The Complete Bassex Records Discography
Bassex Records was one of the most influential West Coast dance music labels of the '90s. Based out of Redondo Beach, CA the label spawned 17 vinyl releases from 1994-1998, many of which went on to gain cult like status across the globe.
Rebirth – Embryo / Migration Of Da Party People
Bassex 001 (Promo Copy)
One night in 1994 while raving at Insomniac in a warehouse on 12th and Hope St. in Downtown LA, Jason Blakemore (DJ Trance) handed me a white label 12" and told me he was starting a new record label with Mike Knapp (Xpando) called Bassex. I stashed the record in my crate and checked it out the next morning. Both sides were packed with funky breakbeats, cut up samples, and were going to get lots of play in my sets.
Shortly thereafter, I met Mike (Xpando) and after realizing we lived right near each other, he invited me over to his place to check out his studio (Seratonal). Mike had just about every piece of gear you could imagine, and was happy to geek out and show me how each of them worked. Acid breaks were taking over the West coast and DJ's everywhere were scouring pawn shops hoping to score the long discontinued Roland TB-303 responsible for making those wonderful acid sounds (this was long before even the early emulators were available). I was fortunate enough to visit Seratonal Studios a number of times over the years and eventually bought one of Mike's Roland SH-101's (gray) from him.
Bassex followed up their first release with a solid lineup of records throughout the 90's. Some of the releases had a limited initial run done on colored vinyl, which I was able to score from Mike/Jason directly or the record shops as they usually hit LA first before the distributors.
The four colored vinyl Bassex releases (I always thought that Go Off! / Pure would have made an excellent white vinyl promo)
By 1996, the label had amassed an incredible catalog and I planned to put together a 'Bassex mix' showcasing my favorite cuts from the label. I had wanted to mention it to Mike in hopes of maybe releasing it officially, but was too nervous at the time. The label did end up putting out a mixed CD titled Space Park Drive which was a nice mix of tracks from the label in 1998.
Fast forward to sometime around 2018, I was going through my library and realized that I didn't have many of the releases from the label digitized. I checked around a bit and saw that the label never put up the catalog for digital download (only Pure, which Blakemore later released digitally on his Fiveleg label). It was then that I came up with the idea to archive the entire Bassex catalog for my collection, to preserve the history of the label.
The project started out slow, I think I probably recorded one or two records and then got sidetracked with other projects. It wasn't until late 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic that the project would finally gain steam. In order to do it properly, I was going to need clean copies of every release from the label. I dug through my collection and realized I was somehow missing 2 releases, and had a couple others that had seen better days from hammering them at gigs over the years. I toyed with the idea of trying to track down the masters / DAT's, but Mike had gone quiet over the years and I wasn't sure if he even had everything archived since the label had zero digital presence despite the records becoming quite expensive on the used market.
I reached out to a couple of friends to let them know about the project and to see if they could help fill in the remaining few gaps needed. I wasn't having much luck until the homie Thee Mike B responded with a very enthusiastic hell yes and we got down to business. Mike B came through big time with some clean rips and we geeked out over how many dope cuts the label put out over the years. Finally after a few long nights at the editing desk and adding artwork and metadata, the project was complete.
The Complete Bassex Records Discography remastered and preserved in AIFF format.
17 releases, 43 tracks, 5 hours 38 minutes of Los Angeles dance music history.
Many thanks to Mike Knapp, Jason Blakemore, Eric Davenport, Darwin Chamber, Peter Tall, Brownie, and Dr. Scissors for your contributions to one of the greatest record labels of all time - and to Mike Brillstein for helping the project come to life. Respect!
Hopefully the label will put up their catalog for streaming/sale at some point. But until then, I'm happy to have archived my personal collection for safe keeping and digital play.
Looking for Bassex Records on vinyl? Check Discogs here