October 10, 2009 by DJ Elroy
Fall weather always puts me in that nostalgic mood and so I’ve spent the past few weeks walking down memory lane, going through my mix collection and reliving the past decade-plus of partying and questionable nightlife habits. I’ll admit I have some truly horrible albums that I used to play and re-play from back in the day (strange how I never noticed how bad the music and mixing actually was!), but along with those are some simply amazing compilations. I’ve put together a few of my most-loved projects over the years; not all are groundbreaking, not all made a huge impact in the scene, but each and every one did shape my own journey down this path. I’ll recommend these albums to anyone and everyone that loves the music (and especially those young pups that may have come into the scene late and missed these mixes)… Enjoy!
1. House Connection 1 & 2
One of the best mix compilations, period. Bad Boy Bill. Richard (don’t call me “Humpty”) Vission. Bangin’ house music. What more needs to be said?
I missed the tour for House Connection 1 but caught the show for the second album, and it was magical. The night before Halloween at the (long gone) Synergy in Denver, this show was absolutely one of the best things I’ve seen. Nothing before or since has given me an eargasm like that night.
“…because you usually just see like one person on like two turntables, but when it’s four turntables, it’s like more exciting because you’re just constantly moving…”
2. Bad Boy Bill (Bangin’ the Box series)
I know, I just mentioned his House Connection albums, but William Renkosik needs to be given some props as a DJ as well. This man — more than any other — inspired me throughout the early years (and he is actually the one that single-handedly motivated me to buy my first decks)… He had a unique angle and was light-years ahead of any other mixmasters at the time with his savvy track selection, live remixes, beat juggling, scratching, and natural ability to program a winning set.
Bangin the Box series: Attention all you green-eared club kids: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to buy all the Bangin’ the Box mixes and sit down one afternoon and give them a listen in order. You’ll hear the progression of house music over the past 15 years; this series gives ‘heads a great insight into the evolution of the house sound. Volumes 1 and 2 were good in their own right, but Bangin’ the Box 3 gets its own shout-out because it was a bad-ass mix, plain and simple. It was a time when bangin’ Chicago hard house was winding down but still dominated the scene. Compared to todays hits the songs here may seem repetitive and simplistic, but there’s no denying this is still one action-packed album.
Bangin’ the Box 4 brought the new sound of house, and while the mix still featured plenty of the old bangers the vibe on BTB4 was more groovin’ and filtered than the previous mixes.
Couldn’t find a vid for this (and before the internet this CD was actually pretty hard to come by), but Bill’s mix for the infamous Global House Culture series showed a different side of the legend. Yes, it’s still a rapid-fire megamix of bangin’ tunes full of the BBB tricks and style you’d expect, but this mix brings more of the acid- and tech-house vibe that his Bangin’ the Box series didn’t have. This one is a winner for sure, do not miss it!
3: Paolo Mojo: Balance 009
I’ll be honest here, I didn’t fall in love with this mix right away… It caught me at a time when my taste in music was changing and I thought the tracks were solid but I wasn’t really understanding Paolo’s mojo.
Thankfully, it didn’t take me very long to get it.
This mix is a brilliant 2-disc compilation of house, acid, tech-house, ambient, progressive, minimal, and electronica. Both discs are superb and they compliment each other in style and sound. Mr Mojo’s uniquely subtle use of loops, layers, and fx have won him a place forever as one of my favorite electronic artists.
4: James Zabiela: Alive 1
Zabiela’s first officially released album, this one was truly groundbreaking — neigh, earth-shattering — not only in my life but in the dance music world as a whole. The mix made a HUGE splash and the ripple effect spawned legions of imitators. James showed the world that DJing was just more than mixing two records; he demonstrated the magic of the technology and made us feel a bit less guilty about putting away our vinyl and embracing those strange new digital tools.
5: Paul Oakenfold: Tranceport
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Oakey’s Tranceport hooked more new listeners than any single album before it. A progressive-trance-house mix (loosely done, I might add) that was the right thing at the right time. It hit at the height of the ecstasy craze and it was the perfect thing for an evening of bean-popping. The tracks are all classics and the mix still holds up today. Laugh if you must, but you have to acknowledge the brilliance of this album.
So, what are your most memorable mixes? Post ’em up here 🙂