Oh that's tearing my heart out, I love that, just keep that going...
May 22, 2012 2:39 PM   Subscribe

BBC's Essential Mix has been running two hour DJ sets for nearly 20 years, usually continuous mixes of current club tracks. Nicolas Jaar took things in a decidedly different direction this week, with an eclectic mix of sound track music, jazz, hip-hop, IDM and pop music with just a sprinkling of deep house here and there. Truly essential listening.
posted by empath (59 comments total) 131 users marked this as a favorite
I happened to catch that this weekend. Great mix.
posted by Vhanudux at 2:43 PM on May 22, 2012

I only really love The Essential Mix when it goes wonky. Moments like this, the Oakenfold Goa mix, Coldcut's mixes. The rest of the time, it's fine, but it's the odder moments that make it worth checking out.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 2:57 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anyone see a tracklist? I'd be interested to read it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:57 PM on May 22, 2012

Oh. Derp. It's on the SoundCloud page.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:58 PM on May 22, 2012

The tracklist is also on MixesDB, alongside a couple decades of past mixes (most linking to Soundcloud streams) (MixesDB previously)
posted by filthy light thief at 3:01 PM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

That Badalamenti bit at the beginning? Absolutely stunning. I could live in that moment forever. And then later on he drops some Johnny Greenwood, then Garrett, Mingus, Gaye?!

I'd like to share a frosty beverage with this feller.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:07 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

That Badalamenti bit at the beginning? Absolutely stunning

Especially appropriate for a dance show, too, because that song was notably sampled in Moby's Go, a classic rave track that was often featured in the early essential mixes.
posted by empath at 3:20 PM on May 22, 2012

I've been picking through the Essential Mixes of the past, looking for other oddities like this. So far, I've come across Portishead's 1995 mix (featuring James Brown, Barry White, The Beatles, Lalo Schifrin, and a bunch of classic hip-hop), and Air had a two-parter in 1998 (part 1, and part 2 a week later), and DJ Harvey (drummer turned producer/DJ) had an eclectic mix in '98, too. I stopped looking there, and I'll let others dig around for gems.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:29 PM on May 22, 2012 [12 favorites]

That Badalamenti bit at the beginning? Absolutely stunning

Fantastic introduction!
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 3:35 PM on May 22, 2012

This is the shit
posted by mjg123 at 3:37 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

The intro alone is brilliant. The rest, it reminds me of stopping somewhere after the Four Corners in July 1998. It was midnight, and I was waiting for a bus to finish it's time at the rest stop. It was 104F at midnight; the kind of heat that makes everything a bit surreal and detached. I sat drinking ice cold Bud Light, sweating like the bottle. All manner of people came through the Flying J. The Greyhound was filled with everyone from suburban college students to individuals with severe drug addictions to three generations on a holiday together. At the Flying J, there were Wal-Mart trucks, police cars, BMW SUVs, old station-wagons. Young people, old people. Posh people; people living at the end of a thin thread. There were the clerks and Flying J staff. It was like sitting on a freeway bridge over the 405 at night, watching thousands of cars flow below like shimmering multihued river. At the Flying J, cars arrived with all manner of music, from booming bass to rock, to Christian Radio to talk radio to audio books, to a sing-along for the kids.

And we sat and sweated, the Bud Light(s) and myself, waiting for our silver caterpillar to make it's way again North in the intemperate late night heat. Closing my eyes, the sounds were incredible. A tapestry without form or commonality yet with a subtle syncopation; as if a higher form of logic unified the disparity according to a veiled sense of logic, hidden yet completely precise.

Go Jaar.
posted by nickrussell at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2012 [13 favorites]

I managed to get most of The Psychonauts' Essential Mix on tape when they were on in 1996. It was such an amazing sound that, despite kind of already being asleep, I threw myself across the room, tore a cassette from its packet and jammed it into the hifi. Took me about 10 years before I found an MP3 of the whole thing. They fit 78 songs into two hours, sample Star Wars, speed up Wonderwall... There's Beastie Boys, Lamb, DJ Shadow, Wu-tang Clan, Massive Attack, Stereo MCs...
posted by onyermarx at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think what impressed me the most about it is how much space there is. It's a lovely counterpoint to the more more more maximalist mashup style that is so popular now. More than once, there is complete silence. Something that almost never happens on the radio or the dance floor.
posted by empath at 4:34 PM on May 22, 2012

And it's got some of the soundtrack to In The Mood For Love in it, which is nice, as it is the best music, film, everything
posted by dng at 4:39 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

This...is like the mixes I make for my friends.

Except so much better.
posted by the bricabrac man at 5:32 PM on May 22, 2012

A friend of mine has been pointing me at Jaar, so I'm definitely going to have to check this out.
posted by immlass at 5:58 PM on May 22, 2012

I think I've been totally wrecked for radio in that as soon as someone starts talking over the music I'm like 'oh shut UP!' and instantly turn it off. I just can't get past it, which is a pity, because it means I've never been able to get into these BBC shows.
posted by Ritchie at 6:01 PM on May 22, 2012

The talking stops two minutes in, and doesn't come back until the very end.
posted by empath at 6:23 PM on May 22, 2012

I think what impressed me the most about it is how much space there is.

Surely you dig James Blake then... Structured silence is his signature instrument. Not sure about his mix, though.
posted by stroke_count at 6:34 PM on May 22, 2012

Then I'll turn the sound off for the first couple of minutes. This is a strategy that also works for the movie Dark City.
posted by Ritchie at 6:35 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nice, thanks!
posted by carter at 7:00 PM on May 22, 2012

This really is special. Many thanks.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:15 PM on May 22, 2012

What, prey tell does "deep house" mean. When I'm listening to this how do I know what "deep house" is?
posted by mattoxic at 7:56 PM on May 22, 2012

This is really great stuff! And it's so nice to be able download the mixes.

(a tiny gripw; I wish there was a little less of the bbc voiceover nonsense.... it just ruins some of the moments....)

posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 8:04 PM on May 22, 2012

Deep is just an adjective. It's minimal, more sophisticated and slower house music as opposed to the stuff like Swedish House Mafia or Deadmau5 or Kaskade.
posted by empath at 8:15 PM on May 22, 2012

Ishkur's Guide also covers deep house, and offers comparisons to related styles.
posted by frimble at 8:36 PM on May 22, 2012

In a genre known for it's ridiculous, confusing sub-genre terms, deep house is the one that ultimately takes the cake. Depending on who you're talking to, it either means minimal, stripped-down, "tasteful" house bordering on minimal techno, or it means full-on flamboyant new york drag queen house sermons backed with the classic "untz-untz" four-four, ala Tribal Records circa early to mid-nineties.
posted by dvdgee at 9:06 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

To give you an idea of how happy I am that you linked this, I literally gasped when I saw "Nicolas Jaar" and "Essential Mix" in the same sentence. I was lucky enough to see him do a sort of semi-improvised live PA type of thing recently (some excerpts have thankfully made it to the YouTubes) and it was fascinating and hypnotic. Really looking forward to it, thanks empath.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:10 PM on May 22, 2012

I have to pause it to go to bed, but it's indeed brilliant. I put it on in the background while web surfing, and around twenty-some minutes in, during the five minutes or so of early baroque music (apparently Marin Marais) I realized I couldn't remember how we got from Twin Peaks to basso continuo -- yet I'd been carried along smoothly the entire way. That's masterful.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:49 PM on May 22, 2012

This is amazing. Of course, any mix that goes from NSYNC to Unknown to Mingus to Bill Callahan to The Field would be impressive but goddamn, this is great.
posted by saul wright at 10:00 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

My favorite deep house track is Pépé Bradock & The Grand Brûlé's Choir's "Deep Burnt."

Borrowing its main theme from the introduction to Freddie Hubbard's 1979 cut "Little Sunflower," it's a master class in sampling: Across 11 minutes, Pépé Bradock twists and EQs Hubbard's strings into billowing shapes far more voluminous than those four little chords would imply. Paired with a loose tambourine groove and flickering Rhodes counterpoints, it represents the emotive zenith of the whole filter house canon.
posted by gen at 11:59 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Deep Burnt" is also great because it sounds amazing mixing into almost any other (preferably) deep house record.

Also highly recommend EM mixes by Lindstrom & Prins Thomas, Greg Wilson and Trentmøller.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 12:29 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you liked this then make sure you also hear Coldcut: 70 Minutes Of Madness - Journeys By DJ, which remains the finest "genre challenging" mix I've ever heard.
posted by samworm at 12:41 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did y'all just give me uncountable hours of listening pleasure to math and program to? Yes, yes you did.

I love you metafiter.
posted by Alex404 at 1:58 AM on May 23, 2012

I'm on my way to work so I only have time to link and run...

DJ Shadow's Essential Mix in March 2003 is just as eclectic as you'd expect (everything from marching bands to John Peel outtakes) and it's fantastic.

Massive Attack's Essential Mix in December 1994 is old-school hip-hop, trip-hop, the occasional Wu-Tang, and flows like melted butter.
posted by ardgedee at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like it when artists treat Essential Mix like the Breezeblock.
posted by Challahtronix at 5:30 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh well. It's all good.
posted by ardgedee at 5:33 AM on May 23, 2012

Any playlist with Bill Callahan gets a gold star from me.
posted by Theta States at 6:19 AM on May 23, 2012

What a great set of mixes! And a long weekend that begins, let me check, today at close of business. Thank you, MeFites, for the upcoming benefit of your impeccable taste.
posted by the sobsister at 8:14 AM on May 23, 2012

Anyone know what the vocal track is that starts around 1:38:15? Pure magic. I must have more of it!
posted by slogger at 10:03 AM on May 23, 2012

Here you go

Discogs page
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thank you empath!
posted by slogger at 10:15 AM on May 23, 2012

Wow sublime!

Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch, that's sex!

also some grade-A cheese around 30:00 eh?
posted by Tom-B at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2012

I was digging on the first half of this over the weekend and you just reminded me I need to finish it.

Also, those of you that like Nicolas Jaar and balearic tinged stuff will probably like Darkside a ton.
posted by cirrostratus at 11:55 AM on May 23, 2012

Just finished listening to this and wow is it fantastic. He's done something very interesting here, getting out of the cliches of house music and sample based hip hop and all the other pastiche music styles that are the usual fodder for mixes. It works more like Musique concrète for me, but without being so dry and academic.

I've never heard of Nicolas Jaar before. He has one commercial album, Space is Only Noise.
posted by Nelson at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2012

Is "jar" really the right way to pronounce his name, or is it pronounced with a y (as in Dutch for year)?

Space is Only Noise is good for a few listens. I haven't really come back to it much, but I enjoyed it when I first got it.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:35 PM on May 23, 2012

Nelson, Space is Only Noise is great. He also has a newer two-track EP which you can listen to here (also via his label but there is an unlinkable Flash interface, so).
posted by en forme de poire at 12:39 PM on May 23, 2012

Nice. Thanks.

He also has an album called Nico's Bluewave Edits, which has a version of Missy Elliot's Work It that is strangely compelling.
posted by clockwork at 3:00 PM on May 23, 2012

onyermarx - I owe you one for bringing that Psychonauts mix to our attention. Its fantastic. Hard to wrap my head around that it was made when I was 15.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:54 PM on May 23, 2012

Back in February 2011 Nicolas Jaar did a mixtape on the XLR8R podcast. It's good. The material is mostly his own compositions (themselves featuring samples), but there's a bit of eclecticism thrown in.

One of the songs in the BBC Essential Mix is Bill Callahan's America!, which has an awesome video. I loved Jaar's sample and don't much like the full song, he picked out the really great part.
posted by Nelson at 12:01 PM on May 24, 2012

If anyone else is interested... I've been working on figuring out the tracklist timing for the Jaar mix.

Here's what I have so far. (selflink)
posted by kdern at 10:23 AM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cool, kdern! I've been trying to figure out what's going on around the introduction of Aphex Twin / Ziggomatic 17 at 19:08. There's a lot of other stuff under there, some baroque string piece, some classical guitar... the next identified sample is Keith Jarrett but that's not until the piano bit at 26:48. I love the 7 minutes in the middle and would love to know more about how it's constructed.

The SoundCloud comments are actually useful. The comment at 21:44 identifies "Marin Marais- Sonnerie De Ste. Geneviève Du Mont De Paris." which sounds like this, the baroque string thing I was referring to. (Fun electronica trivia; that piece ends up being arranged for a Fairlight in the amazing soundtrack for the movie Liquid Sky.)
posted by Nelson at 11:06 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

By the way, the Angelo Badalamenti intro is from this video, which was previously posted to MetaFilter.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on May 25, 2012

Moby's Go for comparison to the twin peaks theme
posted by empath at 11:32 AM on May 25, 2012

Thanks, kdern! I'm listening now, and was wondering where I was in the tracklist. Answer: Keith Jarrett – Tokyo, November 14 (Encore). So good, and so very unlike the vast majority of Essential Mixes!
posted by filthy light thief at 12:31 PM on May 25, 2012

Glad the timing is helpful. I find the tracklists kind of useless without them.

I've discovered another Jaar mix that I like as much as the essential mix. It's also slow, eclectic and very chill.

I'm new to mixes like these - I've listened to Oakenfold sets, Girl Talk and the Hood Internet, but this is something else entirely - almost like an ambient soundtrack, but brilliant and interesting. Check out minutes 18-19 of the mix I just linked to above... just amazing.

Any other low-key mixes like these? I've listened to the Portishead and Oakenfold BBC essential mixes and they're not the same. Jamie XX is kinda close...
posted by kdern at 1:46 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

kdem, you could try poking around here.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:28 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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