Archive for the '1991' Category

Jimmy J

For at least a decade, the name Malik X has been synonymous with mystery. It’s as though the X itself was representative of an unsolvable equation. And, of course, the greatest legends are always fueled by rumors – I had heard my fair share as to where he was and what he was up to.

You see, back in 1991 whether he was coming at you via radio waves or a venue’s sound system, his community was very tuned in. He was a pivotal figure in the Toronto after-hours scene – especially during the earliest days of Toronto rave. He was one of its biggest promotional forces. In a city that had no idea what a rave even was, no one spread the word faster. And no one spread the music faster, as his collection of techno was unparalleled. He had developed a massive following and the highest respect from his peers. He was even producing his own music.

He achieved everything that DJs typically only dream about. And then he quit.

Where in the world is Malik X?In November of 1991, Malik shocked Toronto’s original ravers by announcing he was packing in his DJ career. He made a final appearance at what also turned out to be Exodus’ final event at 23 Hop in 1992. He kept his radio show going for a period of time, giving Dr. No a 30-minute time slot dubbed, “The Techno Lab.” While the doctor continued to showcase techno, it seemed as though Malik was slowly phasing himself out and distancing himself from the scene. By the mid-’90s – with the Toronto rave scene exploding – his whereabouts were unknown. In the second issue of The Communic8r we published an article titled, “Where in the World is Malik X?,” asking him to get in touch. He never did and the mystery continued to grow.

Then around 1997, while working at Industry, I made contact. Well, a friend of his contacted me. Apparently word had got out that I was sitting on a Malik tape collection and his friend wanted some recordings to give to Malik for his birthday. It was an honor to make a pile of tapes for a man who often gave his music away to friends. And the cool part was that I even had a tape where Dr. No wished him a happy birthday.

A few weeks later I got a message from Malik on my answering machine thanking me for the trip down memory lane. He described the tapes as, “a real ear-opener.” It was so cool I ran out to Radio Shack to purchase a “telephone pick-up” mic to record it to my computer. The gadget was basically a mic mounted on a a suction cup you stuck to the back of the telephone. Sadly, the computer crashed soon afterwards and I lost it. So I couldn’t really prove to anyone it ever happened.

Malik’s friend had mentioned he wasn’t DJing anymore but said he was performing spoken word. I went to see him above the Senator restaurant near Yonge & Dundas. I shook his hand at the end of the performance, but he was way too distracted to have a conversation. Apparently he went on to write two books of poetry and produce numerous jazz poetry discs.

In and around the new millennium he made some sporadic DJ appearances and gave an on-camera interview. Then he vanished yet again. But now in the age of the internet, where everyone is usually just a few clicks away, the mystery grew exponentially as he continued to fly under the radar.

Needless to say, when The Communic8r was re-born online I had always hoped Malik would catch wind of it. His community-style approach was the main inspiration behind the entire project. Maybe I’d hear from him one day. Heck, maybe he’d make a return to DJing for a Boomin’ Reunion? (Hey, I can dream…)

Well, I’m happy to report: seven years after launching this site – he reached out. Our email exchange has been brief but I know he’s appreciative of this website and all the kind words from our community. And while most of the mystery remains – the important part is that he’s still out there and still making music. And of course, still sharing it.

He sent me this 13-track volume – under his pseudonym, DJ Saville Rowe, but, as he explains, “all from the mind of Malik X.” And, he was sure to mention, “I just do it for fun, no DJ-ing, but they are yours to do with entirely as you wish.”

Enjoy.

UPDATE 5/16: Malik mentioned he’d be sending us mixes every so often. So here’s another installment of his Communic8r HiFi Alkali House Mixes. As the man Malik says, “Music to make a grown man cry.”

UPDATE 7/16: A brand new broadcast from the past produced by the man himself. It will all make sense when you listen…I’ve seen the future…

Jimmy J

We recently got our hands on a Toronto rave relevant personal diary written almost 25 years ago. Noteworthy as a historical timeline, but we also we get some youthful insight from a witness to the birth of raving in Toronto. She reminds us of how exciting everything was and the reasons it was so easy to get swept up in it.

And what could be more old-school than a handwritten diary? A hobby that is likely near extinct with the array of digital platforms people now use to express themselves.

The first series of pages outlines important dates, details, parties and people. Further evidence of how our city’s rave history unfolded with 318 Richmond at its roots.

Diary Timeline #1

Timeline 3

Timeline 3

Then she shares some of her experiences and thoughts:

Diary Entry 1

Diary Entry 2

Diary Entry 3

Followed by some fun stuff – a track list:

Image (184)

And some essential techno track lyrics and MC chants:

MC Chants and Quotes

MC Chants and Quotes

And now you know what was on her mind. (Techno for all mankind!)

Jimmy J

The last recording of the Booming System Collective in action. We join Dr. No in progress as he tones down the hardcore at 5:45am in the morning. Not a single person in the room knew that in 2 hours and 15 minutes from this moment Exodus would evaporate. And how appropriate for this to occur on NYE, a definitive conclusion to these unique days of raving. 1992 would bring forth entirely different experiences – some great, some lackluster, but such is the way of progression.

This is yet another tape that seems to have fallen victim to B. Mental tape deck meddling. I believe only the first few songs on this side are actually from the evening (the reverse has more). It’s peculiar how the tape jumps back and forth between house and hardcore until we’re in a Radio One FM broadcast. Regardless, it’s chalked full of classics.

Enjoy.

Track List

  • The Trip – Phuture
  • Everybody in the Place – Prodigy
  • Testify – The Sounds of Blackness
  • Hardcore You Know The Score – The Hypnotist
  • The Bouncer – Kicks Like a Mule
  • Can You Feel It – CLS
  • On The Move – Sonic Solution
  • Hardcore Heaven – DJ Seduction
  • Manix – Oblivion (Head in the Clouds)
  • Give it Up – Airtight
Jimmy J

exodus new years flyer front

exodus new years eve flyer back

Tuesday December 31st, 1991. With a new year fast approaching, resolutions regarding Toronto raving were plentiful. Photocopied flyers would no longer be the standard after this professionally printed rave flyer. And size now mattered too. This promo was bigger than any previous effort and it was reflected in the inflated $25 cover charge, which was more than triple the usual cost. Smart bars, merchandising and more – the first evidence that rave promotion was becoming business before pleasure.

The music was also being remixed. While Malik was gearing up for his final Exodus appearance, Chris Sheppard was slotted to make his first. “The Dogwhistle,” however, was no stranger to this vibe. After returning from England in 1988 he threw an acid house party called, The Temple of Psychic Youth, at the Masonic Temple on October 23rd (another notable 23 occurrence). He references the event here in this interview for The New Music where he discusses the invention of rave. This event, Shep’s promotion of dance music via the CFNY airways and role in the formation of 23 Hop were important precursors to raving in Toronto.

Psychic TV Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth TorontoUpdate 05/30/16: We managed to track down this advert for the aforementioned acid house party. The event was actually held at RPM and billed as an all-ages concert taking place on the same date Shep cites. The event featured a performance by Psychic TV who released early acid house albums in 1988. They also formed a cult-like fan club called Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth….

While it may or may not have been amicable, this evening represented a passing of the torch between the two DJs.  Malik helped incubate the scene during its formative months while Shep can be credited for helping to lay its foundation and an influential role during its massive growth. Both represented different schools of DJing: hobby vs. career, community vs. masses. Yet there was no doubt that each one felt the utmost passion for music. Many are firm believers of the Malik era being Toronto’s purest form of raving, Shep was perfectly qualified to push forward a scene that began exploding in 1992.

Unfortunately I was not in attendance for this event. Had I (and a crew of other Exodus devotees) known how important this event would end up being, we would have not been in Quebec City begging the DJ to play any form of techno he had. Those of us who missed out have all regretted it ever since. When the 23 Hop smoke machine settled, it became apparent that Unity in 1992 wouldn’t last long. Despite the glimmer of hope from Malik’s NYE appearance, he was a man of his word and would never return to raving. And, surprisingly, Exodus would never return to 23 Hop – which most of us assumed would resume the first Saturday night in January. It was rumored that disagreements between the partners erupted during New Year’s Eve followed by a parting of ways with the management of 23 Hop. As a result Mark Oliver exited from Exodus and John went on hiatus. Anthony went solo and threw a rave in late January at the Knights of Columbus in Brampton (coincidentally located on John Street.)

Eight months later John and Anthony reunited for a few large-scale events. It wasn’t long before they realized the integrity of their original concept couldn’t be adapted to such a rapidly progressing scene. Eventually the guys returned to their roots by throwing a small party at a venue known as the Actor’s Lab. It was widely considered one of their best events. After that, Exodus airlines was grounded, permanently.

“One day Malik had a vision that someone else would come along and run the scene. We just laughed it off, but he was right.” – John Angus

Jimmy J

exodus coke flyer

December 21st, 1991. This was the first Toronto rave flyer to feature colour printing and the first to spoof a trademark. Exodus would go on to produce t-shirts featuring this logo, but would replace, “real” with “rave”.