Mark Farina's Mushroom Jazz Turns 25

After Six-Year Gap, Legendary DJ To Release Volume 8 In Iconic Mix Series
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After Six-Year Gap, Legendary DJ To Release Volume 8 In Iconic Mix Series

Mark Farina, one of the world's most beloved DJs, returns with the 8th installment of "Mushroom Jazz," the venerable mix compilation series which became an essential part of the '90s downtempo and chilled-out electronic music craze. The July 22nd release will mark the 25th Anniversary for the brand, which first launched in 1992 as a string of highly coveted cassette tapes and a titular weekly club night in San Francisco with a cult-like following. Farina, perhaps even more acclaimed for his SF-meets-Chicago House music prowess, occupies a rare place in the dance pantheon – complete mastery of two separate and distinct genres. But the Mushroom Jazz part almost didn't happen.

A Chicago native, Farina always had a catholic taste in music, including Rock, Jazz, Disco, Hip-Hop, even '80s Industrial. A regular patron of the Windy City's famed Imports, Etc. record shop, he befriended store employee Derrick Carter (in his previous life before he, too, became a globetrotting DJ god) who hipped him to all the hot new House tracks. Farina bought all of his recommendations and began his education in a purist form of the music. But as he began his rise in Chicago's underground scene, he heard a different sound in his head, one that incorporated his eclectic, more downtempo interests. Naturally, this approach didn't always meet the approval of the main room House heads, who wanted nothing but the Jackin' sound, and one fateful evening he was demoted to playing in the side room. Instead of sulking in defeat, he turned it into an opportunity. There, without the pressure of having to please a big dancefloor, he began to experiment and dig deeper into his record collection, spinning a heady mix of groovy Jazz, rare Disco, choice R&B cuts, and knocking Hip-Hop beats. It won over the side room crowd. And "Mushroom Jazz" was born. Mark Farina was the creator. 

After migrating west to San Francisco, Farina was able to stretch his musical legs and develop this new sound, channeling that city's diverse artistic influences and liberal heritage of embracing experimentation. He injected a Chicago House sensibility into the Bay Area's deeper sound composed of more organic, broken beats and jazzy, "live" feeling instrumentation. As the '90s wore on, this became the foundation of West Coast House. At the same time, Farina perfected his curation and programming of "Mushroom Jazz," a cleverly coined twist on "Acid Jazz." After the massive success of the weekly club night, he and business partner Patty Ryan planted a seed for a DJ mix series, pitching the idea to SF-based boutique label OM Records. In 1996, that seed sprouted into Volume 1 of what is now one of the most revolutionary and longest-running brands in the dance music industry. Throughout this august series of releases, Farina has displayed his almost peerless tastemaking abilities, digging up arcane tracks from the likes of Blueboy, Julius Papp, J Boogie, Naked Music NYC, and People Under The Stairs and making them sound like instant classics.

Now, on the latest excursion, Farina showcases some familiar artists as well as new discoveries. "Mushroom Jazz 8" features a more abstract composition filled with dubby and jazzy styled beats accented by Mark’s signature vocal samples. Part introspective, part nature-based, MJ8 is a triumphant return to form for the series and, after its protracted hiatus, will give diehards and new fans alike insight into Mark and this great musical legacy. The complete tracklist is below and, just for kicks, we dug up a couple of our picks from it for your consideration. 

MJ8 2016 Final Artwork (Web Only) DO NOT SHARE OR SHOWMushroom-Jazz_Color (1) (1).jpg

Mushroom Jazz 8
"Crawfish & Chips" | QSTN
"Best"  | Emapea
"Duke" | DJ Spinna
"Rain Drops" | Freddie Joachim
"Hear It From You" | Freddie Joachim feat. Lauren Santiago
"Strictly Business" | The Slipmat Brothers
"You Dig" | Jenova 7
"Chalkboard" | Jazzual Suspects
"Ride" | Freddie Joachim
"Night Light" | PH­Wert
"Focus Point" | Fredfades & Eikrem
"Lil Boy" | Riccio
"Orange" | Emapea
"Bright Lights (Instrumental)" | George Kelly Feat. Andre Espeut & BnC
"Economy of Movement" | The Slipmat Brothers
"Body Boogie" | Soul
"Real Fungi" | Colossus
"Quiet Blues" | PH­Wert
"Basement Jazz" | Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee
"Blue (Extended)" | The Deli
"Slow It Down" | Colossus
"I Still Don’t (Pt. II)" | Larry de Kat

Look for pre­order of the Limited Edition CD, vinyl, posters (designed by Kii Ahrens) and SOL Republic Headphones on pledgemusic.com coming up in June 2016. Also, catch Mark live on the decks in a city near you.               

MUSHROOM JAZZ ON TOUR

MAY 18:  San Francisco ­ MJ Residency @ Monarch
MAY 19:  Minneapolis @ The Exchange
MAY 20:  Los Angeles @ Couture
MAY 28:  El Paso @ Neon Desert
JUN 02:  Toronto @ The Power Plant
JUN 03:  Washington DC @ U Street Music Hall
JUN 04:  NYC @ Circle Line
JUN 11:  San Francisco @ Monarch w/ Luke Solomon (Defected)
JUN 17:  San Diego @ Embarcadero Marina Park
JUN 18:  Rye @ Sonic Bloom
JUN 19: ­ Las Vegas
JUN 24:  Rothbury @ Electric Forest
JUN 30:  Edmonton @ The Bower
JUL 02:  Santa Barbara @ EOS
JUL 08:  Silverado @ Woogie Weekend
JUL 09:  Chicago @ Westfest
JUL 09:  Chicago @ The Annex
JUL 17:  Pemberton @ Pemberton Music Festival
JUL 23:  San Francisco @ Monarch w/ Ralph Lawson
AUG 05:  ­Cluj­Napoca @ Untold Festival
AUG 07:  London @ 51st State Festival
AUG 13:  Toronto
AUG 20:  Los Angeles @ Sound
OCT 08:  Joshua Tree @ Joshua Tree Music Festival
OCT 14:  Vancouver @ Imperial               

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