Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail III

When you’re out and about even a half decent DJ gets you dancing, usually. But only a truly talented player of records (or Ableton) can move out of the club, into the car or front room, and provide you with a musical package to be to be enjoyed without strobes, sweat or substances.

Over the past three weeks we’ve been exploring the archives of DJ compilations, calling at classics old and new along the way. Our search is far from over, so we present another list of esteemed entries in our ever growing book of all time greats. So sit back, enjoy and argue with the latest compilation of compilations as we search for the impossible…

Pounding drums cut with rapid hooks and lashing cymbals are synonymous with Jeff Mills. But far from simply being spanking, the techno don is an outright technical wizard, as Exhibitionist proves audibly and visually. Various versions are available but the daddy package is a triple DVD box-set with mixes of tracks by Mills, releases on his Purpose Maker label, and a final three deck and CDJ orgy of 21st Century Detroit.

Feel like you’ve spent the last three hours listening to the sound of ghosts haunting people? It’s quite possible Surgeon has been playing then. From industrial basslines to dub reggae, his seamless sets are a joy to hear though difficult to convert into something made for a home hi-fi. With This Is For You Shits over 30 tracks come together and almost manage it, showcasing the British Murder Boy in all his heavyweight techno and IDM glory.

We’ve already confessed our love for the Back To Mine series, but couldn’t ignore Adam Freeland’s installment. Here he showed scenesters US secrets like TV On The Radio and revealed Jape’s uplifting e-poetry to a wider audience. Throw in the euphoric ambience of the suitably titled Lower Your Eyelids To Die In The Sun by M83, and it’s not hard to see why this is as good as downtempo eclecticism gets.

If aliens landed tomorrow and demanded some punchy, funk infused house music you could do worse than offer Stompa Phunk’s difficult to find Dance Laugh Dance album, recorded at Brighton’s Funky Buddha Lounge and mixed by resident Void. Really a label sampler, we take in classics from Serge Santiago, Secret CM and, of course, Ben Burns in this tech-breaks jackathon.

K7!’s DJ Kicks series has offered plenty of highlights for adventurous ears. Kruder & Dorfmeister’s 17 track offering shines through as the best. Smoky cuts from Aquasky, Thievery Corporation and Herbalizer reek of hot boxed Sunday sessions, complete with a rapidly diminishing bottle of Jack. It’s also the perfect poolside holiday compilation, and a veritable masterclass in piecing together sophisticated electronic beats.

Whether under the Nubreed banner, or the original, world-touring compilation guise, Global Underground is a brand with some compilation heritage. Sasha’s Ibiza edition was released in the late-90s as trance peaked and progressive house continued its millennial resurgence. As the sleeve notes read: “You don’t need to hear the planes in here, Sasha’s playing his own”, which should gives you some idea of how high he takes things. – A Drum n Bass DJ Mix stands as perhaps the best recorded and released mix by the man with the most famous teeth in clubland. It’s high energy, dark and, at times, unnerving, while filled with those groove-filled breaks make the original Metalhead so easy to love. Klute, Marcus Intalex, Doc Scott and Adam F are all involved in the proceedings. Quality stuff to say the least.

Snobs may turn their noses up, now it’s amongst the best selling mix albums of all time. And chin strokers might find the brashness a little over-facing. Nonetheless, when 2 Many DJs threw down the expletives of Peaches, The Velvet Underground’s opium cool and Dolly Parton’s upbeat feminism As Heard On Radio Soulwax 2 was born, and student houses had a new party soundtrack.