Dance music live-streaming is hitting an all-time high following the string of essential stay-at-home orders from world leaders these last two weeks. The reaction from the broader dance music community amidst the spread of COVID-19 has been uplifting and inspiring.
The live-streams are great, and we’ll happily enjoy the continuous flow them- as long as we’re self-quarantining throughout the next however-many weeks. But, there’s nothing quite like a classic mix to help pass the time, get through a workout, or shift your mood. When it comes to mixes, the Essential Mix series from BBC Radio 1 is in a category of its’ own.
Hey, we love Diplo & Friends, A State of Trance, Group Therapy, UKF, and the countless other mix series many dance music fans find essential to their lives. But the artists that have made their way onto the Essential Mix program, since its debut in October 1993, speaks for itself.
The series spans a wide variety of genres, but we’re particular fans of their selection of bass artists. Throughout the last decade-plus, and beyond, keeping up with the aritsts performing on BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix has been a great way to keep up with the lastest and greatest trends in bass music.
From the rise of dubstep and the evolution of drum and bass, to long-awaited album releases and the next generation of talented bass acts, check out the Essential Mixes we’ve been returning to throughout our self-quarantine.
THE RISE OF DUBSTEP
With this group of mixes, it’s easy to follow the initial rise of dubstep in the global dance music scene. Kicking-off with one of the most important moments in dubstep history, the Dubstep Warz set from January of 2006, features the likes of Skream and other legends from the early-outset of the genre, highlights the cultural impact of this mix that is still being felt today.
Following that up with sets from other dubstep pioneers Caspa and Rusko, with mixes from 2009 and 2008 respectively, showcases the rapid growth and expansion of the genre prior to Skrillex coming and turning everything on its head in 2010. Then, top it all off with another massively influential artist taking dubstep to the next level, with Flux Pavilion’s mix from 2012.
RAM RECORDS TAKES OVER
Established in 1992, RAM Records is older than the Essential Mix series, illustrating the label’s deep roots in the bass music community. Founded by legendary drum and bass god Andy C, the label is one of the best places to find the latest and greatest drum and bass releases. With this group, we get an incredible mix from Wilkinson just after the release of his debut studio album Lazers Not Included in 2013, and another from Delta Heavy a handful of months after the release of their own debut studio album Paradise Lost in 2016. Both of those albums were released via RAM Records.
Between those marquee mixes, we get a special performance from The Man himself, with Andy C’s Glastonbury 2015 set providing the material for his Essential Mix. We can’t get enough of Andy C, or RAM Records in the Northwest, having enjoyed Andy C perform at various festivals in our region over the years. We even had a RAM Records takeover at Lucky 2015, illustrating just how much the PNW loves DnB.
SHAMBHALA 2020 PREVIEW
We love Shambhala Music Festival. We always have, and we always will. So when they announced their 2020 lineup, which was full of fantastic drum and bass, we got excited. Two of the biggest reasons why: Dimension and Friction. Friction is no stranger to the BBC Radio crew, having hosted a weekly drum and bass show on BBC Radio 1 for years. Meanwhile, Dimension has been solidifying his spot as one of the best producers and DJs in the genre.
Getting to see both of them, along with Sub Focus, Tantrum Desire, Phibes, and more at Shambhala this summer would be a treat that any bass music fan could enjoy. If you don’t believe us, check out these Essential Mixes from the past couple of years, and you’ll see why we can’t wait for Shambhala 2020.
WE’VE GOT ALBUMS!
New music is always worth sharing and celebrating. Doing so on a massive global mix series isn’t a bad idea, either. This group of artists all utilized the BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix series to do just that. Although his mix came a few months after the release of his debut studio album, Netsky’s set from 2010 is a great snapshot of his rise in the bass music scene.
NERO made their long-awaited return with the release of Between II Worlds in the fall of 2015, and released their mix for the series shortly thereafter. Northwest dance music fans will remember that time fondly, as the trio performed many of their fresh tunes live at FreakNight 2015. Spor, the drum and bass side-project from Jon Gooch (aka Feed Me), did the same after his return and release of Caligo in March of 2015, performing at Foundation Nightclub later that summer.
Other artists join the series prior to the official release of an album, like Camo & Krooked did in May of 2017 just before Mosaik came out. Regardless of the exact details, it’s clear that showcasing new tunes on the Essential Mix series is something every artist can get behind.
There’s no shortage of great live-sets, mixes, and new music coming out. In the rush of music being created and released while artists are self-quarantined, it’s good to go back and enjoy mixes from the past, too.
Let us know which mix series has been on repeat during your self-quarantine, and which BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes are your favorites! Share your thoughts with us by commenting below, on Facebook, or replying on Twitter!
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