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16 –  Extended 80s Experience (12“ Party Mix)

Jump into the digital Delorean, kids – we’re time travelling right back to the high times of 80s synthpop. Although arriving in the sweet setting of the summer, I actually produced this mix back in personal lockdown when I caught Covid during Christmas. I found myself digging through my personal archive of 80s pop tunes while also scouting the internet for new ones. There’s something extremely fascinating about that era and this sweet spot between synthesized pop and club sounds and this is my tribute to the music of that time.

These were also the early days of remix culture and most of it was focussing on the creation of Extended Mixes that were used to literally extend the fun on the 12-inch-singles of these tunes. Lots of loops, tight basslines and MPC craziness were part of this and you can literally here the fun everybody had while playing around with this new technology in the studio. Shep Pettibone was a pioneer here so you’ll catch him a few times during this mix along with tracks by some of my all-time heroes like New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Madonna, A-ha, Bee Gees and Prefab Sprout. But next to some well-known hits there’s also room for a few hidden treasures from artists like The Blow Monkeys, Public Image Ltd., Nicole McCloud as well as Chinese performer Danny Chan.

So, it’s a little fun and uplifting edition of the good ol’ Messy Mix. Ever wanted to know what a disco night out in 1988 would have sounded like? Well, these two hours will hopefully give you a full-blown experience of exactly that. Enjoy the ride to the pop pleasuredome.

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15 –  Berlin – Copenhagen Train Journey

Danish producer Kasper Bjørke is what I would consider a true good guy on multiple levels. Not only is he one of the finest DJs around, he’s also dropping great and surprising releases on a regular basis for almost two decades now, he’s also a vocal artist when it comes to political topics.

Especially environmental topics and the health of our dear planet is as equally close to Kasper’s heart as it is to mine. I consider him a brother in spirit when it comes to these things… well, and our mutual love for Balearic beats.

So, obviously… I’m thrilled that he participated in my little mixtape project.

His “Messy Mix” was inspired by (and compiled during) a recent train ride between Berlin and Copenhagen since Mr. Bjørke’s avoids flying as often as he can. The result is a soothing and wonderful listening experience.

Here’s how he describes his approach:

“I always feel at my best when I am accompanied by music, in almost anything that I do. I lean on music to contemplate, to work and to dream, when cooking or cleaning, playing with my children – or when traveling, gazing through the window of a train moving through the constant changing landscapes. Mixtapes can come in handy in many occasions and have been a thing I have practiced since my teenage years. I got in the mood for making this particular mixtape during a train journey going back home from Berlin to Copenhagen, after a weekend with two club gigs. 

Going home after gigs often makes me listen to quite soothing tracks that can act as a comforting mental pillow, after days of being around new people, loud music and a disrupted sleeping pattern. There are some beats in there too to bring the journey forward too and the mix include tracks are some of my favorites, some are new and some that have stayed with me over the years… I have also added one track from my latest album Puzzles, which came out a few weeks ago. I suggest you put on this mixtape when you are going on your next journey. May it be inwards or somewhere physically.”

Apart from that, I think it also works great as a relaxing mix to welcome the spring season so you don’t necessarily need to be on a train to enjoy this sweet selection. And once you’re finished with it, make sure to check out Kasper Bjørke’s brilliant new album “Puzzles” which is out now via hfn music.

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14 –  Technology Mythology

Oh sweet, sweet technical evolution. A bliss yet also a burden, isn’t it? And it’s affecting us all in our daily life with music being no exception at all. Audiovisual artist JJ Weihl knows a thing or two about that. Her work – whether it is in the fabulous indie band Fenster or under her solo moniker Discovery Zone is often addressing the relationship with technology. So, it’s no surprise that her Messy Mix was also inspired by her own musical and creative process in relation to how she use and interacts with different types of technology. 

Or in her own words:

“I wanted to put together a collection of songs and sounds addressing the presence of technology in our daily lives and especially in regards to the way it shapes our experience of making and consuming music.  It has become so ubiquitous that it’s almost invisible. 

Some of the songs on the mix are about technology thematically.  I chose a variety of material highlighting the use of different types of technology – from some of the earliest computer music compositions to some of the latest uses of AI in songwriting techniques.

Where do we draw the line? How does it affect our perception of what we’re listening to? What does the past show us about the present and future?

I hope that the mix serves as a conversation starter about the implications of technology in music and in our daily lives.”

As a longtime fan of JJ’s work I’m extremely thrilled and honoured to have her on board for this tremendous musical journey that’s called „Technology Mythology“, named after a song by Gary Blanchard which is also on this mix. Plug in and enjoy the ride with me!

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13 – Garage Rock Underground Party, ca. 2004

Crank up those amplifiers, folks … we’re time-travelling back to a specific period in time 20 years ago! This latest Messy Mix is a throwback to that sweet spot in modern pop history before that weird thing called “independent rock” conquered the mainstream and basically made everything “indie” in some form. It was a time when a new and exciting generation of guitar-driven bands reclaimed rock and roll and blasted it into the world with confidence and that decent level of youthful arrogance you need in that musical territory. 

This mix is my personal tribute to those sweaty nights out in sticky alternative clubs when you bands were performing while the DJ played classics and hottest underground stuff for all the cool kids in town. It was bands like The Rakes and Bloc Party who introduced me to a new musical world and of course there’s early stuff by these bands in this set which contains tracks that were released between 2002 and 2004. Next to early tunes by well-known acts like Franz Ferdinand, Gossip and Maximo Park there are also lesser known bands like The Departure, The Others, The Long Blondes or The Von Bondies (of course, they all had to have a “the”) in there. 

These 82 minutes might be slightly nostalgic but they are also still full of energy and fire and I gotta say – after a few years it’s really nice and joyful to revisit my own youth and this sort of sound. You are all happily invited to start a revival right now. See you in the mosh pit, friends!

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12 –  Voice Message

The voice is a beautiful instrument, isn’t it? Maybe the most essential one of all. At least for me. And I’m happy that the first Messy Mix of 2024 celebrates exactly that – the human voice. And I’m happy to have befriended Leipzig-based audiovisual artist Pony Pracht on board for this edition. Not only does she have a beautiful voice by herself but she also knows how to modulate it in a fascinating way. Well, you might have spotted her on my track “39/93” which I released last summer. Here’s the artist telling us about the approach of her selection:

“For the Messy Mix I went in search of songs in which the voice is used in an interesting way. Voices that are not solely used to convey a text in the most beautiful and intriguing manner, but also voices that are detached from the strictness of poetry and employed for instrumental purposes.“

Right next to many great artists you’ll also find the music (and voice) of Pony Pracht in this mix as well. So make sure to check out her EP “Lomb” which came out last year right after this stunning musical journey which she furthermore describes in the following words:

„To me, the voice is the most beautiful instrument of all. Whether sung, spoken, whispered, or screamed, emitting and receiving sounds is inherent to most people, much like breathing in and out. It’s evident that we can then connect with the voice in such a profound way. The voice as an instrument.

I named the playlist after the first song by the duo Decisive Pink: ‚Voice Message.‘ Enjoy this little messy sound journey. You’ll hear greats like Björk and Matthew Herbert, but perhaps you’ll also discover new, inspiring gems.”

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11 –  Party At The Abyss!

Happy one-year-anniversary to my Messy Mix project! And since I started it in late 2022 with a big dance party I thought it might be natural to also end this first round of mixtapes with another one. Because honestly: What else is there left to do in these troubled times then to dance the pain away, right?

Like with last year’s End-of-the-year-set I still find it challenging to gather overall hits for this one because they simply don’t exist anymore in our fragmented media landscape. But these are MY personal favourite go-to-tunes of 2023 – from the life-embracing pop of Romy and Caroline Polacheck to the disco vibes of Jessie Ware. From the comebacks of old heroes like Everything But The Girl and Bloc Party to banging rave tunes by Overmono and Mall Grab. 90 minutes of genre-hopping euphoria awaits you in the 11th edition of the Messy Mix.

Thanks for listening to it and the other Messy Mixes throughout 2023. Thanks to all the artists that contributed so far … it means the world to me.

The Messy Mix will return in 2024. Until then: Take care of each other!

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10 –  Music For A Womb / Before We Were Born

Things are getty gloomy and existential in the latest edition of the MESSY MIX. And I’m very excited to have one of my favourite German groups of the past years on board for this dark adventure – HOPE from Berlin just released their long awaited and pretty brilliant second album “Navel”, a true testament of musical strength and meditative intensity.

And when I asked them to contribute something to this project I was sure to get something in a similar sense. And I’m not disappointed at all.

The band introduced their mix with the words “Growing, nurturing, dwelling. In a place of your own. In contact with the world, yet detached from it.” Yes, that sums it up pretty well. “Music For A Womb / Before We Were Born” is also a pretty epic title, I have to say.

It’s a vers fascinating 60-minute journey. Listen best with headphones and any big distraction. And then give “Navel” a spin afterwards… it’s a fitting combination.  

Here’s how HOPE describe their selection:

“Ever since I was a child, wonderful people in my life have introduced me to the music that has shaped my tastes and my “For this mixtape we collected songs and music that we might have heard when we were in the womb ourselves, songs we wished we had heard there, and sounds we would play to a womb. Focussing on solo works from the 80s – the time we were born into – we collect artists that nourish our soul, consciously or subconsciously, and that changed our perception of being in this world – Laurie Anderson, John Cage, Nick Drake, Pauline Oliveiros.

Deep listening, from a group mind, dedicated to a group mind. You can hear the actual heartbeat of an yet unborn child at minute 31’’. By the time you hear this mixtape, she or he will have arrived in this world.”

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09 –  Recommended by Friends

Following a brief summer break the Messy Mix returns and I’m happy to have a true personal favourite on board for its ninth edition. The music of Alice Costelloe has been an important part of my life for more than a decade now, mainly through the three albums of her previous band Big Deal.

That voice still does something with my heart so I’m happy that she recently returned with her first pretty lovely solo EP called “So Neurotic”. And I’m even happier that she took part in my little mixtape project.

The story Costelloe tells is one of friendship and the musical family that surrounds her. Her mix consists of tracks and artists that were recommended to her by these kind people and who ended up playing a crucial part in her life.

So, this time you’re getting a mixtape in a pure oldschool sense and it truly is a fun ride. I Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. And make sure to check out the sweet songs of Al Costelloe as well.

Well, and I’ll let her explain her vision in her own words now:

“Ever since I was a child, wonderful people in my life have introduced me to the music that has shaped my tastes and my memories of those time. There are some special songs from my childhood on this mix. ‘From a Jack to a King’ was what my dad used to sing me to sleep with and Fats Waller’s ‘Your feet’s too big’ my grandad would joshingly sing at me as a child with very large feet. 

The scrappy Jonathan Richman song on this mix was sent to me by an older friend when I was a teenager and it completely blew my mind. I loved how imperfect it was with his pitchy nasal voice and the scrappy guitars and that totally changed the way I thought about and approached music.

Touring with my old band Big Deal I discovered so many beautiful songs that our drummers and bassists introduced me too. Arthur Russel ‘a little lost’ is one of those songs that holds a special place in my heart. As is ’The Babies’ record from 2012 ‘Our house on the hill’. We played a show with them in Paris and exchanged albums at the end of the night, and we blasted this record out the stereo all around Europe, so it feels like a time capsule of that time.

Playing in Superfood was also a real musical awakening and introduced me to bands I’d never engaged with, like Gorillaz ‘On Melancholy hill’ which totally passed me by when it was originally released.

My partner is always showing me songs he knows I’ll love, most recently this has been Youth Lagoon’s new album ‘Heaven is a junkyard’ that I’m obsessed with. I put ‘Rabbit’ in the mix but every track is so brilliant I could have chosen any one of them. Right now we’re on tour in Europe and have all been loving  ‘a little bit of shmilsen in the night’ by Harry Nilsen in the van so one of his tracks closes the mixtape.”

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08 – Grooving At A High-Gloss Pool Party In 1998

Nothing wrong about a proper pool party, right?

Following the last more mellow mixtapes here I decided to shake things a bit up with my latest Messy Mix and provide a proper mood-lifter that takes us right back to the heydays of late 90s hedonism. Let me invite you to a posh pool party with way too cool people that takes place somewhere in 1998. While I was clearly too young and too uncool to ever get invited to such a celebration I always envisioned it as a place where slick house music grooves would be playing so that’s why I compiled these tunes from around ‘95 to ‘98. So this set ended up including legendary producers like Dave Morales, Tony Humphries, Mousse T., Bob Sinclair and Danny Tenaglia. You’ll find a few legendary pop smashers in there as well, just in a different musical form.

Even without the pool party context this selection represents a sound I’ve been digging a lot lately. Maybe there’s a nostalgic notion in there as well, maybe it’s the summer. Well, I’ll leave the interpretation up to you. Until then: Grab a drink, enjoy the summer days and dream yourself away to a better place. Love, Burnout Sumner

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07 –  Awakening To The Sardinian Sun

Ah, sweet sweet summer sun. We better enjoy it all before it gets too unbearably hot, right? A good sunrise is even better when it happens across the sea and when the impending new day isn’t packed with work or other commitments – and this new Messy Mix is dedicated to that special feeling. To capture it I asked Leipzig-based DJ and music lover Gili who I first met during a party of our mutual friends Stolen Money Posse and whose sets I’ve been enjoying a lot since then.

However, I quickly noticed that Gili is not just about nice house bangers but has an eclectic musical taste. And the timing for my message to her couldn’t have been better as it collided with her trip to beautiful Sardinia and that elated feeling that you just get when you have just arrived in a beautiful place and know that you will stay there for the next few days.

The result is a mixtape that is closely connected to her vacation experience and Gili’s thinking and feeling there as she explains.

“With the mix, I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a place where really none of what matters at home should matter there. It’s about letting go and yet taking it with you, about arriving and leaving, about being and engaging.

The mix musically describes the journey from the slow awakening and getting up, from going out, from the first coffee, the first conversations, the first rays of sunshine, the first laughter, from then getting quite tired again – all in all from the wonderful first hour of a day on vacation in Sardinia.”

The smooth selection includes a few personal favourites like Kelela and Kadhja Bonet but also lots of artists I didn’t know so far like Yaya Bey or Twit One. I always love to discover new stuff through these mixes and I hope you’ll do. But most of it I hope you’ll have a great time with this sensual soundtrack for the upcoming summer days. I surely will!

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06 – A Walk On The First Warm Day Of Spring

The arrival of spring always comes with a feeling of renewal to me personally. It’s a fresh start after a harsh winter and it always fills my heart with joy and energy to experience the “return” of nature as everything gets more colourful again. You know these spontaneous strolls you do during that time when you suddenly realize that winter is gone? That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with the sixth episode of the Messy Mix.

Going for longer walks around Berlin’s surprisingly green neighbourhood (at least where I live in the Wedding district) really helps me to put things in perspective. And yeah, I guess during the Covid-pandemic we all learned the importance of that to a certain degree. So, this is my tribute to these meditative moments, to the fields, to nature’s regenerative power and the overall beauty of spring, even in such desperate times like now. 

The mix is mostly a slow and relaxing affair but you can expect a little celebratory twist towards the end. Next to a few personal long-time favourites when it comes to that sort of sound like Tycho, Teen Daze, Homeshake and Will Samson you’ll find a few more surprising guests in here. There’s gentle indie-folk from Adrianne Lenker, warm melancholia from Icelandic artist Sóley as well as track by promising German producer Nand. Oh, and watch out for an almost forgotten Stereolab rework of a classic from The Avalanches. Well, if you want to know more IDs, just drop me a line.

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05 – Variations Of Silence

The louder and the more chaotic this world gets the more we all long for silence. But is true silence even possible in an accelerated world of noise? Norwegian artist Tuva Hellum Marschhäuser aka Tuvaband asked herself the same question when we started talking about her very own Messy Mix. “I’ve realised it’s never really completely silent,” she says. “Silence always has a sound. Sometimes I want to control what silence sounds like.“ And this fifth edition of my ongoing mixtape project wants to do exactly that – it gives the silence a sound, handpicked by Tuva.

The result is a fascinating and very calming listening experience, packed with a few familiar names like Nicolas Jaar, Sylvan Esso as well as a brief musical greeting from Tuvaband at the end it are tracks and sounds that are unknown to me. Almost 90 minutes of meditative pleasure for your personal retreat from whatever the heck is going on right now in the world. It’s an invitation to deepdive into these calming sounds and maybe even yourself and I’m thanking Tuvab very much for this beautiful trip about which she says:

“I’ve created a mix of songs that either contains sounds that can trigger ASMR, or has other comfortable sounds, or can can be relaxing/calming. I’ve been listening more to this type of music the last month because I’m in a phase right now where I’m experimenting more with samples and nice, intricate sounds. Some of these songs are also from albums I listen to while I’m doing yoga. I also thought it was important to add some songs which can release some dopamine, while they’re still kind of, or almost, fitting in to this mix.”

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04 – A Night Out In The Blade Runner Cosmos

I have a long lasting fascination for the whole Blade Runner franchise ever since I first saw Ridley Scott’s iconic science-fiction movie as a kid. I also enjoyed playing the PC game that was released back in 1996 as well as the late follow-up movie from a few years ago. In many ways that movie might have initiated a subtle love for dystopian fiction and those desolate worlds which fascinate me ever since. The saddening fact that our society is slowly heading towards such a bleak scenario is quite an iconic twist here. Maybe I need that reminder that things can get even worse in order to fight for a better future. I honestly can’t tell.

I’ve been digging the whole aesthetic of the movie as well as the sound that late Greek composer Vangelis composed for it in 1982. So, the idea to explore this world musically is a very personal one and I came up with the question: How would a night out in that dystopian moloch of futuristic Los Angeles look like? What if Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard went from club to club during one of those rainy nights? Do androids rave to electronic beats? That’s the story I wanted to tell with this tape.

This Messy Mix is constantly switching between quiet and loud moments with an overall feeling of darkness and doom clouding it. The more melancholic ambient moments (including music from the original 1982 score as well as from the 2017 sequel by Hans Zimmer and Ben Wallfisch) are interrupted by pumping and heavy electronic beats, underlining the intensity of the scenery. In it you’ll find the work of admired contemporary producers like Daniel Avery, Rival Consoles, Ellen Alien, HAAi,Kurt Uenala, Moderat and a few more surprises. It’s indeed a journey right towards the end when Jehnny Beth fittingly states “I used to be a human being”; something that’s quite fitting to the themes of this series. Link is in the Bio and I surely hope you’ll enjoy it.

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03 – Reconnecting With Myself

I’ve been happy to call German band Kraków Loves Adana friends for a few years now. Over the past 15 years the musical brainchild of songwriter Deniz Çiçek has delivered outstanding songs and records and it really bothers me that they haven’t reached global stardom yet. Well, they got a loyal constantly growing fanbase and Çiçek’s songwriting and storytelling only get better with age. Her seventh album “Oceanflower” is set for a release on February 14 and her Messy Mix is directly influenced by the work on this new record which does indeed come with a certain ‘back to basics’ approach from Kraków Loves Adana following the last more electronic releases. 

Lovers of profound 80s and 90s indie will find a few few familiar faces (and voices) in here, including Slowdive, The Cure, Peter Gabriel as well as the critically underrated 00s indie group The Organ. This Messy Mix does indeed feel like a good old fashioned mixtape, something your younger self would burn on a CD for you to remind you about the things that used to be close to your heart.

Here’s what Çiçek got so say about her reconnecting mixtape:

„I live my life in album cycles with each album representing a particular chapter of my life. Oceanflower is a testimony of reconnecting with my innermost being & overcoming depression. It also marks a return to my musical roots, turning more towards my first learned instrument – the guitar – and phasing out the electronic influences. This mix is full of songs that accompanied and comforted me during this process and they are best listened to walking through nature or at home alone.“

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02 – Purple Postpunk Poets Of Pop

I’ve been following German artist Jennifer Touch since her early days and I’m as honored as I am happy that she’s the first person to join me on this new adventure called “The Messy Mix”.

As a fellow lover of dark 80s wave sounds I was more than curious about the story she would be telling here. Jennifer went for the theme called „Purple Postpunk Poets of Pop“.

Next to some fascinating tunes by The Bug, SF-X, Twin Tribes and Broken English Club Jennifer also included a tune of her own as well as overdub extracts of poets from Sylvia Plath. Very fascinating journey, I gotta say.

Here’s what she got to say about it:

“Music speaks to me like words do. … The mix is inspired by my favorite poets Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath. The unconventional offbeat and verbally eclectic poetry of the Beatniks and the modern feminist and dark vibe of Plath’s writing fit well with my way of consuming and feeling music.

All tracks of the mix are part of the same sonic and emotional universe, although they come from different genres. When I curate music for a DJ set, I feel like the recipient of a poem, written by different artists to create a special world in others. The longer I’ve been a musical artist myself, the more I’m into poetry and the written word, as I’m also a writer. And maybe part of a new beat generation.”

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01 – Dance The Despair Away

I decided to launch the project thing with a party to reflect on the turbulent year that 2022 was. So I compiled all the floorfilling hits that moved me and others over the past 12 months. I know, changing listening habits lead to a decline in overall hits the world can agree on.

So this is my attempt to collect my personal (and general) dance hits and create a set where Beyoncé follows directly after Yard Act and where Viagra Boys deserve the same space like HAAi and Megan Thee Stallion.

From pop to hip hop, from indie rock to electronica – this is the one essential set you should play on your New Year’s Eve party or whenever you feel the need to recap this crazy year in musical form.

2022 has been a wild and existential ride for me as well so this is a fitting tribute to it.

Love and good vibes
Burnout Sumner