remarkable DJing and skillful blending that connects continents and scenes, from Alix Perez to INVT to Nikki Nair and Bastiengoat. Buckle up!
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/846
RA.845 Nadia Struiwigh : Nadia Struiwigh immediately turned heads with her debut album, Lenticular, on CPU Records. It wasn’t her first record, but it was an auspicious release at an auspicious time for a label that was at the centre of a revival of early ’90s IDM and electro styles. You could use those terms to describe Dutch producer Struiwigh’s music, but you’d have to also mention ambient—just check out her last album, Pax Aurora, for Rotterdam powerhouse Nous’klaer Audio—and techno, which is the subject of her new RA Podcast.
Those familiar with Struiwigh only through her records might be surprised by this mix, which is over two hours of alternately atmospheric and pummeling techno. It highlights the versatility and potential of the genre, as well as Struiwigh’s own outlook on it. She was a techno DJ before she started making the softer, weirder stuff, and she can recognize the music’s innate emotional qualities, even at its most functional. As she says below, her intention is to “glue the best of both worlds” to create a “rare energy” with her DJing and production.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/845
RA.844 Tribal Brothers : eviewing their 2021 EP on Livity Sound, RA’s Henry Ivry said that the duo—along with collaborator DJ Polo—represented a “micro-history of jungle, garage, dubstep and, of course, their bread-and-butter, UK funky.” Now, you might not be familiar with them, but these two London producers, LR Groove and Razzler Man, have been doing their thing in the UK capital for nearly two decades, both together and apart. They reunited in 2018, inspired by the changing and cyclical tastes of UK dance music fans and, perhaps most importantly, the international rise of South African dance music and its interplay with other genres around the world.
The duo have now released two records for Livity Sound, which is among the biggest badges of honour you can get in this sector of electronic music. Effortlessly combining UK funky, dubstep and snatches of gqom and amapiano, the duo’s music feels organically adventurous, but hardly trendy—in fact, the space and reverb of their beats still sounds a lot like the music they were associated back in the ’00s, in the best way. Their RA Podcast is a journey into the musical borderlines they operate, made up mostly of their group tracks and solo, along with cuts from like-minded artists such as Scratcha DVA, KG and Karizma. It’s a whole lot of UK and a little bit South Africa, the sound of Black British dance music in flux and perpetual evolution.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/844
RA.843 Nosedrip : If we were to pick one word to describe Ziggy Devriendt, AKA Nosedrip, it would probably humble. He runs a one-man empire out of the modest Belgian coastal town of Ostend, and his STROOM label is one of the most quietly brilliant outfits in Western Europe. A mixture of obscurer-than-obscure reissues and quirky new material makes for a label as unpredictable as it is essential, and Devriendt’s unusual touch is all over it—he prefers to make up his own compilations and sequences instead of just repackaging old records, for example, which explains how important curation and putting songs together is to him.
So it’s not a surprise that , in addition to being a music nerd supreme, Devriendt is also a remarkably good DJ, whose ear for oddball cuts translates well into intuitively danceable music. Judging from his RA Podcast, he’s had trance on the mind—the mix features flighty beats that range from CJ Bolland and Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia to new-school practitioners like J-Zbel, plus a major highlight from Peter Van Hoesen that you might remember from Marcel Fengler’s Berghain 05 mix and plenty of new material from Stroom. (He’s also putting out a compilation of Belgian trance, which might explain the direction of this mix.) It’s a three hour-ride that varies from jaw-dropping mixing to abrupt, almost shocking transitions that might startle you out of your chair.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/843
RA.842 Fadi Mohem : Imagine growing up near Berlin, getting into dance music, going to Berghain for the first time and getting your mind blown by techno. Then, ten years later, you become a resident DJ at the fabled club. Not many people—any people?—can claim this story, but for Fadi Mohem, what would be so many DJs’ dreams became a reality. After getting his 2017 debut 12-inch Reckless in the hands of all the right people in Berlin, Mohem established a bold, bouncy techno sound with releases on Modeselektor’s Seilscheibenpfeiler, Ben Klock’s Klockworks and FJAAK’s SPANDAU20, pretty much the cream of the crop of modern techno.
Now, this year, he’s becoming one of Berghain’s newest residents, alongside other exciting names like Sedef Adasï and Naty Seres (and Lakuti upstairs at Panorama Bar). As heard on his recent collaborative with Ben Klock, Mohem has modern techno down to a science, thanks to a combination of reverence for the old-school and clever rhythmic touches, like the irresistible snare pattern on “Prefix.” His RA Podcast sounds like what you might expect from a new generation of Berghain resident: aerodynamic, heavy and, honestly a little midtempo compared to a lot of other young techno DJs. It’s the sound the club has made world-famous, with cuts from Reeko, Heiko Laux and Truncate, plus some special moments from aya, DJ Deeon and Petar Dundov. It takes a certain kind of DJ to get to this hallowed place, and Fadi Mohem deserves it.
Read more: https://ra.co/podcast/842
RA.841 Kelly Lee Owens : Welsh artist Kelly Lee Owens has a special grasp on techno. She can make it sound wild and naturalistic, like wind blowing through a dense forest, or make it feel cold and sleek, like a gleaming slab of chrome. Either way, though, it’s always full of emotion, thanks to the intricate textures and distinctive tones of her voice. You might even say she takes a singer-songwriter approach to techno, but that doesn’t mean her music isn’t suited for the dance floor.
Her most recent album, LP.8 , marks a step away from the dance floor, however, and into a place a little more dark, more unpredictable. It’s also some of her most gorgeous work, centering around “Anadlu,” an eight-minute cut that feels perfectly pitched between ambient and techno, with heavy, lumbering drums but an otherwise lightweight, almost wispy feel.
Owens’ RA Podcast occupies this zone almost perfectly. Beginning with 11th century music from Hildegard von Bingen, it ties all sorts of traditions together, from Pan Sonic to Throbbing Gristle to Marco Shuttle to Oneohtrix Point Never & Rosalía. It floats, it accelerates, it loops and doubles back in on itself, an hour of gripping electronics from one of techno’s most distinctive voices.
Read more at https://ra.co/podcast/841
RA.840 The Lady Machine : Camila Milieme has been playing techno long enough to experience a few of its boom-and-bust cycles. Starting off in Brazil in the late ’90s with the kind of rippling, tooly techno you’d expect from that era, Milieme lost interest once things started going minimal and took a break from techno to take up studying instead. By the time she checked back in, the genre had taken a turn closer to the stuff she used to play, so she packed up her bags and moved to Berlin, where she’s become an indispensable part of the techno scene.
As The Lady Machine, Milieme has released on Mote-Evolver and also runs her own label, Unterwegs, with UK producer Decka. As you’ll hear on her RA Podcast, she prefers a classicist (yet, still, modern) style of techno that mixes toughness with texture and detail. With plenty of unreleased tracks from her cohort and tracks from British Murder Boys, Jeff Mills, Dave Clark and Christian Wunsch, this is a timeless techno mix for heads from any generation, from the ’90s to the ’20s.
Read more: https://ra.co/podcast/840