On Listening to Mixlr

On Listening to Mixlr

There’s no hiding from the fact that Mixlr’s explore page has looked very different over the past week.

A recurring theme we’re seeing is that many (so many!) folks are taking to Mixlr simply to entertain. Broadcasters who want to help others through their isolation. Communities may be separated in the physical world, but from that, new clusters are forming online.

There are too many of you broadcasting on Mixlr to cover, with so many stories to tell. I want to write about my personal experience with Mixlr this past week, and hopefully this inspires you to keep going, or maybe to start.

Autechre (mixlr.com/autechre)

A bit weird, no promo, just the love of being able to share something you’re passionate about with a wider community.

I’ve probably racked up about 24 hours (and counting) listening to Autechre over the past week. They’re a part of my world. The forums where I congregate link me back to Autechre’s livepage on Mixlr.

Autechre is an electronic music duo formed around Manchester, UK in the 90s. They fall into several genres of electronic music including IDM and Techno. The Autechre back catalogue is vast in dept and breadth. They take a similar approach to their live performances. They’re famed for their marathon DJ sets on NTS Radio which are available here.

Their recent, near-daily sets on Mixlr have been challenging to listen to at times, inspiring always. It gives me a sense of pride to see an act I respect so much choosing Mixlr. Autechre really encapsulates Mixlr’s spirit: A bit weird, no promo, just the love of being able to share something you’re passionate about with a wider community.

I was so excited when, back in October, they reappeared on Mixlr for the first time in eight years, surprising the world with a 12-hour set. I’m in awe of the stamina these two are showing—the shows are fresh, and the tunes are some of the rarest cuts going!

I’m also so in love with the chat. The super powers these listeners are showing for naming tracks goes where Shazam can not.

Autechre’s station has been my distraction station for the long haul. Like nothing else, they have kept me off of the news site, and focused on work. Nothing else has been able to do that for me these past few weeks.

For this escapism, I am very grateful.

Fang Radio (mixlr.com/fangradio)

I grew up in a village in the Suffolk countryside. A bus would take me to and from school. Through the winter, the house would sit in darkness. Only the odd headlights of a car showed there was life outside. In those days, the internet was dial-up and we only had one phone line for the whole house.

I had some guitars, a mic, a 4-track tape machine, a full back catalogue of Oasis CDs and a heavy reliance on my mother’s questionable CD collection to get me through those long, long nights.

One of those CDs was Together Alone by Crowded House. How relevant is that title right now! I was obsessed with that album.

Blood harmony is real, it cannot be imitated.

As I got a bit older, I joined some bands, including an acoustic duo that earned us some pocket money playing bars in the local town. Weather with You was a stone cold hit on our set list.

Being able to listen to Neil Finn every night just before I go to bed is like an instant teleportation to a more innocent time for me. This past Thursday, I crumbled as we had a chance to listen to the Finn family play a set from a children’s bedroom — books, toys, kids’ teepee and all. Below is a little snippet of the bedroom show.

Blood harmony is real, it cannot be imitated.

I cannot miss this show now, and I really appreciate Neil moving his broadcast time to allow us here in Europe the chance to also enjoy the music and escape real life for 30 minutes before bedtime.

I also share links to Fang Radio’s show with my mother. She still lives in that house, in the same village, with the same CD collection that hasn’t changed much over the years.

MrMoto74 (mixlr.com/mrmoto74)

This story loops back from my brother. This story is second hand, so I’m fuzzy on the details.

MrMoto was highlighted to me by my brother, who’s been caught up with the pandemic having to close four restaurants in Dublin.

MrMoto is currently stuck in Italy, right in the middle of a lockdown also caused by the pandemic. To pass the time he started broadcasting his DJ sets though Facebook. Apparently there were a few issues, and he found his way on Mixlr, posting his livepage into my brother’s news feed.

As my brother told me the story, I was intrigued, and really pleased to discover he was on-air when I landed on the page. I was also able to instantly recognise why he’s friends with my brother!

He calls his show The 6:01 in tribute to the Angelus bell. In Ireland, this bell rings out twice a day on the national Radio RTE in Dublin, and it has done so since the 1950s.

It’s such an honour to have folks turning to Mixlr when they’re in these lockdowns. We take this responsibility very seriously, and we’re working hard to repay your faith.

As we sit — together alone — in our homes we all share the same experience at the same time.

Kit Records (mixlr.com/kitrecords)

This is the final one from me. This was a revelation while exploring stations. Kit Records is a UK based record label, home to artists such as Sarathy Korwar. I know of the label through listening to label owner Richard Greenan’s regular slot on NTS Radio.

So, it was really great to see Richard broadcasting independently on Mixlr.

I hope he’s enjoying being able to go live every day, setting his own programming. He often moves through sub-genres and generations of ambient music — as you’d expect from any NTS resident, the tunes are curated in the highest taste.

I am also really impressed by the addition of having guests phone into the show. Now more than ever, this dynamic feels so inspiring — being able to hear an exchange of stories from other listeners, and not only the broadcasters.

Admittedly, I swooned a little when I got a few shout outs over the past few nights. Just like Prince William(!), we all love a shout out. Oh, the power a broadcaster can have!

(For those not in the know, I travel the airwaves as the hermitintown. Don’t give away my secret.)

On Sunday, I requested the names of a couple of tracks. If I could end this post with just one music recommendation, it’s Rongo by Nicolas Gaunin.

There’s a museum in London’s southeast — the Horniman museum. Its archive is famous for their vast collection of ethno musical field recordings and instruments. Rongo’s lush synth lines, on top of a percussion beat, wouldn’t sound out of place in the archives, nestled in between Egyptian bone clappers dating back 3,500 years and a giant tuba.

Unsurprisingly, I love radio, and I love internet radio.

Radio—live audio—does something other mediums cannot. It’s with us at the best of times, and the worst of times. It unites us in a way that other mediums cannot.

As we sit — together alone — in our homes we all share the same experience at the same time. In return, the radio doesn’t demand our whole attention (like TV) you can let it gently fill the silence through the day, or you can let it take your full undivided attention.

Thank you to all our broadcasters right now. In your own way you’re helping your communities to work through social distancing.

Mixlr is proud to host your shows, and your listeners.

Ben Scully,
Product Manager @ Mixlr