20 Best DJ Mixes of 2013 - Rolling Stone
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20 Best DJ Mixes of 2013

James Murphy, Atoms for Peace, Four Tet and more of the year’s most transcendent sets

DJ Mixes

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Dance music continued its inexorable march towards the heart of the culture in 2013, but regardless of whatever commercials, award shows, or genre-bending collaborations DJs participated in, their chops, and genius, are best displayed in live mixes. Here are 20 of the year's best.

By Michaelangelo Matos, Mike Spinella and Elissa Stolman

Four Tet



Four Tet, ‘Beats in Space #676 – Part 1’

As Four Tet, Kieran Hebden makes DJ mixes for dancing in your head. In January, he presented two hours of global, out jazz for the London livecast Just Jam (complete with cheesy color FX); this set for WNYU's Beats in Space is more eclectic, with rare Prince bumping uglies with Neneh Cherry and hot, jackin' minimalism from Joy Orbison & Boddika. Hebden also jokes that his Coldplay rework will eventually come out on a "16 laserdisc" box.

Seth Troxler

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Visionquest, ‘Live at Creamfields 2013’

Detroit-bred DJ heroes Seth Troxler and Ryan Crosson represented the powerhouse Visionquest quartet at Creamfields in Buenos Aires this past fall. The pair's back-to-back mix encapsulates the rich style of burning tech-house that has become the group's calling card: rollicking beats, swelling low end and a relentless forward momentum. 

Thom Yorke

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Atoms for Peace, ‘Essential Mix’

No surprise here – Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich have been moving decisively toward electronic music ever since Radiohead's Kid A, and the closest to straight-up rock their Essential Mix (as Atoms for Peace) comes is the late desert-blues guitarist Kuodede. But this is exactly the kind of laptop-compact, blooms-in-your-headphone set you might hope for, dotted by Steve Reich, Aphex Twin and enticing snippets of unfinished Yorke material.

Tim Sweeney


Ron Morelli, ‘Beats in Space #668 – Part 2’

Beats in Space is Tim Sweeney's long-running NYC dance radio show with guest mixes every week. Here, Sweeney's chat with the dry-witted Morelli, who runs the acclaimed dirty-house label L.I.E.S., is worth hearing by itself: Morelli thanks "Russian torrent sites" for providing his set's tracks. He's kidding – the set is stuffed with vintage house goodies (such as N.Y. House Authority's classic "Apt. 2B") given a cloudy cast by hard-jacking techno and Conrad Schnitzler's eerie electronics.


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Cassy, ‘Live at BPM Festival’

The BPM Festival kicks off in Mexico in just a few weeks, but we're still reeling from Cassy's performance there in 2013. While her fellow Panorama Bar residents might tend to select tracks that glimmer, glide or crunch, Cassy's style is usually more bombastic and plain-dealing. Here, she's in top form, delivering two hours of deep tech-house with throbbing bass lines and bone-dry hi-hats. 

Courtesy Ghostly International


Mark E, ‘Fact Mix 401’

Mark E seems to approach every project with careful deliberation, a work ethic that pays off on the Birmingham producer's Fact mix. He crafts a captivating sonic narrative: the set kicks off with a slew of bobble-headed disco-house beats, sinks in to a brief dark patch with Silent Servant's brooding track "Invocation of Lust" and then returns to waggling house rhythms. 

Carl Craig



Carl Craig, ‘Live at Movement’

Carl Craig co-founded the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000, and despite a controversial 2001 exit, he still plays the festival – now called Movement – often. Craig's festival sets can be pretty somewhat workmanlike at times, but on his home turf, he dropped plenty of lean, hard, new grooves as well as some hometown gems, such as a back-to-back showing of Ben Sims' remix of Reese & Santonio's "How to Play Our Music" and Jeff Mills' "The Bells."

James Murphy

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James Murphy, ‘Live at 12 Years of DFA Records’

"The ideal [is] to take chances without forgetting the principal thing about DJing: making a fun time for people," James Murphy recently told the Guardian. On this fabulous hour from a recent NYC party celebrating his epochal label, DFA, Murphy transforms largely mid-Seventies disco via endlessly distended intros that suddenly snap into classics like Sylvester's "(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real" and Diana Ross' "Love Hangover." Who needs cowbell?

Courtesy Terror Bird Media


DJ Koze, ‘Fact Mix #387’

Daft Punk get all the headlines, but the wooziest widescreen dance album of 2013 is DJ Koze's endlessly lush Amygdala. He's also a joker, and this set for the weekly series for London's Fact magazine features a robot voiceover back-announcing the tracks, a nod to both radio and reviewer-promo album advances. It's a lovely head-trip consisting of 16 favorites from the year's first half – including three of Koze's own. If you're that good, why bother with modesty?

Richie Hawtin

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Richie Hawtin Vs. Luciano, ‘ENTER Week 10’

Richie Hawtin's parties have become the stuff of legend, but he's come a long way from throwing raves in pitch-black Midwestern warehouses. This past summer the Canadian producer/DJ completed a 13-week residency at one of Ibiza's most famous nightclubs, Space. Week 10 featured an all-star cast of DJs including Maya Jane Coles and Luke Hess, while Hawtin served up the main course with Cadenza stalwart Luciano in an epic five-hour set. 

Tim Sweeney


Axel Boman, ‘Beats in Space #697’

Not long before the November 11th release of his debut full-length, Family Vacation, Studio Barnhus heartthrob Axel Boman joined the "king of progressive Balearics" Tim Sweeney on his WNYU radio program Beats in Space. The two giggled over a lilting African vocal track before Boman settled into a memorable mix of simmering, melodic house beats.

Nicolas Jaar

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Nicolas Jaar, ‘Live at Boiler Room NYC: RBMA Takeover’

This year, electronic music phenom Nicolas Jaar focused on developing his brooding post-rock band, Darkside, but his webcasted appearance on Boiler Room proves that his solo endeavors haven't suffered. The camera showed Jaar composing beats from scratch, and each element he uses bears a hallmark of his unmistakable sound: He rolls out buxom beats peppered with slice-and-diced rap and R&B vocals, and bass-heavy grooves so thick listeners can sink into them like perfect pillows.


IGR photo


Prosumer, ’60 Minute Boiler Room Mix’

A staple of the Berlin dance music scene and a selector virtuoso, Prosumer descended on London's Boiler Room for this webcast mix. The former Panorama Bar resident went back tobasics with a crate of vinyl and two turntables. Surrounded by a dance party, Prosumer packed in funky grooves like D'Marc Cantu's "Size And Shape" and went back to '88 for E-Smoove's "Down the Drain."

Maya Jane Coles

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Maya Jane Coles, ‘Essential Mix’

Two months before her hotly anticipated debut, Comfort, London house producer Maya Jane Coles proved yet again why she became a headlining DJ before turning 25. The bubbling, glossy, soulful style she specializes in can charm nearly any floor, and her second Essential Mix (the first was 2011) has new dramatic flair. Her own new material stacks up nicely against the glitch-soul of [a]pendics.shuffle feat. Blakkat's "Heavy Burdens High (Safeword Remix)" and Coles' own climactic Ella Fitzgerald remix.


Todd Edwards, ‘Essential Mix’

Daft Punk collaborator and veteran producer extraordinaire Todd Edwards stepped up to the decks in celebration of his friends' Random Access Memories, whizzing through a two-hour set dominated by original edits and remixes that nodded to the Grammy-nominated album. This essential mix includes work from Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers, and detours into edits of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" and My Morning Jacket's "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. II" fused with Fleetwood Mac's "Big Love."

Danny Tenaglia

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Danny Tenaglia, ‘Electric Zoo’

After decades of controlling the dance floor like a puppet master, Tenaglia debuted his first official SoundCloud mix on Rolling Stone in celebration of his hometown appearance at Electric Zoo in September. The mix takes listeners on a one-hour journey, kicking off with an ode to Giorgio Moroder and building to an infectious LCD Soundsystem vs. Boris Dlugosh mash up, with stops at recent tracks  from Nicole Moudaber and Emilie Nana along the way.

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Flying Lotus, ‘Grand Theft Auto V’

In September, L.A. beat king Flying Lotus joined the ranks of Femi Kuti and Chuck D when Grand Theft Auto V commissioned him to host one of the game's radio stations. His mix traverses rap, juke, trip-hop, and soul, and comes frontloaded with FlyLo originals — but it's hard to imagine stealing cars to the sound of his ambrosial rhythms, so the set soon strays to more menacing moments from the likes of Tyler, the Creator. 

Eric Prydz

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Eric Prydz, ‘Essential Mix’

2013 was a big year for Stockholm progressive house heavyweight Eric Prydz: he played at massive festivals like Coachella, Ultra, EDC and HARD, opened up a residency in Las Vegas, and topped the Beatport charts with "Power Drive." He started off the year with a victory lap by returning to Pete Tong's Essential Mix series for the third time in February, unloading a host of original material and fresh cuts from his Pryda Friends label.

Jamie Jones

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Jamie Jones, ‘Live at Time Warp, Mannheim, Germany’

One of underground house's biggest stars, Jones runs the Hot Creations label, which issues club favorites like communion wafers. His set from this German festival mostly sidelines the easy hooks he writes with Hot Natured (his group with Lee Foss and Infinity Ink) in favor of deeper, dubbier tracks such as the winking, bleeping electro-disco of Click Click's "Ducks in the Kiddie Pool" to the James Brown sample-fueled "The Funking," by Fer BR.

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Disclosure, ‘Essential Mix’

House pioneer MK mauled the U.K. dance singles charts in November with his remix of Storm Queen's "Look Right Through," fueling the garage revival championed by U.K. sibling duo Disclosure. Following the climactic release of their debut album, Settle, the Lawrence brothers laid out a buffet of influences on their boisterous Essential Mix. Disclosure's winning formula mixes Dilla-indebted hip-hop with classic house from Detroit producers like Moodymann and new-school garage darlings like T. Williams. 

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