on 30 April 2005
When you buy this mix you're buying THE legendary DJ mix of all time. Forget all your Misery Of Sound, Cream, Euphoric and other such rubbish, this is a real piece of mix tape history. Back in the days of this mix there was no such thing as the mix album, compare that to nowadays where the dance racks of your local record shop are rammed full of below par computer mixed CDs. This was a snapshot of two shining stars of the club world, a way to hear what many could only read about in magazines, the sound of Sasha & Digweed's legendary residency at Renaissance.
This mix was originally fetching up to £100 off Ebay, deservedly so after winning the 'Best Mix Of All Time' award, before getting remastered and repackaged for this 10th Anniversary edition. Its just the boys and their decks, warts and all. The mixing is vibrant and lively from the days before laptop delievered ultra slick mixes, swapping between the euphoric trance of the day, anthemetic house monsters and the odd rave gem here and there. Check the spinetingling intro of the Song Of Life medley, the now classic trance anthem Age Of Love, Digweeds first outing under the Bedrock moniker, the top Xpress2 mix of Love And Happiness ... so many tunes deserving of classic status yet an album that is head and shoulders above the recent spate of so called classic compilations. So many moments for many to relive and for some to experience for the first time.
10 years on and the mix is still fresh to listen to, 3 CDs of total quality and different moods to experience, with the boys leaving the mix pretty much intact from its original state aside from replacing a couple of tracks. Along with their Northern Exposure mix, this is the best that the boys have come up with and its ruff and ready back in the day attitude is a nice contrast to Sashas recent Involver mix and Digger's Fabric effort.
Completely knocks the spots off most of the recent efforts as far as mix CDs goes, this one will always take some beating. Get it now before it becomes uber rare again!
on 12 August 2005
I know some people will boo and hiss at me giving this only 4 stars and I know the history of this CD. I loved the original and its what got me into dance music. Used to hate the stuff. It brought a tingle to my spine. It was a thing of great rarity, a dance music mix compilation that turned several individual tracks into one piece of music. It has one of the greatest most inspired individual mixes ever - 2 Bad Mice into Age of Love (CD3). So why not 5.
Simply because its not the original. CD1 doesn't finish on Digger's remix of M-People, Renaissance and CD3 Doesn't start with M-People How can I Love You More. Also They cleaned up the sound, made it a bit bright. The original was clearly hand crafted ona pair of 1210's, has this been remixed on computer?? If you've never heard the originals then get this you won't be dissapointed, if you have well still get it 'cos its still an incredible piece of mixing.
If it was a true re-release then yes - the best mix cd of all time together with Coldcut's 70 Minutes of Madness, also released but in its original form.
The good news however is that with this re-release the original has come down from around £90-£100 to £20-30 on ebay so do the right thing. Buy this remastered one for everyday use and a copy of the original for Sundays!!
on 27 November 2004
This is where it all began, this is the mix that spawned myriad other mixes, the best mix in the world, the best cd in the world, the best djs in the world (on the top of their game), a time before dance music became a dirty word and when clubbing was still vaguely underground or abbarant.
I first listened to this album when I was a student back in 1994. A friend of mine leant me the cassette version and my eyes and ears were opened to a completely new music. It was like nothing I'd heard before and it blew me away, after that day I never looked back. I spent my grant money (remember that?!) on mix cd after mix cd always hoping the next fix would be as good as the first. To this day - 10 years later and down hundreds of pounds spent on mostly second rate, naff mixes I find myself back in line for the remastered version of this classic.
I'm buying this mix again because athough I still have my original student-aquired version in pristine condition (a rare ebay darling that prior to this re-release fetched upwards of £100) I want to see if listening to remastered messrs sasha and digweed can possibly sound any better. I regret I never made it to a renaissance night, although I did and very occassionally still do make it to club nights up and down the country, so this mix is still as close to 'Renaissance' as I've ever got.
The tripple CD mix pioneered a new sound many have tried to copy. The packaging was esquisite borrowing from Renaissance paintings which made you treat the cds with even more reverence. Disc two was and still is my favourite mix. It's a real journey, complete on it's own although CDs one and two are also near perfect. I love the funkier, deeper sounds of disc two which even now still sends shivers down my spine. Renaissance came close to hitting their own high mark with the mix collection vol.2 (which I hope they'll also re-release) but after that I'm sure even they would admit the series tailed off. Renaissance 3 was too us house for my liking, renaissance 4 was a damn good effort and the side projects like Renaissance Presents and Masters Series were interesting but never recaptured the zeitgeist of this original mix.
Put what you're doing down and buy this CD now, it's a classic and if you missed it the first time round your luck is in. Renaissance we love you, we always loved you and we didn't forget even after all these years. It's great to have you back, bringing us what you always did best - pure; unadalterated, deep, dirty, dark and funky dance music mixed by the best of the best. Does the remastered version sound better ... what do you think! Coom on.
My original copy of this original Renaissance Mix Collection is sadly starting to deteriorate (both on the CD's and the gorgeous packaging), and so I've come to terms I need a quick fix. I bought this Anniversary Edition out of interest, and have to say that for a tenner, you honestly can't go wrong. Don't forget - when the original album came out, it was almost twenty-five pounds!
You may not know what 'Renaissance' essentially is, and have come to the beginning to see where it all began. It is in fact a club-night, originally formed in 1992 and HQ'd in lovely area of Nott's. What made Renaissance different to all the other little club nights however was that, as the name suggests, it was themed around Italian house music and progressive house. Accompanied with lavish decor and a new style of DJ'ing to accompany the music, Renaissance was the reason people travelled all over the U.K just to hear the likes of Sasha, Digweed play. It brought a wealth of respect and glitz back to an active leisure which, for that time, was dominated by drugs and secret illegal raves.
Inside the Digi-Pak their is a nice booklet that gives an in depth look into the making of this remastered album, the history of Renaissance, and interviews with Alex and John themselves. Perhaps this is the first thing I should point out - this album hasn't necessarily been 'cleaned', but completely remixed on computers. Although their is evidence that the lads had good intentions, it somewhat takes away the value and history of the recording, as well as opening new Copyright legalities.
Due to these constraints, various tracks have been removed from the album which is particularly sad. 'How Can I Love You More' has been pulled, and OMD of all artists makes its way in. Their are a number of other changes in the transitions and mixing too; a couple of tracks cut shorter, CD-track markers moved around (annoyingly on Perfect Motion, so it goes from over 10 minutes to just over 5 minutes), and theirs the old audiophiles grumble about digital clarity over quality... This recording sounds no where near as fat as the original.
Despite these changes, you may well have never heard the original album, and if you're not willing to cough up for a copy, this seems like an affordable and at least passable alternative into an important movement in dance culture, post 1992. It's fair to say it's an education if not an experience - a journey into the mindset of two DJ's who were actually musically trained by up-bringing and not just glass-collectors like most. This is evident throughout the entire album, and such later albums as 'Northern Exposure'. The album would never have been possible with no less than four-decks; such attention to detail and harmony is paid from start to finish that many listeners cannot fathom that many of the CD "tracks" are, in fact, two or more remixes of the same track segued together.
A prime example of this musical instinct is on 'Perfect Motion', CD 1. This mixes into the song 'VOAT', which is played before, and upon first listening you would think that Perfect Motion is just released at the start of Track 9 and let to run. You'd be quite wrong - to mix the two songs harmonically, a remix of Perfect Motion begins on this track with a noted strong bassline, and plays for just 48 bars (which, if you don't know, is a small space of time to edit) before the main mix of Perfect Motion is then faded in, which if you listen carefully, is signalled by the flanger effect of the two tracks on top of each other. Absolutely genius to think they took the trouble to think of such little things, but that's what makes this album special - they took songs and mixed them to such a careful degree that the outcome is, arguably, greater than their original individual form.
But these edits are present throughout, and this is what makes Renaissance: The Mix Collection special. Although it is, undeniably, more technically perfect than Sasha's original set's for Renaissance club nights (for obvious live reasons), the two DJ's had proved what 'was' possible given the tools. And although this may not be the original recording with no warm vinyl crackles or misses in beat-matching, it's definitely a temporary solution if you can't get your hands on the original.
on 30 December 2004
Fantastic, what can I say, 10 yrs old and fresh as a daisy. This is a lesson to all aspiring DJ's and producers out there. It's not about throwing a few tracks together.... Its about hitting the spot between yor ass and your backbone to get your ass twitchin'! Every track mixed (edited) to perfection..... On the original you could still hear a few clicks and pops, but I doubt you could now!
I can remember this the first time around, franticly searching the indie record stores for the elusive 12" mixes so I could play them on my 1200's (no Amazon or e-bay in those days my friends!), Bladerunner, EMF, My Friend Sam , Leftfield, Bedrock.... and the seminal Perfect Motion by Sunscreem, they are all here. I can guarentee, if you are 18 yrs old and into 'modern' dance this will float your boat!
I actually feel quite sad that those days are gone now and its like listening to me dad go on about the stuff he liked in his heyday...... still never mind! Things will never be as good as this was..... ever!
Ahhhhhh.... I've gone all misty eyed!
on 13 February 2005
I remember following Sasha around from club to club when I was younger. His sets just seemed to have something about them and there was this aura surrounding the guy. From Up Yer Ronson 1st birthday to the Northern Exposure nights at Heaven in London, this guy made my late teenage years/early twenties a bit more bearable. This mix with Digweed sums up what is pure genius for me. It's indeed strange that although I have "grown out" of dance music, this guy's sets still send shivers down my spine. All other DJ's (with the exceptions possibly of Oakenfold and Ralph Lawson) are just imitators. This guy is the innovator. Wicked stuff, especially since my tape version was lost/stolen years back and it's been deleted for ages.
on 2 December 2004
This CD represents the best of what dance music has to offer and when I say this I refer not just to the actual sounds of the records but to its approach and rationale.
I was a strict indie fan back in 94 until this cd made me realise that my stereotyped view of the dance music world was completely wrong. I remember being played it for the first time by a friend who literally had to drag the stereo remote out of my hand to press play. The moment it started I was captivated, I just didnt understand how each 74 min long piece of music had been assembled or when the tracks started or finished. It turned me on to a whole new world of music and for that I cannot thank the renaissance guys enough.
Looking back this CD represents a time in the evolution of dance music before it split up into the strict genre barriers of recent years. It has a really positive spirit free of pretention and cynicism that explores lots of different styles and elements. Hearing that this CD was being released again genuinely brought joy to my heart.
My only gripe with this re-release is that the M-people tracks are missing!! I really cannot believe that they are gone for whatever reason. The replacemetnt tracks are good but cant help but change the feeling of this small piece of music history. I just knew there had to be a catch!!!!!!!
buy it anyway, this cd is genuinely amazing.
on 15 November 2004
I certainly think so. I had a copy this when it first came out ten years ago, and it still gets played when going for a night out or when a party is on my house. What can be said about this CD that hasn't been said before? This is the stuff that got many people in their late 20's to 30's into dance music. I was converted from being an indie kid to a clubber in an instant when my friend put this on her car stereo, and soon bought a copy for myself. It was soon deleted and became an instant collectors' item and goes for ridiculas prices - well now it is available at "normal" high street prices. I will never forget hearing some of the tracks for the first time.
on 5 June 2006
Wow what can I say, this a rerelease of the greatest mix CD ever, when you first notice the first CD tracklisting it has three cuts of Leftfield on, why you ask just listen and you will be amazed how it sounds, I just put these three tracks on heavy rotation on my playlist, this is an awesome mix CD full of great progressive tracks that still sound amazing, and check out the mix from 2 bad mice to age of love, it will really make you say WOW 10/10
on 10 March 2006
I was extremely unfortunate to miss the original version (6 discs!!) first time round and so was delighted to hear of it's re-release a couple of years ago.
Having spent the last 15 years emmersed in this wonderful thing that is house music, particularly prog, I have purchased many excellent (and a few not so excellent) mixes, and given the huge aura that surrounds these mixes my expectations were extremely high.
Mix 1 went into the player, I sat back. I turned it up, I sat back again. I closed my eyes and that's how it was for the next 3 hours.
I had heard the whole thing before on its original release but have only been able to remember snapshots.
The mixes have stood the test of time for a number of reasons; Sasha and John Digweed for one (or two!), two of the mightiest. Sasha being my all time no 1. How many people can say they own a personally signed copy of the original Northern Exposure? Me for one!!
Just look at where these two are now.
Pioneers then, Trailblazers now. I think it's fair to say that they set the ball well and truly rolling with these mixes.
The music; very early prog with smatterings of tribal and the 'up there' tracks. It is a sound that has been attempted over and over by many D.Js but with Sasha and Diggers' mixing ability/qaulity here and the compilation of the tracks, for a sheer house music journey, it really hasn't been bettered, and I bet quite a few of those D.Js would agree.
Without question these mixes have been the benchmark for progressive house for the last 12 years and I feel they will continue to do so, and I say that without hesitation.
Simply put...Pure Gold.