10 Best DJ Mixes

Some people say that there is no skill to being a DJ. But the 10 best DJ Mixes are more innovative & exciting than most of the ‘real’ music being released..

I’ve been taking part in a discussion on MOG to come up with the 501 greatest ever albums and was thinking of adding a DJ Mix (the one that I’ve put at No. 1). I thought that it would probably get rejected so decided to compile my own list of the 10 DJ mixes that changed music (for me at least.)

  1. Coldcut – 70 Minutes Of Madness (Journeys By DJ): An incredible mix of everything from drum & bass, to soul, to the theme from Dr Who. Truly groundbreaking.
  2. Andy Smith – Essential Selection (Radio 1): As the DJ for Portishead he was at the forefront of trip hop & this mix shows why. Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles, with lots in between. It was never released so why not check out The Document, or stream it here.
  3. David Holmes – Essential Mix (Radio 1): Voted one of the best ever Essential Mixes, this is a tour de force in taking old funk & soul and making something new with it.
  4. DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Brain Freeze: Another marvel of soul, funk & hip-hop. Most of the excerpts barely last a minute, yet it never feels disjointed.
  5. RJD2 – Your Face Or Your Kneecaps: A delightful name for another album making something new out of something old. The mix of old breaks & soul tracks beats any of his own compositions.
  6. James Lavelle – Cream Live 2: A stunning mix of beats, hip-hop & drum & bass. Released at the height of his fame as the Mo’ Wax boss, the scratching was apparently all actually done by The Psychonauts
  7. Gilles Peterson – Desert Island Discs (Journeys By DJ): Gilles has always been at the forefront of contemporrary music, and this album is like a time-capsule from mid 90s London. Drum & bass, house and old soul are mixed seamlessly.
  8. The Psychonauts – Essential Mix: Amazing 3-deck wizards manage to make tunes blend together in a way that seems impossible. Including Oasis’ Wonderwall with breakbeats behind it. No, really.
  9. DJ Premier – The Kings Of Hip Hop: The man behind the beats for Gang Starr puts together a mix of the records that inspired him, and from where he took those beats. 50 Cent & the like should be forced to listen to this.
  10. Bentley Rhythm Ace – FSUK: Part of the much maligned big beat scene, Bentley Rhythm Ace show a very eclectic taste in tunes, and mix up a storming dance floor set.

As you may gave guessed, I’m not much of a fan of house music, so haven’t included any house mixes. If you feel that there are any that I really should have included, then please let me know.

And as a final thought, Morrisey famously once sang “Hang the DJ”. And where is he now? Trading on his past glories like an old pantomime dame, whilst all of these DJ sets sound fresher & more invigorating than anything that he has released in the last 20 years.

UPDATE: An unforgivable ommission:

11. Soulwax – 2 Many DJs (As Heard On Radio Soulwax Vol 2): The mix that really gave birth to the mash-up explosion. Belgian DJ/Producers mix up everything from Nirvana to Basement Jaxx, Salt & Pepa to Iggy & The Stooges. Truly seminal.

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7 comments

  1. phil

    David Holmes – Essential Mix, definately the best essential mix so far, and, in my opinion, the only thing from holmes worth listening to.

  2. ciar√°n

    Hey – his album Let’s Get Killed is a bit of a forgotten masterpiece IMHO.. nice mix of dance and soundtracks… and his debut, This Film’s Crap Let’s Slash the Seats, gets kudos for its name alone!

  3. blog ninja

    Stumbled across this blog … I don’t own a lot of mix albums, but my favorite is probably On the Floor at the Boutique (Fat Boy Slim). How about MadLib’s two mix albums? (Blunted in the Bomb Shelter; Shades of Blue).

    Your thoughts?

  4. ciar√°n

    I’m always up for a bit of Mr Slim – I’ve never heard one of his CDs, but the sets I’ve seen him do, live and on TV are always pretty awesome.

    Will have to check out the Madlib ones – ta for the tip!

  5. Jack

    I think that 2 Many DJs tend to get too much credit that should go to DJ P & DJ Z-Trip. Uneasy Listening dropped 3 years before the Soulwax mix.

    I’d probably put the latest Girl Talk album at the top of a list like this. Thats just my opinion though. I’ve found that most people don’t love it nearly as much as I do.

    Also, Air dropped an amazing essential mix back in 1998 that is worth checking out.

  6. ciar√°n

    Z-Trip is excellent – when I went to see Shadow a few years ago, Z-Trip actually blew him off the stage.

    I thought about putting the Air one in here, but I think it’s just too long – a bit like a double album; it would have shown more skill if they could have edited it down a bit rather than just throwing everything in there..

  7. Anonymous

    a year late..I know! haha!! check out 2005 Krafty Kuts essential mix, blows plump dj’s away I’m afraid…though that one is my second fav.. adam freeland is also the bomb yo

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