Sasha & John Digweed Renaissance The Mix Collection Album Review

Day 40 of my 50 favourite music collections, and today’s offering is a break away from my norm of singular artist / band / group..but no less important in my eyes.

Today’s offering is from 2 DJs and has 44 tracks from other artists spread over it’s entirety. What!!!??? i hear you cry, just bear with me please.

Electronic dance music has been the bread and butter of my career for 30 years now. From very skint beginnings working for local legend Eddie Wray and learning the ropes in his first record shop in Lisburn back in 1991, then moving to live in Dublin to work for Darryl Campbell in his family record and clothes store ‘Snafu’, I feel blessed to have spent those entire 30 years, during the day, in the front seat of the record shop world. The memories that I’ve accumulated over the years are priceless to me and the thousands upon thousands of amazing people I have met during that time still take the time to say hello if I’m out somewhere and remind me of a special record they purchased.
I have many people (like those I have just mentioned) to thank, who without their helping hand or blind eye turned to my many hangovers over the years, I wouldn’t have been able to build myself up through an industry that I fell in love with back then.

The same counts for during the evenings, in my DJ career, I have played in pretty much every county and city in Ireland at one stage over those 30 years, from the smallest 50 people pub gigs, to big illegal raves which me and my mates ran in the 90’s, through to 10,000+ stadium gigs, to huge outdoor festivals and many amazing club residencies during those times. I have so much to thank an entire industry for.

I’ve always loved and applied to myself the famous saying, if you can get paid for doing something that you truly love, you will never feel like you have worked a day.

At some stage, I will take some more time to properly thank those who helped me in a proper article, but for now, if you are reading this and you’ve been part of the journey, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So, with all that in mind, today’s addition to my hall of fame is a reflection of those early years for me, no collection of music on planet earth sums up these years better.

This is the only DJ based compilation in my 50 and it’s a 3 CD compilation of the finest tunes of an amazing era in electronic music from 2 of the finest DJs, and one that has the most special place in my heart. At one stage or another I have played at least 80% of the music on this mix, but sadly never thought to put them together in this sequence. This is a personal journey on disc format that accompanied me to many social gatherings and days out with friends over the years, it still to this day never fails to make me smile.

These CDs are the crown jewels of DJ mixes. I have been a fan of Sasha from I bought one of his early mix tapes whilst in Coventry back around 1990 and remember being completely blown away by this style of house music and its energy, when John Digweed came along and under Sasha’s wing, things just went off in a big way.

Although these guys were subsequently tarred with the progressive house brush, the music within these CD’s would have been heard in pretty much every venue worth it’s salt across Ireland in the early 90’s From Sides in Dublin to The Art College in Belfast, to Circus Circus in Banbridge, to Kelly’s in Portrush , Asylum, Tokyo Joes..and every legendary venue of similar calibre.

Spread across three discs, this pioneering DJ mix from 1994, which was created on 2 x Technics turntables and a mixer only, without the aid of computers and the multi effects units of today, pretty much catapulted these mix perfectionists to superstardom while offering a fascinating insight into the varied sounds that were being played at the time – by pretty much every DJ I knew. Deep house tracks & remixes from the likes of Louie Vega, David Morales, That Kid Chris etc fuse perfectly with tougher more edgy stuff on labels like Warp, Hard Hands, Junior Boys Own, Guerilla Records etc. Every now and then when you’ve been dropped down for a breather, one of the many absolute screaming anthems would drop in and lift the mix into complete orbit.

This is one of the very few DJ mixes in history that people still to this day talk about their favourite ‘track into track’ mix. There are just so many magical mix moments on this brilliant collection of tunes. The way in which these guys structure each CD is mind-blowing for its time and shows just what can be done by blending two records together seamlessly and making it sound like one.

This is not a progressive house mix as some of the non-followers have claimed, although the early progressive style is represented throughout, this is much more than that for me, this is a collection of the most influential, ground-breaking underground dance tracks of the 90’s. Yes, there are massive hands in the air piano anthems on board, and some tunes that went on to be commercial hits, but that just adds to the diversity of this collection.

You will struggle to find a good condition original copy of this mix for under £40 these days, people who have them, hold on to them.

This collection of beautiful tunes and jaw-dropping mixes is safely ensconced in the dance music hall of fame, for eternity.

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