Here at MusicRadar we can wax lyrical about DJ techniques and the tools of the trade until the cows come home. But the bottom line is that there's no point in taking an interest in the art of DJing if you're not going to engage with the most important aspect of the DJ's arsenal: the music itself.
To that end, in this first edition of a new weekly regular for MusicRadar's DJ section, we've rounded up five of our favourite DJ mixes that are available to listen to online. Below you'll find our first crop which are - whilst inevitably slightly weighted towards our editorial music tastes - all unique or impressive in some way, and certainly packed with enough exciting new music to be worthy of your attention.
Machinedrum - Resident Advisor podcast
New York-based producer Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) has just released the follow up to his excellent 2011 album Room(s). Titled Vapor City, the new album purports to represent a sonic journey around an imagined metropolis.
His mix for RA is supposed to represent a tour around one part of that city, described in Stewart's words as, "the Njord District of Vapor City. It's the financial and commerce center where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, rising and falling daily."
High concepts aside, the result is an excellent 60-minute mix of footwork, drum 'n' bass and energetic leftfield electronic tunes.
Special Request - XLR8R podcast
Repurposing the sounds of classic hardcore, drum 'n' bass and jungle is pretty fashionable at the moment, but few producers are doing it with as much flair as Paul Woolford under his Special Request alias.
He's just this week released an excellent album via Houndstooth, and has followed it up with this mix for XLR8R's podcast series. It's a pretty full-throttle affair, combining classic rave tunes with a handful of lively contemporary releases; not one for the faint hearted, but certainly a lot of fun.
Alchemist X Dr. Romanelli - Diagnosis
This mix sees Dilated Peoples and Mobb Deep affiliate Alchemist team up with LA-based fashion designer Dr. Romanelli. It's less a straight mix, more an eight-minute collage of samples, largely based around clips lifted from radio and TV ads for Coca-Cola over the years. There's also a verse from rapper Action Bronson in there, alongside a whole load of classic hip hop drum breaks.
It sounds pretty odd on paper, but the results are actually remarkably coherent and enjoyable.
Delroy Edwards - Benji B (BBC Radio 1) mix
Rising LA-based producer Delroy Edwards is one of the flagship artists amongst the roster of L.I.E.S - the New York-based label that's garnered an enthusiastic cult following over the past couple of years for its rough-edged and experimental approach to house and techno.
This mini-mix for Benji B's Radio 1 show is less a proper DJ set, more a showcase of his own production work. It all feels a little unfinished and disjointed, but it's still a great representation of the blend of vintage house and warped jazz and soul that makes Edwards a producer and DJ worth keeping an eye on.
Mella Dee - Fact mix
Mella Dee is one half of the duo Mista Men, a pair of DJs/producers infatuated with the liveliest ends of classic UK garage and 2Step. It's unsurprising, then, that his contribution to Fact's mix series is an energetic, fun and very danceable affair, complete with plenty of shuffling beats, slinky basslines and joyful vocal edits.