Ben Bracket – Back 2 Skool mix

Hardcore, you know the score: a set of certified bangers from the heyday of rave from dearly departed Plex resident Ben Bracket

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Glowsticks at the ready. Sound the klaxons. Francesca Gavin, our art editor, is opening E-Vapor-8: a show of rave-inspired art tomorrow in Sheffield, and to celebrate, we have devoted a day on Dazed to the art and music of smiley romanticism. Elsewhere, we have video art and articles inspired by the movement, but here, it's time for some audio intensity. Over to the inimitble James Tec – our IT soldier and the man behind London's finest techno night, Plex. 

Recorded sometime in 2006 and using tracks produced around the 1991-1994 era, this mix sees the now sadly departed Ben Bracket deliver 46 minutes of tearing hands-in-the-air hardcore anthems. Ben was a resident of the long-running techno clubnight I promote, Plex, and a keen rave soldier whom I spent many nights out with in the late 90s / early 00s. He had an extensive knowledge of rave and jungle music and taught me so much about areas of the scene I had overlooked in parts over the years. 

"No rules, no hype, just quality tracks often put out on faceless white label records"

This mix represents this particular era in rave culture to its fullest for me. It never lets up, and the tracks just roll into one another seamlessly. I think the beauty about old-skool hardcore and rave in general from this time is the sheer innocence of it all: people were only just discovering what all this equipment could do musically, and experimentation played a big role in how it all came about. No rules, no hype, just quality tracks often put out on faceless white label records, fueled by pirate radio plays and local record-store vinyl-pushers. So sit back and enjoy the sounds from a very special time that shaped the future of dance music that we’ve all come to know and love.   

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