I’ve been a fan of Soundcloud for many years now, through all the highs and lows this platform had to face since it first started in 2007. And while other streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are now offering a more flexible handling when it comes to album and playlists, the service with the orange cloud is still my number one choice when it comes to DJ-sets and mixtapes where one track blends into the next one. It’s a more substantial way of exploring new music because in a good set you never know what happens next and you usually don’t automatically know the name of a tune so you simply have to go with the flow and let the music do all the talking.
These DJ-Sets from mostly electronic music territory have become steady companions in my daily work routine, they help me to concentrate and not a day goes by where I’m not giving at least one of those mixtapes a go. In times of great stress, like the Covid-19 pandemic we’re facing right now, I find myself heading for more relaxing and calming selections again and again. While there’s plenty of dance and rap music available here, there are also great meditative Soundcloud sets you can discover that help you relax and rearrange your thoughts. It can be a quite a relieving listening experience, not just in home office but also beyond that. So, as I always love to recommend good music I decided to present you ten musical journeys I enjoyed a lot over the past months of quarantine and I kindly invite you to give them a spin as well and hope they’ll give you comfort as well in these tricky times
1. “Moss Selection” by Folest on Nature Tales
Hailing from Copenhagen the Nature Tales gang usually creates spaces and events where activities like relaxation, yoga, meditation and dance, are accompanied by live music and DJs so you can count on them being experts on the field of musical introspection. There profile is packed with great meditative Soundcloud sets, some a bit more grooving, others purely ambient. There’s, for example 4 to 5 hour sets of tropical jungle noises, paired with electronic sound textures so the one I’m presenting you here is just one example of their supply.
2. My very own ‘Lockdown Comfort Zone’ set
Obviously, I couldn’t help to produce my own set at the beginning of this weird isolation year. Usually I used my Burnout Sumner alias for more grooving tunes but this different approach felt quite right at that time. My Lockdown Comfort Mix starts quite slow and than a subtle groove unfolds its magic. The idea was to go from a silent and meditative state into a more active one as we’re all have to face this new situation sooner or later. It features old and new favourites of mine from Teen Daze, Hundreds, Four Tet, Pantha Du Prince and Christian Löffler.
3. Slow space travelling by DJ Supermarkt on Dream Chimney
Every Monday morning established label/blog Dream Chimney uploads a new guestmix to their profile and I find myself listening to them every time as my slowly-starting-the-week-ritual. Usually they are indeed a bit dreamy, sometimes also groovy but usually of high quality. Recently our old friend DJ Supermarkt took care of the Monday mix and he did not disappoint. He continued the space travelling theme he started for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION a while back and I really appreciate that. Great selection by the yacht rocking expert, I must say.
4. Laidback vibes by Unrush founder Mareena
Berlin-based label Unrush is specialized on lush downbeat and experimental ambient releases and their Soundcloud profile is packed with laidback sets from label inhabitants and guests so once again I can recommend you to give the entire selection a spin which is quite a thing, considering there are over 50 mixes if I count correctly. This recently released set by label founder Mareena is a wonderful example here and a fitting musical daydream.
5. Slipping into better times with frwctrl
The cryptic alias frwctrl stands for ‘frequency without control‘, the alias of producer and DJ Christian Beetz from Hamburg who shares a similar love for Balearic vibes, 80s sounds and other summerly pop variations so I’m really connecting to his sets and edits. Obviously inspired by the current lockdown his last ones are a bit more laidback than usually but they still got a great vibe between chillout and daytime disco. If you happen to find yourself close to a pool this year, the frwctrl sets might be helpful.
6. Bonjour Ben’s mellow mix for Lush Life
Leipzig-based collective Lush Life is a good address for laidback and slightly more electronic experimental vibes, their sets got that after hour sunset/sunrise glow I really fell in love with over the past years. This recently released mix by Bonjour Ben is especially great as it’s not an entirely electronic affair but also features great folk and acoustic treasures you might have never heard of.
7. Going on a “Last Flight” with Balearic Social
Andy Pye from Leeds is the man behind Balearic Social, a radio show and brand that is very much dedicated to laidback chillout vibes. In his weekly show he usually compiles oldschool pop and electronic vibes that always feel a bit like they could’ve been also played in an Ibiza-based lounge club 20 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a compliment and often the mixes go beyond that, the mix obscure and exotic vibes with more pop-focussed ones. Mr. Pye really is one of those record diggers that constantly comes up with great new sets and adventurous sounds I never heard of before.
8. Getting though the day with Robag Wruhme
I love Robag Wruhme and I think he’s one of the world’s greatest producers of electronic music. He managed to create a distinctive sound and his productions are so fantastic and one of the rare situations where electronic instrumental dance music can actually awake emotions in you. On the other hand, his more club-based material (and his legendary live sets) are pretty excessive as well so he knows about the two extremes. Towards the beginning of the lockdown the German icon uploaded to tapes, one called Day Mix, one called Night Mix. Well, the second one is obviously not that laidback but the first one is a lovely insight into Mr. Wruhme’s current and all time favourites. Be surprised what to expect here and let me know if you managed to spot Snoop Dogg.
9. Mellow techno vibes from Sven Weisemann
I recently stumbled upon the music of Berlin-based DJ and producer Sven Weisemann for the first time (via his contribution to the Unrush series) and I really like what I’m hearing so far. He’s been around the city’s restless (well, except for right now) nightlife scene for over twenty years and his style could be described as minimal techno although I think that limits its potential. Yes, a solid four-to-the-floor groove is the foundation of Weisemann’s work and often his sets as well but it gets enriched with sonic soundscapes, experiments and plenty of ambient stuff so it’s a less hard and more melodic approach to this music. This mix called Vague Memories From The Ancient Tape Mix is a good example here.
10. Revisiting the haunting NBHAP Guestmix from Francis Harris
Last but not least… don’t forget that NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION is also running a Soundcloud page where we occasionally also upload wonderful guestmixes by befriended artists. Obviously now is a good situation to (re)discover them and especially the one acclaimed electronic experimentalist Francis Harris produced for us back in 2017 deserves more credit. It’s such a well-curated selection of meditative sounds… it deserves your full love and attention.