Date posted: May 1, 2016 By: 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.”


UPDATE 5/2016: 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 7/2016: 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…

UPDATE 2/2021: Malik emerges with a new track. “Straight From Jah – Feat. Fat Larry. Taken From The Forth Coming Albulm – OPAL FREQUENCIES – O.S.T.
New “DubLight” Release From Internally Live Music. Stand By – More Coming Soon.”

Date posted: January 1, 2016 By: Jimmy J

We’ve been on the hunt for Exodus footage for over six years now. The exhausting effort is detailed here. Unfortunately, we still haven’t found any footage from Exodus’ stay at 23 Hop in 1991. Strangely, no Hop footage from any event or year has ever surfaced.

We did however manage to find Exodus footage from their post Hop era. And what footage it is.

On Saturday November 28 1992 Exodus took over the Masonic Temple aka Concert Hall. The event boasted a live performance by Shut Up and Dance and Pete Bouncer whose track “Raving I’m Raving” was a commercial anthem earlier in the year. To the original Exodus faithful it was a bit of an odd selection, as we had always associated Exodus with cutting edge underground tunes. Toward the end of the year I’m Raving was very played out, mostly at The Factory in the summer months.

But it was a sign of the times, Exodus wanted to grow their audience and potential for profit. Despite being pioneers of Toronto rave – they were now competing in a different scene that was evolving way too quickly.

Exodus Raving Im Raving

The commercial PA aside, John and Anthony also brought in a pair of DJs from the UK. Unknowns to us at the time, DJs Jason & Terry were from NHS 104.9 in Glasgow. They were billed alongside the remaining members of the Boomin’ System – and this was the Exodus we all remembered. The tunes turned out to be top notch. The rave was packed. New punters educated. Cries of commercialism quashed.

The best part of this footage is the music – partially because the PA wasn’t recorded. Although it would have been fun to watch, it’s better that the soundtrack to this video is by DJs. And while Sykosis and Pleasure Force had introduced us to faster jungle sounds earlier in ’92 (Loon-EE-Tunes was the week previous) Exodus mostly held true to their signature techno sound.

Thankfully the camera person kept the recording to only a few seamless shots – which means the music stays mostly intact. Sure, there’s lots of camera jostling, but the camera’s mic managed to capture the most important part very well. And, to his credit – the shooter also perched the cam in some pretty choice areas and just left it running. The stationary footage toward the end is amazing.

Go-Gos glorified by IntelliBeams. A large Easter bunny even makes a cameo (rumored to be Scott Fraser/Guru Skot from the Factory.) Ravers going hard in every corner and level of the venue. Dr. No on the MIC. Whistle posse in effect. A power outage. What more could you ask for?

By far the best footage we have discovered. We highly suggest playing it just for the tunes too.

Big shout to Jennifer O’Brien aka Chippy for preserving and providing this gem.

Date posted: December 6, 2015 By: 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!)

Date posted: October 24, 2015 By: Jimmy J

We know you’re still hurting from the Jays loss to KC last night. There is hope, but next year is just too damn far away. So to tide you over and help heal your wounds we’ve dug up some Toronto World Series rave history.

In order to restore your faith please listen to this quick two minute clip, then we’ll dig deeper below.

That wicked sound bite is from a 1993 Toronto rave called Unity. But let’s rewind even more, back to the first time we got to celebrate a World Series victory at a rave. It was Saturday October 24 1992 at event called Lost In Space – hosted by Chemistry Productions. The game went into extra innings and several ravers had tuned in on their car radios en-route to the venue. When they entered the party the news spread virally, the old-fashioned way. That involved humans communicating with each other in real time. It was called word of mouth. You see, instead of getting an update on your smartphone, an email, or text – another person would engage you in an actual conversation and tell you the news. Imagine that.

Unfortunately no audio from Lost In Space exists, or at least it’s never surfaced. But according to local legend, Chemistry’s Alex of London is said to have a stash of recordings tucked away somewhere…

But for now we’ll just have to flashback via the flyer from that magical evening at Scooter’s Roller World (a now defunct space-age roller rink that was tucked away in the ‘burbs.)

Chemistry Lost In Space Rave

Now back to Unity. Unity conceived as a fundraiser by a gentleman known as Trevor Hardcore. He was (and is) a personal friend of the Ben and Mike from Sykosis. The intention was to raise funds for the massive financial losses that occurred at Sykosis’ “Ravestock” which happened a few months previous. Ravestock was Toronto’s first rave festival – it was ahead of its time and that usually translates into a disaster on a financial level.

Sykosis Ravestock

Hardcore approached several rave companies and pitched the idea of pooling promotions with the proceeds used to repay the debts Ravestock had racked up. Several rave companies agreed, then bailed for one reason or another. Eventually it turned into a team effort by Sykosis and Infinity.

Unity Toronto Rave

I managed the recordings that evening and captured three sides of two 90 minute cassettes. Back then recording audio wasn’t as easy as clicking a button on a laptop. In our day you had to press record on a tape deck – remember to flip it 45 minutes later and then swap it out for a new tape after another 45 minutes. And repeat throughout the entire evening.

This recording is one of the most infamous Toronto tapes out there. Mostly due to the fact the MC (Clive G) repeatedly reminded the crowd that “The Blue Jays Won!” If you were at the rave that evening his voice has since been indelibly etched in soundtrack of your 1990s mind.

So without further ado…this is what happens when you’re at a rave and the Jays have just won the World Series…

And in honor of the Jay’s great 2015 season – have this never before released portion, on us:

Go Jays Go.

Date posted: October 22, 2011 By: Jimmy J

Through the magic of the internets the elusive Sean L recently stumbled across our site and made an appearance on Facebook. So what happened to one of Toronto’s founding rave DJs? Was he exiled from Canada or is he a fugitive? Held up in a Turkish prison or just enjoying life back in the UK? 15 years later he settles the score.

Your departure has been explained by a 23 Hop deportation rumor. Any truth to it?

Ha ha, rumour and mystery make every story more interesting, but there is some truth to it. I did not get deported but I did get arrested for selling alcohol without a liquor license, I was a given a summons to appear in court but I never showed up for the trial. You summed up why I left in your bio of me, I was still getting a few gigs but not enough to support myself financially and had no day job.

It was time to go home, I had been partying hard and needed to go back to Merseyside and get my head together. There is always some sadness when you say goodbye to friends especially when you have had such good times, but I needed to go home and glad I left when I did.

Are 23 Hop memories bitter sweet then? Tell us some memorable BSC moments?

Not bitter sweet at all, just great memories and loads of them, as a club it was similar to Liverpool’s Underground club and the Hacienda, with minimal decor just a few lights and a bank of fuck off speakers. Nothing would be cleaned for weeks so if you sat down anywhere you got covered in crap. The mural of Che at the top of the stairs was perfectly apt it was “ Viva La Revolution”. Like the other clubs I mentioned though it was nothing without up for it punters keen to embrace something new.

Malik X was an awesome force, a great DJ and the best MC I have ever heard, I remember Dr No dropping in ce ce penniston and grooving round the booth, Malik was buzzing on the mic rapping about Neil’s whig out, the whole club was laughing, those 2 really fed off each other.

I can listen to the hardest techno styles but for me Mark played the best sets and in my opinion is as good a deck fiddler as there is with a character of rare quality. It was always good fun in the Booth and there was a good camaraderie amongst the BSC, I will always love those guys!! Dropping stuff like The Orb, huge pulsating brain and hearing cheering from the dance floor and getting love from the punters was a fantastic feeling.

Where have you been since and what have you been up to these days?

I moved back to my hometown of Southport and have lived here since, no place like home I guess. These days I’m driving trucks for a living, I swapped the Technics wheels of steel for Scania’s, it pays the mortgage.

How did you end up in Toronto and get linked up with the BSC? 

A story of fate and luck. Unemployed in Thatcher’s Britain I left for Canada, I did not know if I would stay for a month or whatever but I had family there and decent contacts for some construction work.

I had only been over a few weeks staying up in North York and bored one Saturday night I headed downtown, Billy no mates. Fate had me walking down Richmond St off the beaten track, next thing 3 rum looking cunts are walking toward me, I was worried they would beat me up and mug me.

Anthony Donnelly, John Angus and Danny Henry, great guys all 3. They dragged me up to 23 Hop where Mark Oliver was playing all the right tunes but the place was empty. Anthony and John though had a clear plan and brimmed with enthusiasm. The name Exodus was decided and Mark, Malik and Dr No were going to DJ and they were going to promote the thing properly.

I had brought some scouse house favourites with me and had done a few club nights and illegal parties back home so I begged them to put me on the bill and they gave me a chance, within 2 weeks they had 318 crammed and rocking!!

Malik came up with the Boomin System Collective name declaring the 4 members, that and the loyalty of Exodus kept me on the bill.

Malik quite often mentioned on air that you were “stuck in a little hut”?

I was flag man on the Gerrard St Bridge over the DVP reconstruction, they did it in sections so the streetcar route could continue but the road was closed to cars, I did that 12 hours a night sat in the hut listening to my walkman, trying to keep warm in your delightful winter weather. Money was really good though, Union Job.

What became of your record collection?

I took a flight case full with me and left the rest, not sure what became of them but I hope someone had some use of them.

Did your DJ career continue when you left Canada?

No I hung up the headphones when I left at least professionally. I have played a few parties in friends houses and still like to play with the old tunes every now and again with virtual DJ.

What’s your all time favourite top 23 Hop anthem?

Mark’s Coco Steel and Lovebomb, Feel It.

Few of mine, A Homeboy, A Hippie and A Funky Dread, Total Confusion (heavenly mix), Orbital Chime, LFO and The Orb, A huge pulsating brain, a copy given to me by Terence.

Had you heard your Clash of the Techno set before visiting this site? Comments?

Love the website, the fact it was 20 years ago I guess is why I hit the search button. A very comprehensive account into the birth of Toronto’s rave scene, well done!!

No not heard the recording of the broadcast before, some decent tunes on there, I managed to press the wrong button though and had a few minutes of dead air while the Dr and Malik figured out my mistake.

Do you have any recordings or evidence of your time in Toronto?

Yeah there are some tapes about, some photos and the flyers and Sean L is on t’interweb thingy now.

What other memories can you share about Toronto parties that followed Exodus?

Loads of good parties, but don’t forget Exodus still had a few more great events. The Chemistry parties were good and led the way to the bigger warehouse events, Pleasure Force stands out too especially the first with Andy Carroll and New Atlantic as I helped arrange that part. Destiny, Phaze and Better Days got it goin on too. Summertime was great in Toronto with an abundance of great events

Toronto misses you, would you consider coming back for a “Boomin’ Reunion”?

Wow, nice of you to say that. I miss Toronto and the friends I had there. I think I should gain entry ok. It would be nice to see everyone and listen to Shuggy again and the other good DJs, party like the old days, I really never meant to leave it this long but I have never got round to it.

Anyway thanks for getting in touch, Respect to the Toronto Massive.

Cherish the Special moments in your life,

Sean L

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Photo courtesy of Frank Scuglia, Phaze 1993