Cahl Sel


United States


Reflective Records

Mix Duration



May 11th, 2023

Written By




Cahl Sel

San Francisco and the Bay Area have undoubtedly had a profound impact on the world we live in today. From the hippie movement of the 1960s to the technological breakthroughs developed in Silicon Valley, this region has been a hotbed of innovation, creativity and change for many years now. However, what many may not realize is that the Bay Area also played a pivotal role in the growth and evolution of the rave scene in the US during the early 1990s.

Among the influx of Europeans who set foot in San Francisco at that time, a small group of ravers from the UK started organizing underground parties in vacant warehouses, loft spaces, and clubs across the SOMA district. The movement quickly spread all over California, and became the American iteration of the thriving UK rave culture that was already well-established in Europe. This new scene would give rise to many legendary DJs and producers over the years, including the highly respected Jonah Sharp.

Better known by his alias Spacetime Continuum, Sharp was one of the few Brits who made their way to San Francisco in the early 1990s. Prior to his arrival, he had already established himself as a prominent member of the chill-out movement, and regularly performed in London alongside acts such as Orbital and Mixmaster Morris. It was during a gig in 1992 that he fell in love with San Francisco, and decided to make it his new home. He soon began a new chapter of his life, starting a family and founding Reflective Records with his wife Billee exactly thirty years ago. Despite a relatively small catalog, Reflective consistently released some of the most memorable ambient-tinged techno and house of its era, right up until its (temporary) closure in 1996. The label stood alongside other influential imprints of that time like Move D’s Source Records and Pete Namlook’s Fax, with whom Sharp collaborated extensively over the years.

Cahl Sel - Every Moment EP

Reflective’s signature holographic label on Cahl Sel’s “Every Moment” EP.

Leaving the past behind, let’s turn our attention to the present. After a very long break, Reflective was resurrected last year with the debut release of Cahl Sel, a mysterious young artist from San Francisco who also happens to be Jonah Sharp’s son. Just like his father, Cahl Sel gained experience as a musician by playing in various bands as a kid. “I played drums in a punk band called $lotmachine where we opened for artists such as Dani Siciliano, Von Iva & The Butthole Surfers,” he shares. “We were mostly an opener band but it was a real education to play in historic venues and engage in the local scene at such a young age.”

His interest in electronic music grew stronger as time went by, leading him to eventually trade his drum set for a TR-606 and a JX-3P, which remain at the core of his setup to this day. Being exposed at an early age to labels such as Plug Research, Ghostly International, Ninja Tune and Warp, he began exploring the origins of electronic music and particularly fell in love with Detroit Techno. “I was fortunate enough to have access to my dad’s record collection where I was able to dive into all kinds of stuff – house, techno, ambient, jungle, etc,” he says. “I was particularly inspired when I learned about Detroit Techno and it’s something I’m still very passionate about. The philosophy and political stance of labels like Underground Resistance has had a lasting influence on me as a musician, and I continue to derive so much inspiration from the early innovators as well as new generations of artists from Detroit.”

The influence of Detroit is clearly noticeable on Every Moment, Cahl Sel’s debut EP released last year on Reflective. Across the EP’s four tracks, he masterfully blends ambient, deep house and techno elements to create a sonic landscape that not only lives up to Reflective’s legacy, but also perfectly complements the label’s catalog. Each cut brings its own distinct flavor, but melody is the common thread that ties the record together. The title track, in particular, is a standout, evoking the early days of intelligent techno with its iridescent synthlines and deep analog bass, while also bringing a modern and personal twist that gives the tune its irresistible character.

“It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to release a record and I’m very proud to have made my debut on Reflective with the support of my family,” says Cahl Sel. Collaborating with his father has been an added bonus, as they have also played live shows together in San Francisco under his Spacetime Continuum live act. “It’s been a real treat to get to share the stage with my dad and it’s been a great source of inspiration to me, in particular with regards to live improvisation,” he adds. Fans of Reflective can also look forward to new projects, as Cahl Sel and his family have been working to get the label up and running again. “We have some exciting projects lined up, it’s probably too soon to make any announcements but my dad and I have a few things in the works that we’re gearing up for release,” he says.

Cahl Sel

In addition to his live performances, Cahl Sel also regularly spins records across different venues in San Francisco. His mix for our series is a mesmerizing journey through 90s electronica and beyond, featuring ambient classics and forgotten gems from legendary acts such as The Black Dog, Global Communication or Single Cell Orchestra. Prepare to be transported to a state of pure sonic bliss as you lean back, close your eyes, and allow Cahl Sel’s selection to carry you away.