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Don Rimini: Dog Days of Rave

The rave myth, defined by scores of youngsters spending hours calling hotlines and following maps to finally reach blissed-out dancefloor paradise, was alive and well in 1990s Paris. “There were raves in warehouses, but also in caves, in woods, on rooftops, in villas, in middle-age castles, empty swimming pools, old military barracks,” says producer and DJ Don Rimini (a.k.a. Xavier Gassemann). He spent his salad days at these parties, listening to English breakbeat, Chicago house, and Detroit techno tunes from the likes of Green Velvet, Underground Resistance, and Plastikman.

As a result, the gritty electro tracks on the 32-year-old’s recently released Kick N’ Run EP (put out by Delicious Gutter, Aaron Lacrate’s and Rick Ross’ new imprint) ooze lazer-happy, stomach-churning synths and four-to-the-floor rhythms evocative of rave’s heyday. “Nervous Breakdown” features slinky sirens and pounding beats, while “Ohow?” and “Rave On”’s frenetic kicks and looped vocals exude old-school U.K. rave style. While many producers choose to showcase only two original tracks on their EPs, Rimini crafted his as a mini-album. “I didn’t want to use a second-rate track for a b-side; only first choice–four tracks, four bangers,” he explains.

January 2008’s Absolutely Rad EP initially put Rimini on the map, due to the success of the massive tune “Let Me Back Up” and its attendant Crookers rework. The Delicious Gutter dudes took notice, asking Rimini to remix an old Delicious Vinyl track of his choosing for their RmXXXology compilation–a perfect fit, since he was a hip-hop DJ for a time. He decided to give Young MC’s “Bust a Move” the rave treatment, fusing epic synths with thumping beats while preserving the spirit of the original. “I was just a super fan of Delicious Vinyl. It’s really a mythic label for me; my own mini American dream,” he says of the experience.

Rimini has been busy crafting other remixes, putting a new spin on Sinden’s “Hardcore Girls” (featuring B-more club chanteuse Rye Rye), as well as tracks by Dada Life, Nu Ravers on the Block, Fires of Rome, and Numero. However, his ultimate remix fantasy is to have a go at late ’80s Dutch dance duo Quadrophonia’s “Quadrophonia.” “The original is wicked!” he exclaims jovially. “It’s got an amazing hook for ringtones!”

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