Series: My Favorite Music | Genre: Electronica
The electronic genre is a vast genre filled with a plethora of sub-genres that you can easily get lost in. You’ve got things like dance, house, techno, trance, drum and bass, trip-hop, acid jazz, down tempo, ambient, and many, many more. There are many styles that define these genres and DJs are always breaking new ground in the genre. I don’t even bother with them, everything falls under the general umbrella of electronica for me. It is easily one of my favorite genres of music to listen to, especially when working, exercising, and often while driving.
Give me the synthesized beeps, bleeps, and bloops mixed to the rhythmic beat of the drum and thick base, I find it very soothing, putting me into a happy trance.
This post is continuing My Favorite Music Series, this one is about my four favorite DJs, Sasha, John Digweed, Nick Warren, and Dave Seaman, they are known as big club DJs who have released albums that often represent a set that they recently spun at an exotic club while globe-trotting around our world. DJs typically spin other artists music to create their own set of music, remixing and blending songs together to create an extended continuous listening experience that typically goes on for hours. They also start out with a slower BPM that builds up into a high energy climax at a high BPM. Most of the albums listed here are 2-CD sets that represent the best of the set they played.
Kudos To Global Underground
I have to give a big kudos to the Global Underground label from the U.K.. Many of the albums I list below by these four artists are from the Global Underground series. I bought their first release GU001 by John Digweed in Sydney back in 1998, I was blown away and hooked on the album, especially side two. Since then, I’ve picked up every release they have in the series, they feature many different DJs, and I’ve been extremely pleased with almost every one. The series has a built up a solid reputation and it has been a great way to discover new DJ artists. Their latest release in the series is up to GU039 with Dave Seaman in Lithuania. Again, big kudos to founders Andy Horsfield, James Todd, and the team as they have done an excellent job in capturing the energy and essence of a DJ’s set in each release of the series.
My first introduction to Sasha (and John Digweed) was through the Northern Exposure 2 East Coast and West Coast Edition CDs. These two albums were a wonderful introduction into Sasha and Digweed. A great collection of dance and house tracks with heavy ambient like tones that creates for a very relaxing almost meditative state of mind while still blending in some acid and house styles. It was also through the East Code Edition that I discovered and got turned on to one of my other favorite artists, Gus Gus, two of their best tracks Believe and Purple are featured here. These came out in 1998, and I still put them in my listening rotation as they continue to hold up well over time.
The next Sasha album that I continue to go back to constantly is Global Underground’s 003 San Francisco (a re-released can also be found as GU:009). An incredible listening experience of progressive house on this set of 26 tracks from beginning to end. Both CD’s start of with an intro recording of some guy on the Las Vegas strip with this raw raspy voice, I’m not sure if it’s a homeless guy or what, but its funny and a signature intro for this set. Then slowly the intro transforms into Freaky Chakra‘s Platform and it takes you away into another world as it pulls you into the musical journey that Sasha mixes together. Before you know it, 26 tracks later, two and half hours have gone by in no time at all and you’ve been in a blissful state of mind.
Sasha’s Global Underground 003 San Francisco and Fundacion NYC are easily two of my all time favorite DJ albums.
There are not many DJs that I know of that make their own music. Most of them create their musical art by finding those perfect songs that will blend into and out of each other with the right beats per minute and tone to transition from one song to the next. Trust me, it is an art, some DJs do it better than others and when your listening to the great ones you will often find it challenging to tell when one song ends and another begins. All of these DJs are great DJs. Anyway Sasha has made his own music, while not a lot (at least that I’m aware of), the few tracks he has made are sweet. The most well-known is his Xpander album with the title track that is killer, its worth checking out along with the remix versions.
The album Fundacion NYC by Sasha is my third most favorite album by Sasha, it’s a representation of one of his sets from his monthly residency. I’m not wild about the opening track, its okay, but I often jump ahead to about the two-minute mark to start off the album as he starts to mix in Adam Johnson‘s Four Squares, an excellent track to set the mood and ooze you into this killer album, near the end you get an awesome mix of Strict Machine by Goldfrapp, it has sections that could rival parts of Pink Floyd‘s Welcome to the Machine rolling mechanical trance. While only 18 tracks on one CD it is a sweet ride of Sasha‘s classic progressive house mix style, the tracks on here are superb.
Other favorite albums include Sasha‘s Invovler and Communicate by Sasha and Digweed. Sasha‘s unique blend of progressive house has made him one of my favorite DJs and his albums are always in my regular listening rotation. If you’re a fan of DJs then I’m sure you’ve heard of Sasha, however if you haven’t then I highly recommend checking out the albums mentioned here.
Favorite Sasha Albums
- Fundacion NYC
- Global Underground 003 San Francisco
- Global Underground 013 Ibiza
- Xpander EP
- Northern Exposure 2 West Cost Edition (Sasha & Digweed)
- Northern Exposure 2 East Cost Edition (Sasha & Digweed)
- Communicate (Sasha & Digweed)
As I mentioned above with Sasha, my first introduction to John Digweed was through the Northern Exposure 2 West Coast and East Coast Edition CDs. The first Global Underground release was John Digweed in Sydney (a re-released can also be found as GU:006). While the first CD is great I don’t think its his best, however side two is a lot of fun. It builds up like race track filled with speeding cars, literally, as one of the tracks uses sound samples of race cars going by fast, or at least it emulates the sound, this turns into a massive climax that explodes with intense pounding beats making for a hell of a ride!
My favorite John Digweed album is Bedrock, I think this is one his best sets that has been captured into an album. Originally released in 1999, it provides an exceptional combination of progressive dub and house tracks. While some of the tracks sound simple and basic, they offer a good amount of subtle complexity layered in as they work you into a groove without an overly aggressive beat, something that is a little more rare back then. The second CD is a stellar ride that showcases one of Digweed‘s best mixes to date. Gradually evolving through each perfectly placed track for an energetic progressive set that you’ll want listen to again and again.
John Digweed’s Bedrock is a must have album that regularly finds its way into my listening rotation.
Other favorite John Digweed albums include Bedrock 11, Global Underground 014 Hong Kong, and Global Underground 019 Los Angeles, each one providing consistently exceptional sets of progressive dance and house music that will fill your ears with thumping beats layered over lots of beep, bleeps, and tons of synthesized sounds to create a harmonic trance that I’ve come to love. Digweed is a great DJ artist that knows how to bring together that perfect mix of songs that can be blended together for those killer two-hour sets.
A while back Global Underground asked fans on Facebook who should do the 40th Global Underground CD of the series and many fans voted for Sasha and Digweed to get together and do a special set just for this, it would be pretty sweet. There is something special when these two DJs come together and create a unique set of tracks, I hope they do it as I’ll be first in line to buy the album when it is released.
Favorite John Digweed Albums
- Bedrock 11
- Global Underground 001 Sydney
- Global Underground 014 Hong Kong
- Global Underground 019 Los Angeles
- Northern Exposure 2 West Cost Edition (Sasha & Digweed)
- Northern Exposure 2 East Cost Edition (Sasha & Digweed)
- Communicate (Sasha & Digweed)
John Digweed Resources
Often DJs have their own unique style and they tend to stick to a broad range of songs within that style. It’s not a bad thing as being able to rely on that type of consistency is very comforting. Nick Warren is the one DJ whose style continues to change and evolve into something new with each new album. He’s never afraid of going out on a limb and bringing us something completely unexpected and fresh. Throughout all the Nick Warren albums you can hear the evolution of his progressive style from album to album as he is exploring new territory and sounds. While some fans may not appreciate it, I’ve come to love it and because of it Nick is another one of my favorite DJs that I continue to go back to repeatedly.
The first Nick Warren album that really got me hooked is Global Underground 011 Budapest, it’s actually his third GU release, but the first one that I got into. The Budapest set of songs explodes with high intense energy that carries throughout the two plus hour set spanning 25 songs. When I want to get my energy up and focused for work I often start with this album. It is a nonstop roller coaster ride of tight fast paced beats that whip you into a frenzy, it is dark progressive trance at its best.
On Global Underground 024 Reykjavik and 030 Paris, Nick Warren shifts his pace and style, masterfully taking us in for a new journey that introduces more minimal subtle spacious soundscapes. However don’t be afraid that it’s too mellow, he knows what he is doing, these refined sets build up into an uplifting climaxes that are just as enjoyable as the heavier beats from his previous albums, it’s a softer approach that requires more of an open mind. Often the first disc is just unwinding the mind to set you up for a killer ride of deep beats on the second disc.
Lima is Nick Warren’s masterpiece making for an unforgettable journey into bliss.
The latest release, Global Underground 035 Lima, I think Nick Warren has hit the ultimate sweet spot creating a masterpiece in this blissful set of harmonic tunes. Opening with Paul Rogers’ Lima Luna unique sound and beats is the perfect starter track to set the tone for the entire set, I love how it starts off nice and slow with faint soundscapes that build up into a rhythmic almost African style drum beat as it transitions into Nils Nurnberg‘s Seduction. It makes for a great introduction. Disc two kicks off with that subtle yet complex beat of Alex Dolby‘s Long Beach setting the tone for each track to build up for a stellar set.
To me, I think Nick Warren has created a set that nurtures the soul and is spiritually balanced, you feel good when listening to it. I wish this set could go on forever, I often listen to it repeatedly because it is so damn good. It is easily one of my most listened to Global Underground albums with my play count creeping up to 100 in iTunes, not counting stereo, car, and iPod listens. Even my wife Jenny uses Nick‘s Lima set on her iPod when running.
There’s no doubt that Nick Warren is an exceptionally talented DJ artist, one that refuses to accept the status quo and instead explores to seek out new sounds and experiences. Then bringing those new experiences to us through his DJ sets and albums. His hefty discography offers a wide selection of music to suit different moods and energy to please everyone. If you haven’t heard of Nick Warren yet, be sure to checkout his albums, listen with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.
Favorite Nick Warren Albums
- Global Underground 035 Lima
- Global Underground 030 Paris
- Global Underground 028 Shanghai
- Global Underground 024 Reykjavik
- Global Underground 018 Amsterdam
- Global Underground 011 Budapest
Nick Warren Resources
Another pioneer in the DJ world is Dave Seaman, he has a ton of albums out under Global Underground, Audio Therapy, and the Renaissance series. My favorites include his Global Underground albums and a few of the Renaissance albums. Unlike Nick Warren, Dave is one for consistency in his selection of songs and style. It’s not a bad thing, in fact it works really well for Dave as his mixes are a sweet sensory experience!
Kicking off with his first Global Underground 016 Buenos Aires album Dave Seaman erupts into Underworld‘s elastic Jumbo putting the set into motion. Tight progressive tracks with a steady stream of beats that build up at a nonstop pace until you hit So Dam Beautiful by Polariod, then it’s like your breaking your head above water getting a burst of fresh air, an epic sensation. The second disc starts off like a Blade Runner sci-fi soundscape that ramps up to a frenetic beat with hypnotic vocals in Adamski‘s One Of The People. A few tracks later comes one of my favorites with Redshift‘s Descender, one that would fit perfectly in the same sci-fi theme. Finishing off the set with The Light‘s Opium, a sweet pulsating track with soothing vocals overlaying it making for a signature Dave Seaman extra-sensory ride.
The next album, Global Underground 016 Cape Town, is often considered to be one of Dave Seaman‘s best sets of tight progressive beats mixing in some killer tracks including a remixed version of Moby‘s Porcelain, anything by Moby is always good and delightful surprise when mixed into a set. Other favorite tracks include Deep Love by Mandalay, The Baguio Track by Luzon, Vellum by Inertia, ZeroTonine by Junkie XL, and a killer mix of Muse‘s Sunburn, remixed by Timo Maas. I love how this album mixes in tight rhythmic beats with dreamy vocals and moods, a unique combination that will take you on spectacular journey.
Dave gives us an extra sensory listening experience in progressive electronic music.
The technical wizardry and creative talents of Dave Seaman continue to become more refined with each release, Global Underground 022 Melbourne and 039 Lithuania, are no exceptions. You’ll be delightfully surprised with each additional listen to these albums as they open up more layers to discover sounds you more likely missed on the previous listenings. He is a master at mixing the tracks together and it can be challenging to distinguish when the tracks change from one to the next, they evolve so smoothly, the next you thing you know it’s already moved on to then next soundscape and you didn’t even realize it, this makes for exceptionally killer continuous listening experiences.
Favorite Dave Seaman Albums
- Global Underground 039 Lithuania
- Global Underground 022 Melbourne
- Global Underground 016 Cape Town
- Global Underground 012 Buenos Aires
- Renaissance The Masters Series Vol. 7
- Renaissance The Masters Series Vol. 10
Dave Seaman Resources
DJ Honorable Mentions
As mentioned earlier the Global Underground series produces a stellar collection albums and through it I’ve been introduced to many new DJs that I wouldn’t normally discover. These are some of the other DJs in this genre that I’ve come to love (not all from GU), and listen to regularly.
- Carl Cox
- Darren Emerson
- Deep Dish
- Hernán Cattáneo
- James Lavelle
- Kemistry And Storm
- Layo & Bushwacka!
- Paul Oakenfold
- Stéphane Pompougnac
Wow, this turned out to be a fairly lengthy post. Anyway, there you have it, that pretty much comprises of all my current favorite DJs and their albums. There is a ton of exceptional music to be enjoyed there and if you enjoy amazing progressive house mixes then definitely check out some of these albums, pretty much anything in the Global Underground series! So who are your favorite DJs? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading about my favorite DJs.