In the late 1980s, Disco was taking a backseat to the burgeoning psychedelic scene in San Francisco, marking a pivotal shift in musical culture. A dynamic transformation was underway as the younger generation sought a fresh auditory adventure, all while the devastating AIDS epidemic cast a somber pall over the city's nightlife. Amidst this evolving backdrop, a subtle yet distinct sonic movement quietly emerged within the confines of San Francisco’s vibrant club scene, often referred to as "The Beat." Although Hip-Hop, New Wave, Gothic, Punk, and the burgeoning Modern Rock genre held considerable sway, the pre-RAVE clubs in SF witnessed the fusion of these genres into a unique amalgam of sound that insiders dubbed “The Beat.” This musical tapestry encompassed everything from Hip-Hop and Freestyle to Industrial, New Wave, Boogie, Miami Bass, and Techno – the unifying thread being the distinctive vibe that characterised this eclectic mix.
As House, Techno, and Raving gradually gained prominence along the West Coast, a distinctive interpretation of these evolving sounds took root. Drawing inspiration from influential hubs like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Europe, and notably the UK, which saw a wave of talented young DJs migrate to California, San Francisco became the backdrop for its own version of the second Summer of Love. While the exact chronology might spark debate – some recalling '92, while others leaning towards '93 – what remains indisputable is the era spanning from 1990 to 1994, an unparalleled epoch of exuberant dancefloor revelry on the western shores.
In the face of limited backing from major labels or established independent dance music entities of the time, a grassroots movement of labels and producers emerged organically, ardently championing this distinct sound and catapulting it onto the global stage. This sonic identity was deeply influenced by “the Beat,” acting as a creative wellspring that informed the musical landscape. While the tracks compiled in these volumes might not encompass the entirety of this transformative musical epoch, they offer a vivid snapshot of the melodious tapestry that coloured San Francisco and the broader West Coast during that era. Each track featured stands as a 100% Sure Shot that was played heavily by DJ Spun back in those very heady days.
The second installment of this remarkable journey into the underground scene maintains the same profound level of depth and significance as its precursor. Showcasing tracks from Electroliners, High Lonesome Soundsystem, Single Cell Orchestra, DJ Emma, and Spun's own Central Fire project, all harmoniously enclosed within the captivating and arresting artwork by Villain Standard, this release stands shoulder to shoulder with its forerunner. Beyond a mere compilation, it's an indispensable extension of the narrative that has indelibly shaped the culture of underground American dance music within the region, embodying the era and the individuals involved. This is the authentic underground sound that reverberated across San Francisco and its surrounding environs, a truly distinctive and exceptional moment in time and space.