TOTD // 24/06 // Midland

Published: June 24, 2016, words by Oli Katz

Midland has been a household name for a few years now. His first record came in 2010 with Ramadanman (Pearson Sound) and from there a relationship with Aus Music was born. It was on this label that Midland released his huge breakthrough track, ‘Trace’. With upwards of six releases on Will Saul’s label (not including remix EPs), plus output on others such as Phonica, Feel My Bicep and his own brainchild, Graded, Harry Agius’ material has dipped into many genres. This varied style of music is reflected in his DJing. Equally at home spinning and producing disco as he is with techno, Midland’s musical repertoire is indicative of someone who isn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone. Two of his most recent productions back this up perfectly: the experimental ‘Decompression Suite’ on Aus Music’s forthcoming Anniversary compilation on one side of the spectrum and ‘Final Credits’, a cracking disco cut set to be one of the tunes of the summer, on the other.

Aguis has moved around a lot – currently based in London and previously living in Africa, his cultural exposure is just as varied as his music taste. However, his artistic path started to truly gather momentum when he held down a job at Wire club in Leeds. It is here that he was exposed to a plethora of music and said himself that he would wake up with little sleep after a long shift and immediately work on unleashing his inspiration. Thankfully for him (and for us), all the hard work paid off.

Midland has challenged homophobia and brought attention to the gender imbalance that permeates the scene by voicing his opinion about the unfair judgement of female DJs. He’s someone who has used his talent not only to better his own situation but also many others. As someone who has expressed the importance of remembering the queer roots of house music and pushed to make dance music as inclusive as possible, we are extremely delighted to welcome Midland to our TOTD family as we celebrate the final week of Pride in London.

Before you indulge in his selection, I will leave you with a quote taken from his conversation with Boiler Room and JD Twitch which perfectly illustrates what this Pride takeover is all about: “We shouldn’t care what gender the DJ is or that there are guys making out in the crowd or that there’s a guy in a dress or girls with shaved heads, we should be celebrating it.”

via youtube

Soft Cell

Bedsitter

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“This was a track that my brother used to play at lot at home when I was a child. I feel like Marc Almond was one of the torchbearers of the New romantic movement, the whole look, which borrowed from mods but subverted it in regards to gender and sexuality. Making it much more ambiguous feels especially bold when you think that homosexuality was only legalised in the UK 14 years before. Tainted love may have been their breakout hit but this song, as a testament to what it is to be gay and lonely in a big city is just as important.”
via youtube

Arthur Russell

That’s us/Wild combination

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“There is an awful lot to chose from when it comes to Arthur Russell, whether its his classical compositions, work with Cello, the more disco-indebted sound. Almost frustratingly prolific, I think he is one of the most important artists of the last 50 years. That both him and Patrick Cowley lost their lives to AIDS only makes the recent reissues more poignant. I chose this one because it strikes a balance between these different sounds. I remember playing this as my last track at Panorama Bar at 8AM on Monday morning after an 8 hour set once, I promptly burst in to tears….”
via youtube

Mykki Blanco

Haze.Boogie.Life

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“I think that Mykki Blanco is a really important artist in the sense that she is operating as a transgender artist on the peripheries of one of the most homophobic scenes in music. What I love about her work is how the videos and the songs are inextricably linked, there isn’t one without the other, performance and image are as important as the music. This one is at times sinister and playful in equal measure.”
via youtube

Patrick Cowley

Thief of Love

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“A big shout out to Honey Soundsystem and Dark Entries for their work re-issuing or in some cases issuing for the first time these long lost Cowley records. This one is as sleazy as it gets, it’s like a Talking Heads record. I love the drawling monologue recounting his conquests as he moves through the city.”

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