Mark your diaries, folks. On 15 December a constellation of stars are descending on London for a smashing one off gig. Sasha. Renaissance. Ministry Of Sound. At one time or another each has rightfully laid claim to the title of the biggest dance music brand in the world (yes, Sasha, that means you). Unsurprisingly, given all the ego, fanfare, licensing tangles and big money involved in being a global brand, it's been some time since these clubbing behemouths have rubbed shoulders. In fact, last time Sasha got busy in the legendary booth at London's Ministry Of Sound was a full 13 years ago. For most of us, that means it was a distant precursor to the day when we first heard of him – much less could get into a club legally. So this is a chance for all those youthful nostalgia trippers to see what the fuss was about.
In the intervening years Sasha released Airdrawndagger (finally), went off to break America with his good pal Diggers, got a haircut and – oh yes – set up a record label. The latter is his most recent venture and the timing of this Ministry Of Sound "reunion" show neatly highlights the debut release on his new emFire imprint, Coma. A collaboration with old muckers Spooky and Barry Jamieson, Coma promises to be the first in a string of monthly releases featuring the handiwork of this quartet of prog worthies. Which is nice, but undoubtedly of only casual interest to the fans who will be scrambling over each other to get tickets for the Ministry gig.
And rightly so. Anyone can buy the record, but one night only at MOS promises to be memorable. As everyone who's ever read a dance music book/magazine/forum should know "the Box" – Ministry's main room – boasts one of the world's most ear-shattering soundsystems. (The huge yellow sound level warning signs on the way into the room are no joke.) Originally custom built at great expense in the early 90s, it's been revamped to noughties standards since and if you want to hear every last nuance of every last synth arpeggio Sasha wrings out of Ableton you'd better be there.Renaissance is, of course, the label most closely associated with Sasha thanks to his iconic mixes for them and sets at huge events like this summer's Renaissance Wild In The Country bash. They're involved in the Ministry gig to ensure top quality support from the alliterative likes of Serge Santiago, Scarlet Ettienne and Wall Of Sound's Alvin C (plus more TBA, naturally) and – presumably – to ensure that everyone in the world who has ever bought a Renaissance CD will receive an email announcement regarding the party. Which if I'm not mistaken will make it grossly over-subscribed. And really, would you want it any other way?