↖ Writing

DJ Sets

DJ Sets

Recently, I have been listening to more and more DJ mixes while programming. The seamless transitions of hours-long sets help me get into Flow and are uplifting to work to. I mostly listened to BBC Radio One’s Essential Mix. Here is a tier list of what I have listened to recently, based on my personal preference and suitability for Deep Work.


🔴 S tier:

  • Daft Punk (1997). This set was my introduction to the Essential Mix (via kottke). It’s a driving, varied set that has energised me through many afternoon slumps.

🟠 A tier:

  • Tiësto (2014). The Dutch DJ curates some of his favourite Deep House tracks on this mix. It features some catchy melodies and great vocals without being distracting.
  • Bonobo (2014 ). A very layered set, with a steady, head-bobbing rhythm as the foundation and jazzy, varied melodies on top.

🟡 B tier:

  • Rüfüs Du Sol (2018). For me to get fully into flow, this set’s amount of vocals is a bit too distracting. Nonetheless it’s a solid and steady mix.
  • Ben Böhmer (2021). This set is very chill and atmospheric, and features plenty of piano. It just misses the drive of the beat to push me along.
  • Disclosure (2013). The J Dilla section at the start doesn’t work for me. But then the set really picks up.

🟢 C tier:

🔵 D tier:

  • DJ Snake (2014). This set is considered as one of the best Essential Mixes1, but for me it’s just confusing, there is too much going on.
  • Nora en Pure (2016). With other Deep House sets ranking high, I would have expected to enjoy this set more. But I found it just too boring.

Other mixes

DJ sets that aren’t suited to Deep Work but are still really good.


Of course, this “ranking” is completely based on my personal preference. Music is subjective and I have no qualification to actually decide what makes a mix “good” or “bad”.

These are my favourites, your mileage may vary. But if Electronic Music is your thing, I hope you have found some new artists to listen to. For an updating list of Essential Mixes I have listened to, have a look at this note.


  1. Our List of the 15 Best Radio 1 Essential Mixes Ever Broadcasted.

  2. If you aren’t familiar with Fred Again.., I recommend you check out his Tiny Desk concert.