Music

Here are the 12 best DJ mixes of 2018

© Red Bull Music Academy
By Jack Tregoning and Henry Johnstone
We know you love 'em.
As we bid adieu to 2018, we take a look back at the best mixes from a range of rising DJ stars and established legendary selectors to bring you the 12 finest mixes of the year – providing hours and hours of material to soundtrack the ringing-in of 2019.

Moxie - RA.642

There were many standout RA podcasts in 2018, including from stalwarts like The Hacker, Underground Resistance and DJ Spinna. The series is at its best, though, when shining a light on lesser-known names. September saw London selector Moxie step up, and her focused house session is a real treat. A resident of NTS Radio since the station’s first broadcasts, Moxie‘s mix is peppered with unreleased tracks from her producer mates. She also dug deep for older gems and ear-pricking samples, adding up to a set that never stops swerving. (JT)

Identified Patient - Boiler Room x Dekmantel Festival 2018

What’s great about festival sets is that DJs can choose to ignore the programming confines of the nightclub. Here rising Amsterdam talent, Identified Patient, does just that. With a stiff middle finger to the afternoon sunshine, he leads the Dekmantel crowd down a dark path of slo-mo techno before battering them over the heads with funk-fuelled, savage electro and Italo disco. Bagarre’s Le Gouffre (Yan Wagner Belgian Trip) at around the 41-minute mark, pitched up for devastating effect, is a definite highlight. And any DJ who has the gumption to wrap up their set with Prodigy’s Climbatize deserves serious kudos. (HJ)

Tama Sumo - Groove Podcast 178

A longtime resident of Berghain’s house floor Panorama Bar, Tama Sumo has an incredible record collection at her disposal. This mix for Germany’s Groove Magazine only skims the surface of that repertoire, but it’s still a mini-masterclass. Sumo‘s clean, unobtrusive mixing style allows great records to shine, drawing on the likes of Mike Dunn, DJ Qu, Jasper Street Co. and Larry Heard. It’s not a knock to say this is my favourite tidying-the-house mix of 2018. (JT)

Desyn - Timeless Series #4

If you were into dance music, nay progressive house, circa early to mid 2000’s, the name Desyn Masiello is sure to bring back some aural flashbacks. One of the era’s new breed of superstar DJs alongside the likes of James Zabiela and Luke Fair, towards the end of the decade Masiello pretty much disappeared from the game, supposedly hanging up his headphones to start a family. Clearly his passion for music never faded, as you can still find him sharing the odd mix or two online, just like this ripper for the Timeless Series. It’s a far cry from the prog sounds of yore, but still expertly put together with the same care and sensibility Masiello built his career upon. (HJ)

DJ Healer - Planet Lonely

Got a spare three hours to sit with your thoughts? You could do a lot worse than making Planet Lonely your soundtrack. This sprawling session from electronic enigma Traumprinz is tingly perfection from start to finish. Uploaded under the alias DJ Healer (see also this year's excellent album, Nothing 2 Loose), Planet Lonely is made up of original unreleased material. Presented more like a listening session than a DJ mix, with fadeouts dividing the tracks, each warm, enveloping production is unmistakably from the mind of Traumprinz. As one commenter on SoundCloud succinctly put it, "I am healed." (JT)

Jac Frier - Lazydaze 02

Lovers of ambient, downbeat, electronica and all shades of non-dance floor sounds saw the arrival of a new monthly podcast back in October, Lazydaze. The emerging Australian-based podcast kicked off with an excellent debut mix from Moodwax, followed up by a magical sophomore effort from Sydney’s Jac Frier. A beautifully pensive journey of ambient, experimental and broken beat, the mix also shines a light on local talent, with almost half of the tracks featured courtesy of Australian producers, with three cuts from Frier herself. Headphone bliss. (HJ)

Fred P - Dekmantel Podcast 207

Dekmantel’s podcasts have been a reliable go-to all year, featuring talent as strong as its festival lineups. The series recently hit 200 episodes (marking the occasion with a storming Surgeon set), and the quality keeps coming. Case in point: this brand-new mix from deep house maestro Fred P, aka Black Jazz Consortium. The trailblazer from Queens, New York is in typically heady form on this one, bringing 90 minutes of resonant pads, driving basslines and nods to the heyday of house. It demands a worthy sound system and a vibing dancefloor. (JT)

CC:DISCO! - DGTL Amsterdam 2018

A mainstay of the Melbourne club scene, in the space of just a few short years, CC:Disco (aka Courtney Clarke) has gone from local hero to global star, gracing the stages of some of the best festivals on the circuit. With a flair for all things boogie and disco, Clarke always drops plenty of classics into her infectious mixes, and her set at DGTL Amsterdam back in April was a perfect snapshot of her pop-laden sound. Just 13 minutes in, Clarke drops the stone cold Aussie classic Djapana by Yothu Yindi (Gapirri Mix). What more could a disco lover want? (HJ)

Jayda G - Truancy Volume 222

There’s real pleasure to be found in mixes that stretch on and on, but sometimes you need a quick hit. Coming in at a crisp hour, Jayda G’s turn on the Truants mix series nails that less-is-more edict. According to the DJ herself, this is “a feelgood mix, not a party mix.” Those feelgood vibes come from a wide-ranging selection of disco, with a few curios that Jayda picked up on a recent trip around Asia. If you got down to her freewheeling Boiler Room x Dekmantel set, consider this its Sunday afternoon sequel. (JT)

Hunee @ Brilliant Corners – RA Live

The concept at Brilliant Corners is simple. Offer delicious cocktails and Japanese small plates in a cosy low-lit vibe and invite world-class DJs to play eclectic sets on an audiophile system. It’s an approach that has garnered the East London hotspot much rewarded attention. Back in February, Hunee popped into the venue for an unannounced six-hour set, traversing through everything from house, soul and disco to experimental and oddball delights. Thankfully RA recorded 90 minutes for those of us unlucky enough to have missed it in the flesh. (HJ)

Four Tet - Essential Mix

A mix from Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, is almost too obvious a pick for a year-end list. The low-key producer is one of electronic music’s most lauded names, regularly selling out concert halls and headlining festivals. (He’s back our way in 2019 for Pitch, Golden Plains and Days Like This.) However there’s no denying the precision Hebden brought to his Essential Mix back in March, proving he treats online mixes as seriously as everything else. His two hours at the controls are quintessential Four Tet, with warm, skittering passages and dreamy four-four punctuated by curveball pop vocals. Another bonus: the mix now lives on Four Tet’s SoundCloud, so you don’t need a BBC Radio 1 rip. (JT)

Adi Toohey – FMB Mixtape 94

Not only is Adi Toohey one of Sydney’s most in demand selectors, she’s a true crate digger. With a penchant for dance music of yore, whenever she plays around town or turns in a new mix, you’re bound to hear a few nostalgic nuggets of aural gold. Her mix for the FEELMYBICEP blog is chock-full of them – a rough and ready 60 minutes of ‘80s hip house and UK garage via 1992. (HJ)