This year saw our long-running podcast series, which since 2006 has featured everyone from Ellen Allien, Kevin Saunderson, Laurent Garnier and Anthony Parasole to Untold, the Orb, Mr. Scruff and Anti-Pop Consortium, hit a milestone—our 400th installment back in August. (And it was a great one, with Mobilee's Anja Schneider at the helm.) But more importantly, 2015 was possibly the series' strongest 12 months yet, featuring an array of talented DJs and producers sharing sets that covered an immense spectrum of what dance music has to offer. From the classical-meets-electronic musings of Francesco Tristano to the elegant romanticism of Kollektiv Turmstrasse, and from the skewed songcraft of JETS to the emotive tech-isms of Function, it's been an amazing ride. You wouldn't go wrong by revisting all of them…but that would take you close to two-and-a-half days of nonstop audio monitoring, by our calculations. So we've made it easy for you: Below, check out the XLR8R staff's favorites, along with 2015's ten most-viewed editions.
Top 10 XLR8R Podcasts of 2015 Editor's Picks
Students of deep house, at least those who do more than skim the surface of what the sound has to offer, know that the French-born, Berlin-based man known as YokoO is a talented purveyor of the four-to-the-floor arts, making and playing the kind of material that hits you right in the heart while moving the rest of your body to the dancefloor.
The US–born, Wales-raised, Berlin-based artist's superb mix of four-to-the-floor rhythms featured cuts ranging from the classic house of "Tonight I'm Gonna Love You" from Pal Joey (in his House Conductor guise) to hot-off-the-press chuggers like Voiski's "A Sad Party," all culminating in the sinuous, haunting, and utterly gorgeous Traumprinz version of Efdemin's "Parallaxis."
"I have long held the belief that ancient (hence acoustic) music shares a lot of aspects with techno": Francesco Tristiano's XLR8R podcast was an eclectic sonic journey that connected the dots between the Barcelona-based musician's classical pianist roots and his more club-driven sounds.
Luca Saporito and Anthony Middleton (a.k.a. Audiofly) have been working together since 2002—and for most of that time, they've been firm favorites among the world's right-minded clubbers. The duo's XLR8R podcast presents a sound that is still Audiofly to the core, but it's a progression that Saporito and Middleton attribute—at least in part—to playing in Romania, where they feel the crowd encourages experimentation rather than a reliance on formulas.
Function's podcast is comprised entirely of tracks that he's had a hand in—whether via production or remixing—and with tracks dating from 1996 ("F3") to the present day (his version of Abstract Division's "Metropolis"), the music is rigorous and the vibe is moody, with stretches of dark-hued contemplation shot through with moments of joyful transcendence. And, we might add, it's utterly gorgeous.
Thomas Martojo and Casper Tielrooij—better known as Dekmantel Soundsystem and the men behind the beloved Dekmantel label and the festival itself—provide nearly three hours of house, disco, techno, soul, and everything in between. "What all music we love does have in this in common: It's outspoken in some way," is how the pair explained their musical ethos. "We prefer music to be a bit in-your-face—and we guess what it comes down to in the end is the character in music, really."
4. Alex Smoke
While recording his forthcoming studio album, Love Over Will—coming out via R&S on January 22—Smoke took to his Glasgow studio to record his XLR8R podcast, reflecting his artistic transformation and showcasing his spectacular musical talents with an hour of gorgeous, mostly ambient music.
The Panorama Bar resident and Ostgut Ton mainstay provided us with a sumptuous, melodic collection of tunes anchored in syncopation and oozing with emotion. "I always ask myself what I love to hear" when creating a podcast, she said about this set,"maybe records that I'm not able to play in a club." As it turned out, we love to hear it, too.
XLR8R has had a longstanding love affair with anything that Mathew Jonson touches. He's always walked a musical tightrope that's few others can match with his grace and style and this podcast is no different—it's an utterly breathtaking set of tunes from start to finish.
Kollektiv Turmtrasse's podcast is pure class. It's an elegant, even romantic affair, one that manages to convey a wide swathe of emotions despite (or, perhaps, because of) an overarching aura of restraint. It's a sometimes stately, always impassioned selection of tunes—a brilliant mix from one of the most beloved duos in the modern dance-music pantheon.
Top 10 Most Popular XLR8R Podcasts of 2015 by View
9. Helena Hauff