Headphone Commute's 20 Compilations and Mixes of 2010


Jan 2 2011, 19h25

In this first set of articles celebrating the Best of 2010, we tip our hats to our favorite compilations. Here’s to all the great picks by the labels, DJs, and selectors across the globe, featuring our favorite genres in theme centered mixes and compilations. Head bopping, dance and club oriented genres, such as techno, drum’n'bass and dubstep continue to dominate these selections – these styles are best explored in a continuous progression form, where the evolution of the mix is the art-form itself. Individual 12? and digital EPs are compiled to give you a perfect cocktail, with all of the delicious ingredients, and an umbrella on top. If you are new to any of the genres covered, perhaps this is your chance for a taste. Salut, kanpai, and le’chájim!

Be sure to visit our site and read Headphone Commute's Best of 2010.

Don’t forget to CAST YOUR VOTE in our Reader’s Best of 2010 Selections!

the following entries are listed in alphabetical order


14tracks – Techno: In Perpetual Motion (Boomkat)
Although not exactly a compilation released by a record label, this bundle of tracks selected by Boomkat online music store, under their 14tracks series, collects an excellent set of tracks, mutating the techno genre into a vast range of sub-styles and more. And that’s what a great compilation is usually about! Featuring a digital selection of rare 12-inchers and remixes from Marcel Fengler, Planetary Assault, Ben Klock, Mike Dehnert, and Delta Funktionen, Techno: In Perpetual Motion gives the listener a great sample of the genre’s position in time and place of today’s evolution of this genre. While you’re on a site, be sure to drop into your cart other bundles. We recommend you expand your horizons with Between the Wires, An Industrial Fetish, and Rendered Silence, among the many recent ones…

Ad Noiseam Label Sampler – Autumn 2010 (Ad Noiseam)
Seriously, what could be better than free music? Wait, I know – how about a free compilation packed with top notch tracks from all of our favorite artists! I wish all of the labels did this! Ad Noiseam got it right! Introduce the listener to its output with this free collection, and then you don’t have to woo them with pretty adverts – the music speaks for itself! Here is a selection of 13 banging tracks spanning cinematic IDM, broken beats, abstract d’n'b, dirty dubstep, and even breakcore from Subheim, Broken Note, Matta, Igorrr, Bong-Ra, Enduser, and of course Hecq, Roel Funcken, Mothboy, Detritus and even Black Lung! Solid selection featuring teasing tracks from recently released albums, plus a a video! If you dig this, you can upgrade this release to 320kbps for only 5.00 €.

Apparat – DJ-Kicks (Studio !K7)
Studio !K7 pretty much started on the platform of their successful DJ-Kicks series. In 2010, the Berlin based label released four mixed compilations from Juan MacLean, Kode9, James Holden and Apparat. It is the latter 24-track trip through some abstract, tech-housy, breakbeat and minimal beats that got our attention. Sascha Ring not only demonstrates his flawless abilities to mix up some of the most varied in genres, but he also shows off his impecable taste as a master selector. Throughout the mix, Apparat showcases his favorite tunes, traversing artists such as Telefon Tel Aviv, Oval, Thom Yorke, Tim Hecker, Autechre‘s remix of Scorn, Four Tet‘s remix of Born Ruffians, as well as some of his own tracks. Great selection and an excellent mix!

Ben Klock – Berghain 04 (Ostgut Ton)
For its fourth installment of mixes celebrating the Berlin based Berghain nightclub, Ostgut Ton (the club label), has invited one of its favorites, to drop a heavy compilation, ready to shake out the hollow concrete walls of any subterranean dwelling. Guiding you through nineteen tracks of minimal house, techno and dub beats, Ben Klock effortlessly transitions between Junior Boys, Martyn, Roman Lindau, ACT, Rolando, Levon Vincent, and of course Ben Clock himself. There are no highs or lows on this release, just an hour of pounding, mind cleansing, and hypnotic beats, that are meant to possess your body, and move you relentlessly through the night. Be sure to check out the first three installments with André Galluzzi, Marcel Dettmann, and Len Faki.

Clicks & Cuts 5.0 – Paradigm Shift (Mille Plateaux)
The influential German label that introduced us to the genres like click-hop and glitch-pop returns with its fifth installment of the Clicks & Cuts series, subtitled Paradigm Shift. In 2004, Mille Plateaux went into hiatus, and now, six years later, it returns with a selection of fresh and glitchy sounds. Many new and familiar names appear on this compilation, like Kabutogani, Aoki Takamasa, Kiyo, Gultskra Artikler and of course, Ametsub! The release strives to deliver music ranging from “minimal clicks to IDM-/dub-ish tracks via ambient and sound art to the artcore and organic extremes”. We really hope that this is not a desperate attempt to jump start one of our dearly missed labels, and that in the years to come, we’ll be treated to more delicious sounds.

D-Bridge & Instra:mental Present Autonomic – FabricLive. 50 (Fabric)
Compiled by Darren White (aka D-Bridge) and Alex Green & Damon Kirkham (collectively known as Instra:mental), the sound of the 50th installment in the FabricLive series, travels from the depths of deep and vocal micro d&b, to hip-hop influenced dubstep and smoky intelligent downtempo. Inspired by their Autonomic club night and podcast, the mix takes that club sound into the spacey head-nodding lounges and air tight headphones. Featuring a wide roster of artists, mostly from the Exit and NonPlus+ labels, we are treated with top notch selections from Consequence, Distance, Alix Perez, Vaccine, Scuba, Meleka, Skream, Genotype and of course, D-Bridge and Instra:mental. One of our favorite compilations featuring previously unreleased tracks!

Dark Matter: Multiverse 2004 – 2009 (Multiverse)
This 24-track double disk unmixed compilation, packs a solid punch, thrown deep beneath the ribcage of the bass deprived souls. Multiverse, a Bristol-based studio and publishing warehouse, is an umbrella label with holdings on Kapsize, Earwax, Caravan, Subtext and the celebrated Tectonic. As such, Dark Matter: Multiverse 2004 – 2009, celebrates five years in dark and bass-heavy branches of all that is dubstep. Here is a selection of wobbly warrior wagers, ranging from Tectonic label boss, Pinch, to the man behind Caravan, October. The compilation kicks off with an excellent opener from Vex’d, and careens across all of the usual suspects, like Skream, The Joker, 2562, Emptyset, P Dutty, and The Body Snatchers. A great intro for the uninitiated to the label.

Dark Room Beats (Aleph Zero)
Israeli downbeat and ambient dub label, Aleph Zero, operated by Yaniv Shulman and founder of isratrance.com, Shahar Bar-Itzhak, may not have put out many releases this year, but it surely secured a spot on this feature, with their Dark Room Beats compilation. Continuing in their tradition of quality vs. quantity, this 13 track release features some of our favorite psyDM, psychill, psybient and psy-everything tracks of the year. With contributions from Krusseldorf, Omnimotion & I Awake, Vataff Project, Hiberation, Aligning Minds, Robert Rich, Minilogue, and of course, Shulman himself, the compilation aims to create an “autonomous sonic space”, designed for chilled out late nights, discerning ears and open minds. Really enjoyed this voyage.

The Explorer’s Club (LoAF)
Lo Recordgings‘ experimental offshoot, LoAF (Lo Alternative Frequencies), launched a new series this year, titled Explorer’s Club. Although each digital release is only 2 to 3 tracks in length, the entire series is available via a Subscription Survival Kit, and for the purpose of this writeup is considered as one amazing compilation release. Covering leftfield, folk, experimental, ambient, and modern classical, this cross genre series goes beyond the borders of stylistic boundaries, and travels across the globe to bring you some of the most delicate recordings to date, from Peter Broderick, Ryan Teague, Janek Schaefer, Hauschka, Nils Frahm, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and many new faces. Jump on board, join the club and let the folks behind LoAF take you on a memorable ride!

GetDarker Presents This Is Dubstep Vol.2 (GetDarker)
Feel like you missed an entire year of dubstep and need something to catch you up? Or maybe you’re sick and tired of hearing the name of the genre and want to finally hear what it’s all about? Well, look no further, because this double disk release will fill plenty of hours with some of the rising and well known stars of dubstep. The second volume of this compilation series from GetDarker features 40 massive tracks featuring Breakage, Skream, Benga, Distance, Cyrus, Caspa, Joker, Ruckspin & Planas, Ikonika, Sub Focus, MRK1, and many others! The digital release contains two bonus nearly hour-long mixes by DJ Darkside. It may not introduce the die hard fans to many new faces, but it surely collects the year’s top hits – and that’s what a great comp is supposed to do anyway.

Ghostly By Night (Ghostly International)
By now you must be familiar with Michigan’s Ghostly International label, home of American electronica, leftfield, avant-pop and more… Ghostly By Night is the second half of a double disk compilation showcasing the label’s top talent. The first part, Horizon Line features ten remixes and covers of the classic Ghostly releases, while the second part, featured in this write up, gives us a sneak peak at upcoming Ghostly material. Here we have ten exclusive tracks from Lusine, Matthew Dear, Shigeto, Mux Mool, Solvent, The Sight Below, Jesu‘s new moniker Pale Sketcher and a unique collaboration between Richard Devine & Telefon Tel Aviv. Spanning across a variety of genres spearheaded by Ghostly, this is a great intro to the label and all great music to come!

Intelligent Toys: We Make Music (Sutemos)
The sixth installment of the Intelligent Toys series from the Lithuanian net label, Sutemos, delivers yet another mind blowing compilation of experimental, ambient and electronic music. Subtitled We Make Music, this free release includes over 50 tracks, spanning over 4 hours of music! We’ve got AGF, Monokle, krill.minima, Maps And Diagrams, Jan Jelinek, MINT, Sabi, Esem, Sleepy Town Manufacture and more than a handful of debuts – I can’t possibly list all of them here! As with all Intelligent Toys, this release is accompanied by a gallery of nearly 30 images, which in itself makes this compilation a collector’s dream. So don’t delay, and experience the sound of evolving electronica for yourself! Remember, it’s FREE!

Made Of Dawn – Chapter One (Blue Hour Sounds)
Made of Dawn is the very first release from the Italian label Blue Hour Sounds, featuring many well known artists in the downtempo and psybient scene, as well as a few newcomers. Followers of psychedelic and morning trance should recognize a few names on here, such as Sebastian Taylor (Digitalis, Kaya Project, Shakta etc.) appearing here as Hibernation; Eliot Morgan Jones and Nick Woolfson appearing as Sounds From The Ground; Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free as Pitch Black; René Gundel Nielsen & Martin Spanner Zimmermann as Beat Bizarre and many others. If you’re not a fan of psychedelic music, well maybe now is the time to check it out, because this compilation is 100% FREE!!! A 128kbps MP3 version is available for download in exchange for your email.

New Blood 010 (Med School)
Med School has been on the edge of ground breaking micro-minimal drum’n'bass since it’s been launched as an offshoot of London Elektricity‘s London-based Hospital Records. This is where d’n'b meets glitchy IDM, dubstep and breakbeat, redefining boundaries as delicate cut ups, glitchstep, and half-tempo stompage. New Blood is a series designed to bring the up-and-coming artists to the frontlines before they graduate to become professional ‘sonic surgeons’ operating in the world renowned Hospital rooms. The roster of appearances includes new contributors from all over the globe: UK, Australia, Hungary, Russia, Germany and even Ukraine. Lots of unknown names are on here, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this exhilarating ride.

Ninja Tune XX: 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces (Ninja Tune)
In 2010, the beloved UK label has celebrated its 20th anniversary. Much can be attributed to the music released by Ninja Tune, but as all of it can not be put into words, the label lets the music do the talking. Limited to 3500 copies, Ninja Tune released a massive box set with 6 CDs, 6 7?, two posters, 20 stickers and one hardback edition book. If you missed the boxset, the label also released some of the tracks as two volume double disk compilations, featuring all of its favorites: Two Fingers, Coldcut, The Bug, Eskmo, Daedelus, Diplo, Fink, Amon Tobin, Yppah, Bonobo, Mr Scruff, Jaga Jazzist, The Cinematic Orchestra, The Herbaliser, Blockhead, DJ Food… I can keep going and going, iterating through every name on the label’s roster. An absolute must for every collector!!!

Pop Ambient 2010 (Kompakt)
Every year, Kompakt kicks off its release schedule with an installment of its annual Pop Ambient series. Even as I write this, the label has already announced its 2011 lineup. But before we venture into next year, it’s important to celebrate the one we let pass on. In the 2010 compilation, all of the usual suspects appear once more, delivering some of their best work yet. We’ve got Marsen Jules, Brock Van Wey, The Orb, DJ Koze, Thomas Fehlmann, Dettinger, Andrew Thomas, and of course, the label head himself, Wolfgang Voigt (aka Gas). Beautifully layered with ambient pads and modern classical pieces, this release rightfully claims its proclaimed title of Pop Ambient. Feel free to shove this into the ears of your friends as an intro to the ever evolving genre.

The Reconstruction of Fives (n5MD)
Another label celebrating its anniversary this year is Mike Cadoo‘s n5MD. Turning 10 years old, the California based label takes on a different approach of summing up all of its wonderful contributions to the evolution of IDM and electronica. The compilation, titled The Reconstruction of Fives features tracks from the label’s catalog as covered by a group of specially selected artists. With contributions from Pale Sketcher, Nadja, Architect, worriedaboutsatan, Bersarin Quartett, Ben Lukas Boysen, Jasper TX, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Boy Is Fiction and Miwon, this selection of tracks features a new take on some of our favorites, with each artist’s unique signature style. This is a great addition to all of the label followers, as well as an excellent introduction to the new comers.

Scuba – Sub:stance (Ostgut Ton)
Mixed by Paul Rose (aka Scuba), the man behind Hotflush, Sub:Stance is a compilation filled with UK bass, drenched in the atmospheric and minimal sound of Berlin’s Berghain night club. Released on Ostgut Ton, the 24-track mix features some unreleased and exclusive tracks from Scuba himself, as well as Sigha, Pangaea, Untold, Surgeon, Digital Mystikz, and Joker among the many. The journey traverses through minor progressions of bass heavy dubstep until the 4/4 kick picks up the pace with its hollow punch, attributed to Surgeon’s style. And now we’re in that creepy, cold, and industrial territory of abandoned warehouses turned into clubs turned into temples of aural worship, where frequencies rise from the basement, up through the pipe organs, and drop back to the floor.

Surgeon – Fabric 53 (Fabric)
Leave it to Surgeon to mash up a grab bag of banging techno and dubstep tracks, all in one sitting. And leave it to Fabric to treat us with yet another quality mix session of the year. This is [only] a 53rd installment in London club’s series, which continues to impress us with its impeccable selection of artists and DJs. This year, Fabric released mixed compilations from Martyn, DJ T., Optimo (Espacio), Demian Lazarus and Shackleton. But it is the prolific Surgeon that wins our hearts with his banging dance floor beats. In just 70+ minutes, Anthony Child flawlessly transitions between 30 (count them!) slamming tracks. From Robert Hood, Marco Bernardi and Orphyx to Ital Tek, Scuba and Starkey, this is a mix that will get your heart rate going, while The Surgeon cuts it up…

Sync Saphir LP (Blu Saphir)
After a handfull of succesfull releases on Fokuz, Hospital, and his own, Syncopix Records, Roland Bogdahn (aka Syncopix) teams up with Jerome Roth (aka DJ-Rome), to put together a brand new compilation for their new imprint, Blu Saphir Recordings. Focusing on the liquid side of drum’n'bass, with techy minimal beats, and atmospheric pads, the unmixed compilation showcases fifteen tracks from a diverse roster of artists. On Sync Saphir LP, followers of Syncopix are also introduced to Mr Sizef, Enei, Edward Oberon, Paul B, Sobersoul and others. Dreieich (Germany) based Blue Saphir label, has been around since 2005, with only about a dozen 12?. If you’re not into the heavy wax, you can pick up some EPs through their digital offshoot, Digital Blus.


As I’ve proclaimed many times before – there’s just no way that I can cover all of the great music out there! There’s just not enough time, not enough money and not enough words! But if you liked any of our 20 Compilations and Mixes of 2010 as featured in Part One and Part Two, and you thirst for more great music, I can promise you that these are worth your attention as well…

(entries are listed in alphabetical order by title)
Bangs & Works Vol. 1 (Planet Mu)
Fünf (Ostgut Ton)
James Holden – DJ-Kicks (Studio !K7)
Kode9 – DJ-Kicks (Studio !K7)
Martyn – Fabric 50 (Fabric)
Night Slugs Allstars Vol. 1 (Night Slugs)
Oneman – Rinse: 11 (Rinse)
Sick Music 2 (Hospital)
Subtle Audio Vol II (Subtle Audio)
Zero T – FabricLive.52 (Fabric)


last.fm artist and label cloud mentioned in the above post: Marcel Fengler, planetary assault, Ben Klock, Mike Dehnert, Delta Funktionen, Subheim, Broken Note, Matta, Igorrr, Bong-Ra, Enduser, Hecq, Roel Funcken, Mothboy, Detritus, Black Lung, Apparat, Juan Maclean, Kode9, James Holden, Telefon Tel Aviv, Oval, Thom Yorke, Tim Hecker, Autechre, Scorn, Four Tet, Born Ruffians, Junior Boys, Martyn, Roman Lindau, Act, Rolando, Levon Vincent, André Galluzzi, Marcel Dettmann, Len Faki, Kabutogani, Aoki Takamasa, kiyo, Gultskra Artikler, Ametsub, Consequence, Distance, Alix Perez, Vaccine, Scuba, Meleka, Skream, Genotype, D-Bridge, Instra:mental, Vex'd, Pinch, Skream, The Joker, 2562, Emptyset, P Dutty, The Body Snatchers, Krusseldorf, Omnimotion & I Awake, Vataff Project, Hiberation, Aligning Minds, Robert Rich, Minilogue, Shulman, Peter Broderick, Ryan Teague, Janek Schaefer, Hauschka, Nils Frahm, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Breakage, Skream, Benga, Distance, Cyrus, Caspa, Joker, Ruckspin & Planas, Ikonika, Sub Focus, MRK1, Lusine, Matthew Dear, Shigeto, Mux Mool, Solvent, The Sight Below, Jesu, Pale Sketcher, Richard Devine, Telefon Tel Aviv, AGF, Monokle, krill.minima, Maps and Diagrams, Jan Jelinek, Mint, Sabi, Esem, Sleepy Town Manufacture, Digitalis, Kaya Project, Shakta, Pitch Black, Beat Bizarre, London Elektricity, Two Fingers, Coldcut, The Bug, Eskmo, Daedelus, Diplo, Fink, Amon Tobin, Yppah, Bonobo, Mr Scruff, Jaga Jazzist, The Cinematic Orchestra, The Herbaliser, Blockhead, DJ Food, Brock Van Wey, The Orb, DJ Koze, Thomas Fehlmann, Dettinger, Andrew Thomas, Wolfgang Voigt, Gas, Pale Sketcher, Nadja, Architect, Worriedaboutsatan, Bersarin Quartett, Ben Lukas Boysen, Jasper TX, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Boy Is Fiction, Miwon, Sigha, Pangaea, Untold, Surgeon, Digital Mystikz, Martyn, DJ T., Demian Lazarus, Robert Hood, Marco Bernardi, Orphyx, iTAL tEK, Starkey, Mr Sizef, Enei, Edward Oberon, Paul B, Sobersoul, Ad Noiseam, Studio !K7, Ostgut Ton, Mille Plateaux, Fabric, multiverse, Tectonic, Aleph Zero, loaf, GetDarker, Ghostly International, Sutemos, Blue Hour Sounds, Med School, Hospital, Ninja Tune, Kompakt, n5MD, Blue Saphir, Planet Mu, Night Slugs, Rinse, Subtle Audio


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