Guest Mix: Tyssen presents Pendragon Tribute

Tyssen presents Pendragon Tribute

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Mixed in Brisbane, September 2010
(116:56, 267.65 MB, 320 KBPS MP3)

Cue file

Style: UK Hard/Acid Trance

Direct link to the mix:


01. Pendragon – Acid People (Pendragon)
02. DJ Shifty – Slipstream (Jugular Mix) (D-Stressed)
03. McBain v Mendoza – Jam Me Jack Me (Project Five)
04. Chris C & Dave Nation – Controlled Descent (Mohawk)
05. Phil Reynolds – Ballistic (Aztec)
06. Jon Doe & UFO – Phaze 1 (Toast)
07. Legend B – Lost In Love (Paul Janes Remix) (Bulletproof)
08. Andy Allder v Graham D – Dazzle (GTO)
09. Raymondo – Win The Crowd Win Your Freedom (Fevah Trance)
10. The M Experience – Rock Ya Body (Butch & Sundance Body Rock Remix) (Redemption Test Press)
11. Daniel Ro – Hypnotise (Peroxide)
12. Equinox – Immure (Tranzmit)
13. Afro Celt Sound System – Inion (Mark Sinclair Remix) (Pendragon)
14. Lab 4 – Close Encounter (Mark Sinclair & Choci Remix) (Choci’s Chewns)
15. Mark Sinclair – Room 16 (Pendragon)
16. Afro Celt Sound System – Riding The Waves (Mark Sinclair Remix) (Pendragon)
17. Pendragon – Maen Cetti Feat. Taffrican (Lush)
18. The Secret – Gorgeous (Orgasm Mix) (Secret Records)
19. Mark Sinclair – Every Morning (Pendragon)
20. Jon The Dentist – The Simirillion (Svenson’s Trip To Gondor) (Phoenix Rising)
21. Mm & Mm’s – Space Jam (Choci’s Acid Trade Mix) (Choci’s Chewns)
22. David Craig – Lord Of The Universe (Jon Doe Remix) (Recover)
23. DJ Choci – Can You Feel The Force (Daniel ‘Billy’ Bunter & Steve Vanden Remix) (Cannon)
24. Mad Gay Mafia – Injector Part II (Remodelled) (Mishka’s Mad Gay Mafia Mix) (Efadrine)
25. DJ Reche – Don’t Work (Mark Sinclair & Choci Remix) (Main Vein Records)
26. Choci & Mark Sinclair – Out There (Choci’s Chewns)

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About a month ago I mentioned that there would be a number of guest mixes forthcoming here at Sonicrampage, and so I am very happy to present you with the first, which is Tyssen’s tribute to Pendragon, the legendary London hippy trance party crew. It’s two hours of awesome UK hard acid trance – glorious melodies, soaring 303’s, and pounding rhythms. If you ever went to Pendragon back in the day, this should put a big smile on your face!

I first met John (aka Tyssen) through the Banging Tunes forum nearly ten years ago now. A native of Perth, Western Australia, he was living in London at the time and after communicating via the forum we ended up meeting at some London club night, but which one I couldn’t tell you, because it really has been a while now! In any case, we became friends and we used to meet up for clubbing or drinks every now and then when I was in London. After a while, we lost contact, since he went back to Oz and I moved back to the States for a few years, but through the magic of social media we reconnected about a year or two back.

Which was nice!

Anyways, I recently offered him a guest mix slot if he was interested, and he responded that he was, and that he had been thinking of doing a tribute to Pendragon. This was not something that I had to think twice about!

Since I had had a number of great nights at Pendragon over the years, I was all over this idea. From the mid-90’s through to the early 2000’s, Pendragon was one of the leading London trance crews, with a music policy of hard and uplifting trance expertly dished out by their resident dj’s Mark Sinclair, Juno, Beamish, and Oberon. Over the years they did all kinds of events, from warehouse raves to outdoor parties to nights at major venues like The Fridge and Brixton Academy. What made Pendragon such a wonderful experience was a combination of great music, stunning decor, and a really friendly, up for it crowd of ravers. Another way in which Pendragon stood out from the competition was their use of Celtic iconography in their flyers and decor, which set them apart from the cliched pseudo-Indian imagery used by so many other trance events.

Besides putting on parties, Pendragon also at various points ran a record label called Pendragon Records and a record shop on Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, which I used to frequent when I was 18/19. A good shop, sadly missed.

For those who are interested in finding out more about Pendragon, it’s worth checking out the interviews with resident dj’s Juno and Beamish that were published by HarderFaster in the run-up to Pendragon’s 19th birthday party back in June. If you never went to any of the Pendragon parties, but want to understand the vibe they had (especially back in the late 90’s), I think this quote from Beamish captures that feeling perfectly:

At the end of the day, people have been dancing for thousands of years to the beat of a drum. And a 14 hour kick drum extravaganza in a warehouse or in a field somewhere where everyone is on the same level moving at the same speed to the same beat, whether it’s spiritual, religious or not, you would certainly feel the really special feeling of oneness!

Anyways, that’s enough of my waffling! It’s now time to turn to Tyssen, who very kindly agreed to answer some questions about this mix:

To start with, can you explain a bit about yourself, what your background is, and so on?

Originally from Western Australia, I now live in Brisbane with my wife, two kids and two dogs where I work as a freelance web designer.

How did you end up in London and what got you into the club scene?

I headed over to the UK in the middle of 1995 to do the usual Aussie backpacking around Europe thing. Got back to London in early ’96 when I moved into a shared house in Mile End. It was some of my flatmates there who took me along to my first party, Return to the Source (RTTS) at The Fridge in Brixton. The next weekend it was Escape from Samsara at the same place – after the previous weekend, I couldn’t wait to get back there!

When (and why!) did you start mixing?

When I first got into clubbing I was mainly buying goa/psy trance because we were going to quite a few RTTS and because it was just easier to get psy trance on CD. Also the Truelove Collective were pretty good at putting out CDs with unmixed acid techno tracks on them too. After a while I’d accumulated a large collection of CDs even though by this time I was more into the sort of sound being played at Escape from Samsara and Pendragon etc. Unfortunately, the sort of tunes being played at these events weren’t available on CD. So it seemed to make sense to me at the time to use the collection I’d already built up and so I bought a set of CD decks in 1998.

It wasn’t until I got back to London in 2000 after a stint away travelling that I decided I wanted to get into mixing more seriously and bought some 1200s, mixer and started buying vinyl. It was at this time that I discovered BangingTunes.

I was really inspired to get into mixing by Mark Sinclair, the promoter and lead DJ of Pendragon. Even now, all these years later, I still think he’s the best DJ I ever saw. Even though Pendragon would always have an awesome line-up of DJs, you just knew that when Mark came on (usually last) he would take it to another level completely. There were moments at the end of his sets where my jaw would literally be hanging at how unbelievably good the previous 1-2 hours had been. Mark also liked to use a lot of ‘tricks’ in his sets – cuts, spinbacks etc. – and I tried to incorporate some of that into my mixing too.

What are some of your favourite memories of Pendragon?

I have to admit to being a total Pendragon groupie while we were living in London. I was a regular at their nights at Tyssen Street (we lived five minutes walk away and yes, that’s where I took my forum/DJ name from ;)) and The Fridge, and NYE parties at Brixton Academy, and followed them down Landbroke Grove Rd three times for the Notting Hill Carnival, and even followed them to Wales for Carry on Regardless and to Normandy, France for the Out There Festival.

Apart from the jaw-dropping moments mentioned above, some highlights would be:

  • Out There Festival (1997) – two full days of non-stop Pendragon (although there were brief interludes to check out some of the other tents/acts like the awesome Turbo Unit).
  • Notting Hill Carnival (1997) – there were moments during the afternoon when the whole street within earshot of the Pendragon float would be going mental after insane build-ups – people were hanging out their windows waving shirts round their heads – and people who were standing by the side of the road would just have to start dancing and following along as the float passed by like they were being sucked into some sort of musical vortex.
  • NYE at Tyssen Street (1998) – at midnight the music stopped and a guy playing bagpipes got up on a speaker stack to pipe in the new year.

Moving on to this mix, why did you want to do a tribute to Pendragon?

The story behind this mix is actually quite a long one. It was some time last year that I decided to do a Pendragon tribute, but it didn’t start out that way. The records that make up the bulk of the mix have actually been set out waiting to be mixed for about five years I think!

In about 2003/04 I stopped buying vinyl completely because: a) I was losing interest in hard house/NRG/hard dance and was getting back into psy trance again and progressive; and b) the cost of vinyl against what I was earning was a lot higher than when I was living in the UK. So even though by about 2005 I was still mixing, it was mainly on my old Numark CD decks playing CDs (funny how it went full circle). Some time around then I pulled these tunes out with the intention of doing a mix.

But it was also at this time that I’d started my freelance web design business as a part-time pursuit alongside my 9-5 job. So that was taking up a lot of my time and then the first of our kids came along in 2007 and that took up even more time and then our second kid arrived in 2008 by which time we’d rearranged the rooms and I’d packed the decks and vinyl away for good (with the pile of tunes for this mix still sitting out separately).

Last year I catalogued all my vinyl on Discogs and it was then that I started looking around for some of my old past favourites that I didn’t have and I picked up the last two tunes on the mix: ‘DJ Reche – Don’t Work (Mark Sinclair & Choci remix)’ and ‘Mark Sinclair & Choci – Out There’, which I’d first heard on a cassette, ‘Pendragon, Live at the Fridge’, from 1997.

So it was then that I decided I should add them to the list of the other tunes that had been sitting there for years and then thought I should actually make it a Pendragon Tribute because I had quite a few of Mark Sinclair’s other tunes as well as some by Choci, who was another Pendragon mainstay. But because the decks were still packed away, I kinda put it on the back burner thinking I’d get around to it one day.

How did you choose the tracks? Are there any here with a particular meaning to you?

The two mentioned previously are favourites as are Mark’s remixes of the Afro Celt tunes; there’s just something about that mix of hard trance and ethereal, floaty, celtic-inspired lyrics in the breakdowns that I’ve always loved. Gorgeous by The Secret I’ve played from start to finish with long, floaty intro and outro because The Secret were regulars at Pendragon nights and that’s the way I always remember hearing them play that track in their sets. It was probably their signature tune and they nearly always made it stand out from the others by playing the whole thing.

The rest are some of my favourite UK hard trance tracks that I have in my collection.

What equipment did you use to make the mix?

The mix was done on Traktor Pro on my laptop with a Numark Total Control midi controller. That’s why it took me so long to get around to it, even from the point of finally deciding it would be a Pendragon tribute. Because all the vinyl mixing stuff was packed away and I didn’t really have the room for it anymore, it wasn’t until I got Traktor at the beginning of the year that I began to think about it as being a possibility. I ended up getting one of my decks out to rip all the vinyl to my laptop so that I could play them in Traktor.

If people want to check out any of your other mixes, where should they look?

You can see from the timeline that there was a long break between 2005 and 2010; that’s when work and family took over and I didn’t really have the time for mixing. And you can see that by 2005 I was well into psy/progressive and not doing hard trance any more. There’s quite a few mixes I did in 2000/01 that aren’t on the list either because they were on minidisk only (remember those?), or only CDs that no longer play properly. All the ones done this year have been done on Traktor, all the ones from 2005 were done on my old CD decks and the ones before that would be either straight vinyl or vinyl and CD.

I’ve got plans to do quite a few more mixes this year; mainly more psy trance and progressive but also tributes to Eufex, Jonn Doe and Nick Sentience. I’ve already done one for DIP/Dynamic Intervention which was sparked by a thread on BangingTunes.

Finally, is there anything more you want to add?

No, I think I’ve said plenty already, don’t you? πŸ˜‰

Here are a few old skool party pics from Pendragon’s official Facebook group, used courtesy of Sebastien Rousseau. Thanks Sebastien! If anyone else has any more old Pendragon pics that you would like me to add to the gallery, please let me know.