Today, Jason Bentley, lifelong music curator & DJ extraordinaire, enters his Morning Becomes Eclectic host emeritus phase. It’s been 10+ years of steering the ship as both MBE Host & Music Director of KCRW. Throughout his tenure, he’s helped maintain KCRW as the radio station that defined the meaning of “eclectic” for an entire generation.
For me in particular, it’s been about 22 years of listening to Jason Bentley on KCRW. I was in high school when - by pure luck - I came across 89.9fm and Metropolis. I was immediately hooked by the electronica goodness that was emanating from my Sanyo boombox. It’s no secret that my guilty pleasure is a phat dance track between 120bpm & 133bpm.
So, in honor of JB (as he is affectionately referred to at the station), I bring you jams that Jason Bentley first turned me onto.
Roni Size/Reprazent – “Centre of the Storm” (feat. Zack de la Rocha)
On a random Friday night in 2000, I tuned in to KCRW and heard Roni Size/Reprazent’s track Centre of the Storm (feat. Zack de la Rocha) and I lost my mind. I was one of the biggest Rage Against the Machine fans growing up, and hearing Zack’s vocals over drum & bass beats was such a staggering combination. This track spoke volumes to my college bound idealism.
The Crystal Method – “Keep Hope Alive”
Perhaps no other artist from the late 90’s Electronica scene is as emotive as The Crystal Method. Those synths and breakbeats always transport me and on any given Metropolis show – back then - you might’ve heard new TCM music without notice. I first heard “Busy Child” from TCM through Jason, but once he played “Keep Hope Alive,” I was hooked to Electronic music. Being a bit younger, I didn’t come up in the LA underground warehouse rave scene; but through JB’s ability to share the music with us on the radio, I lived vicariously.
Massive Attack – “Dissolved Girl”
In 1999, The Matrix was released with a brilliant soundtrack. Like most Matrix-philes, I viewed and listened intently to every sound and visual composition of the film. But, for the life of me, I could not figure out the song playing in Neo’s (Reeves) headphones as he wakes up while at his computer in the opening act. We didn’t have Shazam, I wasn't hip to chat rooms, and Internet search engines were rudimentary at best back then. But then one night, I heard the elusive track on KCRW and JB back announced it!! I went to Tower Records the next day and purchased Massive Attack’s Mezzanine. Turned out the album was pretty epic as well. I would later come to realize that JB coordinated music for the entire Matrix Trilogy and it all made perfect sense.
Since I’m over here waxing poetic about emotional ties to music that JB first introduced me to, I thought it fitting that we end today’s MFYW, with Day Wave & Hazel English’s cover of Interpol’s PDA. I love a good cover - only second to Electronic music - and I sure did Shazam this gem when I first heard it on Morning Becomes Eclectic in 2017.