This week I was fortunate to have three really amazing DJ mixes come through my Soundcloud stream. I listen to a good amount of mixes, and it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Each of these in their own way highlighted an aspect of DJ'ing I really admire. I had to pass them along to anyone with ears and emotions. Take a listen and let me know what you think.
Nicky Siano Live @ The Gallery, 1976
Posted by Wax Poetics, the wonderful music history magazine, this mix is one of the only recordings I've ever heard of Disco in its original element. Nicky Siano was one of the first major Disco DJ's in New York and an incredibly important figure in the creation of dance music. The Gallery was Nicky's club, and one of the most important places for the development of Disco when it was an underground scene in Greenwich VIllage. This mix fortuitously came through my Soundcloud stream just as I was reading the Disco chapter of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, one of the only thorough histories of DJ'ing.
Rarely do I feel like a mix is an artifact, but this is a real rarity because there are so few recordings from that era of DJ'ing, and it shows how early Disco was focused on love and musicality. It doesn't sound like the campy stuff you know as Disco from Bar Mitzvahs and Weddings; it's groovy, deep, and intimate. It's so cool to get a glimpse of a scene as it was coalescing into what we know it as now. This is a must-listen in my mind just for the sake of history, but it's also one of the originators of the craft showing how it was done in the glory days. Shame it's only a half-hour long.
Dimitri From Paris Live from XOYO
From Disco to Disco-House. Dimitri From Paris was one of the first DJ's I discovered as a teenager getting into dance music, and I'm impressed by how good he has been for so long. You can really feel the soul he puts into every track or mix he makes. This mix for Rinse FM is a jamming hour Disco House (my favorite varietal). The whole mix is uplifting and funky, but the closing three tracks are what make this mix special. He goes from a remix of Love Never Felt So Good, the recent posthumous MJ track that sounds like a classic, into a house version Prince's Controversy (which I'm pretty sure is the Late Nite Tuff Guy Muscle Mix), and closes it out with a track that samples Donna Summer's (If It) Hurt's Just a Little in a very similar way to Cassius' 1999. Dimitri's mix starts about an hour in.
Cosmo Baker Live of WKDU - All 45's mix
The third mix is by one of my all-time favorite DJ's, Cosmo Baker. This is an all 45 mix that goes all over the place. Usually 45 mixes are just old obscure tracks, but Cosmo combines vintage records with recent remixes and small pressings. This mix had me dancing at my desk and looking crazy to the rest of my office. You can really tell how skilled and creative Cosmo is here; his mixing is on point and there were plenty of moments that had my mouth agape. This mix has so many awesome samples as well. Pretty much the heart and soul of Dj'ing right here.
Give these mixes a spin whenever you get a chance, they really made my week. While you're at it, make sure to follow all these people so you don't miss a minute of their funkiness.