Ralph Lawson names 20 great tracks from 20 years of Back To Basics
To commemorate this milestone Ralph Lawson, who played the very first record at the event and has been resident DJ at Back To Basics for the entire 20 years, has set about putting together a body of work detailing his entire history at the seminal event. On his blog, Ralph will be releasing 20 mixes based on each of his 20 years at the night, as well as a detailed ’sleevenotes’ section that lists each track he plays in each mix, with his own comments on every one. The blog also offers those who have visited the night to contribute their own memories and stories about the event, which has been one of the most important events on the Leeds clubbing calendar during the course of its two-decade run. A seriously impressive endeavour and something I think other DJs and people associated with the electronic music scene should consider doing. In light of the anniversary Ralph gave me a list of 20 of his most important tracks from each of his years at Back To Basics, with a brief of summary of why each is so significant.
1991 – Marshall Jefferson presents Truth – Open Your Eyes
The first ever record played at the club at exactly 21:00 on November 23rd 1991 so it has to be included, of course.
1992 – My Bloody Valentine – Glider (Andrew Weatherall remix)
This was a moment in time for music. Quite possibly the best remix ever made? Ali Cooke, co-founder and original resident DJ alongside myself, loved this record and it was an end of night Basics classic.
1993 – Chez Damier & Ralph Lawson – A Dedication to Jos
On 12 March 1993 Ali Cooke was killed alongside my partner Jos Higgin on their way to join me at a gig in Glasgow. I had made this record with Chez Damier a few weeks previously, Chez released it – as the title suggests – as a dedication to Jos.
1994 – Galaxy to Galaxy – Hi Tech Jazz
Absolute brilliance from Mad Mike and his infamous Underground Resistance crew from Detroit. I couldn’t count how many times I have closed a set with this gem.
1995 – Funky Green Dogs – Reach For Me
Murk productions from Miami created a bass-heavy brand of house music in the early 90s. Nearly every one of them is gold dust and this is perhaps the best of all.
1996 – Deep Dish – Chocolate City Love Songs
On the other side of the states (Washington DC) Sharam and Dubfire were honing their production skills inspired by Danny Tenaglia’s DJ sessions. Sax features heavily in my favourite work from the duo. It’s the only time I ever ask for Deep Dish as I’m a thin crust man myself.
1997 – Daft Punk – Musique
The French invasion actually started the year before in 1996 but by ‘97 it was really gaining momentum before peaking in ‘98 with France winning the World Cup and Daft Punk conquering the world in their own way.
1998 – Mondo Grosso – Souffles H
Masters at Work are undoubtedly one of the greatest dance producers of all time, and I’m not talking on a niche level. They share their pedestal alongside disco and R’n'B legends not just house producers. This one was a Basics classic but then again so were so many others.
1999 – DJ Sneak – You Can’t Hide From Your Bud
Derrick Carter and DJ Sneak are larger than life characters from Chicago. They brought the Boompty to the UK and sold out our club every time they played.
2000 – Francois K – Time And Space
This record was not actually released in 2000 but as it was millennium year the title seemed to make sense placing it here. An epic workout of 10 minutes or more that would lock the dancefloor down. It reminds me of DJ Kenny Hawkes, who recently died.
2001 – Josh One – Contemplation (King Britt remix)
I was so close to signing this record but too slow. One of the big ones that got away! Still superb anyway.
2002 – Chicken Lips – He Not In
And suddenly a new sound attracted everyone’s attention… Andy Meecham and Dean Meredith emerged from their previous Bizarre Inc incarnation as Chicken Lips and promptly introduced the world to an updated version of Electro Funk inspired by their early days of listening to DJ Greg Wilson in Manchester.
2003 – Trentemøller – Le Champagne
There are good and bad producers but there are few geniuses. Trentemøller is certainly the latter. He announced his coming with this incredible house record on Naked Music before he moved into the world of techno, indie and electronica.
2004 – Metro Area – Miura
More Electro Funk second generation style, this time from the outer environs of NYC as the name suggests.
2005 – Lifelike – Discopolis
Ibiza at it’s best. Dreamy arpeggios meander over disco drums and a killer B-line.
2006 – Paul Woolford – Erotic Discourse
Perhaps the first bona fide underground hit record produced by a Basics resident. This is such a strange record. There is no snare, no hi-hat and no percussion. Just a massive kick drum and a special keyboard sounds.
2007 – Art of Tones – Praise
OK, so it sounded a little like Ame – Rej but it was a big Basics track and a highlight of my mix for fabric that year.
2008 – Sebo K – Diva
The Berlin wunderkid started making music inspired more by Detroit acts Chez Damier and Ron Trent and this was a cut that changed how many DJs played. The end of the minimal road ?
2009 – 2020Soundsystem – Sliding Away (Johnny D remix)
OK, so it’s my band but this smashed every Terrace in the sun, that summer of 2009. Ian Brown-inspired vocals and sublime drops made it perfect for the happy people.
2010 – Burnski & Rob James – Malibu
Another Basics resident makes a hit alongside fellow Leeds producer Rob James. DC10 rocks out to it every week that summer.
2011 – Maya Jane Coles – What They Say
At last a female edition to the list and what a entrance it is ! MJC is destined for great things as we all know by now. Future starts here…..
Make sure you head over to Ralph’s amazing blog at www.ralphlawson.co.uk and check out his first mix below.20 years, anniversary, Back To Basics, Ralph Lawson
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter