- Dembow, Baltimore club, Bollywood and more from the Night Slugs affiliate.
- Behind every innovative DJ is an arsenal of creative club edits. For Manara and her fellow Night Slug-affiliated artists, these tools, combined with inventive mixing, have kept them at the fore of some of South London's most boundary-pushing parties. The British-Pakistani DJ's sets are enhanced by an affinity for Desi music. She draws from the abundant "power and pain to be harnessed from Hindi and Punjabi vocals," an experience that Manara says "makes everyone feel something in the club." That all feeds into this Manara-curated compilation of edits, The Ultimate Spice Mix.
Timeless classics from Bollywood film soundtracks stitch the full-length together, with songs like "Kehna Hi Kya" and "Mehndi" going back as early as the mid-'90s and early '00s. These classics are put in the trusted hands of the Night Slugs crew, assisted by friends from Hyperdub, Club Chai and Nguzunguzu. While artists such as Bok Bok, Helix and Manara herself deliver soon-to-be club staples, up-and-coming artists like A.G and General Courts shine in the lineup of all-star producers.
Much like Manara's uninhibited approach to mixing, the album thrives in disorientation. Pulling from UK bass, dembow, Baltimore club and UK funky, Bollywood hits are transformed for the club crowd with skilled production. Some tracks scream peak-time, like Ahadadream's bass-fueled "Balam Pichkari," NA DJ's reggaeton spin on "Buzz," and Manara and Bok Bok's joint work on a percussive "Sheila Ki Jawani" edit ("My Name Is Shhh").
Others transition into more laidback works, like one of Asmara's trademark R&B/dancehall blends on "Dheere Dheere." While edits can allow producers to simply build off the success of recent upbeat chartbusters, A.G.'s remix of "Kehna Hi Kya" retains the sluggish, mysterious element of the '90s classic, with an undulant bassline and repeated hook readying it for the dance floor.
Years ago, DJs might have avoided playing genres like Bollywood on the decks, a risk that could have easily cleared out a dance floor to an audience unfamiliar with the music. However, Manara's refined execution of Ultimate Spice Mix signals a notable shift in more selectors experimenting with non-Western forms in the club, and affirms the importance of cutting against arbitrary rules.
01. NA DJ - Buzz
02. 8ulentina & Foozool - Crazy Kiya Re
03. Asmara - Dheere Dheere
04. Helix - Nashe Si Chadh Gayi
05. A.G. - Kehna Hi Kya (Spice Queen Remix)
06. Khayote - Aloe Vera
07. Scratcha DVA - Ang Laga De (Scratcha DVA DJ Tool)
08. General Courts - Lazy Moments
09. Ikonika - Sarsariya
10. Samrai - Mehndi (Madhorama Pencha)
11. Manara & Bok Bok - My Name is Shhh
12. Ahadadream - Balam Pichkari
13. BONUS EXTRA - WORLD FAMOUS MANARA SPICE BLEND