New Song, New World #04

Macro Records Blog - NEW SONG NEW WORLD

06/26/2014

“It was deep, it was soulful, it was techno, it was disco…

 A kaleidoscope of sounds, it was truly underground.”

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Whether your journey with dance music is just beginning, or you’re one of the privileged few who’ve been around long enough to see the scene grow… you’re familiar with these lines.

It’s the intro to The Essential Mix, a weekly radio show hosted by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1.

But here’s a little history about The Essential Mix that you probably didn’t know.

It was originally created in 1993 by producer Eddie Gordon, a man who envisioned the program to be a diverse pallet of musical genres and styles.

Gordon encouraged DJ’s that appeared on the program to expand their musical horizons and play records that were both different and unfamiliar.

Gordon loved that the Essential Mix gave producers the opportunity to tinker, combine, mix and match songs and sounds that they normally couldn’t if playing solely in a club.

Because it was aired on the radio, listeners were able to enjoy the music from the comfort of their homes. In essence, the Essential Mix was an opportunity for DJ’s to stray away from the fixed model of a set.

It didn’t necessarily have to make you move, it just had to make you feel.

Gordon also understood that these mixes had the opportunity to showcase not only internationally recognised talent, but up-and-coming DJ’s too.

Over the years, Essential Mixes have become a fundamental element in both the UK and international dance music scenes. DJ’s have used their mixes to make statements, present ideas and change the way people think about dance music.

Speaking from a personal perspective, Essential Mixes have helped mark significant changes in both my life and musical tastes. They’ve sent my mind on a multitude of different adventures. They’ve helped me tap into a realm of soulful emotions that hadn’t been so easily touched before.

It’s DJ’s and Producers bringing their best to the table, ensuring that every ounce of inspired juice they have is carefully infused within their finished product. It’s never-heard-before tracks matched in unlikely combinations.

It’s creativity in its highest form.

Certain mixes have really stood out to me over the years. Take for instance Above & Beyond’s set from 2011.

Whether it was playing in my car or in the kitchen after work, it would spur thoughts and emotions with every changing beat. It did for me what Gordon had originally intended the Essential Mixes to do – it made me feel.

2013 also saw a number of incredible mixes. Disclosure presented one which playfully combined hip-hop and house, while Mat Zo toyed with the borders of genre and time.

Eric Prydz took us on a journey that eventually won him the Essential Mix of the Year. His set was seamless and perfectly rhythmic. It pulled one’s body to dance, even against the strongest of wills.

With 2014 well on its way, we’ve already seen a plethora of mixes, including ones from the likes of Bonobo, the Dutch megastar Tiesto, Deep Dish and others.

None however, have been as bold or dynamic as the one dropped by Porter Robinson last Saturday.

It’s the reason for the history lesson and what has brought us here today.

Porter made his Essential Mix debut back in 2012, choosing to air a live broadcast from the UK. He’s now returned with a mix that shines brighter than its predecessor and showcases just how far he’s come as producer. It’s 72 tracks in 120 minutes and it’s more glorious than words can describe.

The 21-year-old producer premiers several tracks from his upcoming debut album “Worlds”, a compilation he’s been working on for the past two years.  The album samples from an array of new producers and eclectic sounds.

I was in actual awe the moment the intro began and continued in euphoria all the way to the end. The tracklist is a gold mine of finds, including personal favorites Andrew Bayer, Flume, Daft Punk, CHVRCHES, Madison Avenue, Morgan Page, Panama and Wave Racer.

It seems to perfectly encompass exactly where Porter Robinson stands in dance music today. Even better, it seems to perfectly oppose the disheartening and uninspired direction that a majority of popular dance music has begun to take.

I believe it to be a genuine, original and carefully crafted set of magnificent proportions… and that’s not even the half of it.

It’s always a compilation like this that makes me truly appreciate the vision behind the BBC1 radio program and remind me why I love these Essential Mixes so much…

Porter truly has created a kaleidoscope of sounds with this one.

Porter’s album drops in full August 12th of this year.

Article by: Kassie Mitchell

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