08/25/2019: 20 Years

In this episode I look back on producing The Beat Oracle for 20 years. The mix includes 20 songs chronologically placed from each of those years. I’ve included show notes below describing each song’s selection and placement in the history of the show.


DJ Food – Nocturne (Sleep Dyad 1) – 2000
DJ Food’s Strictly Kev was a primary creative force behind Coldcut & Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel Radio by the year 2000. That show lived up to its tagline, ‘The Broadest Beats.’ It was one of the first radio shows that I streamed online from the UK that opened my mind to a whole world of underground music. On any given week Solid Steel featured hip-hop, electronic, dub, ambient, soul, funk, and everything in between. They had a lot of guest DJs, but I got most excited when DJ Food would step up to the decks. Kaleidoscope, released in 2000, showed off an extraordinarily deep library of musical inspiration through use of samples across many genres to create something distinct and complete.

I jumped at the chance to produce my own future music show when I got the chance to take the reins of an already long-standing hip-hop and electronic show at my college radio station (ACRN) in 2000. So, I began my two decades working on The Beat Oracle.

Lali Puna – Bi-Pet – 2001
I discovered Lali Puna in 1999, which led to a longstanding obsession the many artists aligned with the Morr Music label out of Berlin. Joseph produced a great episode in May celebrating this sound. Their combination of shoegaze production, pop songwriting, and electronic sensibilities had an impact on future music around the world. Lali Puna was one of the leaders of this charge. Their 2001 sophomore album Scary World Theory is nothing short of monumental. Totally affecting stuff.

Boards of Canada – Julie and Candy – 2002
Boards of Canada’s sound is wholly creative and unique. There have been many imitators since, but every time the duo releases new music you are guaranteed to be in for a classic. This was certainly true when their sophomore full-length for Warp Records, Geogaddi, was released in 2002. A beautiful and colorful gatefold heavy triple-vinyl package signaled the inner psychedelia that’s found on this essential record, but it didn’t prepare us for how dark and deep the inside of these songs would go.

By the end of 2002 Ruckus Roboticus and DJ Barticus joined our weekly radio operation at ACRN.

Broadcast – Before We Begin – 2003
Broadcast is another group whose sound belongs to their own creative minds. Haha Sound is a perfect record from start to finish. Trish Kennan’s lyrics and delivery offer balance to the distorted 60’s musical vibes with a steady layer of analog synthesizers. Timeless music.

Madvillain – Accordian – 2004
Madvillain is a project bringing together Madlib’s dusty productions and MF DOOM’s sublime rhymes. Their debut collaborative LP Madvillainy is one of the best hip-hop albums of all time and embodies a sound that we gravitate towards at The Beat Oracle.

2004 marked the show’s first move, from ACRN to KCSB in Southern California. Madlib hailed from nearby Ventura, and the KCSB stacks always had early access to his new music coming out of Stones Throw Records.

Magnetophone – Kela’s Vintage Thought – 2005
The music from Magnetophone’s two 4AD albums I Guess Sometimes I Need to Be Reminded of How Much You Love Me (2000) and The Man Who Ate the Man (2005) were in constant rotation in the early 2000s at The Beat Oracle. This duo’s releases immediately take me back to sitting in the KCSB studios late at night with my co-host Noah in our 3-6am shifts. The Beat Oracle launched its online podcast in the Spring of 2015. That summer, Apple released a new version of iTunes with podcast support and included The Beat Oracle as one of the only shows in the “Music” category of their podcast directory, bringing the show to a global audience far beyond the SoCal FM airwaves.

Juana Molina – Un Beso Llega – 2006
2006 was a year of personal change and growth. I left California, got married, and changed careers. Just before all of this upheaval, Juana Molina’s Son was released. The record provided a compelling mix of beautiful melodies, loops, and a fresh take on future music construction. Molina played a face-melting live show in LA in June 2006 that feels like a pivotal bookmark for the show, as it happened during the last month of The Beat Oracle’s 3-year run at KCSB.

Modeselektor – Edgar – 2007
My friend Scott from Toronto (aka Bruce Trail) tipped me off to Modeselektor after their debut LP on BPitch Control Records. Their sophomore effort, Happy Birthday!, was an astounding release full of banging crisp electronic dancefloor productions that also had affecting melodies and nods to more experimental ambient music. Their sound illustrates a more electronic and dance turn in the future music played on the show during the second half of the decade.

2007 marks another important year for the trajectory of The Beat Oracle. We took most of the year off, but returned just before the new year with a new home on the just-launched low power FM community radio station WCRS in Columbus, OH. My dear friend and fellow music obsessive Joseph had been a frequent guest on the show at ACRN and had also recently moved to Columbus. He joined the team to becoming an integral creative voice on the show that shaped a new phase lasting through the present.

Portishead – The Rip – 2008
Portishead’s triumphant return with Third arrived after a 10-year hiatus. Those early records were formative for all The Beat Oracle DJs as Portishead blended hip-hop production with noir pop sounds. Third brings an overhaul to the Portishead sound that was informed by Krautrock and new production techniques.

2008 saw Kenny Lectro joining The Beat Oracle team. Kenny brought his undeniable lightness and joy to the show. We remained a trio for the next decade.

Alva Noto – Xerrox Monophaser 1 – 2009
Alva Noto’s (aka Carsten Nicholai) dark ambient and classically informed productions are emblematic of many releases on his influential Raster-Noton records, co-run with Olaf Bender (aka Signal) and Frank Bretschneider (aka Komet). I originally played this tune in the 2009 installment of the Slowly series, which would quickly become my very favorite artifact from The Beat Oracle. Mixes from this series of annual quiet ambient music were playing in the delivery rooms when each of my 3 kids were born.

Gold Panda – Same Dream China – 2010
We celebrated 10 years with The Beat Oracle on New Year’s Day of 2010 at Hal & Al’s during a blizzard with a packed house of close friends and Beat Oracle family. We were fortunate to be residents for 3 years at this fine Columbus establishment with friendly staff, excellent drinks, silent art films, 8-bit video games, and experimental music. Gold Panda’s debut LP Lucky Shiner came out on Ghostly International Records during this period. My memory of this record is tied to Parsons Avenue and Kenny’s house nearby. Gold Panda brings together unexpected instrumentation, hip-hop beats, and electronics into a future music delight.

Robag Wruhme – Pnom Global – 2011
This selection is quite personal. My first child was born in winter 2011. Shortly after his birth, Robag Wruhme dropped his delightfully magical and melodic Thora Vukk, which quickly became my go to album for calming my little newborn in my arms. We settled into a spring ritual where every night I’d rock my son to sleep to this collection of songs and it never got old.

Windy & Carl – The Smell of Old Books – 2012
The husband & wife duo Windy & Carl have long been connected to The Beat Oracle and my own exploration into experimental music. The couple owns Stormy Records, a record shop near Detroit, where I found many early “off the beaten path” discoveries digging alongside my mate Bryan in the late 90s and early 00s. Their album Consciousness opened another door for me: this time into the Kranky Records discography. 2012’s We Will Always Be is a Beat Oracle favorite. It is a classic from start to finish. A stunning peak from a stellar discography.

Burial – Come Down to Us – 2013
After Burial’s two mindbending LPs out of Hyperdub Records, the reclusive producer shied from the limelight. Despite never releasing a third album, he followed with a series of 12″ EPs that dropped year after year in late December, long after “Best of the Year” lists had been published. My favorite of these EPs is Rival Dealer. Released in 2013, this half-hour 3-track record blends spoken word, 90’s rave sounds, UK dubstep, and ambient noise into a platter of Burial’s most human and affecting songs.

Teebs – Shoouss Lullaby – 2014
Teebs’ Estara out on Brainfeeder Records is a record inextricably tied to the the first year with my daughter. This artful album was a go-to record to calm her down. Shoouss Lullaby, which features Beat Oracle favorite artist Shigeto on drums, is hazy and beautiful.

Roots Manuva – Don’t Breathe Out – 2015
Roots Manuva is the most compelling voice out of UK hip-hop in my opinion. From the time I picked up his 1999 single Juggle Tings Proper, Roots Manuva’s records have been guaranteed to have classic tunes within. Don’t Breathe Out is a highlight from 2015’s Bleed out on Big Dada Records. In typical fashion, it explores philosophy, responsibility, and meaning while delivering infectious hooks.

The Radio Dept. – Committed to the Cause – 2016
The Radio Department is a band that my Beat Oracle co-host Joseph turned me on to. Blending lo-fi production, indie and electronic sensibilities, and intelligent songwriting, their records are reliably solid. 2016’s Running Out of Love is the unflinching soundtrack to that year’s global political moment.

Four Tet – Daughter – 2017
Four Tet is the most consistent artist who has released music lauded and in heavy rotation at The Beat Oracle for the whole of my 20-year run. You’ll find his records littered across our annual retrospective mixes. His latest LP, 2017’s New Energy, brings his typical exquisite taste with a collection of instrumental house, hip-hop, and ambient tunes.

Skee Mask – 50 Euro to Break Boost – 2018
Skee Mask released his excellent Compro LP in 2018. But, this release sounds timeless through the lens of the 20 years I’ve been producing the show. Delightfully ignoring en vogue trends, this LP pulls together influences from drum & bass breakbeats, ambient synths, and hip-hop production into a record that stands alone.

DJ Python – Be Si Do – 2019
The final selection for this mix comes from DJ Python who has emerged as a new producer over the last few years that reliably releases great records. His latest EP Derretirse draws from reggaetón and ambient music to deliver some of the best new future music sounds.

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