For younger fans of electronic music, the Essential Mix archive* is a time capsule that allows them to listen to sets that took place before they were born; for others, it’s a treasure chest of musical memories that allows them to re-visit the glory days. And what better way to celebrate 20 years than with a party? Rather than the usual broadcast from Tong’s studio, fans had the opportunity to join in on the fun at the Manchester Warehouse Project, with an absolutely stellar line-up pitting veterans of the scene back-to-back with rising stars.
* Not an official archive, but a link to the collection of Essential Mixes tracklists on MixesDb, starting with the first shows in 1993. Note: many (but not all) tracklists include embedded streaming audio, and if any of the tracklists look good, you can then hunt around for the related audio.
Pete Tong celebrated his personal two decade mark in 2011
, but the Essential Mix program
hit its twenty year mark
earlier this year. This milestone also marks over a thousand mixes, easily over two thousand hours of music. So where do you start to listen?
MixesDB has a rating system, and here are the top-rated Essential Mixes
, but there's a heavy emphasis on recent mixes. And if you're looking for recent fan favorites, Scrillex's recent mix
was the most played piece of content in BBC Radio 1 history
. Rolling Stone included a few Essential Mixes in their list of top 20 mixes of 2013 so far
(up to July 1st), and DJZ looks back a bit further for their top 10
, but that's just the last 3 years.
Let's take it back, way back, for the mixes that were selected or voted as the best for their year.
1995: Tony de Vit
1997: David Holmes
1999: Paul Oakenfold
2000 Dave Clarke
2001 Sander Kleinenberg
2002 Sasha & John Digweed
2004 Above and Beyond
2007 High Contrast
2008 Flying Lotus
2010 Swedish House Mafia
2011 Above and Beyond
2012 Nicolas Jaar
19/05/2012 (also available as the No BBC version
Here are a few more recommendation lists, from Team Liquid
, and the previous Essential Mix posts on Metafilter: Celebrating Tony Wilson
(August 26, 2007), every Essential Mix posted to imeem
[the service is dead, but the recommendations stand] (February 23, 2008), There is not enough Africa in computers
(April 12, 2010), No Records, No CD's, No MP3's: Beardyman's Essential Mix
(January 23, 2011), Jamie XX's mix of gorgeous house, techno, disco and garage
(August 27, 2011), New Year Eve music
(December 31, 2011), mixture.fm
[site is currently "in the works" again, but links to a few mixes] (May 10, 2012), Nicholas Jaar's amazing, eclectic mix
(May 22, 2012), Mat Zo's Essential Mix
(February 13, 2013), Gaslamp Killer's various mixes
(February 17, 2013), and mixes from Catz n Dogz and friends
(May 2, 2013)