LWE Reflect On Our Favorite Podcasts

When LWE started its podcast series back 2008 it was impossible to tell how the series would progress; but its basis was in providing our readers with quality music, not just the handouts of the biggest names we could find. Now that we’re about to reach our 100th regular podcast it seems safe to say we achieved this goal, pleasing and challenging listeners and occasionally landing a few big name podcasts as well. In celebration of our fast approaching 100th exclusive podcast, LWE’s staff has taken a look back at the first 99 and showcased some of our favorites so far. What’s more, we’ve made all of the podcasts featured here available for download for one more week, so you can grab the archived mixes one more time. Because of the limits of the article we couldn’t possibly cover all of our favorite mixes, so we look forward to discussing your favorites in the comments as well.

LWE Podcast 01: Terrence Dixon
For me, Little White Earbuds’ first trip into the now-overfished seas of podcasting remains one of this site’s most memorable. Appearing at a time when “raw” and “Detroit” emerged as critical buzzwords in electronic music journalism, Terrence Dixon presented a spin on midwest retro that wasn’t dogmatic, but doggedly individual. Lo-fi and often abrasive, this tough, edgy mix sprawls from timeless cosmic techno to date-stamped acid house (see D-Mob’s “We Call It Acieed”). Uniting the selections is a snarling machine funk that mirrors Dixon’s own often-aggressive production work. Befitting an artist tipped by Clone as “maybe the last real Detroit techno innovator,” and whose track “Rush Hour” inspired the name of one of dance music’s most crucial institutions, Dixon’s LWE mix didn’t sound at all rote or trendy then and, even though melanges of prickly house and flickering techno are a dime a dozen today, this mix throws quite a few punches that still surprise. [Chris Burkhalter]

LWE Podcast 05: Tama Sumo
When LWE launched its podcast series, Tama Sumo was one of the first people I approached about doing a mix. Having seen her play the Panorama Bar garden not long before, I knew she was an ideal candidate for the task. But even that preview couldn’t prepare me for the mix she turned in. Weaving between multiple eras of house, silky deep joints (Agnes’ remix of “L’Aurora”) and more banging tech turns (Kerri Chandler’s “Hexadecimal”), Chicago jack tracks (DJ Funk’s “House The Groove”) and new wave torch songs (the “Innovative Mix” of Dee D. Jackson’s “Automatic Lover”), Podcast 05 is a thrilling ride that hits all the pleasure centers. For my money it’s an even better mix than her Panorama Bar 02 CD, even if the mixing is not machine tight. It’s one I’ve played when getting ready for parties, when I need cheering up, and when I’m just craving a reliable listen — because it’s just as fresh and enjoyable today as when it first hit my inbox. Tama Sumo quickly set the bar for LWE’s Podcast series as high as it could go, a benchmark only our best mixes since have been able to touch.
[Steve Mizek]

LWE Podcast 29: Black Jazz Consortium
“I woke up out of a deep sleep and started mixing out of a pile of records.” This is how Fred Peterkin begins to describe the recording of LWE’s 29th mix, and given his role as one of contemporary deep house’s foremost authorities it’s as fitting a situation as any. While deepness for deepness’ sake can seem to come out of one’s ears after awhile, with Fred it’s a different story all together. This mix is deep but never stagnant, slowly emerging out of REM cycles and perfectly escalating energy over its two hour runtime. The inclusion of movie quotes put it over the edge, turning an excellent mix into something truly special: a mix that stays with you past subsequent mixes and long after the unreleased material has been released. The era between its release in 2009 and now has seen house music become increasingly focused back to its roots (both geographically and temporally), and while Fred holds high the traditions of New York house, he makes pushing music forward a priority. Fred has only improved as a DJ since this mix emerged (indeed, his recent set at the Bunker remains a very bright highlight of the year so far), but I keep coming back to LWE’s 29th podcast and suspect that I will continue to for years to come. [Chris Miller]

LWE Podcast 42: Anthony “Shake” Shakir
For his fans, Shake just has the Midas touch. His mixes distill the same unstable, incandescent energy that inhabits each component in his own productions. How does Shake pull this off time and again? Within the last ten or twelve years, during which the dominant clubland aesthetics have called for mixes to have fabric-style edgeless polish, or Panorama Bar-esque unassuming functionalism, Shake has stuck to his guns. He revels in what can be created by jamming two partially compatible tracks together in a brightly kinetic collision. LWE 42 furnishes several good examples: exuberant mixing forces the bleeps and other midrange elements of the first three tracks to talk to one another – even though the frayed textures created when some of the other components combine would have dissuaded a DJ more obsessed with showman-like precision from hurtling them together. Perhaps even more importantly, Shake, like few others, creates mixes that work as a whole. Peven Everett’s “All The Time” is not a track I would reach for as a DJ, or even one for which I might muster much enthusiasm if it landed in my in-tray for review; and yet as the giddy counterpoint to the murkily psychological fare that entangles it on both sides in Shake’s mix, it works great. It’s these ecstatic moments that elevate Shake head and shoulders above the fray, and the fact that LWE 42 wonderfully conveys the rare (as hen’s teeth!) mix of physicality and narrative sensibility needed to create such moments makes it one of my favorites in the series. [Colin Shields]

LWE Podcast 59: John Roberts
Casual listeners to John Roberts’ debut album Glass Eights might have been surprised to hear the lascivious come-ons of KC Flight’s “Summer Madness.” But beneath the buttoned-up, wallflower appearance of Roberts’ own music is an house badass just dying to flex his muscles. The point is proved by his LWE mix which ploughs a furrow I’d like to christen “sensitive thug”: the aforementioned “Sex For Daze” mix rubs up against Robert Owens wittering on about how he’ll be your friend, while “Jack Your Big Booty” is frottaged by the DJ’s own elegant composition “Porcelain.” By the time Italo tearjerker “On and On” brings the mix to a close, one realises that it is in fact merely an extension of Roberts’ own perfect synthesis of rough-house drums and Dial aesthetics: this is what happens when thugs cry. [Peder Clark]

LWE Podcast 62: DJ Qu
While we’ve written countless words on this site about DJ Qu’s inimitable production style, we tend to gloss over the fact that DJing is no small part of what this guy does. And his Little White Earbuds podcast proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the front end of Ramon Lisandro Quezada’s production alias is no false signifier. Dude can mix, but what we got here was a good deal more interesting: where plenty of other producer-DJs let their club sets bolster their 12″ output, Qu’s beats on our 62nd podcast sound very much in the service of his obsessions as a house-head. Those beats — then-exclusives which would go on to assume highlight status on Qu’s long-in-the-works Gymnastics album — mostly rub shoulders with a tightly interconnected circle of like-minded producers, from globetrotters like Jus-Ed and Nina Kraviz to unsung Exchange Place heroes Joey Anderson and Nicuri. But rather than simply restate Underground Quality, this podcast traveled truly recast these now-familiar sounds: New York house found its dark side, and Qu’s signature swirling rhythms (to borrow his words, “Thump and Vibe”) emerged from their cocoons as the stuff of anthems. [Jordan Rothlein]

LWE Podcast 63: Silent Servant vs DVS1
I’ve been listening to techno for over twenty years; my musical education and explorations included huge doses of the purist Detroit and German variety, so it has always held a special place in my heart and ears. I frequently used to listen to a tape of Jeff Mills live at Liquid Room to lull myself to sleep in my mid teens and even though my tastes have mellowed slightly from the hard-as-nails techno I used to prefer, I love hearing techno played properly. Silent Servant and DVS1 bring all the right ingredients to this mix that make techno such a joy to listen to. The mixing is tight, the tracks sound both timeless and futuristic (classic techno like this could have been made any time in the last 15-20 years and still sound like it’s fresh out the box), and there is a raw, tribalistic energy conveyed that keeps things moving and interesting. I love how Silent Servant mixes up the old and new, introducing old cuts to new ears and vice versa, while DVS1 goes mostly for cold, steely look at more recent releases. To me this epitomizes late night, heads down techno and it’s my favorite in our series. [Per Bojsen-Moller]

LWE Podcast 70: Elgato
I’m not sure what it means that my favorite mix in the podcast series is one composed entirely of old tracks; a determinedly “retro” mix seems the kind of musical dessert that shouldn’t be held above perhaps more “adventurous” endeavors. But really, fuck it. Just listen to this mix. Maybe it’s the novelty of a podcast by one of 2010’s most audacious and universally acclaimed new kids on the block making deeply experimental house music turning out to be an orthodox set of old garage from both sides of the Atlantic. Maybe it’s the fact that the selection is unparalleled, mixing both realms of garageland into one cohesive singularity that feels as deeply, intrinsically UK as it worships at the altar of classic American house. Maybe it’s because it capitalized on what seemed like a looming trend of incorporating house and classic garage into bass music, predicting what would soon become the overarching theme of 2011. Maybe it’s… fuck it. Just listen to this mix. [Andrew Ryce]

LWE Podcast 72: Aroy Dee
Too often when a DJ uses their podcast to spotlight their own label/productions, it distracts from what could be a satisfying mix. And although Steven Brunsmann aka Aroy Dee’s podcast from early this year starts and ends with his own R-A-G trio and features several other M>O>S recordings, it never feels like he’s doing listeners a disservice. Brunsmann’s podcast, taken from a Panorama Bar DJ set late last year, offers a stirring journey through Chicago house and Detroit techno alongside equally significant modern productions. Pulling out lesser known older tracks from The H-Men, MD III and Reel by Real, he slips in and out of textured, moody techno from the likes of Soulomon, Paul Bennett and even the gloriously off-kilter “Bowls” by Caribou. Even when he groups two unreleased (at the time of publishing) tracks from M>O>S together, D’Marc Cantu’s “Set Free” and Brunsmann’s own “Beauty,” the quality of the tracks dispel thoughts that their placement is merely a sales pitch. This podcast is just what it is, a snapshot of Brunsmann’s DJing on one killer night. [Kuri Kondrak]

LWE Podcast 76: Anton Zap
I’ve been through probably 10 to 20 variations on “buses at dusk” trying to describe this Anton Zap podcast. That’s basically the wave it’s on. The Russian producer put together a bunch of unreleased (at the time, anyway) material from his Ethereal Sound label and a few other odds and ends, but the end result is a lot less about singular tracks than fluid, drifting atmosphere. It’s casually engaging but never boring, just subtly switching moods and shades — the BPMs are steady, there are lots of soothing pads — it’s like some kind of deep blue motor. Maybe try thinking of a ride down a post-twilight boulevard: blocks of muted light in apartment windows, closed businesses where the front is neon-lit and then fades off into blackness in the back, faceless people doing that downcast end-of-the-day trudge. It’s one of our moodier, more evocative editions. [Steve Kerr]

Rory  on September 30, 2011 at 8:43 PM

Wow looking back and so many amazing podcasts from you guys… thanks so much for all the good music. :)

Si  on October 1, 2011 at 1:36 AM

Massive props to your guys – consistently bring my favourite podcasts. That Elgato mix is absolutely outstanding

moskvax  on October 1, 2011 at 6:56 AM

the andrea mix was such a trip, thanks heaps for getting it.

tony kukoc  on October 1, 2011 at 7:20 AM

Have no idea how you guys chose just one when they were so many great ones, but my favourites probably are the Public Lover and 2562/A Made Up Sound podcasts. Remember liking the Shake, Elgato and Anton Zap ones quite a bit too, but I haven’t heard them in ages.

tony kukoc  on October 2, 2011 at 7:27 AM

Oh and the Millie and Andrea mix was great as well.

namuab  on October 2, 2011 at 11:19 AM

zap’s podcast is absolutely favorite

Matthew  on October 9, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Thanks so much for giving us new readers a chance to hear these terrific mixes. Any reason why the Terrence Dixon podcast is unavailable for download?

littlewhiteearbuds  on October 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Matthew, just tried to download it and it worked fine. If you want to describe your issue further, email me at editor[at]littlewhiteearbuds.com.

Matthew  on October 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Never mind, I found the link. Thank you!

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