1. Burial | Archangel
Easy. If we were going by strict favorites, this whole mixtape could be Burial tunes (as with the previous entry). But within Burial's own repertoire, it's incredibly easy. Archangel. Bam. Nothing comes close for me. Nothing ever has before. I would say nothing ever will, but in many ways something already has. What is Archangel? First it feels like pure sex, a hazy memory of the best lay you ever had – sheltered from a thundering downpour, biting chills creeping in through imperfectly sealed windows, rustling the mess you're doing, dispersing the smoke... There is no sweat, no grunting, just slow-motion exhaling... The rhythm is your heart's, your brain has a surgeon's mindset, you bite into her collarbones, shackle her hands behind her back with just one of yours, the soles of her feet gently pushing into your shoulders... No pop. It lasts forever. Then the strings come in at 0:34. That's when even the loftiest of animal thoughts is swept up, along with you, and crashed onto the pavement. Pure love? Purity? Loneliness? Tell me I belong the song goes, amongst other things. Later, if you're a nerd, you find out, the song is about Bevan's lost dog. Hah. Then I realize, Archangel is what it says on the tin... It's not a song. And that was how I found out that Music is music only to those who barely listen. There's a cypher in there. And maps to doors that aren't affixed in walls. Which brings me to...
2. Borealis | Nightfall
This is what I was talking about when I said something already has. Sadly, you can't yet hear this anywhere, yet. Won't be out for a little while longer. It's part of a few mixes by a privileged few, if you look hard enough. I'm not gonna make it easy for you. Put in the work. If anything, this song gives more than any song has ever given, ever. So much that, for the longest time, I couldn't listen to it without getting a mini panic attack. It's a colossal info dump, an emotional can-opener. It's the kindest man alive, with open arms, smiling warmly, whispering sweet nothings in your ear. Disturbingly calm as you watch the Sun die over his shoulder. He knows though. We are not long for this world. That is, however, preferable.
3. Liar | Nymph Hunter
Truth is I'm one hell of a musical narcissist and I could easily just fill 3 of these mixtapes with stuff I've written and it would be honest. In real life, where I to make a physical mixtape for someone special, it would be all me. There's nothing else I'd want to give. And there's so much of it. ...And most of it is still under wraps for a another few months. So out of the tunes that people CAN hear at this point in time, I've picked Nymph Hunter because it aptly fits the headspace I'm in lately. And it does because it's a sort of Love song with no singular aim. A Love song that is more a song FOR Love than a song OF Love... Conceptually romanticizing myself as a satyr (or titular nymph hunter). So I'm this hypersexual horned demon, and the entirety of Nature is simply a bounty of nymphs... They flow from the Forests, the Waters, the Sky, the Earth... Curiously, they are monsters themselves. Beautiful monsters. They tease, then elude. I don't know whether to fuck them, or tear their little hearts out. It really feels like that sometimes. Love life is hypnotic, dizzying, claustrophobic, obscuring, yet equally transcendent, triumphant, invigorating and revelatory. And ultimately we're all mythical creatures trying to survive each other.
4. Lorn | Stranger
As with everybody on my A side, the choice is nigh-fucking-impossible, but Lorn kindly made it easy for me by writing this tune. What I feel this tune is is a reductionist, insanely focused exercise on his part. As if taking his whole rare gem of an album and condensing it into one impeccable redux. It's all there... The forLorn high fantasy mountaintop castle, looming against a storm-lit night sky; obsidian Christian icons rocking crunk cups; phosphorescent dungeons and laser-breathing dragons; a swag elemental; hot bitches. The best blend of Love and Anger I've ever heard.
5. Clark | New Year Storm
VS. Noisia – Stigma... Absolute, ultimate, fist-clenchingly, teeth-gratingly satisfying audio porn. You press play, and that's it. No contenders.
6. Anstam | Baldwin
It was a photo finish between this one and Black Friesian Monoliths. Anstam is half dream-come-true, half frustrating inb4. It's a moot point anyway. Bottom line, Anstam has written music that I really couldn't wait to hear.
7. Downliners Sekt | Incerta Glòria
Conversely, DSekt have made music that I never even fucking imagined I would ever hear until I heard it. Upon hearing it, I was struck dumb & blind (but not deaf, never deaf) and just sort of waddled on the floor like a fucking gimp tadpole or something. The broken-to-smithereens beat, and the part where the bass drops and starts to flail around... It's really all just a bit too much. I need a minute here...
8. Jamie xx | Beat For
First tune to ever make me think hmm, there's some actual merit to this Post-Dubstep xmalarkey. That was at first listen. With subsequent listens it became an all-time, evergreen favorite, then something frustratingly simple yet smart and effective that you sort of wish you thought of but you didn't FML (almost sort of like a musical parallel to the Conceptual Art movement), then ultimately an incontestable work of genius. Additionally, this song was a ray of light in some darker times of mine. Always going to have a few spare hearts for this one.
9. Krampfhaft | Spit Thunder
Also really really love Makin' Magic and Faux Art from him, but it's very hard I think even for him to top the genius of Spit Thunder. Like the previous entry, it's elegantly simple yet insanely clever, this time in that Techno-Kraut way... As soon as that incessant 808 rattle came in, you felt it in your loins, for the first time, that it was 2011. He cornered the Future-footwork market so early on that peeps like Africa Hitech, Kuedo, Machinedrum are only now catching up to him, in my certifiably-non-humble opinion.
10. Liar | Divorce (Flourish 'Fracture Satellite' Remix)
I fall asleep to this song. I fall in love to this song. I fall victim to this song. It is a spark in a blizzard. A snowflake in a solar flare. I often feel it has effortlessly transcended the beautiful, yet grounded ambitions of my original mix. The crystalline lead flows inward and outward from itself... Morphs from an uplifting trance strobe to overwhelming strings and everything in between, and your heart pulses with it.
+11. Blawan | Vibe Decorum
VS. Randomer - Real Talk... Badass Music. Man Music.
+12. Eliphino | More Than Me
No one loves you more than me, and no one ever will. I can completely relate.
+13. Akercocke | Leviathan
A coven of 140+ IQ satanists get together in business suits and, I quote, blast for Satan. This whole meta-data to the Music would normally put me off but once I actually heard them for the first time... Really, it all ties together. The proficiency with which these hyper-English gentlemen traffic in Beauty, and Glory, and Catharsis, and Solace is phenomenal. Difficult for most I'm sure, but crushingly beautiful music.
+14. The Cure | Last Dance
Really I could've put in [any song from Disintegration] and it would've been honest, but not very sporting. Last Dance is, of all their many beauties, a song that really makes them live up to their name. I once had Disintegration on shuffle while visiting my grandma in Ana Aslan (the Geriatrics Institute). After the visit was over I was walking about... Strayed from my family and and started exploding an old disused ward. It was almost ruin-like, and riddled with little Communist mementos, of which the most noticeable was the smell. Walking those halls I came upon a crack in the wall that had sort of let the forest in, with weeds and roots and shrubbery wildly growing into the linoleum of the now-desolate hallway. And Last Dance came on, as if summoned. I instantly teared up... I'm better now.
+15. VHS Head | Trademark Ribbons Of Gold
Heaven is a pointillist painting via a million cut-up samples from the 80s. Or at least that's how it feels when I listen to VHS Head. Knowing how under-rated this is... To whom it may concern, I am disappointed.
+16. John Maus | Cop Killer
Maus captured what was for me the entire quintessential highschool experience in one single fucking song. Uncanny. I doesn't hurt that it's one of the most heartrendingly beautiful songs from last year. I have to get in touch with this man.
+17. Birdman | Y. U. MAD (feat. Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne)
VS. Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis & Tyler, The Creator – Rella... This entry is so multi-pronged for me... What started a couple of years back as sort of a guilty pleasure, tongue-in-cheek appreciation grew into a full-formed balls-out shameless enthusiasm for the 808-satured genre. There so many to pick from... Drake, Kanye, Yelawolf, and the whole Cash Money crowd... Wayne of course and Nicki... Well, Nicki is weird, it's like, I don't think I like even one of HER songs, but I haven't heard a FEATURE of hers that didn't make me think ok, fuck it she's the best rapper of all time male or female, and that's coming from a very staunch defender of male supremacy in all fields creative. So I picked this one, which conveniently also features one of Weezy's feats (not his best, but hey, there's only one Steady Mobbin'), a not-half-bad beat, and a Birdman verse that I can thankfully tune out. ...As for Rella... Rella is Rella. Can never go wrong with OFWGKTA.
+18. Michael Jackson | Remember The Time
I was born in '88. When I was 4, I genuinely thought he does the music thing as a community outreach thing and he's a international crime-fighting superhero from 9 to 5. There is no fucking way a mixtape I make will ever be missing an MJ tune. Chamon.
Enya stuff is one long song. One long song that I could listen to 24/7 for the rest of my life if it came to that. There's nothing that comes for me in terms of uncostly bliss. Costly bliss, which would describe many of the other songs in this mixtape, is like a tearful shedding of mortal trappings into an avenue of scorching light, or some heroin metaphor or someshit. Enya is just like... Falling asleep in a tub of warm apricot jam after the most minimalist jerk. Plus subdued epic-ness I guess.
+20. Circa Survive | Act Apalled
I was listening to this song to ponder wether it should make the list... And then the bit at 2:00 comes it. And it's like it's first listen all over again. I'm 17 again. Falling in love again. Again and again, down spiral stairs. Patience... Both we and our words are overproduced by influence. Fitting, eh?
+21. Brandy | How High
This song doesn't exist yet. She played it to her bro from her car in their reality show 2 years ago. I'm still waiting to hear it in full.
+22. Trentemøller | Miss You
I was introduced to Trentemøller the way all pothead teen Metalheads are – my guidette girl-cousin put this on at one of our family get-togethers going hey, this is way better than all the screamy shit you listen to and for the first time... She was right. With the exception of ancient Dad Electronica (Vangelis/Kraftwerk/JMJ/Oldfield and the like), Miss You was my first Electronic song. It would be very romantic, and proper, if it where my last.