I made this mix back in 2006, as a tribute and homage to the West Coast and all the wonderful talent that emerged here during the early to mid 1990s. If you were even peripherally associated with the dance music scene in Los Angeles, San Francisco or any where along the Left Coast during the mid 1990s, there is no doubt that you would be familiar with some, or many of these tracks.
In late 1993, early 1994, the Los Angeles dance music scene experienced what some would consider a rebirth. A number of factors contributed to turbulence in the scene during 1993, including numerous events getting shut down, bad promoters, and even the term “rave” had fallen out of favor. The “scene” pretty much withdrew to smaller house music clubs and afterhours.
And then it happened. The rebirth. This was an awakening of sorts which brought with it a number of incredible monthly or semi-monthly events and parties. Of note, and I certainly don’t mean to leave anyone off the list, were the Dream and Parliament parties specializing in house and progressive house. Weekly club Jungle helped promote a new and exciting sound called Drum ‘n Bass. Another weekly called Magic Wednesdays brought high quality DJ talent from around the world to shine in Los Angeles. The Moontribe desert parties were spiritual events where everyone was welcome to dance under the moon and the stars. Fresh Produce emerged, promoting a series of high quality events and high quality vibes. Last, but definitely not least were two events that I had the privilege of being directly involved with. There was Insomniac, which sought to re-energize the old school techno crowd on a weekly basis and which eventually grew into a massive promotional outfit that coordinated such events as Nocturnal Wonderland, Electric Daisy Carnival and Organic. But dearest to my heart was F.A.M.I.L.Y, featuring special guests and a regular lineup consisting of DJs Trance, Fester, Oscar D.G. and me, Mojo. No one can question the vibe, the warmth and the mutual respect and kinship that the F.A.M.I.L.Y parties engendered. It was a special time for me and so many others.
Along with these new promotion crews, there was a rebirth in the music. House music became a little edgier with the new progressive house sounds emerging. Trance became a growing force to reckon with. And then there were the breaks. Super funky breaks that could loosen up even the stiffest of wall flowers. The West Coast played a prominent role in this emerging sound, with artists and labels from Los Angeles and San Francisco – as well as Portland, Seattle and Arizona – putting out a number of terrific tracks. Not only did these tracks feature great beats, but there was an intelligence and depth to them that set them apart from much of the earlier electronic dance music. The richness of the textures, the sophistication of composition, and the emotion that was woven into these tracks all provided an incredible sonic palette for the DJs of the day to paint with.
And so this mix includes songs from labels such as Michael Knapp’s (aka Xpando) Bassex Records, which featured collaboration with artists Jason Blakemore (aka DJ Trance) as Rebirth, and Eric Davenport as Metro. There is the City of Angels label. Simply Jeff’s Orbit Transmission label produced a number of great records. Exist Dance Records founded by Tom Chasteen and Michael Kandel, was a pioneer in intelligent dance music bringing a diversity and depth in their releases that I believe is unparalleled. They remain one of my favorite labels to this day. Similarly, the San Francisco Hardkiss label by the Hardkiss brothers features music that is characterized by innovative compositions that weave a plush tapestry of mood and rhythm. Finally, I would be remiss without mentioning Peter Tall’s Bassbin Twins records, whose complex, energizing beats are quite simply, second to none.
I am forever indebted to artists such as these, for helping reestablish something magical during this period in my life. They are truly an inspiration, and I am privileged to have had the pleasure of presenting their work through the prism of my mix.
Stream: Left Coast Breakfast
Download: Left Coast Breakfast