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In 1992 when Renaissance entered the fray dance music in clubs was a completely different experience. Warehouses, reclaimed Ritzys, motorway arches and fields were the terrain for which acid house surged through the speakers, but Renaissance pioneered a new form of clubbing alongside a brand new sound. Utilising stately homes and adding a regal zest to partying, they proved that clubbing need not be an experience in a dingy environment. And they did so by pushing an exciting new genre, a combination of the epic and ethereal trance and techno coming from mainland Europe with the rolling house grooves from over the Atlantic; Progressive House.
A young man by the name of Sasha already had a fervent following as a DJ but his residency at their Mansfield home completely transformed what clubbers expected and wanted from a DJ, and the mix CD that he, Renaissance and new kid on the block John Digweed pushed forward launched a new era of clubbing. Quite simply, Renaissance ploughed dance music into territory it had never been before - they were essential in establishing the modern idea of the cult of the DJ.
20 years later and both Sasha and Renaissance are still at the forefront of dance music. Sasha remains revered across every continent of the planet for his gloriously well-crafted DJ sets, his constant surge for new technology and a creative edge amongst his peers. In the nineties it was his mesmerising mixes across three decks that caused the hero worship; blends which rarely had only one record playing. Then as an early Ableton adopter he pushed forward the idea of a DJ as a live musician, reassembling the music as he went along. Always ahead of trends; he remains dance music’s indisputable global icon.
Fittingly, Sasha will be headlining two very special Renaissance shows as the first instalment in the celebration of this monumental milestone, in Leeds and Birmingham; the latter now becoming Renaissance’s new regular home in the Midlands. In true Renaissance fashion the venues reveal the pioneering and forward thinking vision that has always been at the heart of the club. 1992 needed a certain type of venue, but 2012 is different and so the choices of both venue and the complete line-up reflect a more cutting edge approach.
Both Vox and Gibb Street Warehouse boast state of the art soundsystems in lovingly restored warehouse spaces; reclaimed spaces that combine the edgy charm of the acid house era of clubbing with a modern sheen and professionalism. It’s a more subtle manifestation of their trademark opulence, and Birmingham will be adopted as the new Midlands base of the club as a statement of intent to break new ground regionally. Renaissance didn’t clock up twenty years by resting on its laurels.
The historical impact of the music can’t and won’t be ignored. At both events the second room is bolstered by a Renaissance Classics showcase, authentically delivered by some of the clubs best-known residents from the past, who will explore the pivotal records and sounds form the full twenty-year spectrum of the club. As a record label that can boast over fifty album releases from talents as diverse and heralded as Hercules & Love Affair, Dave Seaman, Yousef, Deep Dish, La Roux, Hernan Cattaneo, Nic Fanciuilli, Danny Tenaglia, Satoshi Tomiie and James Zabiela alongside its clubnight career, expect a glorious journey through a kaleidoscopic snapshot of the last two decades of electronic dance music.
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