The liner notes of the vibrantly packaged Renaissance: The Mix Collection, Sasha and John Digweed describe in great detail the emergence of the Renaissance club in Mansfield, U.K., and the impact it would have on the 1990s British dance scene. The notes are there because the three-CD mix marks the ten-year anniversary of the club’s first mix to go gold, Sasha and Digweed’s The Mix Collection. Its non-stop club-action anthems total a sizable forty-four songs. That’s a lot of dance music.
Renaissance is where Sasha met John Digweed, and where their now infamous musical partnership has its roots. After the Renaissance mix, the pair would go on to release mixes for Northern Exposure, tour the world and host a regular monthly spot at New York City’s Twilo. But the mark of The Mix Collection re-release, now remastered, is not merely in its nostalgic value, though its past will contribute much to its validity. Rather, the jumpoff moments in the bulky set are plentiful, sounding as fresh and new as anything out there. The quality can in part be attributed to Digweed and Sasha having access to remastering technology that didn’t exist in the mid-1990s.
Several mixes of Leftfield’s “Song of Life” open the first disc, and after a few minutes of the introductory looming ambience that characterizes the Dub for Life and Lemon Interrupt mixes, an energy erupts that never ceases over the course of the mix. The peaks come in the scratch-spiked breaks of Rhythm Invention’s “Chronoclasm,” in the winding psychedelia of Corrado’s “Trust” and obviously in the ever-present flanger effect in Spooky’s “Little Bullet” on the third disc (even though theres’s a Moby cut from his red sweatshirt days here). These sorts of vibes aren’t strictly for the club fan, or maybe even the retired clubber who’s washed down his last bit of K and is looking for a safe reminder of the good ol’ days. Ten years ago Sasha and Digweed seemed to have latched onto keeping an audience, not just one that will dance, either.