Music

Here are the best DJ mixes of 2019... so far

© Chad Wadsworth / Red Bull Content Pool
By Henry Johnstone & Jack Tregoning
Take a moment to soak in selections from the world's finest curators.
2019 has been a lot to take in already, and if you're struggling to find a harmonious soundtrack – whether it be to chill, push your neural boundaries, or get the adrenaline pumping to party-ready levels – these picks the year so far will have you sorted for your listening needs.
If you need to rewind a bit further back, revisit the best mixes of 2018 here.

Boards of Canada - Societas X Tape

Whenever Boards Of Canada opt to resurface momentarily, it tends to radiate mini shockwaves across the internet. Such was the case when it was announced that the notoriously reclusive Scottish duo had recorded a two-hour mixtape for WXAXRXP – a 3-day ‘online music festival’/radio broadcast celebrating 30 years of Warp Records.
Described as a “two-hour selection of mind melting offbeat psychedelia,” the mixtape is about as curious and eclectic as it gets, featuring music from DAF, Severed Heads, George Duke, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Flayer, and an exclusive edit from BoC themselves under their Hell Interface guise; an oddball mashup of Grace Jones and Imagination.

Matt Aubusson – May 2019 Mix

One of Sydney’s most in demand DJs in the underground scene during the early-to-mid 00’s, Matt Aubusson’s appearances behind the decks may be fewer and far between these days, though his technical prowess and knack for putting together a superb mix hasn’t wavered in the slightest.
Trading minimal grooves of yore (he was one half of the city’s famous party Glitch) for spacious electronica, techno, broken beat and house, this mix is a timeless selection of melodic dance music, expertly crafted for repeated listening.

Earth Trax – Sanpo Disco #138

It is both fascinating yet plainly predictable how our listening habits reflect life patterns, and having recently fallen down a rabbit hole of introspective music, I was delighted to discover the excellent Sanpo Disco podcast from Melbourne. Designed to be enjoyed while “in transit,” the series is perhaps as far from the dance floor as you can get, with DJs digging deep to flaunt their eclectic tastes.
One of the best mixes this year comes from Bartosz Kruczyński, a.k.a Earth Trax – a highly versatile Polish producer perhaps best known for his emotive and rave-indebted club tracks. In keeping with the series, Kruczyński ignores the dance floor and lays down a diverse journey best consumed on a scenic stroll with a pair of quality headphones.

Will Saul – Phonica #58

Will Saul remains one of the most consistent DJs in the scene. He’s also got his fingers in many a pie, from DJing and producing, to running his revered AUS Music label and also curating the much-loved DJ Kicks compilation series. It’s no surprise then, that Saul possesses a broad palette.
On his recording for London record store Phonica’s mix series, Saul shows off his varied tastes via a “sci-fi/futuristic approach in a melodic context.” The result is a mix that is musically all over the place yet wonderfully coherent, making for a deeply satisfying journey.

Eris Drew - Raving Disco Breaks Vol 1.

What does a rave at the disco sound like? That is the question posed by Chicago DJ Eris Drew on her most excellent mix for the T4T LUV NRG label – the passion project from herself and Octa Octa. The answer, quite simply, is “like everyone took ecstasy at the roller rink.”
Initially available for purchase as a throwback cassette recording, this fantastic mix dripping in summer jubilation can now be streamed online. Full of old-school '80s breaks, disco house, Miami Bass and classic rave tunes with disco vocals, it embodies pure fun and is one of the most enjoyable mixes you’re likely to hear all year.

Hot Chip - Bleep Mix #65

Hot Chip came back strong this year with their perfectly titled seventh album, A Bath Full Of Ecstasy. This outing saw the band working with outside producers for the first time: Rodaidh McDonald, who has worked with everyone from Adele to The xx, and French house mastermind Philippe Zdar, who died in June at 52. With its exuberant, openhearted highs, A Bath Full Of Ecstasy feels imbued with Zdar’s spirit.
It’s fitting, then, that Hot Chip’s album promo mix for Bleep is all about uplift. Coming in at a neat hour, the tracklist includes several edits by band member Felix Martin and a very solid remix of Hot Chip’s Hungry Child by Paul Woolford. Sometimes a value-packed hour is all you need.

dBridge - FACT Mix 701

dBridge remains one-of-a-kind, as comfortable playing an all-out drum & bass rave as he is on the Craig Richards-curated Houghton Festival lineup. That ability to blur genre lines has kept his DJ sets vital for years, and his FACT mix from April is no exception.
Opening with Paula Temple’s menacing ‘Slow Version’ of Joshua & Goliath, the mix keeps you tightly in its grip. Moving through tempo-shifting cuts from the likes of Trux, Trevino, Joy O and dBridge himself, it’s intense, immersive and unmistakably dBridge.
You can check out the full track list and more information on dBridge's FACT MIX 701 here.

Park Hye Jin - i-DJ Mix

Coming out of Seoul, South Korea, Park Hye Jin is one of the most intriguing DJs on the house circuit. Her mix for i-D Magazine’s i-DJ series shows you exactly why. In addition to her other talents as a producer, singer and rapper, Hye Jin’s a true selector who really knows how to sequence great records.
Working in a couple of her own productions from her If U Want ItEP alongside classy gear from the likes of Redlight and Jensen Interceptor & Assembler Code, the mix has a deep and lush through line, even as it swerves into breakbeats and heads-down electro. Believe Hye Jin when she explains, “It’s just a mix that says, ‘Let’s dance all night long’.”

Powder - BIS Radio #983

With the sheer number of house and techno mixes that appear every week, it’s hard for any one set to really stand out. Japanese DJ and producer Powder has that rare ability to cut through the noise, surprising even the most committed trainspotters with her sets from Dekmantel Festival and Taicoclub. She did it again this year with her first official mix album, Powder In Space, which came via Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space label and earned rave reviews from the likes of Pitchfork.
A month after Powder In Space, the DJ stopped into the Beats In Space studio in New York for another idiosyncratic mix session. This time, she took a heady, freewheeling approach with no shortage of oddball turns. Listen out for tunes from her burgeoning label Thinner Groove and a few cuts most DJs wouldn’t know to try.

Adi Toohey - RA.672

2019 has been another strong year for the long-running Resident Advisor mix series, with a particular focus on new and exciting names from around the globe like DEBONAIR, D. Tiffany, Héctor Oaks and Verraco. In April, Sydney got its moment of shine via a watertight hour from local DJ Adi Toohey.
In a Q&A with RA, Toohey described her usual vibe as “a few slower hip-hop/soul openers, then a heap of '90s dollar-bin house and an electro bent finish.” This mix settles winningly into the ‘80s and ‘90s zone, with throwback cuts like The She Project’s ‘Main Squeeze’ and Corporation Of One’s ‘Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day’. This is the sound of an outdoor party on a crisp Sydney afternoon, sent off perfectly by Jeremy’s deep thumper from 1998, Soul Kicks.