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DJ Mag Top100 DJs

He's changed the game again. Consistently at the vanguard of dance music since his heady DJ beginnings in 1990, when he innovated a unique DJ style at Shelley's, in Stoke-on-Trent, Sasha has blazed a house music trail, always predicting where the music will go next. Always in high demand, and never out of the Top 10 DJs since 1997, he returned to the production fray in 2008 with the momentous 'Invol2er' - a stunning mix of new cuts and reconstructions of artists as diverse as Ladytron, Thom Yorke and Apparat that still has DJmag reeling from its mysterious majesty. 'I've been really blown away by the way it's been received, I'm not normally used to that!' smiles Sasha. 'It was a lot of work so it's great to see people get straight into it.' Deliberately veering left outside of his musical comfort zone, the DJ/producer decided to work with vocals from the indie rock world to augment his 20,000 leagues-deep excursions into electronic house. 'It was a conscious decision to cast the net wider, looking to other places for inspiration for a more eclectic tracklisting. But funnily enough, the sound is a lot purer on this one,' Sasha suggests. A particular coup was securing Thom Yorke's blessing for a remix of solo track 'The Eraser', which appears exclusively on 'Invol2er'. The erstwhile Radiohead vocalist was apparently so taken with Sasha's treatment that he posted a video of Sasha playing it online. 'It was such a buzz to have Thom Yorke on it, he posted a video of me playing the mix on his website and when I saw that I was absolutely buzzing. So we called him up and asked if we could do something official with it, and he was really into the idea,' Sasha froths. The production of 'Invol2er' also saw the Welsh wonder embrace recondite studio techniques, using found sounds and recorded audio from street scenes in New York City to create an intensely spacious atmosphere. Drawing influences from Burial's audio evocations of London, Sasha set out to capture the sensations of NYC in sonic form, making for an album as enjoyable as a listening experience as on a dancefloor. And speaking of dancefloors, the DJ gigs continued apace, including a particularly enjoyable jaunt across the US with DJ amigo John Digweed. Touring the States with John on a bus again was 'fantastic', while a set at the opening of Space this season was 'one of the best gigs of the year'. Indeed his resonance in Ibiza remains pronounced, with Sasha scooping the award for Best Progressive House DJ in Lenny Ibizarre's prestigious White Isle-based DJ Awards recently. And before the year is out, Sasha will have played more US and Canadian gigs as part of his fall tour, touching down everywhere from Dallas to Montreal, NYC to Toronto and Miami. Meanwhile, Sasha's label emFire went from strength-to-strength this year. Set up as an outlet for his productions, the distinct sleeve art and techno-themed flavour of the tracks - such as 'Who Killed Sparky?' and 'Mongoose' - saw his tunes crossover to new fans, and further blurred the boundaries between progressive house and darker tech flavours. Collected in the double CD opus, 'The emFire Collection: Mixed, Unmixed & Remixed by Sasha', it proved one of the strongest sets of 2008. And there's plenty more emFire goodness to come. 'We're gonna be releasing 'Three Little Pigs' off 'Invol2er', coupled with some new mixes, and we've got four or five new tracks lined up, so we've got lots of ammunition for emFire,' says Sasha. Looking forward, Sasha ponders: 'I haven't really got a plan for my next big project, I'll see how the dust settles after 'Invol2er'. I'd like to do another project like that in the future but maybe I'll leave it a while.' Be sure that when it comes that the next project from Sasha will be similarly special.