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10 Great, Unexpected Mixtapes by Musicians Who Aren’t DJs

This week sees the release of the soundtrack to British psychological thriller Berbarian Sound Studio, a soundtrack that’s notable for being a) creepy as hell and b) the last thing ever recorded by much-missed British duo Broadcast before singer Trish Keenan’s death from pneumonia in 2010. Keenan’s death robbed the music world of a distinctive voice and a singular talent, and the release of Berbarian Sound Studio has got us listening again to the fantastic mixtape a friend of Keenan’s released in her memory a couple of weeks after she died. This in turn got us thinking about other artist-made mixtapes that have brightened up our iTunes over the last couple of years, eclectic selections made by musicians you wouldn’t necessarily expect to dabble in DJ mixes — we’ve shared a few of them after the jump.

Broadcast

Trish Keenan’s “Mindbending Motorway Mix” was made for a friend just before Broadcast headed off to Australia on tour — a tour from which, sadly, Keenan would never return. Her friend released the mix as a tribute to the singer, and it’s been on fairly regular rotation on our iTunes ever since. We can’t find a working download link for it any more — because, y’know, distributing obscure MP3s of songs you can’t buy by artists who are long dead anyway is definitely what’s destroying the music industry — but you can still stream it right here.

Jens Lekman

Lekman’s summer mixes were something of a tradition for a few years in the late ’00s — he’s not made one for a while now, but still, they’re all good and worth listening to. Our favorite is the 2010 version, which is entirely in 3/4 and features everything from African pop to suitably bittersweet indie tunes. There’s a short commentary on it at Lekman’s 2010 smalltalk page (about three quarters of the way down) and a direct download link here.

HTRK

Perhaps the most poignant mix on this list, HTRK’s “Mixtape for Sean” was released in memory of the band’s bass player Sean Stewart, who committed suicide in 2010. The mix features Nina Simone’s sublime version of Randy Newman’s “Baltimore,” along with ominous dub, minimal techno, and Sly Stone — it’s still available via the band’s website, along with a whole lot of other mixtapes. The direct download link is here.

EMA

This appeared on EMA’s record company’s Soundcloud in the middle of last year, and it’s an endearingly scattershot romp through her record collection. The drawcard for fans will be the unreleased track from her former project Gowns, but there’s also everything from from ’80s New Zealand pop icons Split Enz to Shellac — and, most impressively, it also features the very, very strange John Frusciante track “Your Pussy’s Glued to a Building on Fire,” from his solo debut. The mixing is a bit ropey, but the tracklisting is great — you can listen/download here.

Shellac

While we’re mentioning Shellac, here’s an epic two-hour mixtape they put together in advance of last year’s ATP event at Camber Sands in the UK — it’s a pretty compelling journey through the history of the festival, and it’s still available for download via the ATP Soundcloud page.

Peaking Lights

Peaking Lights put out a whole bunch of mixes in the run-up to the release of their third album Lucifer last year. They’re all worth listening to, but we’re particularly partial to the Bollywood-themed mix they made in conjunction with Tom Furse of The Horrors — it’s still available for download via Gorilla Vs Bear.

The Horrors

And speaking of The Horrors, they did a pretty great mix for FACT last year, which you can stream right here.

Dirty Three

One of the many virtues of The Quietus is its ongoing mixtape series, which is right up there with the FACT mixes as far as awesome places to find new music go. This particular compilation was put together by Mick Turner of Dirty Three as an evocation of the intimidatingly huge and empty atmosphere of the Australian outback — it contains some fascinating selections (everything from locals like Lost Animal and Grand Salvo to the likes of Smog and Ólöf Arnalds), and you can hear it here.

Dan Deacon

Honestly, Dan Deacon’s inaugural venture into 2ManyDJs-style mashup action is worth it just for “Gangrimes Style” (which you can download separately here.)

Darkthrone

A thumping techno mix by black metal icon Fenriz? Oh yes indeed.

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