Unmixed Essentials

Perhaps the defining moment of my reignited DJ career occurred 5 years ago today when my Essential Mix was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 to an overwhelmingly positive response. The comments on the BBC website that followed it’s airing can still be viewed, along with the full tracklisting:

The mix gained further kudos in 2010 when, to reflect the show’s history, dating back to 1993, 10 classic Essential Mixes were chosen by Radio 1, including my own, as part of their Essential Mix 500 landmark. The full list is included in this blog post from 2011:

Back in November I appeared as part of the line-up at a special one-off event, The Essential Mix Live, held at Manchester’s Warehouse Project in celebration of the 20th anniversary of what’s become a British institution (even more so now, with it’s presenter, Pete Tong, recently awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list for services to music and broadcasting).

I put my own Essential Mix together in early January 2009, just a few weeks on from the 5th anniversary of my DJ comeback. Here’s how I described the process at the time:

It was quite laborious. Before I could start the actual mixing part I had to edit every track to a coherent length of around two and a half minutes average, inclusive of in and out points. I had a pool of about 90 tracks that fitted the criteria I’d set (a representative selection of the biggest tunes I’ve been playing during the past 5 years). It wasn’t as straightforward as just editing the 43 tracks I ended up featuring – in order to have the necessary options once I started to piece the mix together I needed to have all the tracks at my disposal, just as I would have if I was out deejaying in a club, so the only thing to do was edit all 90 to the required length, even though I knew that only half would make the cut.

Once that was finally done they were all taken across into my laptop, enabling me to vari-speed them via PCDJ whilst I recorded across to my home computer into Cool Edit Pro, where I put the mix together track by track, before adding overdubs (fx, samples, textures) in a similar way to what I do live using the Revox (reel to reel).

However, for the 5th anniversary, it’s not the construction of the mix I’ve focused on, but its deconstruction – before the fx, samples and textures were added, before the 43 parts were jigsawed together into a whole, and before each of the selections had been truncated into those 43 parts. Just uploaded to Soundcloud, in the same Essential Mix order, is a whopping 277 minute podcast, featuring all of the source tracks, but this time unmixed and in their full-length glory. I owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of these killer tunes, and all of those associated with them – the artists, the producers, the remixers and the re-editors.

The Essential Mix is, of course, also available to stream / download too:

Essential Mix Wikipedia:

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25 Responses to Unmixed Essentials

  1. mark on marine parade January 17, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

    Ah but where did you find the Cannonball Adderley Quintet spoken intro that starts the mix? Is it Rev Jesse Jackson speaking?

  2. Jobes January 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Yes it’s Jesse Jackson at Wattstax, as sampled by Weatherall on Primal Scream’s ‘Come Together’


  3. greg wilson January 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    A bit I wrote about it in the video blog post ‘Rufus Thomas at Wattstax’:

    Wattstax became the biggest African-American gathering since the ‘Million Man March’ in 1965, and to mark the sheer scale of the occasion, which was dubbed ‘the black Woodstock’, the Reverend Jesse Jackson took to the stage at the start of the festival and gave the invocation, which began; “this is a beautiful day, this is a new day”, going on to announce that “today on this programme you will hear Gospel and Rhythm & Blues and Jazz, all those are just labels, we know that music is music…”. This speech was, of course, sampled to great effect by Andrew Weatherall at the intro of his remix of ‘Come Together’ by Primal Scream (1990), and later by myself in the opening and closing tracks on my Essential Mix in 2009.

  4. Dave Fiddler January 19, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    I still play that mix now, timeless classic

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  5. Rebecca Spare January 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    My absolute favourite for my weekly 80 mile trip to Nottingham… Dancing my ass off while driving …. Thanks Greg!!!!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  6. Rutger Zandman January 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    Greg, it’s always wonderful to read your blogposts. So much love for music and the craft of dj’ing. Great work!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  7. Tony Maxine Johns January 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    Ive got that radio one mix.. huge influence on my own editing addiction

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  8. Jay Birch January 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    All time fave Greg. Quality stuff!!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  9. Garret Hedderman January 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    One of the greatest essential mixes ever.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  10. Dave Bennett January 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Still my favourite. Can’t believe it was 5 years ago. How fast has that gone!!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  11. Gav Tomkins January 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    Rode the mountains of Mayerhofen on my board listening to this. Love it Greg.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  12. Dean Evans January 19, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    A masterclass in how to select and programme. Truly essential.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  13. Greg Mcquaid January 19, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    Still for me one of if one the best essentials, so creative and such a breath of fresh yet nostalgic air at the time

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  14. Ray Cunningham January 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    Best essential mix ever.no contest .

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  15. Aaron Holtom January 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Most played single piece of music in my collection! Here comes another monster!!!!!!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  16. Kevin Austin January 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Still one of the greatest Essential Mixes of all time. Take a bow my son!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  17. TC January 19, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Top mix, love it

  18. Michael Deacon January 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    No way that was 5years ago… I remember hearing it for the first time… Amazing!!!

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  19. Jonathan Gard January 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    My favourite Essential Mix ever, just perfection. Thanks Greg. #TeamGreg

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  20. Anthony Babij January 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Can’t believe its been 5 years… I’m way to old. Quite possibly the best EM of all time.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  21. Daniel Miron January 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    One of the best mixes ever. NO ONE I’ve played it for has been less than fully grooved.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  22. Fraser Elgin January 20, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    Still one of the best things I’ve ever heard. Never gets boring at any point of the 2 hours.

    (via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DJGregWilson)

  23. Finlay January 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    Can’t believe 5 years has flown by since i first heard your mix Greg, it was truly transformational for me in terms of the many weird and wonderful musical discoveries your mixes, blog posts etc have sent me on ever since! Also helped me run a personal best in a half marathon last year… thanks!

  24. Bump Davies February 21, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    Essential doesn’t cut it – definitive more like it. A legend at his peak. And the unmixed version does it full justice. Track selection of the highest order. Which is what GW does best. Class. Thank you. Peace.


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