I recently overheard some Australian friends waxing lyrical about the DJing prowess of Moopie, the guy behind Melbourne label, A Colourful Storm. The way they spoke about his sets at Inner Varnika, it’s the stuff dance music lore is made of – one particular anecdote fondly recalled a heartfelt tribute to a recently deceased Mark E in 2018. It’s safe to say he’s more than just the brains behind one of the most consistent and intriguing electronic labels in recent memory.

The praise is well-deserved – having The Fall frontman recite football scores over peak-time techno is the sort of thing all adventurous DJs should aspire to, right? – and today, we take a look at a format that influenced and inspired Moopie’s own attitude towards the ones and twos: the mix CD. Something of a dying art in this digital age, here are a few that made a lasting impression.


1. Ivan Smagghe – Bugged Out! presents Suck My Deck [React, 2004]

Released in 2004 but coming into my awareness around 2009, this mix epitomised the kind of energy and flair I found so exciting discovering electronic music as a late teenager through things like indie rock remixes and noisy electro house. I loved the immediacy and pop sensibilities of that music and listening to this mix nowadays reminds me of how well they can be delivered.

 

2. Prins Thomas – Cosmo Galactic Prism [Eskimo, 2007]

Prins Thomas is often aligned with the eclectic ‘space disco’ scene but I’ve always admired how he can connect elements from supposedly more rigid styles and make them work. This mix, alongside his Live at Robert Johnson CD convinced me that despite the relative ease of finding and playing music as disparate as Joe Meek & The Blue Men, The Honeymoon Killers and Boards of Canada nowadays, it takes a certain intuition to lift them beyond the sum of their parts.

 

3. Optimo – Optimogeddon [2010]

This is a 7-hour audio stream of the final Optimo (Espacio) party at Sub Club, Glasgow and is fittingly celebratory (it wasn’t released on CD though – sorry!). Through their thematic mixes and compilations, Optimo introduced me to a lot of music which I don’t think I would have discovered until much later: bands like Suicide and Chris & Cosey, old psychedelia and folk like Damon and Karen Dalton – but just as importantly, contemporary electronic stuff like Thomas Brinkmann and Pan Sonic which sounded so strange and beautiful.

 

4. Blackest Ever Black – Dream Theory In Haltemprice [Blackest Ever Black, 2012]

Dream Theory In Haltemprice, I think was one of the last CDr mixes that Blackest Ever Black sold through their website during their early days. Kiran [Sande, Blackest Ever Black label founder and mix author] is a masterful narrator and his mixes, despite comprising music spanning decades and styles, convey a very distinctive mood. One piece of musical advice I took from him was to place just as much importance on what you leave out as what you leave in.

 

5. Vladimir Ivkovic – The Hanging Garden [2016]

This isn’t an official mix CD either, but an important recording from a party in Dresden. It was also the first time I heard Vladimir Ivkovic play. Vladimir is ingenious for picking out tracks from his wide listening experiences – most often ones with little trace of dance music culture – and maximising their potential in collective settings. A number of tracks in this recording (as well as hearing him play Coil’s ‘Careful What You Wish For’ in Sydney a year later among many other moments) are testament to that. Listening to Vladimir is like catching a glimpse into his entire life.

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