In 1998, still buzzing from the previous year's breakthrough albums from The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Daft Punk, America was deep in the throes of a newfound love affair with electronic music. But 1998 also turned out to be an odd year for dance music. A decade had passed since rave culture kicked off; house music was 13 years old. And while major-label money was flooding in, many underground scenes had already blown up and burned out, and were quietly regrouping. (For whatever reason, some of dance music's most prolific producers all seem to have gone silent in 1998.) Big things were just around the corner: U.K. garage, electroclash, tech house, progressive house, minimal techno and other millennial shifts.
You can hear some of those sounds taking root here in tracks from Ricardo Villalobos, Circulation and MJ Cole. Drum 'n' bass was in full flower, as evidenced by cuts from Grooverider and Source Direct. The first electro-revival was heating up, as I-F released his now-classic "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass." (Other timeless classics released in 1998: Faithless' "God Is a DJ," ATB's "9PM (Till I Come)," Isolee's "Beau Mot Plage" and MJ Cole's "Sincere.")
Deep house hadn't gone away, as you can hear from Barbara Tucker, Mood II Swing and even Deep Dish with Everything But the Girl. And, perhaps most interestingly from our perspective a decade and a half later, nostalgia for the old school had already begun to set in, as 808 State reworked their iconic 1989 track "Pacific" for a new era.