Class of ’99, Vol. 12
This month’s mix begins with a scene from the 1995 movie Party Girl. There are very few rave movies, and even fewer that get anything right (the unfortunate exception being the aforementioned Kids). Party Girl features Parker Posey as a promoter in the rave-adjacent “outlaw party” scene, and her roommate who lands a residency at a nightclub run by Renée, a violent drunk:
Party Girl is a really cute, very 90s movie that you should watch if you haven’t already. Also worth watching is the 1999 UK film Human Traffic. By this time, British rave culture had moved almost completely into the clubs, after parliament passed a law making raves not just illegal, but very illegal (Chicago passed a similar law in 2000, which I will discuss, in detail, in a future post).
I actually haven’t seen this in over 20 years, but seeing that wall of records, with all those classic labels—V, Subliminal, FFRR, Manifesto, Positiva and more—definitely brought me back. I might have to watch this one again.
The American rave scene saw very little exposure in popular culture, including film and television. There’s another 1999 film called Go which looked stupid when it came out, and which I never saw, but this intro looks awesome and gets everything right (except the music), so it might be worth checking out. And then there’s Vibrations, one of the absolute dumbest, most out-of-touch subculture movies ever produced.
I’m going off memory here, but this is how I remember the premise of Vibrations: a rock band keyboardist encounters a group of hillbillies out joyriding in a stolen backhoe, which they use to crush his hands. He loses his livelihood and becomes a homeless drunk with stumps where his hands were. One night he falls asleep in an abandoned warehouse, and when he wakes up there’s a rave happening all around him.
From there he meets Christina Applegate, the unlikely costar of the film. She introduces him to techno, and her nerdy friend constructs robotic hands for him that he can pre-program somehow, and then he starts touring as a robot, playing techno keyboards at raves with his automatic hands.
It’s not even worth explaining what’s wrong with this movie. It has to be seen to be believed.
I’ll just leave this here because it was one of the few times I saw raves depicted on television. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a short-lived, live-action series, similar to Power Rangers and to the TMNT movies—except now they also had a girl ninja turtle with boobs on her plastron.
About this volume
This month’s mix is heavy on the jazz. It features a number of fusion acts, from France and especially Italy.
Follow these links to read more about the selections:
Dajae — U Got Me Up (Cajmere's Underground Goodie Mix) (1993)
This month’s mix starts with a smash hit for Cajmere, which came on the heals of his hugely popular “Percolator”. “U Got Me Up” was huge, in Chicago and worldwide, and set off a trend of similar tracks using old jazz samples and no obvious downbeat.
This remix samples “Barnacle Bill, The Sailor” by Hoagy Carmichael & His Orchestra. Good luck trying to find this record, though there have been some compilations that include it. Dajae’s record is easier to come by.
Deee—Lite — Party Happenin' People (1994)
Here’s a deep cut from Deee-Lites’ Dewdrops In The Garden, in which Towa Tei appears to channel Cajmere.
There are a lot of old jazz samples in this mix that I don’t recognize, including this one, so please let me know if you know it.
DJ Fiasco & Chunk a Bud — Zig Zag (1993)
Fiasco and the late Chunk-A-Bud round out our jazz-house hat trick. I pulled my copy from a pile of records in the back of Barney’s records. This was the record I mentioned before, that was mispressed and had a big glob of wax on it. Nowadays, you could probably find a copy in better shape than mine. Again, I don’t know the sample here.
Ricky Bradshaw — Black Keys (Filtered Jazz Mix) (1999)
Solar Sides — 'Round Midnight (1999)
“Round Midnight” is a jazz standard written by Thelonious Monk, but covered by countless others. I can’t find any rendition similar to the one on Solar Sides’ album, which is a pretty big departure from the original.
The Believers — Who Dares to Believe in Me (1993)
“The Believers” are really just a pseudonym for Chicago’s Roy Davis Jr. This single was a big seller for Strictly Rhythm, and it’s easy to find.
Afro Elements — Lagos Jump (Raw Dub) (1998)
Mixmag put out a number of great compilations in the 90s, including one by Claudio Coccoluto of The Heartists. This track samples the “Loft classic” “Shakara Oloje” by Fela Kuti, from the album Shakara.
Rinôçérôse — Rock Classics (Vol1) (1999)
I have nothing left to say about this album that hasn’t already been said. This is the eighth and final time this LP appears in my series.
Second Crusade — The Choice Is Yours (Rare Groove Mix) (1996)
Mateo y Matos — Home (1998)
“Home” comes from the excellent compilation, Frisko Disko.
I:Cube — Mingus In My Pocket (1997)
As you might imagine, the vocal sample on this track is of jazz legend Charles Mingus, as recorded on the album Mingus by Joni Mitchell. It also samples “Hold Me Close” by Linda Clifford, from the album Let Me Be Your Woman.
Todd Edwards — Saved My Life (1997)
Like Most Todd Edwards records, this one is packed with more samples than I can identify—but they do include “Last Night a D.J Saved My Life” By Indeep, from their eponymous album, and “This Show Is Over” by Evelyn “Champagne” King, from the album Smooth Talk.
Kenlou — Moonshine (1995)
Here’s that Gil Scott Heron record, again, this time reworked by the legenday Masters At Work, Kenny Dope and Louie Vega. A different section is sampled, though. Who wore it better? (Kenlou did). This single is one of the best things MAW ever put out.
Natural Rhythm — Enchantment (1999)
George Thomson — Goin' Home (1997)
Ian Pooley — Higgledy Piggledy (1997)
This was, and is an irritating record. But it was an itch that was fun to scratch on the dance floor, if that makes any sense.
Disco Dust — Feels Good (1997)
“Disco Dust” were a production duo that obscured their identity through a number of pseudonyms, and Feel The Force was the only single released under this moniker.
Cricco Castelli — Roadblock (1998)
Disco Elements — Livin In Harmony (1999)
This tune comes from the final volume of the Disco Elements series, an outlet for producer Rob Mello.
“Livin’ In Harmony” samples “Six Million Steps” by Rahni Harris, an album, which he apparently released to publicize a long distance charity run by a guy named Andy West, who ran 2,500 miles through the Americas to raise money for muscular dystrophy research. Seems pretty random, but good for him, I guess.