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Weekend mix: 7.5 hours of rhythm by Daphni (a.k.a. Caribou)

November 10, 2012|By Randall Roberts | Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
  • Dan Snaith, who records as both Caribou and Daphni.
Dan Snaith, who records as both Caribou and Daphni. (Courtesy Merge Records )

"Epic" is a word that gets tossed around a lot in the world of pop culture, and usually means something more than three hours long that strives to be considered Important. In the dance community, however, epic has come to mean any set that runs past 4 a.m. and features an abundance of rhythmic joy. 

DJ Dan Snaith (a.k.a. Caribou) recently released a record of hard dancefloor tracks under the guise of Daphni. His intention was to celebrate the amped-up, club-ready sound of the early and mid-'90s, when beat music was turning into EDM and 3 a.m. could sound eternal. The resulting record, "Jiaolong," is a musical throwback that still retains its freshness, as if the best sounds of 1991-'99 had time-traveled to the future and left the commercial cheesiness behind. 

"Jiaolong" is a wonderful release, but it's not epic.

What is epic, however, is the 7.5-hour Daphni mix Snaith recently uploaded to his Soundcloud page. Recorded live  at the "Jiaolong" release party in London last month, the mix features Snaith dipping into his archives and mixing on the fly using three Pioneer CDJ 2000s playing digital files paired with a mixer and an echo pedal.

As Snaith explains on  his Soundcloud page, "All 7.5 hours are here -- warts and all. Apologies for the occasionally crunchy sound quality and periodic lapses in mixing." 

Among the highlights are Balian gamelan music and Malian guitar band Tinariwen remixed by Four Tet; the beautiful Euro-techno of Isolee; the unsung Assyrian techno DJ Aril Brikha; and the Junior Boys getting reworked by Carl Craig. Los Angeles jazz fixture Phil Ranelin also gets some love, as does the classic trip-out funk of Sidney Owens' "Sputnik."  At 450 minutes, the mix is unwieldy but roams the secret histories, nooks and crannies of EDM over the decades.

In addition to being a roller coaster of rhythms, its vastness also illustrates the utility of Soundcloud, the European music site that artists are increasingly using to share their music. The network allows fans to comment on the mixes at specific parts of the timeline, and the truly faithful have taken to the mix to identify specific tracks.

It's a lot to absorb, certainly. But the mix, which is available as a stream or download below, will afford you the opportunity to relinquish control of your music in the coming days -- one less thing to worry about on a crisp Los Angeles weekend.

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