I haven’t done a Drum & Bass mix in quite a long time, but overall I am pleased with how this turned out. Mostly new stuff with a few old classic favs thrown in for good measure. Mostly liquid but a little bit of everything and I throw some harder stuff in at the peaks.
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
Last week I posted about a great site devoted to oldskool techno. There are quite a few blogs, forums, youtube channels, etc, devoted to this music and the scene that emerged around it. For me, even though I stopped gigging live for the most part as I have become focused on other aspects of my life, I have continued to research and discover elements of this music. Thank you Discogs!
What is it about this music that has created such a committed and loyal following? Looking back through the prism of maturity (and I mean that in a variety of ways, including artistically) after all these years, there is plenty of criticism one can direct toward this music. I mean, the production values on many of these records was not very good, the music often simple or formulaic, many records clone samples, beats and riffs off one another and let’s face it, some of those sounds are just in your face and obnoxious. And you know what? It is every one of those things and more that keeps this music endearing to us. Of course, there is the sentimentality of a magic time in our youth. A time spent with friends, putting the struggles and troubles of the day away for an evening of dancing, hearing new sounds, and meeting new people… Ok, now I am just rambling.
In any event, here is a mix I did a few years back that I think encapsulates a wide variety of oldskool techno. Everything from Belgian techno to some harder edged acid, and particularly a lot of the pre-jungle UK breakbeat that I was so fond of when I first started buying these records back in 1992. Tracklisting included below.
Stream: OldSkool Vinyl ThrowDown
Download: OldSkool Vinyl ThrowDown
01. Genaside II – Narra Mine
02. Is That It? – State of Mind
03. Rocket – Straight Up
04. Rabbit City #3
05. Pied Piper – Dreamers
06. HHFD – Start the Panic
07. Cybersonik – Technarcy
08. Tribal Instincts EP – Rock Da House
09. Venom – I Need Your Love
10. Tribal Instincts EP – Coming On Strong
11. Criminal Minds – Baptized By Dub
12. Phuture Assassins – Future Sound
13. Progression – On a Rubbish Tip
14. Krome & Time – This Sound is for the Underground
15. 4 Hero – In the Shadow (Sunrise Remix)
16. 32 Troop – Papa Malaysia
17. Illuminatae – Dreamer
18. The Hypnotist – This is my House
19. Mr. Kool-Aid & Marco – 2001: A Soda Pop Odyssey
20. D.H.S. – The House of God (Pump Panel Remix)
21. Drax – Amphetamine
22. DJ Tim & Ortega – Heartbreak
23. Edge #9 – File 57
24. Flag – Dominate
25. E.Kude – Common Sensi
26. Sound Corp – Security Overload
27. Kickin Six Pack LP 5
28. Caspar Pound – Pioneers of the Warped Groove (Way Out West Remix)
29. Hyper On Experience – Lords of the Null Lines (Foul Play Remix)
30. N-Joi – Drumstruck
31. Blame – Music Takes You (2 Bad Mice Remix)
32. Urban Shakedown – Some Justice
Blog to the Oldskool is dedicated to raising awareness of many classic and even obscure old school techno gems from back in the day. This is the music that I first started DJing with and it will always hold a sentimental nostalgia for me. It’s hard to believe that some of these tracks are almost 20 years old already!
The following mix is the first of two mixes I submitted in the 2008 Discogs Mix Tournament. There were two main categories… a “Peak Time” category and a “Warm Up or Afterhours” set. As implied by the name, this was my entry in the chillout category and features a diverse set of downtempo tracks, starting off with a little hip hop and winding through a variety of mellow classics. The mix ranked second in its respective category as voted on by fellow participants and other discogs forums members. Enjoy.
Stream: Chilling Spree
Download: Chilling Spree
Jello Submarine is my new mix that features mostly new music from August of 2009. This is primarily a deep house mix although there are definitely some high energy house tracks and some material with more of an edge that is included here as well. I am really into updated remixes of older songs, so the Calvertron remix of 80s classic Feel For You by Chaka Khan is one of the highlights. If you have heard similar remixes that you can recommend, please include them in the comments.
Stream: Jello Submarine
Download: Jello Submarine
There really is nothing like performing live for a crowd and my years of live gigging are memories I will treasure forever. Having shifted my focus to other priorities, I must say that my passion for mixing has never left and to this day, I try and get in some time on the decks if only for myself and some friends. Every so often, Discogs forum members hold a mixing competition and I have competed in it several times. The mix I am presenting here took second place, as rated by fellow Discogs forum members and contest participants, in the Spring 2006 competition. This mix is down-tempo and is my attempt to be as diverse in genre as possible and I hit everything from jazz, latin, funk, trip-hop and dub. Thanks for listening!
Stream: Eclectic Shock
Download: Eclectic Shock
So I finally got my hands on a digital DJ application. Developed by Native Instruments, it’s called Traktor Scratch Duo. The setup comes with an audio interface that connects to my turntables, mixer and laptop and it also has two special time-coded vinyl records. The time code is converted by the interface and allows one to control mixing and even scratching of MP3 music on the computer via vinyl. Similar products have been on the market for several years, including Final Scratch by Stanton and Serrato Scratch by Rane, but this was much more affordable and it works perfectly! Here’s a mix I made of some new music using this awesome technology.
Download: Eveything featuring the Kitchen Sink