Sasha + John Digweed*Northern Exposure: Expeditions


Expedition 1
BreederTyrantanic (Breeder's Underexposed Mix)9:16
Space ManoeuvresStage One (Total Separation Mix)8:09
Space ManoeuvresStage One (Separation Mix)
Union JackMorning Glory4:26
Jayn HannaLost Without You (Edge Factor Dub)8:09
Jayn HannaLost Without You (Edge Factor Journey)
The LightExpand The Room (Four Storeys High Mix)7:28
DeleriumSilence (Sanctuary Dub)10:05
DeleriumSilence (Sanctuary Mix)
Chris RavenI Know You Love Me Too! (Van Bellen Remix)5:45
Blue Planet CorporationMicromega (Choo-Choo Remix) 4:19
Mono CultureFree (Extended Vocal Mix)6:50
Expedition 2
Head HonchoWaters Of Jericho8:48
Movement Perpetual*Sexuel Mouvement4:09
Stef, Pako & FrederikSeaside Atmosphere5:15
Der Dritte RaumPolarstern7:51
Pure (2)Pure (Frictions Groove)4:24
Red DevilGamelan5:08
RR WorkshopMess With Da Bull5:54
HumateLove Stimulation (Oliver Lieb's Softmix)4:24
Delta LadyAnything You Want (The Delta Belter Vocal Symphony)8:04
Mike KoglinThe Silence (Tekara Remix)7:46

Credits (4)


This is the 3rd and last release of the Northern Exposure series.
The North American version of this release did not include the Disc 1 track 'Silence (Sanctuary Mix)' by Delerium.


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    Cover of Northern Exposure: Expeditions, 1999-02-22, CDNorthern Exposure: Expeditions
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    INCredible – INC4CDUK1999UK1999
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    Ultra Records (16) – UL 1040, Ultra Records (16) – UL 1040-219991999
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    Cover of Northern Exposure: Expeditions, 1999-02-22, CDNorthern Exposure: Expeditions
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    Cover of Northern Exposure: Expeditions, 1999, CDNorthern Exposure: Expeditions
    2×CD, Mixed
    Ultra Records – UL 1040, Ultra Records – UL 1040-2USA & Canada1999USA & Canada1999
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    • SYSTEM-J's avatar
      I wrote a Discogs review of Expeditions almost ten years ago, but having re-appraised this compilation recently I feel compelled to delete that earlier review and write a more in-depth run through, because frankly I was far too forgiving of this release at the time. For all their legendary status as master craftsmen of the mixed compilation, Sasha and Digweed only released five of them in collaboration with each other, and Northern Exposure Expeditions is arguably the weakest of the lot.

      As I wrote in my old review, Expeditions suffers immediately in comparison to the first two Northern Exposure releases because it ditches the concept of devoting the first CD to an eclectic home listening set filled with forgotten classics, instead being largely up-front progressive house and trance all the way through both discs, with only a couple of throwback oldies here and there. What caused the change of emphasis is not entirely clear, but straight away Expeditions feels more generic than NE1 or NE2, the first discs of which were genuinely different from the glut of commercial DJ mixes at the time.

      But CD1 of Expeditions isn’t just bad because it’s not the Northern Exposure we know and love. It’s bad because it’s terribly programmed. The opening stretch does briefly give you hope that this will be another classic NE outing, with Breeder’s futuristic breakbeat foray Tyrantanic melting into the breaks mix of Stage One quite superbly, a transition full of studio trickery and re-editing in classic Northern Exposure style. Very quickly though we move into the straightforward ’99 prog trance of the Separation mix of Stage One.

      From there, Sashman and Diggsy bridge out of the intro with Union Jack’s Morning Glory, and it feels like the start of a classic S&D slow and steady build up, a feeling furthered by the Edge Factor dub of Lost Without You. But then something bad happens. For reasons not at all obvious, the duo decide to use the vocal mix of Lost Without You as well, and the build up is punctured by a frankly cheesy vocal before it’s really got going. The follow-up track by The Light also veers alarmingly close to naffness, with a funky bassline and vaguely b-boy vocal coupling with a very generic trancey lead.

      So far we’ve gone from haunting intro to brief build up section to what feels like an almost party atmosphere. But immediately this vibe is deep-sixed by the usage of Belfunk, an ocean deep end-of-the-night spiritual moment if ever there was one. The deep vibe is maintained into the unreleased Fade Dub of Delerium’s Silence, which stretches the tune out into pointless enervation. Popular opinion is divided on this track because of the obvious over-familiarity of the vocal, but I’ve always thought Fade’s released mix of Silence is a superb progressive vocal tune. Again though, it’s a quintessential end-of-the-night torch song, and whacked in the middle of this disc it just feels out of place.

      Having built to a climactic emotional peak with the chorus, the boys AGAIN deep-six the vibe by going into the minimalistic acid groove of I Know You Love Me Too. The Blue Planet Corporation tune that follows is just set-filler, and then before you know it we’re at the end of the disc, with no clear idea how we got there.

      Frankly, this first CD is a complete mess. The moods it moves through make no sense, and for two DJs renowned for their set building abilities, it’s simply baffling how poorly the disc is programmed. What makes it even stranger is that CD2 is the polar opposite – a classically smooth Sasha and Digweed upward arc of energy, where the individually dull tunes like Sexuel Mouvement are woven into a cohesive whole. A slowly unfurling opening section picks up steam almost imperceptibly, but by the time we reach Der Dritte Raum’s Polarstern, the mix is flying. RR Workshop kick the set into high gear with a seriously phat bassline on Mess With Da Bull, and then all the big anthemic moments arrive at the end, when the DJs have thoroughly earned them. It also has a classic Sasha gear change at the end – Delta Lady’s 1993 classic Anything You Want doing the same job here that Movin’ Thru Your System does on GU:009 and Future In Computer Hell does on GU:013, introducing a deliberate stomping energy rush before the big finale.

      It's worth noting that some other reviewers have fallen for the old urban myth that Sasha always mixed CD1 of these outings and Digweed did CD2. Like all their NE releases, Expeditions was done digitally in Pro Tools with both DJs working in collaboration, which is particularly obvious on CD1 with its overly fiddly mix splicing. It’s difficult to say why the two discs are such opposites in quality, and exactly who was responsible for which creative decisions, but something clearly wasn’t right during the compiling of this collection. Expeditions is still worth your time due to the quality of CD2, but there are far stronger entries in the Sasha and Digweed discographies.
      • Hando_Jin's avatar
        Edited one year ago
        The Seaside Atmosphere mix kills it for me, since firstly it's impossible and secondly it's obviously a Digweed mix because it kills the energy. When he gets it wrong, it's horrible.
        • Booj1Boy's avatar
          Some notes:
          Lost Without You, Silence, and Belfunk run at 133.3bpm, the same speed as the mix on CD. Lends credence to the "Pro Tools tracks slapped on vinyl" theory with Silence presented below.
          Sexual Movement on here is drastically faster than on the original 12", it's sped up to 137bpm.
          The Silence is the 6 minute UK edit, instead of the 8 minute version used on the CD.
          • tobymessy's avatar
            Edited 5 months ago
            Just felt a bit darker, leaden and plodding in track selection, and mixing. Never enjoyed this mix very much, more endured it - Remember being disappointed, don’t think it’s aged that well. Sasha’s global underground 013 was far better

            • Booj1Boy's avatar
              Edited 2 years ago
              Agreed with the reviewer below. This may forgoe the "arctic chill out" theme of NE1 that was also somewhat present on NE2, but in return you get a mix with a lot of variety and highlights. I think the fact that some tracks on this date as far back as 1993-1995 really goes to show what kind of ear they had for what still worked to a 1999 audience, despite the tracks being a few years old at that point.
              This is a trance mix, through and through. Some may not like it for it's inclusion of tracks like Silence (before it became an established anthem), but I really find myself enjoying pretty much every track on this mix.
              This is certainly not as thematically consistent as NE1, and may seem "dated" to some people, but I think others will see it as a tour de force of late 90s progressive trance. Oakenfold and Tiesto could only dream of making mixes this good.
              • lubizianrecord's avatar
                The most esoteric listening experience from their Northern serries. End with this great expedition mix.

                For me Expeditions is a dynamically balanced dance journey that takes you through the speed of sound !. The overwhelmed ecstasy.

                • 71chunky's avatar
                  Who writes these reviews? They are comedy gold. LOL pfft
                  • area43's avatar
                    My promotional copy has a hole punched through the barcode. The Matrix / Runout is 33547/2 on Disc 1 and 33556/2 on Disc 2.
                    • dj_norf_yurksha's avatar
                      Yeah for me this is very weak for Sasha & JD but you have to put it in perspective. It's from 1999 and trance was the sound of the future. Their sound has always had a hypnotic, trancey vibe to it I find this too much. Apart from Belfunk by Sasha and the Enjoy the slience cover I can't even listen to the rest of it, it grates on me. Of it's time but let's be honest, dance music was back then, huge trancey hands in the air riffs and apart from a few standout tracks that have gone on to become classics, most of it was crap and throwaway. It's deposibility was part of it's attraction.
                      Compared to their other work this sounds lazy, rushed and of it's time, not classic, not timeless.
                      • Zygomorphic's avatar
                        Edited 4 years ago
                        Whereas the previous two installations represent peaks of progressive mix history, this Northern Exposure hits a substantially flatter note. Mixed in '99, the track selection arguably suffered from the burgeoning popularity of progressive; plenty of the choices are, in retrospect, cheesy and dated. On CD1, this is particularly evident in 'Silence', whereas in CD2 with 'The Silence' (coincidental nomenclature, no?) - the latter of which has aged better, but nevertheless diminishes, as Tekara's remix is overly busy for what ought to be an elegant trance track. That being said, the highs in both mixes are significantly so, and thus Expeditions is worth a listen (and repeat listening).

                        CD1 starts off in a classically-Sasha manner; excellent and atmospheric. Actually, the intro, between the first two tracks, is quite arguably Sasha's strongest intro ever. The Kingdom Come mix of 'Tyrantanic', while a banger in its time and still enjoyable, borders on obnoxious and tiring after repeat listens, as experienced in the duo's Communicate mix-CD. The Underexposed mix, however, is a brilliant choice and is only made more brilliant with its excellent mixing and transition with the Stage One medley. Funnily, both the more-oft-played versions of these two tracks were extremely popular in their heyday, but these stripped-down versions have aged for the better, and showcase how Expeditions doesn't completely suffer from its crowd-pandering. At any rate, these two tracks offer a sonic journey through space opera, and are easily the best part of either CD.

                        Unfortunately for CD1, that's about all that's worth listening to. While Union Jack is one of my favorite producers from the 90's, 'Morning Glory' is an odd choice transitioning out of the intro, and its not a particularly memorable track. The mix picks up minor degrees in 'Expand The Room', but it's not strong enough, and the mix is already knee-deep in monotony, such that it gets lost in the soundscape. 'Belfunk' is an excellent production of Sasha's, but the tempo/BPM increase gives the track a tinny, unpleasant timbre and makes the track feel rushed, thereby ruining the experience. After that, it's the aforementioned dated 'Silence' accompanied by a list of forgettable tracks.

                        Diggers kicks off CD2 with the memorable and fabled 'Waters of Jericho' - yes, it's pretty much impossible to find this track anywhere else in its original incarnation, and that's unfortunate. Unlike Sasha, Digweed's intro doesn't taper into doldrums, cruising on a decently-pleasant ride with 'Sexuel Mouvement' and 'Seaside Atmosphere'. 'Pure (Frictions Groove)' is a massive tune that could still fill a floor today. That alongside 'Mess With Da Bull' represent the highlights of CD2. 'Mess With Da Bull' is similarly a banging track - shame that it, as an LP-only release, is also so difficult to hunt down. This transitions into Oliver Lieb's remix of 'Love Stimulation'. The Paul van Dyk remix is, depending on my mood, my favorite trance track of all time, but the Oliver Lieb version is also a great listen, and it fits more consistently with Digger's typical darker theme. The tail-end of CD2 is then forgettable, regrettably.

                        In short, CD1 has a superb high in its intro, but takes an immediate turn for the worse thereafter. CD2 is more consistent, with an overall stronger track selection, but Sasha and Digweed have spun far better both together and individually.

                        It's somewhat tough to rate this compilation, because there is a lot of mediocrity in the music, punctuated by great moments. If you were to skip tracks and listen to the highlights, I would probably rate the album around a 4.4-star mark. In its entirety, as it is:


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