Dancefloor IDs: Ten stunning records played by Margaret Dygas
We often talk about our history with certain artists in Farringdon, but it’s rarely as tangible as the one we share with Margaret Dygas. These days she’s best known for her ties to Panorama Bar, but soon after we opened in 1999 she was part of our family, working as part of the promotions team and playing her first warm-up sets in Room One.
It was after moving to Berlin that she famously took up residency with Ostgut, meanwhile forming a close relationship with Club Der Visionaere and Zip’s Perlon imprint. She’s been responsible for some of the label’s most memorable records over the last decade, and as a DJ by now she’s one of the minimal scene’s veterans.
Like many of the best DJs on Perlon, deep digging has shaped Dygas’ diverse playing style. Trippy minimal, Detroit techno, dubby house – you’ll hear just about everything in one of her sets, woven into a twisting narrative that sounds like no-one else. Ahead of her All Night Long date in Room One later on this month, we’ve picked out some of our favourite records played by Dygas for our next Dancefloor IDs feature. Instantly recognisable as her own picks, below are ten of the stunning records that define her utterly compelling sound.
Easygoing – Audio Werner [Hartchef Discos]
All of your favourite minimal DJs have a collection of records written by Andreas Werner. The German producer’s music is always classy yet stripped-back and functional, which probably explains its broad appeal. More than any other DJ we know, Dygas does a very good job of proving this: we’ve heard her play Easygoing in the early afternoon at Club Der Visionaere, but then she’s also slipped it out during the middle of the night with us in Room One.
Brainstew – Tom Ellis [Logistic]
Tom Ellis is the best house producer you’ve never heard of. Part of a low-key circle of Welsh producers, Ellis is best known as part of the crew behind the coveted Freerotation festival. Records like Brainstew show his sensibility for balancing melody and nuance, two things Dygas has always liked to toy with.
Temenarc 1 – Ricardo Villalobos [Perlon]
There’s an obvious connection between Dygas and Villalobos. Both are longstanding staples of Zip’s Perlon label, and even before Dygas moved to Berlin she was a fan of the Chilean’s music. Temenarc 1 shows her ear for picking out records others overlook: you could probably find at least 20 better-known records by Villalobos, but over the years she’s made it one of her most destructive weapons.
Rut – Joe [Hessle Audio]
It’s a common misconception that minimal artists play only one genre. All of the scene’s leading DJs have built up broad and expansive record collections over lengthy timeframes, and that’s partly why their fans will go to such lengths to hear what’s filling their bags. Dygas might be known best for playing trippy house and techno, but she’s long been a supporter of UK dubstep too. Arguably Hessle’s finest release, Rut shares the same subtle percussive tricks as all of her best house tunes, and somehow works perfectly whenever she’s warming up the floor.
Levitation – Pinch & Shackleton [Honest Jon’s]
There’s a warm, organic quality to the bongos that frame Levitation, but Pinch and Shackleton throw so much at it beyond that: what starts as an amalgam of whirring electronic soundscapes builds builds anxiously to a climax, spilling into distorted but joyous chanting. Sluggish, percussive and unpredictable, this modern classic has everything Dygas typically draws for in afterhours mode.
Shakea Body (Terrence Dixon remix) – Trus’me [Prime Numbers]
Terrence Dixon never leaves Dygas’ record bag. The Detroit artist has a knack for writing techno that’s minimal but spacey, and somehow all of his work has a stamp that’s uniquely his own. His rework of Trus’me’s Shakea Body is among his most out-there moments, manipulating the original’s funky riff into a barely recognisable Detroit cut. Its trippy breakdown melts minds on the dance floor, and it’s become one of Dygas’ favourite bombs.
Deep Route – Mike Dehnert [Deeply Rooted House]
There’s a swing to Mike Dehnert’s records that few other techno producers have mastered. Deep Route has the same drive and functionality of his best tracks, but a crawling melody and dissonant vocal cry make it one of his most distinct. It could easily sit in either a house or techno set, strands of which Dygas tends to piece together like a jigsaw.
Babyluv – DJ QU [Strength Music]
New York artist DJ QU makes some of the deepest house going, and he’s always been popular with Europe’s top minimalists. Though his music often has a sombre undercurrent, it doesn’t get moreso than on Babyluv, where endless cries for "my Baby" fight over dark pads and jumpy clicks. Strictly for the late night hours, we've only ever heard Dygas pull it out towards the end of the night.
Project 02 – Fred P [Underground Quality]
Just as she’s collected many of DJ QU’s masterpieces, Dygas also has a lot of time for one of his close peers from the New York house scene, Fred P. Project 02 was signed to the always-excellent Underground Quality in 2008, and it might be the label’s best record. We first fell for its swirling melody after hearing it played by Dygas and Zip on an extended hours session. Once you hear it out, you will too.
Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles [Parlophone]
The most memorable DJ sets are the ones that leave a mark on the audience. It doesn’t matter if that comes from an unreleased banger that gets people Shazaming or a ubiquitous classic, the best DJs will pick the right records and make them their own. Dygas nails these moments whether she’s playing The Beatles or Barac, and it’s part of what’s made her one of the world’s very best.
Listen to Margaret Dygas' ten stunning records as a full playlist via our YouTube channel.