(1969-) is the stage name of DJ and producer Alexander Cole, of Wales. Sasha started his career as an amateur DJ at the Hacienda, a dance club in Manchester owned by Factory Records and New Order, which was a pioneering club in electronica in the area, and gave Sasha his first exposure to acid house and trance styles. From there, he went to several other venues in the early 1990s, ending up at a Mansfield club named Renaissance.
At Renaissance, an event occurred which would have a major impact on Sasha's career: he met fellow DJ John Digweed, and the two decided to experiment with performing together, both of them tracking material and jointly mixing the result on the fly. They were both surprised when this actually worked, and a unique partnership was born. The club released an album of mixes performed by club DJs, prominently featuring tracks from the Sasha/Digweed collaboration. This gained the duo a major-label signing, on Ministry of Sound Records, resulting in a series of remix albums known collectively as the Northern Exposure albums, all of which became huge hits. The blend of styles of Sasha, who leaned towards trance and progressive house styles, and Digweed, who tended more in the direction of Chicago house, created a unique atmosphere in their mixes unlike anything any individual DJ was doing at the time. This pairing occupied most of the time of both Sasha and Digweed for the rest of the 1990s, although they did find a bit of time to release a few individual remix albums and some self-produced material. One such effort on Sasha's part was the EP Xpander, with Charlie May; its title track is considered by trance historian George Acosta to be one of the canonical tracks of early trance. (The EP was named after an Oberheim synth that Sasha used extensively on the recording.)
By 2002, Sasha had decided to go in a different direction for a while. He worked with Junkie XL and a suite of collaborators on an album of original material, which turned out to be difficult to produce, and the process was not helped by Sasha's temporarily losing hearing in one ear after an auto accident. The album, Airdrawndagger, turned out very different from most of Sasha's previous albums, being largely ambient and distinctly non-danceable. Fans were sharply divided on it.
On his return to DJ'ing, Sasha made another controversial move. At the time, most electronica DJ's were still using the classic performing method of turntabling with vinyl albums. Sasha was one of the first to go digital, employing first the CDJ-1000 "virtual turntable" CD player from Pioneer, and then, a few years later, a Macintosh computer running Ableton Live DAW software. Sasha drew criticism from purists for this, but he explained that he could do many things with CDs and the computer that he could not do with vinyl. Sasha and Digweed reunited for tours starting in 2008, although they have not released any new collaboration albums since then.
Sasha has been noted for bouncing around between styles during his career, although he keeps returning to trance and progressive house. His work with Digweed gave him an interest in Chicago house and electro, and he has also explored breakbeat and ambient styles. After many years of using Ableton Live to mix his sets (with a controller of his own design), he switched in 2013 to Native Instruments Traktor.