Benji B & Judah roll out the Deviation classics in a special live set

By in VF Mixes

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With tunes from Floating Points, Moodymann, Lil Silva, Theo Parrish, Hunee, Kode9, and more.

Since 2007, Benji B’s Deviation night has been a trailblazing presence in the capital’s club scene. Earlier this month, to celebrate the release of Deviation Classics, the DJ and broadcaster took up his familiar position behind the decks for a special live set alongside his longstanding MC Judah.

Across four LPs, Deviation Classics traces the history of the influential London club night through the tracks that became fixtures of the dancefloor. Benji says he set out to reflect this ethos in this Deviation mix.

“The theme of this set was Deviation classics,” Benji explains, “so on the night that’s exactly what we played: 100% Deviation classics — some that feature on the new compilation, and some that don’t. Some are really well known and some are under-the-radar, representing music from 2007 to the present day. Everything from Carl Craig through to James Blake, Omar S through to Floating Points – all of these tunes have had a special moment in the club for us.”

Benji explains how, over the years, certain tracks have proven their staying power.

“These are tunes from my DJ sets that got played more than a few times; the turnover of new music was so great every month that my residency sets were always completely different — apart from a few tunes that just had to keep getting played. They turned into Deviation’s hits.”

Like many performers, Benji has found solace in livestreaming format during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Streaming became important to us, because above all else Deviation is about community – a family of music lovers – and for us during lockdown the most important thing was to stay connected,” he says.

Over the past year, Benji and Judah have been running a series of online shows they called Inside/Out – as a way, Benji says, “of being out without leaving the inside.” Judah held down his MC duties via video link, with Benji playing tracks in the studio and the chat room forming a kind of virtual dancefloor.

“It actually evolved into a format of its own,” Benji says. “It’s been a crucial way to connect. So, in a way, this stream is the natural conclusion for us celebrating one year of being on air streaming as Deviation: Inside/Out – and the first time we have done it outside of my studio and in a real venue.

“It felt good to be back in a real DJ booth!”

Tracklist:

Azymuth – Manhã
J Dilla – African Rhythms (Edit)
K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas – Kyenkyen Bi Adi M’awu
Flying Lotus – Melt!
Quest – Smooth Skin
Osunlade – Touched My Soul
Theo Parrish – Lost Keys
Floating Points – Love Me Like This
Hounds Of Hate – Purple Stuff
Baron Zen – Burn Rubber (Dam Funk Remix)
Waajeed – Tron
Beat Spacek – Alone In Da Sun
LCD Soundsystem – 45:33 (Theo Parrish’s Space Cadet Remix)
Rick Wilhite – Ruby Night (Gilbr’s Solo Flight Remix)
Alice Smith – Love Endeavour (Maurice Fulton Remix)
The Detroit Experiment – Think Twice
Kaytranada – At All
Hunee – Rare Silk
Moodymann – I Got Werk
Carl Craig – Sandstorms
Omar S & Ob Ignitt – Wayne County Hill Cop’s (Omar S Mix)
Langenberg – Times (Manuel Tur’s Ground Glass Reflex)
Citizen Boy – Indaba Ka Bani Besibenuza
Kode9 – Uh
Ill Blu – Dragon Pop
Ramadanman – Stifle (Benji B VIP)
Lil Silva – Cheese and Bun
D Malice – Gabryelle (Refix)
Kingdom – Stalker Ha
Bok Bok – Silo Pass
Kelela – Enemy
Joy Orbison – Hyph Mngo
Mala – Lean Forward
Martyn – Vancouver
James Blake – Love What Happened Here

Deviation Classics is out now.

Photos by Rob Jones.