WARMER MIXTAPES #925 | by Ayoub Khalil [Mokona]

1. Triple Six Mafia | Playa Hataz 
The way Lord Infamous Raps in this reminds me of this dodgy person that once started talking to me as I was waiting for my train one night. It was this tall old man with his face and hands completely covered in Tattoos carrying a rolled up carpet. He mentioned some villa of his, a few of his hoes, how a friend recently ratted him out with the Police plus some other stuff I can’t remember. I thought whatever, my train is about to arrive anyway so I decided to play along. So then this cat starts talking about the carpet and opens it up a bit, revealing a katana. He talked about the blade for a bit, cool, no problem. I don’t know what set him off, but he suddenly became really aggressive and started talking louder and louder. I can’t exactly remember much after that, I completely shifted into Automatic Pilot trying to get rid of him. The next thing I remember is sitting in the train thinking what the fuck did just happen. As Paradoxical as it may seem, I actually listened to this tape to calm myself down. Everything about this track is so Unstable and Hectic, which, I suppose, I could definitely relate to then. The whole thing feels like it’s going to fall apart any second.

2. Björk | Army Of Me 
For a long time I thought I had dreamt this track! During the late 90s my mother went through a phase where she would only watch Music Videos on TV. One evening right before my bedtime the Music Video for Army Of Me popped up. I remember being so confused watching it, but I was intrigued by her Voice as well as the Dark Production (Daytime slots were filled with Euphoric Eurodance/Happy Hardcore). It was just so different, I wouldn’t hear anything like it again for a long time. Before I could find out who it was by my mother turned off the TV and said time for bed. The next day at School I asked some classmates if they had ever seen a Music Video with a truck that had Teeth and a Gorilla Dentist. They looked at me weirdly and probably thought I was making it up. It wasn’t until High School when I discovered Björk (along with this track). By this time I had convinced myself I probably dreamt it all, so when this track started playing I recognized it and was in total awe.

3. Mannish | Tasha’s Room 
 I got introduced to Underground Hip-Hop by a friend in School. He sometimes brought a Discman with him along with a huge CD collection, all Hip-Hop and R&B (the CDs and the Discman belonged to his older brother). I never used to listen to the Lyrics, I just liked the Beats. To be honest I’ll still excuse mediocre Lyrics as long as the Production is good. I swear that CD collection was amazing, even now I (re)discover stuff that I had first heard from there. Anyway, a few years later I decided that I wanted to have my own collection of Hip-Hop, so I started hunting for albums. The album this is on is one of my favourite finds, I think I heard it in some Amateur Skatetape. I used to discover a lot of Hip-Hop just by watching Skatetapes. The Lyrics aren’t going to blow anyone away, but the Production is everything I’m looking for in a Hip-Hop track. I Love how they used that Bob James sample, it’s totally Night Time, isn’t it?

4. Vick Lavender | Did You Really 
During the Summer of 2009 I spent 3 days in one of the most Luxurious Residential Areas of Casablanca called California. I was staying at an acquaintance’s place. I didn’t really know what we were going to do, all I knew was that I’d stay there for 3 days. He let me tag along with his clique of typical bored rich cats in their 20-somethings. We spent those days racing each other on Public Roads, visiting Exclusive Nightclubs and at one point we ended up at some Wedding Party on the beach. It was fun as hell, but quite Surreal. I had this track on loop the entire time. I had to take my phone out every 2 minutes to rewind it because it was in some Chicago House Mix. I always wondered whether this is a song about Heartbreak, because of the contrast between the Track Title and the Lyrics.

5. Soichi Terada | Time Station (Ape Escape Originape Soundtracks)
When I was a kid we moved around a lot, so for a long time Video Games were my best friend. I used to rent them every weekend as it was much cheaper. I got Ape Escape as a Birthday present, this Game introduced me to Jungle/Breakbeat (along with the Powerpuff Girls Theme Song). If you go in Crouch Mode in this Game the Music sort of goes into a reduced state with just Drums and Minimal Synths. I spent so much time Remixing the BGM just by timing crouches. Looking back I have no idea what triggered me to do that, I had fun doing it though.

6. Yellow Magic Orchestra | Kai-Koh 
I found out about YMO through Justice’s Documentary A Cross The Universe. There’s this segment in which Gaspard is playing Air Keyboard to something playing from his Laptop. I had to know what tune that was and it turned out to be Rydeen. Love at first sight. It started an entire cascade of discoveries such as Japanese Technopop, Yen Records and all the different projects that existed within the YMO-sphere. This album stands out as it is the most Straightforward Pop effort of the Trio. What I Love about YMO is that it’s generally Pop Music yet it doesn’t shy away from more Complex Arrangements and Sound Design. I Love the Bell Melodies and the Intro, very Inspiring.

7. DJ Dread.D | Siege 
Black Ops is my absolute favourite Grime Collective. I could’ve literally put any Black Ops release here. I spent my entire Winter last year listening to Pirate Radio Setrips of theirs and Jhené Aiko’s mixtape. Winter is without a doubt my favourite season. I had no idea Dread.D and T.Williams were the same guy, when Aidan (head of Templar Sound) told me I thought he was kidding at first. I spend a lot of time on trains and buses and I get a few stares sometimes because whenever I listen to Grime I’m animated, I can’t help it. Imagine some kid sitting in the train staring out the window nodding heavily while alternating smiles with frowns. That’s me, and I’m probably having a lot of fun listening to Music while watching Snow-covered cityscapes pass by!

8. Urban Tribe | Her 
I have lived in Paris for a very brief time, but I remember only small parts of it simply because I was very young. My father offered me to make a 3-day trip to Paris to explore some communes by foot and to encourage me to visit Paris more often. He showed me a lot of places and gave some History lessons, it's also the first time I saw Rex Club up close! Anytime we were in the car he’d let me provide the Soundtrack. On the way back home we were on the Highway at Night, it was storming heavily and you could hardly see the car in front because of the Rain. So I played this track, it was really intense. Heavy Rainfall, flashes, the growling Thunder, cruising the Highway at Night with this track blasting. Perfect.

9. Jam City | Untitled VIP
The minute I heard this I put it on Repeat and I listened to nothing else for 2 days straight. Studying, Sleeping, Running Errands, Everywhere I Went I took this track with me and I could do it again at any given time. I understand this track. I think this track understands me too and that kind of freaks me out.

10. Bok Bok | Rooftop (Outro) 
I discovered Night Slugs a few months before it became a Label through a string of Mixes from a now defunct blog called Lower End Spasm (you can still find some of these mixes in the Internet archive). Honestly I have so many fond memories that are Slugs-related, but now I finally get to talk about this track so I will! This is an Outro to an old Mix by Bok Bok & Manara. It introduced me to a lot of new forms of Music such as Ballroom, Grime and (early?) UK Funky. I can’t describe my obsession with this long-forgotten Loop, it rekindled my interest in Production and definitely had a part in forming what would become Mokona. I liked it so much that I asked Bok Bok if I could finish it as a track (which I did). Listening to this Loop now... I mean Night Slugs has evolved a lot since ’10, no doubt. Rooftop to me shows that what we’re hearing now already existed as a rough Sketch back then, and it continues to live on.