The week’s best mixes: Detroit hip-hop history and time-traveling cumbia

Each week, FACT trawls through the untamed world of free mixes, radio specials and live blends so you don’t have to.

This week, veteran Detroit beatmaker Ta’Raach traces Motor City’s hip-hop lineage and Galcher Lustwerk and Alvin Aronson’s Studio OST project turns on the ambience.

RA’s Max Pearl takes a trip through Latin America, Afrobeats maven DJ Neptizzle brings Afro B to Rinse FM and there’s industrial grit from Boston hardware fiend Isabella.

The Unseen – A Detroit Beat Tape

Detroit’s rich hip-hop history has been chronicled in a new documentary by Gus Sutherland called The Unseen: A Beat Tape, a tour of the city’s diverse scene that takes in players like Amp Fiddler, J Dilla, Waajeed, DJ Dez and House Shoes. To coincide with the doc’s release, veteran Detroit beatmaker Ta’Raach has pulled together a 45-minute soundtrack mix featuring from all of those artists, including two unreleased Dilla instrumentals.

Studio OST
Thump Mix

Despite adopting the name Studio OST, Galcher Lustwerk and Alvin Aronson’s collaborative project has aimed itself firmly at the dancefloor. This mix for Thump take things in a more ambient direction, giving them almost two hours to build a set out of tracks from Underworld, fellow White Material artist Young Male, Dial founder Lawrence and Jeff Mills, whose ‘Thera’ was released under his X-103 alias in 1992. If you need to zone out after a long week, this mix is essential listening.

Max Pearl
Sisters #33

RA’s US staff writer Max Pearl spans eras for a Central and South America-focused blend that makes stops across the Caribbean. The cumbia-driven mix goes “behind the hits” to dig up deep folk roots that include everything from the surf-y shuffle of Amazonian cumbia pioneers The Wemblers of Iquitos and late ‘60s group Los Destellos to Brazilian Afrobeat. There’s also some incredible Panamanian accordion freak-outs. A time-traveling, horizon-broadening pick.

Truancy Volume 168

Boston hardware fiend Isabella drops a mix for Truants a week after popping up on the ace Allergy Season/Discwoman compilation (in the latest Best of Bandcamp column) and it’s a trove of menacing synth-pop, sexed up industrial and original grit, with tracks from legends like Richard H. Kirk and Chris & Cosey alongside friends and collaborators such as Via App and Sissel Wincent.

DJ Neptizzle with Afro B
Rinse FM, February 5

There’s magic happening at the intersection of Afropop, R&B, hip-hop, UK rap and dancehall right now, a transatlantic fusion that’s being represented on Rinse FM by DJ Neptizzle, the Hackney DJ who’s been contributing to the rise of Afrobeats for the past five years. His Rinse show is a portable party, a ray of sunshine in these bleak winter months and this week featured London artist Afro B as special guest. Get to know, and look out for more from Neptizzle and the Afrobeats generation on FACT very soon.



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