An assister in name and nature, Ben Assiter has been one of the chief enablers in the James Blake machine that has dominated British singer-songwriting in recent years. Drummer of his live band and an ever-present member of their 1-800-Dinosaur collective, Ben has also started make the occasional, yet self-assured step on his own, under the Mr Assister moniker. ‘Bala‘ was the catalyst, a simple yet effective DJ tool that also doubles up as a powerful peak time hip-shaker, employing the same percussion-heavy, African-indebted approach to rhythm that brought O’Flynn and Tom Blip such acclaim last year. He’s been a quiet lad since then, but popped back on our radar recently on a project with Pique-nique Recordings, remixing a traditional Moroccan Gnawa prayer (see below).
To mark this pan-African spiritual union, Ben has kindly put together a mix for us. He’s actually the first Stamp Mix guest to pass up an interview, but we won’t take it personally when the selection is this tight. He has kindly elaborated a little on the mix for us though:
“I recorded the mix ‘live and direct’ on the decks in my bedroom, with a collection of records old and new. (Also shout outs to my housemate for letting me borrow her CDJ so I could put one of my new tracks in!) In line with the release of the Innov Gnawa 12″, I’ve tried to show some of my various inspirations, blurring distinctions between organic and electronic sounds. While most of the tracks have their origins or roots in musics from the African continent, I’ve tried to capture a certain rawness and percussive sensibility rather than be guided by a specifically geographic focus.”
Aside from the Innov Gnawa release, Ben is currently waiting on test pressings from another new record, which he’ll be self-releasing under his new BEAM imprint. One of the tracks from that – ‘Izma’ – is featured in this mix. Gigwise, he’s playing in Hoxton this Friday alongside Le Motel and O’Flynn, that at The Yard on 26th Feb.