In this series, Selections, we invite DJs, producers and label heads to dig into their digital crates and share the contents of their collections. This week, Hagan spotlights percussive gems, from futuristic UK funky, gqom and amapiano to house, drill and highlife
Much like this energising DJ sets, British-Ghanaian artist Hagan’s debut album, ‘Textures’, is a masterclass in percussion and soul. Set for release in October via the Python Syndicate label, he blends elements of UK Funky, gqom, Afro house, amapiano, hiplife and more into a fluid, personal and bass heavy sound.
Exploring themes of family, faith and friendship, ‘Textures’ finds Hagan turning to his Ghanaian roots for inspiration, having travelled to Accra during the writing process. The single, ‘Pray For Me’, featuring London-based, Filipino-Ugandan vocalist Ayeisha Raquel, is an ode to his grandmother, and the personal prayers she would say for him, and those he would say for her in return.
‘Textures’ simultaneously celebrates and connects drum-focused music from throughout Africa and the global diaspora, from Nigeria and South Africa to Brazil and the UK. On another single, ‘Sise Ntweni’, he collaborates with South African vocalist Aymos. Speaking about the track, Hagan said: "'Sise Ntweni’ is a club-ready track that highlights how South African music has been a significant source of inspiration for me and partially being the foundations towards my tribal groove".
It all points to an artist for whom percussion is a core, guiding principle for personal and musical connection. While its something he’s demonstrated before on releases for labels including Jamz Supernova's Future Bounce, Mr Mitch's Gobstopper and One Level, Hagan’s Hagan’s execution of this principle on ‘Textures’ feels close to spiritual, his sound transcending boundaries and truly coming into its own.
It’s a globally minded principle that’s echoed in his Selections, which takes in percussive gems, from futuristic UK funky, gqom and amapiano to velvety drill, house, highlife and more. Dig in below.
Check out Hagan’s mix and interview for DJ Mag’s Recognise series here.
“You can clearly hear how he has expanded his musical palette as a producer, which is hugely inspirational for me. However this outro track here was the one for me. Lil Silva’s harmonies, serpentwithfeet’s vocals and Mansur Brown’s guitar parts make the perfect combo”
“Juls’ sound selection is always on point! This track is a cool and refreshing reminder of the summer time as he takes us on that journey using bird samples, plucked synths and well placed vocal chops. Groove master Juls!”
“I heard this earlier this year at Primavera at the Boiler Room stage. This was the first stage of the whole trip and we entered as VANYFOX dropped this. It goes without saying that my friends and I kicked off the trip in top form with this and the whole crowd erupted!”
“The highlife crew are currently on tour spreading the Ghanaian sound to the world! Having grown up listening to highlife and hiplife, their music activates all types of feels. This is one of my favourite tracks off their album, ‘Alewa’. I was also lucky enough to catch them at Jazz Cafe last month.”
“Off of Sango’s recent house and techno project, this slow house groove is my bop right now! This a clear case of when all elements come together to give you a rare groove. The bassline cut-off and resonance gradually opening, vocal chops, raw drums and synth keys all play their parts in producing that slow house and techno bounce.”
“Did my set slap if I didn’t include this?? This track is my go-to for either making transitions or taking the set to that next level and it always works. Mix this with Culoe De Song ‘Y.O.U.D’ and thank me later!”
“MOJVKI always comes correct with the smooth samples and fresh drums and he’s delivered that on ‘Ride With Me’. He’s another talented producer that I can hear from his productions takes time with drum programming and arrangement.”
“Scratcha is amongst some of the top club / electronic producers, if not even wider. He’s managed to sculpt a sound that has incorporated his influences from grime, UK funky, gqom, amapiano and more. As the track states, this is pure ammo for your USBs!”
“This whole EP from A.G was icy but this particular track featuring Taliwhoah on the vocals was special! After hearing it on Scratcha’s NTS show I’ve had this one on repeat. The contrast between the tough instrumental and the silky vocals produced a killer partnership.”
“Another track that can shift the mood of the dancefloor and a great track to blend with. It’s also part of a well rounded album Gina produced called ‘Lucid Theory’. Definitely check that out to hear how she’s managed to fuse live instrumentation with electronic sounds.”
“Jackson Brainwave is cold! Here’s another track I’d play if I want to take the set to that next level. What really caught my ears with this track was the slow gradual build-up. This gives so much opportunity to blend, chop and have fun whilst mixing.”
“This track is pure energy and the title speaks for itself. LR Groove’s bass sound design is some of the best in the game and he doesn’t compensate here on ‘Warmonger’. Play this one to flip the party on its head or if you’re looking for that energy pick up!”