Anxiety of influence

It takes a very bold person to admit that Rave ‘Til Dawn, one of the first compilations of rave electronica in the 1990’s, is on his favorites list of the last twenty years. Or maybe just realistic. Kottke is just this person.

This is the worst album on the list but may be the most influential in terms of my future listening habits. For a kid who grew up in the country and went to college in a small Iowa city, hearing rave music for the first time was a complete revelation for me. I had no idea people were making music like this, so fast, so joyous, so unlike anything that anyone I knew would enjoy listening to. I loved it immediately and have been a huge fan of electronica ever since.

I remember a few years ago when I was digitizing all my music, selecting certain CD’s that I wouldn’t bother with. I dumped nearly all the post-RTD rave compilations (not sure there ever was a rave album by a single artist) either because it was simply too cheesy or of no redeeming music value whatsoever. But I couldn’t quite let go of Rave ‘Til Dawn — and it certainly fit both those criteria. Maybe I just accorded it some respect for where it led me.

Perhaps the best thing about this album is that I smile whenever I think of the looks that my too-cool fellow DJ’s at the college radio station would throw my way when I pulled it out of my bag. What, no navel-gazing?! How dare ye?!