I’ve been meaning to post this scorcher of an “Essential Mix” from legendary Welsh producer and DJ Sasha for near close to a year – at least, that’s what the timestamp’s telling me. Honestly, I can’t remember.
Since I’ve been in clean-up mode, I discovered it sitting at the bottom of my list of yet-to-be published rough drafts (of which there are many). And seeing that I’m always looking for uptempo scores to set a swift pace, typically for work, but during this pandemic times, mostly recreation, I thought I’d give it a spin as soundtrack to my afternoon workouts, specifically running out in the Ballona Wetlands and the adjacent beach.
At a brisk duration of two hours, it’s taken me a few days to get through it properly. I only head out for 45 minutes to an hour each day, so I had to split the experience into two focused listens. But I can confidently say, as a cranked up cardio metronome, it works brilliantly, leading me to wonder why I let this one slide into the netherworld of forgotten listens for so long.
Maybe it’s due to its age and availability.
Sasha’s set is not a particularly new effort, dating far back to February of 2000, originally spun and recorded for Pete Tong’s acclaimed “Essential Mix” DJ series on BBC Radio 1. It’s no longer accessible in any official capacity from the BBC website archives. You can find it on Soundcloud or YouTube, although I’m not entirely sure of its legitimacy. I’m guessing it is, or it’s old enough, that the powers that be just don’t care. As such, I wouldn’t expect anyone to actively be listening to it … or for that matter, even remember it.
Anyway, it’s totally worth the rediscovery, shoving this propulsive eighteen track mix back to the decibel pounding forefront of today’s soundsystems. Recorded at the turn of the millennium, this was a younger Sasha in maximum overdrive, relentless and fierce in the progressive rhythms, a bit full-on and dialed up in the bpm’s, epic in scope, awash in immersive atmosphere, percussive and bassy like no other. This was the pinnacle of old school freeform four-to-the-floor live mixing.
Sasha, who’s birthname is Alexander Paul Coe, has been pioneering progressive house and trance rhythms since the early ’90s. As such, his “Essential Mix” only marks the first third of his prolific career, notably preceded by his Renaissance residency with longtime collaborator John Digweed, where the duo perfected the art of tandem DJing.
For this mix, Sasha’s flying solo, which tends to push this percussive excursion a little darker and deeper. But not so much that it drags you down and out. It’s just a lot less mainstreamed and a heck of a lot more formidable, his often inconspicuous instrumental selections geared towards those late night club floors, primed for those who seriously want to sweat.
Sasha’s since gone on to do all types of electronic things, releasing a few ambient atmospheric mix albums of his own original material, remixing countless artists from widespread genres, reuniting with his old partner in crime Digweed for a few sold out tour dates, and of course, returning for a series of encores in the “Essential Mix” series.
I’ll leave the rest for you to explore, as the options are many. Below, I’ve included embeds for Sasha’s early 2000 “Essential Mix” from both the aforementioned Soundcloud and YouTube … so whatever platform suits you. I’ve also included a partial playlist. I would’ve included the whole deal, but Spotify lacks six of the eighteen tracks. Also, some of these are going to sound a little different without Sasha on deck to mix ’em up. But it’s all choice grooves, nonetheless. And the audio fidelity is probably a step up from these embeds.
So load up Sasha’s classic “Essential Mix” and take it for an adrenalized spin. It’ll definitely keep you up and about, hopefully giving a kick of energy to these sedentary shelter-in-place times. Enjoy!
01 . John Johnson – “Impact (Van Bellen Mix)”
02. Northface – “Entity (Yekuana Remix)”
03. Apparition – “Chipinque (Main Mix)”
04. The Idjut Boys | Quakerman – “Radio Rage”
05. Harry Mariani – “E-Tales”
06. Dulux Connection – “Horizon [Area Code 070]”
07. Halo Varga – “Future!”
08. Moonface – “U Get So Give”
09. Aquatherium – “All Night Long”
10. Expansion – “Feel”
11. BT feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw – “Dreaming (Evolution Mix)”
12. Timo Maas – “Ubik (The Dance) [Perfecto]”
13. Killahurtz – “West On 27th”
14. Alchemy – “Bruiser (Evolution Mix) [Bedrock Records]”
15. DJ Remy – “Pumped Up”
16. La Forge – “Second Contact”
17. Twister – “Muana Kea (Volcanic Mix)”
18. 12 Moons – “Beyond Infinity (Short Version)”