Thinking Back to ’97: DJ’s and the Art of the Mixtape

An assortment of mixtapes soon to be uploaded!

Another long hiatus away from this blog can only be blamed on school. The continuous grind of reading, analyzing, and writing about of literature were instrumental to my hiatus but I have finally found a subject that I felt was worthy of an update.

Since a huge part of my life at the moment happens to be DJing I have been thinking a lot about the mixtapes that got me into playing records in the first place. The tapes my brothers and I amassed in the late 90’s inspired me to learn how to mix records which is something I never thought I would have had an interest in prior to getting into mixtapes and everything that followed. Now looking back I can say my perception of DJing was to conflate the use of turntables with two things: (1) strictly with hip hop and (2) the DJ who rocked all the middle and high school dances I’d attended.

Highly influential Desert Breaks CD's released by John Kelley of Moontribe circa '96-'97

However, it all changed in ’97 when the mixtapes I was introduced to altered my feelings about dance music culture and a phase of my life began where searching out parties in the shadiest of locations for the sake of seeing a DJ play a set would become as important as seeing my favorite band play. Stylistically it was the allure of desert breaks and jungle’s (aka Drum and Bass) low frequency basslines that sucked me, but later it was finding the parties and watching the DJ create the vibe of a mixtape in a live setting. DJ’s like Daniel, John Kelley, Brian, and Trevor from the MOONTRIBE Collective; UFO!, Abstract and Sage from the PHUNCKATECK Crew; and DJ Graeme of FUNKY TEKNO TRIBE; and DJ JUN from LA made up the creative force behind my favorite tapes of the period.

I figure that some people may find that mixtapes of the ‘rave’ music variety are difficult to listen to since their length (usually 45 minutes per side), lack of  recognizable “hits”, and mostly instrumental tracks demand a listener to pay attention to the interaction of sounds (either the analog or digital instruments that comprise the track) being generated as opposed to how the emotional content of lyrics can convey a sense of mood. With that in mind, I tend to think of a mix like a movie that is broken down into separate acts with introductions, reversals, action, moments of elation, and climaxes that, in a musical sense, is more akin to a symphony with the DJ acting as both the composer (by the act of selecting tracks) and the conductor (by the weaving of the selection into a mix).  At the end of it all (usually 90 minutes in tape format), the mix itself is a unique act of creation and not just a collection of songs compiled and called a mix…at least a good one should be more than that.

Today’s offering (the first of many) is Spacebass II by Daniel. It was in 1997 when I first heard it and rave culture was starting to come into my radar. Amongst the multitude of sub genres of rave music I was heavily into Jungle/Drum & Bass because of the  combination of hip hop, dub, punk, funk, and electronic (probably missing a few others) styles with the cinematic influence of Sci-Fi movies that combine to emit a dark and moody vibe. Daniel’s mix exhibits all of the aforementioned traits while creating a soundscape similar to a movie but solely through the use of sounds. Check it out in the mixtape archive and try and spot each transition from track to track.

DOWNLOAD LINK to SIDE A / SIDE B

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45 comments

  1. Dying to find copy’s of the DJ Daniel Mixtapes.. So appreciated.. Also looking for some of the old Thomas Michael stuff as well.. I have a huge mixtape collection as well.. Let me know if your looking for anything.. Thanks!

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    1. Hey Randy – Thanks for reading this and glad to attract some people who appreciate guys like Daniel and the quality of his mixtapes. I think I do have some Thomas Michael too so I’ll be sure to provide links to you when they are uploaded!

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    2. I have been looking for a very specific mixtape from the late 90’s/early 00’s I know existed online at some point but has since been lost to the ages. I don’t know the specific title of the mix but in my circles it was always known the Kingpin Blue Tape; DJ KINGPIN (Blue Tape) ‘Side A’ was dirty DNB with an intro from Star Wars/ ‘Side B’ was raggae/hip-hop DNB with an amazing mix of Aliyah’s “Can’t Tell Nobody” song. If you know of this tape or have a link to download, anything at all, I’d be forever greatful 😛

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  2. Im looking for some of Daniel’s mixtapes myself..3 in particular. Mars, Venus, and Timewarp. I’m willing to trade copies of Psychoactive, Spiral Dance, Live at Moontribe 1996, Aum, Dimensional shift 1 and 3, Prana, Universe within, Spacebass Vol. 2…..Hit me back quick if you’re down to trade..

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    1. Hello Jason – I’ve got your requests. I definitely have Mars and Venus but Timewarp and Mercury I’ll have to double check. I’ll see if I can get some time to transfer one of them tonight, however I have a few new ones to post which I’ll try and add in the next few days. I know I’ll definitely want to trade for Live at Moontribe ’96. My brothers and I had a copy but played it so much it fell apart! Stay tuned for the updates or I can email you directly with download links! Just let me know!

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      1. Awesome. I have already made an MP3 of Live at Moontribe so let me know what you want me to do. I can scan the J-card if you want. Thanks again

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  3. I dont know if youre interested but I also have early Christopher Lawrence, Thee-o, Tron, CRS?, and Ron D.Core mixtapes that I have converted over to MP3. Let me know….

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    1. Definitely would like the j-card. Do you have anyway of sending the file over the net with something like yousendit, dropbox, or anything like that? Usually you can open a trial account and send files for a couple weeks for free. I may be interested in the C. Lawrence or CRS? tapes. Which ones do you have? I’ll also transfer your requests this week. Just finished up with school over here so looking forward to the free time to add more tapes!

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      1. I have Contact, Mars, and Odyssey by Lawrence

        The Darkside by CRS?

        I’ll have to get an account for one those. I’ll get on it and let you know

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  4. WHOA!! You have Timewarp?? Ive been looking for that mixtape for over 12 years!!! My car ate it back in 1999. Im sooooooo STOKED!!!!

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  5. I used to DJ back in the late 90’s early 00’s. Old school Goa Trance of course..I dont know if you would be interested in grabbing my mixtape but the offer is there….Hit me up when Timewarp comes in….Thanks buddy

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  6. I sent you the J-card for Live @ Moontribe and my old demo mixtape. Just got done listening to Venus…flawless mixing of course…Thanks again. Let me know when Timewarp come in. I can hardly wait..

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  7. Hey Mikey, Once you have the J-card posted on your mixtape archive page how long does it usually take you to complete the whole process so its ready to be downloaded? As you can tell im extremely excited and impatient hahaha.

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  8. Mikey,
    Do you know any of the tracks on Timeworp? Just curious. I like to I.D my mixtapes. I have AUM completed except for one track and Im missing 3 tracks from Psychoactive. Anyway, i met a girl on Facebook who claims that she used to make Daniels mixtape covers. She also says she has a copy of Mercury. If i grab a copy of it I will dub you a copy and mail it to you so you can make it into a MP3. I dont have my adapter to do that anymore. Keep the music coming!
    Thanks,
    jason

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    1. Jason – I don’t know any of the tracklisting on Timeworp. I’ll ask my brother though since a lot of these tapes are his. For the tapes that do have tracklistings I’ll be sure to add those onto the page as well. I was running into some issues last week regarding GB space on my yousendit account that slowed down my updates but I think I have a temporary fix that should allow me to get back to it. Stay tune for more! If you get that Mercury tape then for sure send it my way!

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  9. Mikey, Sorry I just got caught up on here… Where you from bro? Noticed you were doing some stuff at the Avalon bar… Funny i have been playing there recently as well.. A friend of mine has been doing a monthly there for a bit and I actually have filled in a few times now for other people that couldn’t make it or what not… Just moved to H.B. About three months ago.. We should try and meet up sometime perhaps.. Share some tunes and play some together perhaps? You going to the moontribe anniversary in a few weeks? Take care!

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    1. Hey Randall,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to. Haven’t been online to check my comments but really glad you are digging the archive I got going. Thanks for the massive list of tapes. The only ones I saw that I may have an interest in are the Jabari Mayes tapes, but I still have a massive amount of my own to upload. If you have any in digital form then I may be interested in a few more.

      So you have been playing at Avalon Bar recently? Which night does your friend do? Does he have a name for it? I’ve been doing a Saturday night gig for a little over 3 years…You should come down and check it one of these nights since you are in HB now. We have one going down this Saturday June 11th. If not, maybe we can meet up.

      The Moontribe anniversary I will unfortunately be missing!

      Hope to talk to soon!
      -Mikey

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  10. Here is my list.. Almost everything here.. There is a small handfull of stuff not on here yet…

    N20 – GROOVE TO THE OLDIES / FUCKEN PISSED OFF
    N20 – SLEEPING ON A CLOUD
    N20 – LIFE’S A GAS
    N20 – GODS OF NITROUS OXIDE
    N20- POP GOES THE BALLOON
    N20 – LOSING MY MIND
    PAULINA TAYLOR – SMILE
    PAULINA TAYLOR – SMILING
    PAULINA TAYLOR – SLAM EVIL
    KAGE – CHAOTIC CHEMISTRY
    KAGE – BEAUTY AND THE SPEED 2
    KAGE – THE X TAPES
    KAGE – ARMS OF HEAVEN
    KAGE – PIRATES OF THE SUB LOW FREQUENSEAS
    DJ MELLINFUNK & DJ STRESS – WELCOME TO PLANET FUCK YOU
    DJ MELLINFUNK – TRANSPORTATION
    DJ DONOVAN – TRIBUTE TO EUPHORIA
    MINDCONTROLLER – BIGGER AND BOLDER
    DJ HERETIC & MC JAMALSKI – RUDE BWOY SESSIONS VOL.1
    DJ HERETIC – JUNGLE CLASSICS
    RON D CORE – PSYCHOTIC EPISODES
    RON D CORE – LIVE @ NO DOZ
    RON D CORE – BORN IN THE SOUTH
    RON D CORE – LETS PLAY DOCTOR 2
    RON D CORE & DJ DAN – DX2 PART 1
    RON D CORE & DJ DAN – DX2 PART 2
    RON D CORE & DJ DAN – DX2 PART 3
    RON D CORE & DJ DAN – DX2 NO DOZ REUNION
    DJ DAN – WICKED BURNING FRENZY
    DJ DAN – FUNKY DOPE GREEN PROJECT
    RON D CORE & LOUIS LOVE – LOVE CORE 1
    RON D CORE & LOUIS LOVE – LOVE CORE 2
    RON D CORE & LOUIS LOVE – LOVE CORE 3
    RON D CORE & DJ ROBIN – FUNNY FARM
    RON D CORE & DJ ROBIN – FUNNY FARM 2
    RON D CORE & DJ EFEX -ANGEL OF DEATH
    DJ EFEX – PLIXX
    DJ EFEX – ANOTHER PLIXX
    DJ EFEX – DISCO INFERNO
    DJ EFEX – PROTOCOL
    DJ EFEX & THEO – THE SETI PROJECT
    DJ EFEX – EPILOGUE
    CURIOUS – RESURRECTED OLD SCHOOL DRUMS
    CURIOUS – DIS ONE CALLED 10
    CURIOUS – KOXISTEN UFORIA
    CURIOUS – FAST FORWARD
    CURIOUS -OFF THE DEEP END
    CURIOUS – AZTEC WARRIOR
    CURIOUS – FUTURISTIC FUNK
    CURIOUS – 2 SIDES OF A HEART
    CURIOUS – HERBAN DRUM SMUGGLER
    CURIOUS – LAST DYING WISH
    CURIOUS – HIGH IN HONOLULU
    CURIOUS – UNDERGROUND FLAVOR
    CURIOUS – INFINITY RUNNIN
    CURIOUS – REMINISCENCE OF A RUBEBOY
    VITAMIN D & FURY – BREAKDOWN
    VITAMIN D & FURY – GET THE FUCK OUT THE HOUSE
    VITAMIN D – UNCONTROLLED ENERGY THE 4TH STAGE
    VITAMIN D – FIRST DOSE
    VITAMIN D – LIVE @ SKYLAB 9-17-94
    VITAMIN D & JASON MORE – MORE D FOR YOUR XTC
    TEKNOMAN – FLYING
    TEKNOMAN – INCREDIBLE UNIVERSE
    TEKNOMAN – IN THE CLOUDS
    TEKNOMAN – HAPPIERCORE HARDERCORE
    DEMIGOD – THE BLACK GATE
    DEMIGOD – ULTIMA
    DJ TRON – FUCKING ANAL
    DJ TRON – FUCKING GODZILLA UP THE BUTT
    JABARI MAYES – SLOW BURN
    JABARI MAYES – ANONUMOUS
    THEO & THE KANDYMAN – PLEASE DONT FEED THE DJS
    THEO – DREAMS UNFOLDED
    THEO – RECYCLED RAVE
    FUSION – 2
    FUSION – 3
    DIESEL BOY AND SCOTT HENRY – EAST COAST SCIENCE
    DIESEL BOY AND SCOTT HENRY – EAST COAST SCIENCE 3
    SIMPLY JEFF & RON D CORE – DFML 99
    SIMPLY JEFF & RON D CORE DR FREECLOUDS OVER MIAMI
    SIMPLY JEFF & RON D CORE – BLITZKRIEG
    SIMPLY JEFF – FUNKLOTRIPX
    SIMPLY JEFF – NEW YEARS 2000 LAS VEGES
    SIMPLY JEFF & DJ VOODOO – INTERGALACTIC FUNK
    SPEED LIMIT 140 BPM – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
    MOONSHINE – HIT THE DECKS
    MOONSHINE – IBIZA AFTERHOURS
    TECHNO RAVE MIX 2
    TECHNO RAVE MIX 3
    TECHNO MANCER 2
    HARDCORE CLASSICS VOL. 1
    KEVIN SAUNDERSON & SLIPMAT & LIME – MIXMAG VOL.5
    MARS FM TOP 100
    ORBITAL – PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE
    DJ TRACE – PHILADELPHIA SESSIONS 1.0
    DJ ERIC L – SPINAL VINYL
    AK1200 – INTELLIGENCE 93
    DJ KINGPIN – KINGPIN
    NIGUEL RICHARDS – HANDS IN THE AIR VOL. 1
    DEACON – PATTERNS OF CHAOS
    DJ HYPERACTIVE – SOUNDS OF THE UNDERGROUND VOL. 4
    DJ UNABOMBER – NO LIMITS
    STRAIGHT FROM THE UNDERGROUND – DON’T OD ON XTC
    NICHOLAS BENNISON – UK 2AM / 3AM
    V.A. BRADY – VINYL ARTIST
    MICHAEL DOG – TRANCE CLASSICS
    THE CALIFORNIA PROJECT – (MISSING DRC TAPES)
    CHRISTOPHER – A TRIBUTE TO THE CELEBRATION DANCE AFTER JORDAN
    CHRISTOPHER – A TRIP HOME FROM DISNEYLAND
    MAJESTY – BIRTH OF A NEW KING
    PHANTOM 45 – JUNGLIST
    EJ – LOS ANGELES
    TERMINUS – PSYBER
    KEOKI – LIVE IN BERLIN / DAS 1ST GEIL MUSIC
    RON D CORE & LENNY D – 2 X 4 TURNTABLE ASSULT TEAM
    OMAR SANTANA – BURNING FLESH
    OMAR SANTANA – FIRE IN THE BRAIN
    R.A.W. – SELF TITLED 96
    R.A.W. – & APX1 – THE MISSION
    R.A.W. – POW
    R.A.W. – FEAR AND LOATHING IN LOS ANGELES
    R.A.W. – LOST IN THE JUNGLE / HARDCORE IS BACK
    R.A.W. – NO DARKNESS
    R.A.W. & THE CHEMIST – JUNGLE WARS
    R.A.W. – HELLBORN
    R.A.W. – EL DIABLO
    R.A.W. – FACE OFF
    R.A.W. & MC ? – LIVE @ AUDIO IMPACT
    R.A.W. – DISTORTED DREAMS
    R.A.W. – 1995 LIVE JUNGLE SOUND CLASH
    R.A.W. – SOUND KILLIN
    R.A.W., CURIOUS, STAREYES, MACHETE, RINSE, FLY – PACIFIC MADNESS
    R.A.W. – FUTURE BASS
    R.A.W. – R.A.W.’S REVENGE
    R.A.W. – NO MORE MR. NICE GUY
    R.A.W. – TERMINATE
    R.A.W. – R.A.W. IS DEAD
    R.A.W. & DJ MELLINFUNK – I WISH I WAS DEAD / JUNGLISM
    R.A.W. – REDRUM
    R.A.W. – THE SOUND OF HELL
    R.A.W. – GHETTO MAFIOSO
    R.A.W. & DJ TRANCE – WAKE UP L.A.
    R.A.W. & DJ TRANCE – LIVE @ INSOMNIAC ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY – 4 TURNTABLE MADNESS – 101 COPIES MADE
    R.A.W. & DJ TRANCE – UNTITLED
    DJ TRANCE – MINDSCRATCH
    DJ TRANCE – MINDSCRATCH 2
    DJ TRANCE – FUNKY ASS HARDCORE PART 2
    DJ TRANCE – THE REAL OLD SCHOOL (5 COPIES MADE)
    DJ TRANCE & FESTER – FROZEN TOOTHPASTE / BRAINFART

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    1. hello there are a few mixtapes i would like to get from u is that ok they are very rear for me or i would not ask plz email me back talamar@gmail.com R.A.W. – FEAR AND LOATHING IN LOS ANGELES SIMPLY JEFF & DJ VOODOO – INTERGALACTIC FUNK SPEED LIMIT 140 BPM – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 if u can help me out i would love it thank u

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    2. Hi, I was wondering were I could download few of the mixtapes you have listed? I use to have my copies, but lost them years ago. I would love Ron D Core/Robin Funny Farm2 and Let’s play Doc 2. Please, thanks!

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    3. Randall!! WOW !!!How can I get a copy of kage pirates of the low? I’ve been hunting for it for so long I NEED it!!!! Thanks!!!!

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      1. Hey Marcus – If I recall correctly I think the tape is blue. I’ll check my archive tonight for you and let you know. Hopefully it will be the long sought tape you have been looking for. I also plan to jump start this archive again so I will be adding more to the list.

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  11. Hey Mike.. Been a min. again.. Anyways, The name of the night is club bb seals. Its on the first sat. of every month. Gonna be hanging out at freeclouds this sat from 12 – 5. Gonna be playing some old school down there with Ron.. As far as the tapes I would recommend, Any of the old dj trance or R.A.W.. Definitely my favorites. The Christopher A trip home from disneyland is one of the favorites as well. That one is more on the classic trance/goa tip.. Amazing… I will try to make it out to the Avalon soon to check out ur night and meet up! Take care bro…

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  12. Randal Parsons, beloved

    I want to talk to you about acquiring some of those mixes bro!

    CURIOUS – HIGH IN HONOLULU
    R.A.W. Self titled -96
    Distorted Dreams
    Future base.
    Face off

    Bless!!

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    1. KarloDG,

      We could work that out.. Found a new spot that has got some AMAZING stuff as well.. Simfonik.com.. This guy has been putting up ridiculous amounts of old school techno and l.a. memorabilia.. I just came up on one of my favorite R.A.W. mixes from an old powertools radio show I never thought i would find again.. Check it out.. Also leave a way we could get in touch.. I would be glad to help you out.. Take care

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  13. Mikey,

    You wouldn’t happen to have an old tape by John Kelley called Initiations would you? Also just came up on the Thomas Michael mix I was looking for.. Anyone looking for some really good classic trance mixes, look him up on mixcrate.com…

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    1. DUDE…

      Randall I would kill a small village for those Jabari Mayes mixes…

      As far as contributing to the collection here I don’t have a personal stash of tapes but I did find a page with all the old mixes from dj ganesh…”listen” is a classic for me… from 98 ish…

      http://www.djganesh.com/tracks.html

      get at me if u have time >> mike.liuzzi at gmail

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  14. Randall

    I found my Crs?-High in Honolulu and Distorted Dreamz. Now, I am looking for Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles. I also have R.A.W.-Spill the Blood Session 6 on tape I would like to upload somewhere. Oh, I have heard of simonfonik. I have been listing to the mixes there. Phenom!!!

    my email addy.-tetabiakte@yahoo.com

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  15. Oh hey What about Universe Within By daniel. I see the cover in your first picture of tapes. can you upload that?

    Also >>> Anyone have >>> DJ VOLUME J VS SEQUENCE>>> Nice hardcore tape from around 1996. I’ve been trying to find a copy for like 10 years

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  16. I am sure we ran into each other in SoCal back then. I too have lots of mix tapes from the 90’s. Something about going to party, getting a mix tape and playing that shit the next morning while driving home.
    Kage, Beauty and the Speed, the first one is one of those tapes. I have it here with me in Europe and haven’t played it more than 13 years. Afraid to.
    I was wondering if anybody has the track listing to that.

    Thanks and let the beat control your body!
    PLUR
    Paul

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