Guest Mix #001: psychic surgery


Banner art by Christina Liu.

I’m very happy to present you with the inaugural installment of the Chickens Don’t Clap! Guest Mix series. For this feature, I’ll be tapping some of my favorite artists, producers, and DJs to provide intermittent respite from my ramblings with some mixes of their own curation. I hope that each mix will help provide a fuller picture of the current musical landscape and that this series itself can bridge the gaps within my own eclectic appetites.

First up, we have one of my favorite composers who also happens to be a true homie, San Francisco’s psychic surgery. A bedroom producer who doesn’t share nearly enough of the music he makes, psychic surgery has gone by many names and composed tracks in a diverse range of styles and genres, but has consistently maintained his unique approach to songcraft and a deft command of melody across his various projects. As the both of us have become increasingly enamored with electronic music in recent years, it’s of no surprise to me that this mix explores those grimy club sounds that have helped to shape his current tastes.

The mix is packed with stellar, effortlessly-blended tracks from Instra:Mental, Lone, Martyn, Bambounou, Gesaffelstein, Helix, and others. Shed‘s “44A (Hard Wax forever!)” provides the perfect ride in, its initial celestial shimmers ultimately building into a hypnotic bounce of surging synth chords and shuffling percussion. The energy continues to crescendo until R-Zone‘s “Hardcore Track” settles the mix with a cool, classic rave groove. Unabashedly grounded in rich synth and pulsating rhythms, psychic surgery’s Guest Mix successfully unites a myriad of styles on through the closing brilliance of Das Ding‘s soaring “Hyperinformed Superconsumer”, a befitting bookend that carries this diverse blend to its satisfying conclusion.

In his own words, psychic surgery says of the mix:

A selection of artists from the last seven or so years who bring back dark and stripped down techno music. There are some true analog warriors in here though they aren’t particularly precious or fetishy about the sound. You shouldn’t find any sort of analog-as-a-standalone-statement thing here.

Includes some classical electro, dirty house and hints of rave— wherever rhythmic texture is the prime objective while melody and aesthetics are secondary.

Thank you to Derek and Chickens Don’t Clap! for giving me the place to put this together. Hope you enjoy it!

You can stream and download this excellent mix below. Be sure check out some of psychic surgery’s own productions over at his SoundCloud.

Download: CDC! Guest Mix #001: psychic surgery


  1. Shed – 44A (Hard Wax forever!)
  2. Instra:Mental – User
  3. Lone – Cobra
  4. Stigmata – Crawlspace
  5. R-Zone – Hardcore Track
  6. Martyn – Forgiveness Step 2
  7. Emptyset – Completely Gone
  8. Bambounou – Challenger
  9. Silicon Scally – Process (Morphology Remix)
  10. Legowelt – Fundamental Superstition
  11. Clemens Neufeld – Eternal Spheres
  12. Gesaffelstein – Video Exposition (Original Mix)
  13. Unspecified Enemies – Insurgency Soul
  14. Helix – Whoosh Ice Dispenser
  15. Das Ding – Hyperinformed Superconsumer

Things I Loved In 2014, Pt. 1

Well I’m a touch late, but I couldn’t let the previous year pass by without imparting some sort of reflection on what moved me in 2014. The forthcoming lists will be presented haphazardly and in no particular order, much the like the music therein was consumed. Processing so much information can be daunting and usually leaves me working to get organized at the end of the year– but it’s always, always fun. Whittled down from some 500+ albums, EPs, mixes, and singles, here are some of my thoughts on 2014.


My Favorite San Diego Releases of 2014



Nathan Hubbard – Encinitas and Everything After (Vol. 1-5)

Nathan Hubbard‘s monumental Encinitas and Everything After— a five volume collection of twenty-five compositions clocking in at a cool five hours— was unquestionably the most impressive release from a San Diego artist last year. The deserved winner of the San Diego Music Award for “Best Jazz Album”, this work certainly surpasses the concepts of both “jazz” and “album”, constrained by little other than the limits of how much the human mind is capable of processing in 2014 and Hubbard’s expansive creative vision. This warm tribute to Encinitas, the small beach community that sits a stone’s throw north of San Diego (and Nathan’s hometown), feels a bit more like everything and everything after. A work that begins like a languid, sunkissed Sunday afternoon between the eucalyptus and the shoreline, only to patiently dip into cool night and build back to day again, these five volumes dispatch the listener through a mix of chaotic dreams, hazy memories, heartfelt eulogies, snapshots of particular places and times, ruminations on the passage of time itself, and beyond. In other words, this is an examination that utilizes seemingly every reflective angle available to it. Hubbard’s often experimental and highly collaborative approach yields a personnel roster of some seventy-two performers who contributed to both new compositions and some that date as far back as 1992, performed in a myriad of arrangements— from tape and sample-based electronic experiments, to more traditional jazz quartets, to larger and more varied ensembles.

To be honest, I’m still processing this opus and probably will continue to process it for some time to come. But, what better reward for a listener is there than that? You can navigate those depths yourselves when you pick up all five volumes of Encinitas and Everything After over at Nathan Hubbard’s Bandcamp page.

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DJ ill spectre: “Astro Jump”

“Astro Jump” cover art by Sonny Romeri.

New post, old mix. Feels good to be back, though.

In case you missed it, here’s the first live mix I put together for Kill Quanti’s monthly “Astro Jump” night at The Whistle Stop. Good times rockin’ sets with Yung Satan, the homie Hghwnd (formerly Kynan) and of course the very talented KQ DJs. Much love to all y’all! ‘Til next time… vibe out to these #emotionaltrap vibes. <3 <3 <3

DJ ill spectre: “En Avant”


I dropped this dancey blend a few weeks ago, but never posted it to the blog! So here’s my latest mix in case you missed it. Peep the tracklist after the jump. From my SoundCloud:

Originally crafted for the Sweat Lodge warehouse parties, “En Avant” is inspired by the liberating and uniting force of the dance floor. That moment in the late hours of the evening when your movements become one with the other sweat-drenched souls, shrouded in the exhilarating freedom of darkness and harshly contrasting light. Everything but the sounds and your body becomes irrelevant. I hope this blend of timeless house, bass, and extended disco cuts can transport you to that euphoria– or at least get you somewhere close.

For the art: Much love and respect to Keith Haring, whose works continue to inspire a similar euphoria in countless people across the world.

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DJ ill spectre: “TRILL△NOMETRY”

DJ ill spectre - "Trillanometry"

I’ve got a new live mix up on the DJ ill spectre SoundCloud for ya’ll!

This latest mix is a live set I performed at The Kava Lounge for the homies Liquid Geometry when I opened for MORRI$ (Night Slugs / Fade to Mind). I’ve been playing with these sounds since earlier this year— this particular set has changed and evolved a few times. If you saw me at a Sweat Lodge warehouse party, or at The Living Room in Seattle, or at Andre Power’s “Trill” night at El Dorado, then some of these tunes will be familiar to you. But, I think this version of the set is the tightest and most varied of the bunch. Hope you enjoy!

Visual Mix: “Face of Another”

I’m very excited to finally bring you the “Face of Another” mix, a special live set by DJ ill spectre (yours truly) that also showcases some hypnotic visual work by the talented Marilia Maschion.

This has been floating around in the ether for a while now— originally conceived as a mix for some friends that passed through on tour, then expanded to a 2 hour set for MOPA‘s “POP Thursdays”, later distilled to a shorter visual set performed at the West Ivy Warehouse parties, expanded once again to a 2 hour visual set performed at The Whistle Stop, and then refined further to what you have in front of you today. For me, this is by far the finest permutation of the mix. Marilia’s visuals, which feature a series of expertly manipulated scenes from some of our favorite films, give it a truly cinematic quality.

We hope you enjoy it! You can stream the visual mix up above (I’d recommend HD and full-screen viewing). If you’d simply like to stream or download the audio, you can do so below. Check out the cover art, mix tracklist, and visual setlist after the jump.

Face of Another by DJ ill spectre

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Rustie: BBC Essential Mix

Rustie: BBC Essential Mix

This latest BBC Essential Mix from prodigal Glasgow producer Rustie is too bonkers not to post here. A maniac amalgam of crunked out wonky and dubstep, transcendent hip-hop and R&B blends, future garage, bass, and all the unexpected places in between, this mix also features a lot of new material from the man himself. Huge.

Stream the full 2 hours below and check the full tracklist after the jump.

Rustie — Essential Mix — BBC Radio 1 — 7th April 2012 by Rustie

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Summer Mix 2011

Chickens Don't Clap! - Summer Mix 2011

Artwork by Mindy Solis.

In a place like California, all seems right with the world in the summertime. Expansive blue skies are the backdrop for sun-soaked beach days, lazing stoned poolside, beer-laden backyard barbecues, bike rides, frisbee sessions, and road trips— all of which are that much more enjoyable with a good soundtrack.

Here are some collected tunes inspired by my DJ sets from June and July. As always, this was mixed and recorded live via my DJ software. You can stream or download below and peep the tracklist after the jump… enjoy!

The cover art for this mix comes from San Diego writer/artist Mindy Solis. Check out her blog at the link above.

Summer Mix 2011 by Chickens Don’t Clap!

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Can I Get There By Candlelight?

Chickens Don't Clap! - Can I Get There By Candlelight

Photo by Allison Spurlock.

Chickens Don’t Clap! mix #2 is in full effect. “Can I Get There By Candlelight?” is a bit darker than my last, my fascination turning to the stuttering glitch and hazy drone of some pensive electronic tunes. Like all my mixes, this was mixed live via Torq.

As noted, that sweet cover art was provided by the talented Allison Spurlock. Check her Flickr account at the link above.

You can stream or download the mix down below and check the full tracklist after the jump. Hope ya dig!

Chickens Don’t Clap! – Can I Get There By Candlelight?

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Stream of Conciousness Mix #1

Jamie, My Intentions Are Space

So I got a little digital mixer recently and in order to boost my live mixing skills and learn my music a bit more, I’ve decided to challenge myself by making a series of stream of consciousness mixes with no pre-cue (ie: not being able to hear what I play next in headphones). Immediately after I’ll give the mix a title and maybe some hastily photoshopped artwork.

All of these will be mixed and recorded live, in one take, via my DJ/mix software.

I plan on sharing the better bunch of these with ya’ll. This one is centered on a lot of spacey, hip-hop influenced electronic music I’ve been diggin’ on recently and was mixed and flippantly titled “Jamie, My Intentions Are Space” (a play on the title of a recent !!! single) back on November 2nd.

Stream/download this mix via SoundCloud down below and peep the full tracklist after the jump.

Jamie, My Intentions Are Space [Stream of Consciousness Mix #1]

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