The 20 best tracks of the last 20 years, according to Kid Kenobi
Way back in 1996, a young gun called Jesse Desenberg stepped up for his first ever set. 20 years later, Desenberg – you might know him as Kid Kenobi – is still going. These days he’s regarded as one of Australia dance music’s true legends, the eternal king of breakbeat and a master of evolution. He’s also the guy who took out the first ever inthemix Awards way back in 2003, going on to take the title three years in a row.
To mark two decades in the game and one hell of a career, this year Kid Kenobi is taking his classic tracks on the road for a huge ’20 Years A Kid’ tour, which is still yet to hit Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth and his hometown of Sydney. He’s also kindly put together this list of his 20 favourite tracks from the last 20 years – spanning everything from Krafty Kuts to Hi-Fi Bugs, Green Velvet and Skrillex, it’s an essential round up of two decades of dance. Over to you, Kid Kenobi…
#1 Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness (Tweekin Acid Funk)
“Okay so technically this falls just outside the 20 year timeframe, but it was a massive track for me when I first started DJing in 1996. One of the original sources of breakbeat as a genre was a style of music called ‘acid breaks’ which originated in the US in the mid 90’s.
This was definitely one of the biggest tracks to come out of that era. Not only is it a crazy tune, but I remember sitting in the back of a cab with a good mate of mine (DJ Q45 / Diamond Lights) after a gig one time, listening to the outro beats, and both of us thinking ‘man, we could listen to this beat forever’! It really was the start of my breakbeat addiction.”
#2 The Electroliners – Loose Caboose (Bassbin Twins Remix)
“Okay, cheating again here! This was also released in 1995 but again this was a big track for me during my first years of DJing. The crazy train sounds and euphoric female rave vocal in the original made this a big club track for a lot of DJ’s in 1996. But it was the Bassbin Twins mix – with its hip hop mentality e.g. the cut ups at 2.58 – that really made this the ultimate peak time party tune for me!”
#3 The Freestylers – Ruffneck feat. Navigator
“This was a massive anthem back in the day. It had all the good stuff: a dope break, hype samples, and a first class ragga vocal. It brings back so many fond memories of super packed, super sweaty club nights at the old Globe nightclub in Sydney. I loved how breakbeat was such a small genre of dance music globally back then, but somehow we managed to turn these little known tunes into club anthems. It was a good time!”
#4 Azzido Da Bass – Dooms Night (Timo Maas Remix)
“This is one of those tunes that, when you heard it for the first time, you were just like WTF is this! It was like nothing that had come before it, especially with that crazy breakdown. This was a massive tune for me back then and created many a good gurn on the dancefloor for punters! Its success was quite ironic actually for (as far as the story goes) Timo Mass did this as a half joke in a couple of hours as the label had rejected his first remix attempt.”
#5 Layo & Bushwacka – Deep South
Layo & Bushwacka were two of the most talented producers I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing in my sets. In fact I put some of their tunes on now and it still sounds as fresh, and as forward thinking today, as it did almost 20 years ago. I love how their music was so journey orientated. To me that’s the essence of dance culture, the ability to just close your eyes and get lost in the music as it builds and builds. That said I remember dropping this at peak times too – it was such a vibe!
#6 Krafty Kuts – Ill Type Sound
“Although the version everyone knows came out a little later, the original dropped in 1999 under the name Ill Sick Flow on the FSUK label. Again, what was probably an innocent party banger at the time went on to become an anthem in Australia and helped make Krafty Kuts a household name. This is one of those few tunes people still remember to this day too and yep, it still goes off!”
#7 Plump DJs – Scram
“Of all the tunes I listed here this was probably one of the biggest game changers. The first time I heard this was when Soul of Man played it on white label. Justin from Soul of Man was like, ‘I’m going to drop the new Plumps tune, you’ll know it when you hear it!’. And we did! This absolutely blew our minds! It suddenly took breakbeat out of cool and backroom and straight into peak time mayhem. Game on!”
#8 Hi Fi Bugs – Lydian & The Dinosaur
“Back in the mid to late 90’s Australian producers were a rare breed. And I’ll be honest, I never thought we could ever write anything in Australia that could possibly be on par with what was coming from the UK, the US, and Europe at the time. It certainly was a dire case of cultural cringe on my behalf. Hearing this tune from Phil K and Andy Page however totally changed my entire outlook on what was possible from Australia. In fact this tune was not only good, it was mind blowing, and still sounds incredible today!”
#9 Groove Armada – Superstylin’
“I first heard this track on Video Hits. I know that sounds like a bad thing but it wasn’t really. The fact that it was a dope tune AND popular really helped give me the ability to reach a bigger audience in my sets as well as help bring the blossoming breaks scene to a wider audience (even though it wasn’t technically breaks it still got labeled as such in Australia back then). The vocal, the horns, and the bassline are all first class and this is one of those tracks that people still remember – and go off to – 15 years later.”
#10 Green Velvet – La La Land (Poxymusic vs Kid Kenobi Remix)
“Okay bit of a self-plug here but this really was a highlight of my career! This was the first time I jumped into the studio for an official remix. The remix itself went on to become an anthem of mine and got played all over the world by DJs I looked up to and respected at the time including Fatboy Slim. People still remember this remix like it was yesterday and still ask for it 13 years later, crazy!”