Global Underground: San Francisco

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By the time Sasha made his international album debut as a solo artist with Global Underground: San Francisco in 1999, he was already an icon. Alongside longtime partner John Digweed, Sasha had played a large part in the rapidly expanding popularity of progressive house and trance in the mid- to late '90s with the duo's popular Northern Exposure series. Furthermore, he was a full-fledged superstar in the U.K., where he spent most of the '90s honing his craft and furthering his reputation. Yet the American masses still had little idea who Sasha was or why he garnered such an iconic image. For example, on the back of Global Underground: San Francisco, popular U.K. dance scribe Dom Phillips writes, "When Sasha finishes one of his special sets, people are liable to get emotional. You could call it trance. I call it magic." It was precisely hyperbole such as this that made Global Underground: San Francisco such an anticipated release. After all, though Sasha spun on occasion at Twilo in New York or in cities like Miami and San Francisco, most stateside listeners had only the hyperbole to base their image of the iconic DJ on. And though the "trance sucks" crowd will venomously deny it forever, Global Underground: San Francisco lived up to its hype. Not coincidently, thousands of stateside hipsters suddenly championed the trance scene. Sasha had converted them. Here's how: For the most part, he devotes the first disc of this album to progressive house and the second to trance. However, it's important to note that he drops only proven anthems by the style's best producers: Albion, Quivver, Breeder, Oliver Lieb, BT, Tilt, and more. So, essentially, stateside listeners were getting a very distilled sample of the late-'90s progressive scene, similar to what Paul Oakenfold did on the first Tranceport album. And that's precisely why Sasha struggled to better this mix in subsequent years -- it's one of the best mix albums to surface during the late-'90s trance craze, featuring the best the era had to offer before the movement eventually became over-saturated, exhausted, and increasingly dreary rather than euphoric.

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