Class of ’99, Vol. 1

What was the best year for Chicago House? It depends on who you ask. I would probably choose 1996, during the “second wave” that brought the sound back to the center of electronic dance music. If you asked me to choose the best year for Chicago raves, I would choose 1997. But 1999 holds a special significance for me, because the final year of the 1990s was also my last year as a teenager, and it was the last year before Chicago’s anti-rave ordinance effectively killed the scene in May 2000. Y2K marked an abrupt end to the 90s youth culture that I loved so dearly, and remember so fondly. However, I would argue that those of us who ‘graduated’ from the rave scene ’99 are fortunate, because its sudden implosion preserves this period as a discrete, distinct point in time.

The Class of ’99 series is meant to revive the sound of Chicago’s second House era, and to capture the spirit of ‘Y2K’, from 1995 to 2000, when Chicago rave culture was at its peak. The tracks are digitized from my vinyl collection, accumulated during my time as an amateur House DJ.

About this volume

By 1999, the ‘raver’ moniker was considered passé and was dropped in favor of the vague and noncommittal ‘party kids’, or ‘party people’. “Do you go to parties?” became a euphemism for “are you a raver?” But unlike the detached, jaded irony of so many teen subcultures, rave had a spirit of sincerity, and of enthusiasm. Why not just own the word? My closest friends and I absolutely lived for these parties back then, and for a time it was my whole world. Those of you who came of age in this period know that what we had was something that can never be recreated, and is hard to convey to those who weren’t there. So this one is dedicated to all my ‘party people’, wherever you are.

Party People showcases 18 classic Chicago-style House records, exploring the French Connection and making its way back home through Köln, Glasgow, London, NYC, Jersey and Detroit. The cover art for this volume comes from a Y2K-era ravewear company called Fine.

Class of ’99, Volume 01: Party People
Download the mix (MP3, 45 minutes, 102 MB)

Track List

Follow these links to read more about the selections:

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