John Digweed is a pillar in a scene awash in fly-by-night superstars. Part of an old school of U.K. DJs including Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, and Pete Tong, Digweed struck it big in the British rave heyday of the late '80s and early '90s, and remains popular on the world club circuit. He started fumbling with records over 15 years ago, but it was Digweed's recent work with Sasha, another of the now-globe-trotting DJ veterans, that established both their names. Forming one of the most well-known turntable partnerships in dance music history, the pair launched their careers in 1994 with the famed “Mansfield Renaissance” parties, leading to the Renaissance album series. They also collaborated on the popular Northern Exposure album series, capturing the club environment with trademark long builds culminating in innovative explosions of energy.
Aside from their monthly residency at New York City's Twilo, Sasha and Digweed spin together less frequently these days, focusing more on their respective agendas. Digweed's latest solo project, a compilation released under (and titled after) his Bedrock moniker, is a testament to his own remixing strengths. Bedrock successfully layers a diversity of sounds, from deep, funky house to ethereal but unrelenting trance riffs. The first disc is dancier and the second more progressive, with tracks by Dakota, Sandra Collins, and the self-produced closer, “Heaven Scent.”
Digweed, who's been called the best DJ on Earth, is in between sets at his monthly residency at London club Heaven. For his seven-city tour of the States — where, unlike in his home country, he is still sometimes a stranger on the streets — he will be joined by Sasha for a few gigs, including one in San Francisco. Dance floor fervor will surely ensue, but with each segue, buildup, and frenzied peak, there will also be short lessons in the history of what has made people groove in the past and present. Trainspotters will likely stand post by the DJ booth, carefully watching the masters at work.
John Digweed and Sasha DJ on Friday, Dec. 10, at 10 p.m. at “Nikita,” 1015 Folsom (at Sixth Street), S.F. DJs Jimmy van M, Michael Anthony, Wish FM, Kaos, and Kayar will also be spinning. Tickets are $5 before 10:30 p.m., $15-20 after; call 281-0823.