Slam on the CDJ: The Best DJ Sets of June, 2024 (2024)

Slam on the CDJ: The Best DJ Sets of June, 2024 (1) Image via Michael McKinney

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In June, plenty of critical DJs went deep and wide, tunneling deep into highly particular sounds or stretching out into unfamiliar territories. Aaron J and buttechno offered up two particularly bone-chilling takes on techno and ambient music, while Jeffrey Sfire reached into his crates and pulled out six hours of sunshine. MUSCLECARS, an essential New-York house-music duo, went slow and joyous for their RA podcast, and Miami’s Danny Daze donned his D33 alias for a session of whip-cracking tech-et-cetera rollers. The Carry Nation cooked up a session of amp-busting house records; elsewhere, DJ Flight looked towards the fire-starting sounds of drum-and-bass.

Down in New Jersey, Brick Bandits affiliate DJ Problem turned in an hour of wild-eyed Jersey club records, and up in New York, Boo Lean sprinted between hardcore, techno, breaks, drum-and-bass, and all manner of dancefloor heaters. Bratches cooked up a love letter to dubstep and new-school techno, whether from the UK or the US; Big Ang, on the other hand, went deep on the raucous sounds of bassline. Detroit DJ BEIGE turned in a kitchen-sink barnstormer, Yibing turned in a high-tech head-scratcher of a club set, and NVST & Zohar offered up a set of peak-time brain-benders.

If you look away from the dancefloor, though, you’ll find all sorts of gems. The Arkitekt put out an eight-hour marathon of late-’90s IDM and ambient music, while Bruce cobbled together a delirious hour of bad-trip electronics for Berceuse Heroique. Ian Isian and Provhat offered two wildly different hours of deeply felt spirituals and religious music for NTS, and Time Is Away explored downcast IDM, rickety folk musics, and mythologies. Two Amsterdam dance-music institutions cracked open their archives, too: Dekmantel uploaded the latest batch of festival records, grabbing a series of live recordings from Lentekabinet 2024; and De School, a much-loved club that recently closed its doors, unveiled over eight hundred hours of live recordings from their dancefloors.

Here are some of the best DJ sets June had to offer.

Techno can be a lot of things—Joyous, beguiling, playful, steamrolling—But, sometimes, it’s worth slowing things down a bit and raising a few hairs. In a pair of recent mixes, two techno-adjacent DJs from two different sides of the world focused on the spooked-out side of the genre, stringing tightropes between kick drums and staring into the depths below. Aaron J, an essential Brooklyn DJ, gave Ute one of his most delirious sessions in a while. With Ute Mix Series #89, he takes what starts out as a blast of abandoned-factory ambience and lets the machinery shudder to life, filling the air with alien clicks, rattles, and whirrs. It is, at turns, disorienting, unsettling, and pile-driving, and its unrelenting forward momentum makes it equally suited for whisper-quiet chase scenes or finding a trance on the dancefloor. The mix isn’t flashy: It has few obvious blends, and its low-end is more of a skin-crawler than an earth-shaker. But that subdued nature is the source of the mix’s power. On Ute Mix Series #89, Aaron J spends nearly two hours conjuring a thick haze; by the end, even the familiar feels deeply alien.

By comparison, most anything would feel warm to the touch, but buttechno’s Truancy Volume takes its time to get there: This one opens with bone-shaking modern-classical music, with a heaving cello sounding as through it could crack a tectonic plate, and then dives straight into deep-space techno, with kick drums that pound like an incoming migraine. As far as openers go, it’s a gauntlet tossed into the darkness: If you’re in, it seems to say, prepare for the unfamiliar. (In this sense, this sequence brings to mind the excellent “Forgiven,” the Mariana-trench trudge that opens up Actress’s masterful Ghettoville.) From there, buttechno spends the rest of the hour making good on that implicit promise, reaching into his USBs and pulling out nothing but phantoms: Head-spinning drone, haunted-house techno, bone-cracking percussion workouts. Even his sunniest selections, like an eleventh-hour dive into whip-cracking hardcore, can’t shake the shadows; here, moody ambience and mechanical unease linger around every corner. With Truancy Volume 329, buttechno uses minimalistic techno as a diving board and plunges into the abyss.

There’s a million ways to view a DJ: As a night-defining selector, as a genre-bending trickster, as a slow-and-steady storyteller, as a student—And teacher—Of histories. With The Deep Ark, The Arkitekt goes deep on that last notion, laying out eight hours (and 242 pages) of late-’90s IDM, ambient, and techno. The Deep Ark is dominated by music that is clearly informed by the dancefloor but exists outside of it; it is a seemingly bottomless trench of rickety drum machines and crystalline synthesizers. (Even with a tracklist this lengthy, the frequent recurrences of Aphex Twin and Autechre ought to give some indication of the mood The Arkitekt explores here.) The set’s structure, which meanders from slow-mo ambience to dial-up drum-machine music and back again, has enough nooks and crannies to reward exploration, and it’s mixed with the kind of care that keeps it from feeling like a (wonderful) greatest-hits record. With The Deep Ark, The Arkitekt holds up a kaleidoscope to vintage electronic-music psychedelia, refracting a highly specific sound into umpteen emotions.

To put it simply: BEIGE is one of Detroit’s finest DJs. Their crates run deep and wide in equal measure; they are intimately familiar with the city’s house and techno histories but are unafraid to look elsewhere. To listen to a set from BEIGE is to listen to a slow-motion tangling of dance-music traditions, each new knot more natural than the last. RA.939 is as fine an example of this approach as any. Broadly speaking, this is a session of rough-and-tumble drum music, but if you zoom in, you’ll find all sorts of permutations: Chunky techno, funked-up house, apocalyptic acid, dubstep-and-bass, sludgy breakbeats. In one particularly hair-raising segment, BEIGE reaches for DJ Chap’s “nevermeant rx”—a 2-a.m. drum-and-bass flip of the American Football track—and, somehow, slides directly into an even stranger edit: C Powers “Ms Mix”’s clattering breakbeat-techno take on RMR’s “Rascal.” In those six minutes, BEIGE moves from the Midwest stretches to both coasts, and reaches back again, tossing a half-dozen genres into the melting pot along the way. It’s an audacious moment, but there’s not a hint of peaco*cking: Instead, it reads as a natural extension of BEIGE’s quietly anything-goes DJing, which sees them looking towards textures and moods rather than specific histories or styles. RA.939, thrillingly, is filled with moments like this. It is the sound of a critical Detroit DJ weaving a path through umpteen dance musics; here, the left turns seem to be the point.

There’s something to be said for subtlety, but what about a hundred-ton bass synth? Angela Weston, a.k.a. Sheffield-born producer and DJ Angela Weston, has spent the past twenty-odd years championing the sounds of bassline, which is, to risk a bit of oversimplification, UK garage’s rougher and rowdier cousin, all storming basslines, shuffle-and-stomp drums, and sweat-soaked MCs. The most impressive trick about The Mix 016 lies in its athleticism: Here, Weston vaults between decades and snare drums alike, jumping between new-school bassline refixes, heavyweight grime records, piano-house anthems from decades ago, and a million screw-face basslines. (It’s clear that Weston is a veteran of this stuff thanks to her perennially slick blends and her preternatural sense of groove, but in case it’s not clear, just wait for her to cue up Praxis’s “Turn Me Out,” a house record from roughly three decades ago.) At its strongest, bassline triangulates the space between tectonic club sounds, finger-gun garage, and tongue-in-cheek firestarters. On The Mix 016, Weston nails the tightrope walk, tapping into bassline’s unbridled energy and turning in a session primed to make ravers run straight through brick walls.

Near the end of Live at Good Room, Lauren Goshinski, a.k.a. Boo Lean, pulls off something remarkable. After spending the better part of an hour careening between rough-and-tumble drum music, she cuts the BPM in half and tosses the whole session into a bit of sleazed-out funk. It’s a wholly disorienting transition, the kind of move that requires total confidence on a DJ’s part, and doubly so for the way she cuts out of it, tossing a drum-and-bass MC on top of the whole thing before queueing up some screw-face bass. That change of scenery, it turns out, was just Goshinski coming up for air, and, before long, she’s back under, darting between any number of fleet-footed dance-music idioms: Lickety-split jungle, barnstorming techno, shades-on UK garage, zonked-out breakbeats. Live at Good Room—A playful and boisterous opening session that traverses an entire universe of club sounds—Is filled with tiny moments like this. Again and again, the NYC DJ dives through trapdoors and pulls out rugs, taking what seems like a straight-ahead zero-to-sixty and throwing in a million left turns. Most impressively, it never feels like she’s peaco*cking: She folds rhythms into each other with a veteran’s ease, and, here, even the strangest blends land with a surgical precision. Live at Good Room is a confetti cannon aimed directly at the junglists and Benga & co*ki lifers, its careful craft matched only by its sheer joy.

In an interview that accompanied her latest mix, Taylor Bratches put it plainly: “I’ve always been a psychonaut.” In context, she’s speaking to the healing practice she founded last year, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think she’s speaking about her career behind the decks, in which she blends brain-bending club tracks with a disarming intuition. On Truancy Sessions S01 E07, the DJ and dance-music producer goes deep and wide, conjuring nearly two hours of bassbin psychedelia: Static-encrusted dubstep, fog-filled halftime, delirious four-four techno, skittering IDM and electro, screw-face grime, and just about anything else with enough weight to make the dancefloor drop out. Even as she slips between idioms and ideas here, her near-uniform focus on chest-caving weight and club-ready drum programming makes everything seem of a piece: Here, Manchester and Denver may as well be neighboring cities, and the Atlantic ocean may as well have dried up. She manages to shape-shift for a bit over ninety minutes with this session, keeping one eye on the dancefloor even as the other scans for an escape hatch.

In his work, Bruce, née Larry McCarthy, stretches the idioms of dance music and twists them into unfamiliar shapes. On Not Ready For Love, his LP-slash-compilation released late last year, McCarthy triangulated gossamer pop records, the entirety of the hardcore continuum, and blissed-out R&B; and his best sets frequently feature a similarly brain-bending set of intersections: gothic techno, jangly post-punk, lights-out drum-and-bass, tongue-in-cheek refixes, and one of Monsters, Inc.’s Scream Canisters for good measure. On Forgiveness in Arnos Vale, he goes somewhere else entirely, stapling the zero-gravity ambiance of his records to the spine-tingling sides of his clubbier material. It is, in short, a session of zonked-out hair-raisers, with creeping dub bumping against saxophone freakouts and groaning ambience; it rarely stays in the same space for long, but it’s always a bit unsettled and deeply queasy. McCarthy’s constant mutations—Jumps in genre, tempo, approach—Only add to the uncanny nature of the session; right when it feels like you’ve got your hands around it, he crumples a stack of vinyl into dust and summons a wall of fog. McCarthy has been pushing against expectations for years at this point, and, on Forgiveness in Arnos Vale, he eludes obvious categorization yet again, using a twist of the knobs to drop ever deeper into the murk.

Last May, The Carry Nation—The New York-based house-music duo-slash-institution of Will Automagic and Nita Aviance—released Full Tilt Carry, one of last year’s finest mixes, full stop. It’s seventy minutes of tough and funky and playful dancefloor fuel, with each kick straining towards the kind of elation that house music loves to promise. The most impressive thing about Full Tilt Carry Vol. 2, then, is simple: Here, Automagic and Aviance have turned in another slam dunk. On one level, the mix works as a survey of the funkier side of contemporary dance music—Just check out Jubilee’s riotous electro roller “Move It” or Ariel Zetina’s techno stomper “Diva Down” for evidence there—But it’s most striking for how it looks back in time as readily as it looks forward, collapsing the difference between new-school techno and old-school house, finding something between The Paradise Garage and Nowadays in the process. Here, it’s funked-up acid slammers, synths streaking across the sky even the bass keeps the ground shaking; there, it’s pleasantly chunky deep house; elsewhere still, it’s whirlwinding hand drums, or almost-trance synths, or percussion that sounds like a drum kit tumbling down a flight of stairs. Full Tilt Carry Vol. 2 is a white-hot love letter to the possibilities contained in a well-laid kick drum.

As Danny Daze, Daniel Gomez has been excavating Miami’s dance-music traditions for a quarter-century, turning over countless stones and twisting up umpteen timelines in the process. Last year’s ::BLUE::—Gomez’s debut LP, released twenty-odd years after he started DJing weddings and raves alike—Is as expansive and psychedelic a record you can ask for, flitting between headstrong techno, pointillistic Miami bass, zonked-out IDM, and meditative ambient music. It should come as little surprise that the record was paired, briefly, with an audiovisual installation in Miami’s Frost Museum of Science: This is music for imagining new worlds.

That said, sometimes, you just need to throw down. Last year, Gomez unveiled a new moniker: D33, a handle whose no-nonsense nature hints towards the music he’s looking towards here. Under the new name, he plays stripped-back machine-funk music, all sprightly techno and jacking house records; as with his main alias, this is still Miami music to a tee, but it’s more tightly wound here and aimed purely at the dancefloor. On Live @ Space, a three-hour session recorded at a much-loved Miami nightclub, Gomez goes deep on this sound, turning in a seemingly unending stream of brain-bending techno rollers, the heft of every four-four kick counteracted with a acrobatic tom-tom slam or a weightless house-diva vocal run. Given enough time, Gomez takes a pretty straight-ahead proposition—An endless barrage of playful dancefloor bombs—And complicates it in endlessly exciting ways, jumping between wiggly IDM, gothic EBM, full-throttle electro, zero-gravity minimal-tech, and almost-hardgroove rollers with a characteristic ease.

This one’s for the white-knucklers. Between her work with radio and club music, London’s DJ Flight has been a critical part of drum-and-bass for decades at this point, and on RA.942, she shows off her knowledge of the stuff, whipping up nearly two hours of white-hot drum breaks and scorched-earth basslines. While that might seem a bit exhausting for a home-listening session, Flight keeps things fresh by twisting the knobs with each selection, moving from jazzy and serene selections to out-and-out earth-crackers and back again. From one angle, RA.942 is a who’s-who of drum-and-bass—dBridge and Halogenix, DJ Sofa and Spirit, Watch the Ride and Quartz—But it never feels like she’s grabbing those names for name recognition alone; instead, it’s a full-throttle celebration of the genre’s sheer power, each new track carefully placed to either crack the CDJs in half or give any would-be dancers a brief breather. RA.942 is drum-and-bass at its best: Acrobatic, fleet-footed, and raucous in equal measure.

The HEADS KNOW TAPE mix series might be relatively new—Its first edition was released just last November. But its rapidly growing archives are well worth your time, with each mix showing a curatorial focus on the million local scenes that keep contemporary dance music vibrant. DJ Problem makes perfect sense for the series: He’s a long-time producer and devotee of Jersey club, a club-music style built on rip-roaring breakbeats, carefully chopped samples, and a seemingly endless energy. On Heads Know Tape 017, DJ Problem assembles a quick-and-precise survey of the stuff, sprinting through forty-odd tracks in fifty-odd minutes. Again and again, he reaches for familiar rap and dance-music idioms and turns them into dancefloor bombs, whether that’s Masters at Work, GloRilla, or The Marvelettes. If that sounds a bit disorienting, not to worry—DJ Problem’s canny mixing, focus on slamming breaks, and dedication to sheer momentum acts as glue, welding everything together even as his selections threaten to crack speakers in half. Heads Know Tape 017 is a testament to the livewire energy central to so much Jersey club, mixed with an unmissable joy by a veteran of the stuff.

Any category as wide as “religious music” is impossible to box in, but that’s part of the fun. In June, NTS hosted a series of mixes and live recordings: Songs of Praise. Each session in the series takes different approaches to the same idea: Chasing an indescribable awe, perhaps, or committing to sound that which cannot be fully articulated. Two of the best sessions from this series, Ian Isiah’s Wake the Spirit and Provhat’s Guide to the Modern Nasheed, come at it from opposite ends of the globe but reach remarkably similar destinations by straining towards the skies.

With Wake the Spirit, Ian Isiah gathers up an hour of sweat-soaked gospel records, building a monument of cathedral-filling harmonies and stained glass. Isiah makes the canny choice to let these records play out long—This music, he seems to argue, is less about any particular moments than it is about sheer momentum, about the way the a choir and a fire-breathing preacher can turn a snowball to an avalanche given just a few minutes. Isiah spends the session underlining the power of this inertia, playing its rowdiest tracks in full and using lower-key selections to give the congregation a bit of time to catch their breath. It’s the heftiest stuff that hits the hardest, though: The slow-motion ecstasy of Richard Smallwood & Vision’s “Healing (Intro),” the screaming guitar on Rickey Montgomery’s “Warfare,” the walls of Hammond organs and choirs that run through the whole thing. Wake the Spirit is the sound of a steamroller busting down the church doors.

If you’re looking for something a bit more settled, though, look no further than Provhat’s Guide to the Modern Nasheed. Nasheed, a style of devotional music popular throughout the Islamic world, is a liturgical kind of a capella music, with slow-motion harmonies and barely-there rhythms; even at its most straightforward, it is a bit disorienting, each harmonic shift deepening the psychedelia. Here, Provhat leans into the genre’s head-spinning side by looking towards its contemporary tracks, which frequently drench the vocalists in Auto-Tune and vocoders. The effect recalls, of all things, modern Atlantan balladry—Sorrow and joy and despair and elation meeting on the motherboard, heartstrings and wires crossing until any distinction between the two seems beside the point. Guide to the Modern Rashad is a celebration of this highly particular lane: Again and again, its vocalists fuse histories, traditions, and technologies in an attempt to reach for the divine.

Jeffrey Sfire has been reaching into his crates for what feels like forever, and, at this point, it seems they might as well be bottomless. The Detroit selector has a reputation for carefully crafted party sessions stuffed with dollar-bin house, whip-cracking freestyle, lo-bit hi-NRG, and sassy techno tracks. (It should come as little surprise that he handled a few of the early entries for Honey Soundsystem, a legendary and dearly missed podcast on the fringes of queer dance music.) On MIX058—a session ripped from an all-nighter last December—Sfire goes long, tossing heater after heater for nearly six and a half hours. Where plenty of DJs would devote the first chunk of such a lengthy session to warm-up sounds before easing the dancefloor to a simmer, Sfire kicks things into high gear right away, cracking the dancefloor open with soaring Italo-disco, tripped-out deep house, and all manner of club-night slammers. Impressively, he keeps this energy up for the next six hours, delivering a seemingly unending rain of kicks, snares, and house-music belters, each blend carefully considered but landing with a wink.

The first thing that ought to catch your eye about RA.941 is its tracklist. Not for its selections, exactly, but for how many it’s got: In a set that stretches out for over two hours, the New York duo cycle through a total of twenty-one tracks. Nowadays, as dance music trends quicker, messier, and morebulliente kitchen-sink, it’s not uncommon to see DJs play double that number in half that time—But MUSCLECARS aren’t exactly common DJs. On RA.941, the Brooklyn dance-music duo ease up on the gas, digging through their crates and pulling out a mountain of lush and soulful grooves. Their aforementioned slow mixing serves a real purpose here: These are rich and layered tracks, thick with vocal harmonies, soaring string sections, and jubilant piano lines, and offering each just a minute would underplay just how much is going on. So, instead, they go long; fifteen minutes in, they’re still just on track three. Give them time, though, and you’ll find a real treat—A session of ebullient dance music ranging from deep house to jazz fusion and back again, a historically-minded masterclass in careful blends and unabashed joy.

In an interview that accompanies Untitled 909 Podcast 184, NVST and Zohar spend time breaking down their alchemy: Articulating their approaches to constructing sets, cracking open their USBs, and underlining the mutual admiration they hold for each other. In doing so, they summarize the appeal of their collaborations: Zohar admires NVST’s hands-on approach and determination, and NVST stands in awe of Zohar’s ability to “create a universe with sounds.” Untitled 909 Podcast 184, a closing set ripped from last year’s edition of Positive Education, encapsulates that steely-eyed expansiveness to a tee, with each DJ pushing the other into increasingly wigged-out and precise corners of their collections. The opening—A screaming bit of noise laid underneath a bit of Ocean Vuong’s poetry, is canny and indicative. This is the sound of two everything-goes DJs working in a continual trust fall, reaching for their most out-there selections and trusting they’ll find a way out. Again and again, they do, vaulting between white-hot breaks, hair-raising techno, blood-boiling footwork, barnstorming jungle, and apocalyptic grime, never missing a chance to crank the tempo and energy along the way. Here, NVST and Zohar break into a sprint atop alien territories, setting the decks alight in the process.

Time Is Away aren’t exactly the type to tip their hand. On their NTS residency, they tangle decades of folk music, centuries of texts, and millenia of ideas; their music often evades easy categorization even when its topic is blindingly obvious. That said, on Julia in the Mountains, they come close. With Julia in the Mountains, Time Is Away explore stories of intimacies and uncovered histories: Greeting the devil as he flies through your window; racing barefoot through the grass; filling an abandoned village with love and laughter; cows and donkeys with their own names and attitudes; reuniting families of wild pigs and raising one as if it were one of your own. The stories tumble into each other; it is rarely clear when one starts and the other ends, making for a quiet sort of psychedelia. The stories’ unease is underlined by their musical accompaniment, a collage of heaving cellos, jostling metal, pianos stretching towards the sky, and a time zone’s worth of birdsong. Early on, over a bit of windswept American primitivism, all barely-there guitars and shimmering keyboards, a woman speaks of fireflies, but perhaps also of Time Is Away’s approach: “It’s easy to understand how they became the stuff of fairytales, the will-o-wisps of the south […] This way, and you’ll find something you never knew existed. This way, and you will be lost forever.”

If Julia in the Mountains is, in part, about the relationship between people and land, about how communities and geographies inform each other, then Mountain, released days earlier, zooms out just a bit, looking towards the peaks themselves. The set recalls the glaciers that sculpted the mountains millenia ago, moving slowly and sometimes without an obvious direction; it is both disorienting and preternaturally still, a slow-motion tumble of haunted folk musics, jazz played from a hundred miles away, carefully captured field recordings, bugged-out spoken word, and head-trip drone records. Lastly, with Off the Record Mix Series 47, they look towards zoned-out downtempo and blissed-out dance music, bobbing and weaving between ambient techno, bubbling acid, and chunky house records. It’s explicitly playful in a way their published sets rarely are, but it carries that same exploratory spirit; this is dance music for staring at the stars and going deep down rabbit holes.

Part of what makes Yibing such an electric figure is her sheer unpredictability: She’s as likely to send dancers into a hi-tech wormhole as she is to soak the dancefloor in murky ambience and illusory downtempo records. On CTW207—One half of an all-nighter at NYC wine bar Mansions back in February—She opts for the former, roping together a riotous selection of trance, tech, and house records, each kick drum straining a bit closer towards elation and each synth line dappled with sunlight. No matter the particulars here, by and large, the approach remains the same: Slow-and-steady chugging grooves wrapped in space-bound melodies, whether that’s squiggly acid techno, organ-house-slash-trance records that could have come out in ‘92 or ‘22, nocturnal breakbeats, or shuffle-and-skip UKG. This stylistic range and aesthetic continuity is impressive, to say the least; Yibing is able to keep the set tightly wound even as she vaults between umpteen styles, using just a few common elements to make the whole thing feel of a piece. This one’s for the shoulder-rollers.

In mid-May, in the midst of the Het Twiske nature reserve in the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s dance-music institution Dekmantel threw the latest edition of Lentekabinet. Much like with last year’s festivities, the 2024 weekender featured a murderer’s row of club-music DJs and producers, so the whole thing is well worth digging into. London avant-dembow producer Manuka Honey turned in a firestarting session of reggaetón, raptor house, and neoperreo, and Durban’s DJ Lag turned his focus towards stomping gqom records and sun-kissed amapiano. Nèna vaulted between Ibizan downtempo, whip-cracking techno, rollicking house records, and blitzing UK funky, while Frontinn juggled sludged-up pop records, rickety electro-disco, and miles-deep house. Redray & Satoshi Yamamura did something similar, albeit with new wave, EBM, and four-four club tools; elsewhere, 42nd Avenue turned in a set of chunky tech-house and no-nonsense acid.

If you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, though, turn towards Aza Tiwaline’s session: Here, the electronic-experimentalist blurred the lines between hard-drum and ambient music, resulting in a session that’s head-spinning and a bit vertiginous. Deena Abdelwahed & DJ Plead worked in a similar lane but cranked up the volume, sprinting between U.K. dance-music idioms, whirlwinding hand drums, and screw-face dubstep. DJ Godfather offered a fast-and-tight masterclass in ghettotech, and Black Rave Culture looked towards blistering breaks, steamrolling techno, and devil-may-care edits. Charmaine mixed house of all stripes—Chunky, deep, playful, funky—With patience and grace, and Jennifer Loveless, in what may just be one of this year’s finest mixes, cooked up a white-hot session of kick drums, ebullient synthesizers, and why-not blends, using hands-up techno as a springboard towards parts unknown.

De School is dead; long live De School. The folks behind the Amsterdam club announced the venue’s pending closure last November, and, on January 15th, they shut their doors for the last time. Simo Cell, a one-of-one Parisian DJ, told Passion of the Weiss in an interview last October that “[De School] was really inspiring. It’s a really special club to listen to music. It’s one of those clubs where every DJ tries to play very special sets.”

That set, alongside 800-plus more, is now available at Het Archief. Literally translating to “The Archive,” it is one part repository, one part time capsule, one part scratchpad: It is a space for ravers to revisit old memories, for homebodies to dig into a history, and for DJs to jot down stories. It’s certainly possible to pick out highlights from the archive, but, in reality, that’s beside the point. This is about sheer mass, about collective memory, and about the million small joys and microscopic communities that form on dancefloors. It’s well worth digging into Het Archief for this reason alone. If dance music is about collective memories, about histories wrapping around the present and tumbling into the future, then this sort of archival work is critical. Het Archief is a love letter to contemporary DJing, a miles-deep filing cabinet, and a monument to a dearly missed club.

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Slam on the CDJ: The Best DJ Sets of June, 2024 (2)

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