Archive for the '1992' Category

Jimmy J

“This one goes out to the man called Malik, [whispers] happy birthday.” – Dr. No (16:27)

January 25, 1992. It started like most Saturdays with a morning shift at my neighborhood Esso gas station. But unlike previous Saturdays in 1991, I wasn’t as anxious to clock-out. Since there weren’t any raves scheduled, there was nothing to rush to after my shift ended. With no location to rave at in the new year, the city’s 300 ravers were in the midst of an identity crisis. And even though raves were functioning weeks prior – the scene’s uncertain future made them feel like a distant memory.

“A regular feature at 23 Hop, for those of you who remember that.” – Dr. No (15:18)

But there was a little hope. I was told by Captain B. Mental that we could expect to hear some techno on Radio London (even though Malik was three weeks into rave retirement.) That day my shift ended at 6pm – giving me enough time to walk home and slam a tape in my deck to record the broadcast. Malik gave Dr. No a 30-minute slot during his show to showcase techno. He called it the Techno Lab, and the above recording is what transpired.

This recording is evidence of an amicable passing of the torch between two men from the same school of DJing. No one was more qualified than the Doctor to ambassador the vibe  formed in 1991. In the years that followed he rode the the groove of progression and never forgot how it all began.

“Techno – the music of the future. And remember where you all started to hear it first – Radio London CKLN 88.1” Dr. No (23:18)

This particular day picked up more steam with reports of Mark Oliver spinning at a pub outside Toronto. With my tape deck left recording, I met up with Captain B. and we went down to the CKLN studios on our way to the pub. It was my first time there and Alan introduced me to Malik and Dr. No, who I had only ever seen from a distance – through the missing concrete slabs in the DJ booth.

From the studio we made our way to the pub. I can’t remember for sure if it was in Brampton, but I do remember taking a Go bus to get there. It was definitely in the 905, but before the days where you actually had to dial it. After spending a bit of time at the pub we weren’t hearing the hardcore we were hoping for so we boarded the bus back to downtown to continue our quest. We knew 23 Hop wasn’t functioning the way it used to, but decided to take our chances and went directly to 318.

We walked right past the empty cover booth – a tell-tale sign for club-goers that the end of the party is near. The house lights were on, no lasers were on stun, and the system wasn’t boomin’. Whatever party had been there had not succeeded. A tiny crew of confused Exodus hopefuls gathered outside the DJ booth. Then Dr. No arrived and everyone looked to him for answers, almost as if he was delivering long-awaited news to a family in a waiting room. In this case the loved one was Exodus Productions, which had been in a coma since the morning of January 1st and the prognosis wasn’t positive.

At that moment B. Mental pulled a tape out of his puffy green Naf-Naf jacket and popped it in the booth’s tape deck. The uncomfortable silence was over. The tape was a recording of the Exodus New Years rave, which began with Dr. No on the mic. He and everyone else had a laugh and we all starting dancing to the cassette now blasting over the club’s system.

I was in 23 Hop, and even if the audio was an analog version, I felt like I was back at Exodus with the Booming System blaring from the booth. Better yet, I was reliving the NYE event I had missed.

Unfortunately the flashback was short-lived. Roughly 20 minutes later the manager on duty pressed stop on the tape deck so he could close shop. We all quietly filed out of the club on to Richmond Street. The same question was on everyone’s mind: where do we go from here? This impromptu rave was over, yet the night was still young.

But then what? Because during those sobering moments I realized the true golden age of raving in Toronto was over.

“It’s enough to make a grown man cry and a man’s bottom lip swell-up.” – Malik X (00:07)

Track List

  • Here and Now – By Shakaboom
  • Triple XXX – Bug Khan & The Plastic Jam
  • Get on the Move – Bass Construction
  • The Melodic EP – One II One
  • M25’s – E-Type
  • Jock’s Nightmare – Intense

The following bonus recordings of The Techno Lab were contributed by Jeff Penttila:

And a subsequent recording once again submitted by the man, Jeff Penttila. Not great audio on this one, but definitely the Doctor as he makes mic appearances “Whatcha gonna do when the bass hits you…..” We think this might also be the Technolab, possibly January 4 1992 – as he plays The Trip by Phuture, which he just had on rotation on NYE.

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.


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