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Best Excavated Sounds of Underground Dance 

Delusions of Grandeur by Hardkiss Music

Wednesday, May 6 2015

Hardkiss Music successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign to reissue a 20th anniversary remaster of Delusions of Grandeur, a long out-of-print double album of hallucinatory acid funk that revives a hedonistic, idealistic, outlaw era.

Nowadays EDM is burning up the charts, but in the early '90s — when Hardkiss Music was orginally active — rave music just seemed to be threatening to set the hills on fire.

"We were going to [the Wicked Sound System's] Full Moon beach parties, the Gathering parties, and I remember being in a field somewhere in the East Bay and the hill started burning, people came to put it out and the party went on," recalls Gavin Hardkiss, one-third of the Hardkiss Music "band" of DJs including his "brothers" Robbie and Scott Hardkiss. "Every weekend there were these bonfires on the beach, and all these epiphanies in places you'd never think there would be an event."

Like many members of that scene, the Hardkiss brothers were transplants to the Bay Area with roots in acid house and baggy beats. They imported the adrenaline rush of illegal parties held on abandoned Brooklyn train tracks and the sweaty communal freak-out of seeing Madchester bands at Glastonbury. Pouring a love for psychedelic bliss, soulful Balearic house, and sampledelic hip-hop into an arcane basement studio set up in Twin Peaks, Hardkiss released tribal aquatic electro trance that would become indelibly San Francisco through sheer willful self-promotion.

"One thing we did well in the '90s was send free records to people. They had a San Francisco address on the back so people started saying it was the 'San Francisco sound,'" laughs Gavin. "We didn't think we were 'West Coast,' but we did share a love of organic, euphoric moments that matched the local mythology."

These dawn-breaking-over-the-waters vibes coalesced into the 14-track compilation Delusions of Grandeur, which became legendary in the electronic music world through its scarcity. Hardkiss Music as a label went dormant in the late '90s, staying that way until 2014's release of 1991. Scott tragically passed away in 2013, but Gavin and Robbie partnered with his wife, Stephanie, to revive the Hardkiss outlet. The trio used crowdfunding to produce a deluxe presentation of Delusions of Grandeur, which has new life breathed into its macro and micro elements.

The album now comes with a more richly defined low end that's been road-tested by Gavin during his weekly residency at Hawthorn. With the album's physical and spiritual dynamics augmented, Gavin and Robbie also set out to interpret the music as a live experience, booking a party at Public Works for May 30 featuring longtime collaborators Dave Christophere and DJ Three. The Hardkiss brothers also hope that hearing Delusions of Grandeur — which sits nicely ethos-wise alongside the quirky DIY of current crews like DirtyBird and PillowTalk — will entice folks to purchase the equally remastered vault of over 60 rare and unreleased tracks available on PledgeMusic. In total this offers a full snapshot of a time that falls firmly in the "if you can remember it clearly, you probably weren't actually there" category.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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