It was nearly three years ago that Lauren Krieger wrote a cover story for 5 Mag on Bay Area outfit As You Like It. It was one of my favorite stories that we published that year. AYLI had been one of the top promoters in the country for underground house and techno events — even I heard about their parties and I wasn’t exactly plugged in. They had their own design aesthetic which I loved, and copied countless times over the years from flyers I stuffed in an inspo folder.

A label would have been the next logical step, but on December 2, 2016, 36 people were killed in a fire at a concert held in the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland. One of them was Johnny Igaz, DJ and inspiration for when AYLI finally went ahead with plans for a label and for this second release that dropped earlier this year.

Dear Johnny is a 14 track compilation and it’s as wonderful as its namesake was said to be by those that honor him. Released digitally and on cassette tape in a continual mix by Jason Kendig, Dear Johnny features a few familiar names and a lot of new ones. The sound ranges from deep house to tech house, bass-forward jazz to techno spiked with a little trance (they’re from California, they can’t help themselves) and even a bit of garage. The more eclectic tracks make the greatest impression: “Catching Up From Being Left Behind” by Indy Nyles has that kind of wild inventiveness you often hear from people who spent a lot of time imagining records they would make before they tried to make one. The weirdly short but raucous, raw techno of RITCHRD’s “Rebirth” really kicks. The fuzzy cosmic jazz of The Rhythmist on “Four Plus Eight” is an incredibly strong track too. A lovely project, on time whenever you find it.

⚪️ Dear Johnny Tracklisting

Various Artists: Dear Johnny (As You Like It Recordings / Digital + Cassette)
1. ADRA - VR (04:35)
2. Eichef - Friday 13th (05:46)
3. Farsight - Same Letter Seven Times (04:13)
4. Indy Nyles - Catching Up From Being Left Behind (04:42)
5. Kudeki - Spiral (05:50)
6. Mark Slee - Wormwood (06:09)
7. Michael Claus - Mirrored State (05:50)
8. One A - Let It Go (07:06)
9. Only Now - Web of Dispirit (05:33)
10. Piano Rain - Fly, Like The Wind (05:45)
11. RDS - Rise (06:18)
12. The Rhythmist - Four Plus Eight (06:37)
13. RITCHRD - Rebirth (03:15)
14. Spreadsheets - Active Cell (06:02)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement

This record was submitted as a promo.


5 Mag Issue 209
Out September 2023

SOUNDS OF THE UNDERGROUND: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #209 featuring Alinka, Laseech, Being, Marco Lenzi, the sordid story of the Goldman Sachs CEO’s DJ career and more. Help keep our vibe alive by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!

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