The Wonder Years 5

Spring is in the air and we’ve been organising stuff, loads of stuff. Thankfully, this has involved my music collection. Mrs W has graciously let me get all my CDs out of boxes and they are now displayed in 2 massive units.

Also, ALL my house 12s are now out on show and accessible. No more guessing which box a tune is in. No more emptying a cupboard to find an elusive bit of vinyl I thought I had. It’s like Christmas, the one we never had last year.

Being as I am, I decided to organise the vinyl by record label. I have a ridiculous amount of 12s on Hooj Tunes, Fluid Recordings, Eve Records etc. Many of the tunes I hadn’t seen in years. I started pulling out some vinyl and then a mix was forming in my mind. Fast forward a week and here is the mix. Most of the tunes are still in good condition, so not too much crackling and no skipping. They cover 1994 to last year. I decided to use a record from Joris Voorn’s recent Global Underground mix. I don’t hear much house these days but the Willaris K track is outstanding. It was the tune they used to promote the mix before it came out. Apart from that, the mix is all olden but golden.

The tunes:

‘Want Me Need Me’ (FOS Full Dynamic Mix) – Justine (1994) Digweed used to play this during 1994. That point where he and Sasha were interchangeable in their music. I loved this time. I must check what ever became of the Fathers of Sound.

‘Atom Bomb’ (Doomsday Mix) – DJ Pierre (1997)
Atom bomb, outta control etc. Twisted put out loads of good dark, deep garage/house. The Doomsday mix has always been THE mix. A big Danny Tenaglia favourite. Incidentally, it’s his 60th birthday this week (March 2021). Mad to think.

Much Betta Man – Mindtrap (1998)
This is a Eddie Vedder vocal and a big drum roll. I heard Sasha play it at an Essential Selection thing on the radio one night. It was a difficult bit of vinyl to track down. I never heard it played out.

Carbine (Escape Remix) Tungsten (1999)
Been trying desperately to remember where I heard this tune. It might’ve been a Global Underground, NuBreed or Renaissance. I bought it irrespective and the Escape Remix is still outstanding. Dark and progressive.

Lacuna (Original Mix)Tocharian (2001)
Another one of these I can’t remember where i heard it. I do remember Hernan Cattaneo playing it at a night in Edinburgh I was at. Sounded great out of a big sound system. Also, dark and progressive.

Pure Frictions GrooveVoyager (1999)
This is some tune. Needs pitched down to -6 to be acceptable. This is from Northern Exposure 3 (Expeditions). It could only be a record Digweed played. A joy to mix with. Darker than the ocean floor.

Black AM (King Unique Dirty Dub) Watkins (2001)
Sharam’s After-hours Toronto mix for Global Underground was where I heard this. However, I heard this on a Dave Seaman mix as well. It’s the King Unique Dub but includes a vocal sample to break up the prog of the last few tunes. King Unique put out a lot of good records during that period.

The Whoop (Dr. Slinky McVelvets Anadin Prescription)The Self Preservation Society (1995)
The Rhumba Club, This remind me of that place, those nights. It reminds me of that period but still sounds great now. One of those tunes I’m glad I own.

4AM (Marc O’ Tool Mix)Ballroom (1999) Dave Seaman Melbourne GU mix. I think it’s quite a beautiful record for a house tune. I see it was used by Tiesto further down the line. Probably one of his downtempo numbers.

Cobaki Sky (Joris Voorn Edit) Willaris. K (2020) Taken from the Joris Voorn Global Underground Rotterdam mix at the end of last year. Beautiful, lush tune. I don’t own this on vinyl so there was jiggery pokery to get this thing on the mix.

Sufi (Original Mix)Mavi (2001) I heard this on Nick Warren’s Renaissance Revelation Mix. Both his and Danny Howells mixes were excellent and are still enjoyable now. Proper progressive record. One of these journey in a tune types. A nice way to end.

I think of all the money spent on these records but still prefer to have the memories they provide. I hope you enjoy the mix.

The Wonder Years 1995-97 Epic House

In a break from norm, I’ve been replaying my old house music mixes on my work commutes….

‘Epic House’, is the ‘self-indulgent’, ‘overblown’ genre that had the dance music press up in arms back in the mid 90s. It is true, that this genre was the dance music equivalent of prog-rock. Long winding intros, a smattering of beats then breaking down into an apparent infinite time. I can remember looking around dance floors during a synth break, laying eyes on a sea of faces wondering if the sound system had packed in, or was it the faintest hum of a rumbling baseline or drumroll (remember them?) that would sometime, very much later work, its way into earshot. These tunes often didn’t breakdown once, but multiple times. Purveyors of long tunes Blue Amazon, created a suite of epics such as ‘No Other Love’ & ‘And Then The Rain Falls’ which almost spent as much time in the breakdown as they did in its 4/4 state.  Mixing became a little lazy, as DJs started putting intros and outros together, meaning less thought went into the mix, but also yet more time was spent in the breakdown. More vacant stares.

It may sound as if I’m a critic of the genre, on the contrary. For me this was a happy time in dance music, excluding the early renaissance parties at the Que Club and Bakers, this was probably my happiest. I still smile thinking of Sasha’s 12 Nights Of Summer in Leeds and the set Sasha & Digweed played at the Phoenix Festival in 1997. Whilst my friends were out watching David Bowie, I consumed the full 5.5 hours of that event, curiously finished with the Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’. The Renaissance stately home bash at Allerton Hall was another ‘epic’ evening. Nigel Dawson et al. playing beautiful sweeping house only to be interrupted by Paul Oakenfold peddling the same stuff he’s still playing today (he is as I’ve listened to his Live at Stonehenge Mix). Finally, BT produced the monumental ‘Ima’ which included, for me, one of the greatest records ever made – ‘Divinity’. If ever there was a journey in a record, that was it. Ima also included ‘Loving You More’ (Sasha played 2 mixes of this, at over 20 mins, regularly during 1995). Good times!

I fully understand the rose tinted spectacle angle on this but what can you do? The mix I put together all those years ago, still put a smile on my face when I heard it the other week. Here it is. I hope you like.