Year-end lists, while valuable, can blur into vague hype, dizzying lists of artists and tracks. Let’s start by spending some time listening.
Long-time friend of the site Sofia Kourtesis, the producer/DJ with German-Peruvian-Greek connections now based in Berlin, fired over a new mix and her latest production this week. I make no claim of weighing what’s important in grander schemes, but I was moved by the fact that it touched so much of the music I resonated with personally this year, in headphones and in clubs both. There’s Octo Octa and Benjamin Damage – each mastering live performance – and Avalon Emerson and Etapp Kyle and DVS1, who dazzled me as DJs and with productions. And then onward from there.
Sofia calls this “pieces of winter sky”:
1 Olof Dreijer-Echoes from Mamori
2 Adam Marshall – Hose Shipping, Jammed Mix
3 Avalon Emerson – One More Fluorescent Rush
4 Etapp Kyle – Essay [KW20]
5 DVS1 – In The Middle [KW20]
6 Octo Octa – Adrift (Official Video)
7 Benjamin Damage – Montreal
8 Helena Hauff- Do you really think like that, als MP3 im Anhang
9 Sofia Kourtesis Iquitos
10 Aphex Twin – Alberto Balsam
Sofia is busy. In addition to handling bookings at Chalet (the former tollhouse right next to the Berlin headquarters of Native Instruments), she’s playing a festival in Peru organizing around the issue of child trafficking on May 17, has a full schedule of some of the most respected venues in Germany, NYC, and Latin America (see below), and will be curating a concert series at Berlin’s storied Funkhaus (ex-DDR radio facility and host recently to Ableton Loop). She also has a new EP in the works for spring.
Here’s what she says about this mix:
This mix is somehow playful, but also really dynamic, with sounds of mellow, Amazonian, and moody techno and electronica.
I took Olaf Dreijer to begin with, because it always makes me go out of myself on a dreamy journey, thinking about home, or about what home is. I really like his Amazonian elements — and this bass kills me, it’s just beautiful. It keeps me motivated throughout the day.
I also selected some of my favorite female artists at the moment, not just for them being women, but mainly because they’re talented producers using a lot of analog gear. Helena Hauff always brings it to the point, and without needing to try, she simply sounds really organic. I really love her new EP on Ninja Tune. I also like Avalon’s new track that she released on Whities, one of my favorite labels at the moment, alongside Studio Barnus.
The production, the video and her artwork are always really special. I wonder why she didn’t write music for computer games. She could totally do it – what a dream; I would be the first one to buy it. Ed.: We may have to round up some video game music at some point, on that note – see for instance SØS Gunver Ryberg’s wonderful work.
I just found out about Octo Octa this year. She’s a wonderful artist; I really like playing “Adrift” in the middle of a set; it takes me on a journey. Also really good for dancing is Benjamin Damage’s “Montreal” — what a tune… wish I had made it!
I also dared myself to include one of my own new tracks called “Guerrero.” It’s about a close friend of mind who is fighting against FIFA’s corruption.
All the best things at the end — I will never forget to include Aphex Twin in anything I do; he’s always been my hero.
By the way, from Sofia or anyone else, I will rabidly defend left-turn mixing and surprises; I think mixing and DJing could use more risks, not less. Seems a good resolution for 2018.
We’ll have more audio content from CDM coming on 2018, so consider this one end-of-year teaser as we squeeze in some holidays. If you have ideas for how you’d like that to go, I’d love to hear from you. But I believe there should always be more room for listening.
In person is even better, so here are Sofia’s coming dates:
19.01.2018 Chalet Club Berlin
16.2.2018 Institut für Zukunft Leipzig
22.02.2018 Bossa Nova Civic New York
24.02.2018 New York [TBC]
17.05.2018 Proyecto Play Me Lima-Peru
25.05.2018 Mexico City [TBC]