Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail V

This is it then. We’ve offered our ideas on some of the greatest DJ sets ever to have been sold in shops, and now the journey is over.

You may have laughed at us, or cried with us. We just hope you didn’t simply skip straight past the page. In turn we’ve listened to some suggestions, and continued to compile. With a wealth of releases covered- no less than 34 to put a fine point on it- we needed time to think about how not to approach the final instalment.

After a few beers, some cigarettes and an all-night fried chicken feast we made our minds up. So, without waffling endlessly about the difficulty in making these decisions, we present our five top mixes from the series. Before you scream ‘heathens’ we’d like to point out, this is in order. With that in mind, feel free to post any diatribe you wish…

5. K&D Sessions – Kruder & Dorfmeister

Maybe we should have gone for five albums of club music, considering there are few other times you can celebrate the sounds that go chug in the night. But then imagine if the venue lies on a remote beach boasting a perpetual sunset and the clientele consists of the world’s most beautiful people. At the bar free beer and cash are given away, and rockets depart regularly for an after party on the moon. Now that’s the kind of place that would play this. Did we big it up too much? No, definitely not.

4. Tyrant – Tyrant

One disc offers percussive, druggy tech house, and another is filled with breakbeat, but not as most people know it these days. As such Craig Richards & Lee Burridge’s first forray into the mix album under the shared Tyrant guise is as difficult to give up on as it is to find in the shops. The dark red lights on the cover would be perfect for any venue with this soundtrack, as spliffs are rolled, bombs are dropped and the pace continues to quicken. The only other thing you could ask for is a sample or two. Oh, there they are.

3. Journeys By DJ – Coldcut

Throughout this epic voyage into electronica it’s pretty difficult to pin point exactly when, as the sample goes, ‘Coldcut’s on the mix‘. That’s because when you hear the original tracks you realise every cut, stab, quote and ever-more enticing rhythmic change is down to some dastardly DJ technique, here realised with enough respect for the source material as to ruin nothing. The result makes straddling jungle, house, breakbeat, broken beat, hip hop, and everything else from acid to electro look easy.

2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out – Chemical Brothers

Some may say it’s controversial to put a set by two self-professed none-DJs (as the sleeve notes to this badboy confirm) at number two. But surely, that makes it even better? Few descriptions could really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the madness that ensues from the word go. The sultry sound of the 70s and Willie Hutch enters the room, before BOOM, we’re being chased by chaotic big beats. Forging a proper party soundtrack, that’s still credible enough to be a club set? Priceless.

1. Northern Exposure – Sasha & John Digweed

The only real question here was which to include when we were originally shortlisting for this series. After opting for the first instalment things felt pretty good, proving that the right choice had obviously been made. In retrospect the latter may have dated slightly less, but with Lord Attenborough on the opening describing the Trans-Amazonian highway, this is better than anyone could ask for in terms of escapism. So find it now before you forget, and then forget about the time you’ve wasted up until now.

The road was long…

If you missed the previous excerpts from our notebook detailing the painstaking process of trying to choose our favourite mix albums, then fear not. The links below should take you to each instalment, just in case you wanted to check anything.

Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail IV

Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail III

Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail II

Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail I