Continuing from where we left off, it’s the crack of the 90s, and Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzalez are well on their way to building their reputation as Masters at Work. 1993 saw them release their first album, The Album. A combination of singles released up to that point as well as some new production, it includes some early classics, like Blood Vibes. As remixers, MAW found themselves working with artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ce Ce Peninston, and Donna Summer, but the best was still yet to come.
Nuyorican Soul – Runaway [Talkin’ Loud – 1997] BUY
Once upon a time, way back when DJs were gathering underground popularity by extending and remixing the pop stars of the time, DJ of DJs Larry Levan had a unique concept. He dreamed of creating a studio album in which the DJ is the maestro. This album would consist of DJ-produced tracks featuring the voices and elements of that DJ’s favorite singers and musicians. In the 1997 album titled Nuyorican Soul by Masters at Work fulfilled that dream. On Nuyorican Soul, MAW celebrate both their Puerto Rican and disco roots and summon the talents of musicians George Benson, Vince Montana, Jocelyn Brown, Roy Ayers, and Tito Puente to create an album that pays tribute to the artists they love. Looking back more than 10 years later it’s more clear than ever that rather than sagging with the overburdening stink of excess stardom, Nuyorican Soul has established itself as one of the greatest dance albums of all time.
This track is a redux of the disco classic of the same name by the Salsoul Orchestra and Lolleata Holloway, Runaway is one of the four singles off of the Nuyorican Soul album. With Louie Vega’s ex-wife La India providing the vocals, they do soulful justice to the original. It was the first single to receive the remix treatment, retouched by 90s greats Armand Van Helden and Mousse T. Armand’s mix (Mogoloids in Space) bumps, and Mousse T provides a more direct dancefloor translation.
Masters at Work – La India Con La Voe (Viva Puerto Rico) (MAW Tribin’) [MAW Records – 1997] BUY
In case the parentheses aren’t obvious enough, this tribal tune is an ode to the island of Puerto Rico. Featuring samples of a cheering concert crowd, nationalist & spiritual cries, and La India’s sweet voice all over a set of lively drums, this track has Spanish Harlem Block Party written all over it.
Kenlou – Gimme Groove [MAW Records – 1995] BUY
Gimme Groove is the B-side buddy to Kenlou’s classic The Bounce (which happens to be amongst Cnyce’s favorite tracks- too treasured to post!). Whereas The Bounce is more lively, Gimme Groove is a deeper, nine-minute mood-setter of a track that can really set the tone for a good night out. Definitely maintains the sexy.
Finally its happening, after 2 years of being washed up by a wave of minimal, techno and electro, HOUSE music begins its triumphant return. Ah yes, a return to the organic drums, organ hits, garage shuffle, jacking Chicago and maybe even (gasp) a vocal or two! How amazing is dance music in 2008? SO amazing.
One of the signs that really caught my attention was back in July 2007 when Spectral Sound‘s Ryan Elliot performed in Cambridge @ the Phoenix Landing. He brought the dopest flavors to his mix. It was like this bouncy techno sound that was littered with House music and Garage accents. Like, one minute he’s playing a brand new release and the next he’s mixing Master’s At Work “The Bounce”, or K.O.T’s “Simon Says Bounce” (wait thats weird, they both have bounce in title… go figure). The point is, in context suddenly these old tunes sounded like they could be new releases.
In 2008 house music was all over WMC. At the underground parties and the after-hours, house didnt dominate like the sounds of tech and minimal (how could it when the headliners are Magda, Anja Schneider and Konrad Black) but at all the right moments, it poked its head out as if to say “hi, remember me, I’m house music, and I’m so damn refreshing right now its not even funny”.
So who’s playing what and what did we hear?
Junior Vasquez – Get Your Hands Off My Man (Sound Factory Mix) [Tribal America – 1994] BUY
The Italoboyz (Mothership, Get Physical) really brought the garage and Chicago sound alive in their DJ set at The Cheap Sunglasses After-hours at PS14. They got on the decks around 11:00am and played with tremendous feeling and originality. Of course they dropped a grip of their own tunes, including the jacking new Mothership release that samples John Coltrane called “Bahia”, but it was an edit of Junior Vasquez’s “Get Your Hands Of My Man” that brought us all back, way back, for an “oh shit” moment.
Track Assassin – Gimmie Da Drumz [Catalyst Records – 2001] BUY
Sebo K (Mobilee, Get Physical) was the other DJ who just absolutely brought the classic sounds to the party. We saw him twice, first at the Mobilee party on the rooftop of the Townhouse Hotel where he was just killing the old school. He dropped Eddie Amador‘s anthem “House Music” on Yoshitoshi, another jam that was so familiar it made us forget, and this DJ Sneak banger, “Gimmie Tha Drumz” under his Track Assassin moniker on Dust Traxx sister label Catalyst Records
Josh One – Contemplation (King Britt’s Funke Mix) [Electromatrix – 2001] BUY
As if one performance from the Sebonator wasn’t enough, the man was back in the spotlight (or should we say sunlight) at Sunday School For Degenerates at Pawn Shop. Sandwiched between a tag team set from Joel Mull & Adam Beyer and then Steve Bug, Sebo brought back the house music bounce, dropping “Gimmie Da Drumz” again as well as an edit of King Britt’s remix of “Contemplation” by Josh One, a personal favorite that I haven’t heard in ages.
Thank the gods its all coming back!
If Daft Punk can be called supreme rulers of the Kingdom of French Touch, DJ Falcon (of “So Much Love to Give” fame) would be their wise wizard and his cousin, Alan Braxe, would be their solitary knight. Nicknamed after the French region of his upbringing, Brax, Alain QuÃƒÂªme has earned himself a place amongst the filter house elite. His discography starts in 1997 with “Vertigo”, which was released under Thomas BangalterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s RoulÃƒÂ© label. A year later, Bangalter, Braxe and French crooner Benjamin Diamond made house history with a little song called “Music Sounds Better With You”, under the moniker Stardust.
At the dawn of the new millennium, Alan Braxe and co-pilot Fred Falke open up the record label Vulture Music and together dropped another French house classic, “Intro”. From here, Alan Braxe along with Fred Falke (and on the occasion Kris Menace) craft their own brand of 80s synth-drenched tracks like “Most Wanted” and “Rubicon”, even as the French house scene deflated in the early 00s.
The last few years have seen Braxe and Falke build their name as remixers, synthing-up & funking-out artists from a range of genres, including Death From Above 1979, Jamiroquai, Kelis, and Justice. As of late, Alan Braxe has been producing a gutter-grime electro tune here and there, exploring a different sound. One of such tracks, “Addicted”, has found itself on French indie label KitsunÃƒÂ© Music’s KitsunÃƒÂ© Maison Compilation 5, which was released earlier this month.
Alan Braxe Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Vertigo [RoulÃƒÂ© – 1997] BUY
And so begins BraxeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s transformation from a bumbling musician in Paris to a French touch deity. A track with syncopated percussion and a swirly sequencing, it was then converted into a filtered, high-powered hit by Bangalter himself. BangalterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Virgo edit eventually found shine time on some of the BBC Essential Selection Compilations, but BraxeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s original withstands the test of time better.
B.O.C. Productions Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Fall in Love (Alan Braxe Remix) [Chez – 1999] BUY
This pre-Vulture era track is more French touch groove than 80s synth, as evident in the bassline. Essentially a dub of the original mix interspersed with vocal stabs, one can get a sense of the deeper side of French touch popular at the time.
Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Most Wanted [Vulture – 2000]Ã‚Â BUY VINYL | BUY DIGITAL
“Most Wanted” was Intro’s b-side buddy on the Running EP, Vulture MusicÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first release. The track samples from “DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Stop” by disco-era songwriter, producer, and Guitarist Geoff Barstow. under his K.I.D. project. Braxe and Falke pump a mellow bassline into the sample, filter it, and voila, you’ve got an italo-disco influenced jam for the year 2000.
M.A.W. in Muzik Mag in 1997
Editor’s Note: this is the first post from our intern Chinua. He’s a big fan of French touch, but we’re trying to teach him all about the history of house and techno too. To start him on the right path we gave him an assignment to learn all about M.A.W. and tell you what he learned. So please give a warm Soul Clap blog welcome to our young gun, ChinChin.
In the late eighties, Carl Kenneth Gonzalez and Luis Fernando Vager, better known as Kenny “Dope” and “Little” Louie Vega, but best known as Masters At Work, first met through mutual friend Todd Terry after Vega took interest in GonzalezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“A Touch of SalsaÃ¢â‚¬Â. The turn of the decade saw the start of a solid repertoire of dance-floor essentials under a number of monikers, starting with their single Ã¢â‚¬Å“Blood VibesÃ¢â‚¬Â. Masters At WorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s influences include latin, jazz, hip-hop, disco, soul, Larry Levan, David Mancuso, Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, Tony Humphries and even The ClashÃ¢â‚¬â€ in essence, the sounds of the eclectic New York City they knew.
Born in Brooklyn in 1970, Dope took to the emerging hip-hop sound, following radio DJs like Marley Marl, Teddy Ted and Awesome Two. As a teen he worked in a record store and DJ-ed on the side. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t long before Dope founded a DJ crew calledÃ¢â‚¬â€ you guessed itÃ¢â‚¬â€ Masters At Work, doing up block-parties left and right. Nor was it long before Gonzalez crossed paths with Todd Terry. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the deal: Terry borrowed the Masters At Work name for releasing tracks (Alright, Alright & Dum Dum Cry), and in exchange Dope got to play with TerryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s production equipment.
Whereas Kenny Dope provided Masters at work with the hip-hop style beats and disco grooves, Louie Vega brought in the latin and soul. Bronx-native Vega was born into a latin music-driven family (his uncle is Hector Lavoe), clearly setting the tone for his music career. VegaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s big sisters exposed the young teenager to clubland, and half a decade later he found himself spinning at the Studio 54, making and breaking latin freestyle records. By this time, Vega and Todd Terry were on vinyl-sharing terms, which explains how Vega hooked up with Dope.
The Cover Girls – Wishing On A Star (Magic Sessions Vocal Dub) [Epic – 1992]
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The Cover Girls, one of the first Latin freestyle acts to make it big on the charts in the early nineties, released their version of the much-covered “Wishing On A Star” in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢92. The single went on to place ninth on the Billboard Top 10, making it kind of a big deal back then. It was around this time that Masters At Work started churning out remixes of pop artists, converting radio music into minimal, dubby, dance floor beats.
Masters At Work – The Ha Dance (Ken/Lou Mixx) [Cutting Records – 1991]
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Cutting Records, which has fallen off in recent years, was once an integral part of the electro (that is, real electro), house and and freestyle scene in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ80s and early Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ90s. They are responsible for putting out the electro classic, “Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)” by Hashim. Cutting Records also released many of Masters At WorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s early tracks, including their debut single, Blood Vibes, as well as their debut album, titled The Album. The Ha Dance (Ken/Lou Mixx) accompanied their Blood Vibes release, and includes a sample from this classic comedy. Can you find it?
Chris Cuevas – Hip Hop (Masters At Work Dub) [Atlantic – 1991]
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Who the heck is Chris Cuevas? I don’t know either, but the stripped down skippy beats and chopped up piano synths on this track embody the early M.A.W. sound to a t and helped lay the foundation for the whole Strictly Rhythm NYC thing and later the UK garage thing. So listen, understand, download, and play for dancefloor destruction, even today.
A picture taken by a friend on his recent journeys in the southern U.S.
So we should have had this post up this morning, but we had a busy day reflecting. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an amazingly important man to the history of the U.S. and without his massive contributions to the country’s civil rights movement there would probably be no such thing as disco/funk/house/techno/any underground dance music that we listen to, blog about, make and play. Furthermore, Dr. King’s speeches were sampled on tons of house and techno tracks in the 80’s & 90’s, partly because of the importance of his words to the early producers in Chicago and Detroit and partly because his messages of unity and inclusiveness fit so perfectly with the idealism of the early rave movement. The most famous of these tracks is Fingers Inc.‘s “Can You Feel It,” which had a spoken word version that sampled Dr. King’s famous I have a dream speech (this track has already been posted all over the place if you want it). If you were around in the rave days then you probably remember throwing up your hands and feeling like everything was amazing as you heard the words of Dr. King fill the room, it was a powerful experience and we hope you feel what we’re talking about when you hear these tracks today.
Reese & Santonio – Truth Of Self Evidence [KMS 1988]
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No one can do it quite like Kevin “Master Reese” Saunderson, who along with Derrick “Rhythm is Rhythm” May and “Magic” Juan Atkins is one of the creators of techno music. The one they call Reese started his KMS imprint in 1987 and released this early underground techno anthem on KMS 017 just before his first release as Inner City, the all-time classic “Big Fun” (which will get posted here, along with more on the godfathers eventually).
Octave One – Blackwater (TP‘s Spirit Of Detroit Mix) [Concept Music 2002]
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Originally released on their own long-running Detroit imprint 430 West in 2000 to widespread acclaim, Blackwater became one of the songs of 2001 after Concept picked it up for distribution. But it wasn’t until Detroit 2nd waver and early 430 West releaser Terrence Parker did this remix in 2002 that Dr. King’s voice turned this already powerfully positive track into an even more uplifting party shaker. Both Octave One and TP are hugely important figures in the history of Detroit dance music so expect pieces on both soon…
Bobby Womack – American Dream [Motown 1981]
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Even though it’s not electronic dance music, an old school soul track seems like it fits here. I’d never heard this track until we started our research on tracks that sample MLK so this is actually an exciting find, first because it’s such powerful song, but also because it’s gotta be a one of the very first tracks to use sampling (if anyone knows more about the history of sampling please let us know)!
Well after a week+ of complete insanity we’re finally back at it. We hope your NYE was as wild as ours and you’re ready for even more clapclap in ’08, because we already have big news to share. That’s right you’re eyes do not deceive you, our first E.P. of original music was released last week on Itzamna records, our dude Ferk’s label in El Salvador, and the title track (“Dimension7”) reached #45 on Beatport’s progressive house sales chart. Now we aren’t usually into progressive house either, but we don’t get to choose the genre they put it in and it looks like we turned out a track that people like so we’re super psyched. We’re even more proud of the B side (“Up & Under”) which is a constantly rising techno grinder much more in our mold. So please checkcheck ’em below and support by buybuying on Beatport.
Soul Clap – Dimension7 (3 min preview)
Soul Clap – Up And Under (3 min preview)
Green Velvet in UK’s now defunct Muzik Mag in 1997
Awhile back we posted one of our favorite tracks ever on Relief Records. It was DJ Sneak’s banging remix Green Velvet’s most famous song Flash and it was thrown in as a footnote to our report on DOTC4 & U.B.H/T.W. because it totally re-captured the energy of that party/week (aka the energy of mid 90’s rave parties). Looking back now I realize that that track and the amazing label it’s on can never really be a footnote to anything and seeing as December’s O.P.P. edition of 90’s Jam is tonight and we haven’t done a proper post in months, it’s probably as good a time as any to begin our series on Curtis Jones’ (aka Green Velvet aka Cajmere) legendary Chicago house/techno stable.
While some of the releases on Mr. Jones’ first label Cajual Records (which launched in 1992 with seminal house classic “Brighter Days” featuring Dajae) were bigger house hits, it was Relief (launched in 1993 with “Preacher Man”) that fostered Chicago’s second wave of young producers and took the tracky Chicago house sound in down new and distinctly techno influenced path that is still being explored today. This split make sense if you’re familiar with the 2 sides of Mr. Jones himself, as Cajmere he releases his vocal and housey productions on Cajual, while as Green Velvet, he drops tripped out techno creepers on Relief. As you can see I can go on about these labels forever and that’s why we’re doing a multi-part series on each label starting with Relief, because even though Cajual came first, we’ve been ripping and playing a ton of old Relief tunes lately. Enjoy.
DJ Sneak – The Lights part II (RR707 – 1994)
Let me start our reviews wit a disclaimer: unfortunately, we don’t have every release on Relief Records. We wish we did, but given that we didn’t start buying records until after Relief was born it’s damn near impossible to find alot of the early stuff, we may never actually complete the collection. Second most important fact: RR701, Green Velvet’s “Preacher Man” is necessary listening for sure, and you’ve probably heard the track with the evangelist preaching to his congregation about the dangers of “playing house” before, but if you haven’t, go buy it here. So back to this release. It’s one of DJ Sneak‘s really early ones and is totally insane looped out techno music. By 1995 Sneak had gone much more in the disco house direction so it’s a pleasure to here his early experimentations. To hear “The Lights part I” goto Corporate Bloggin’s great Sneak post from a couple months back and read it too if you can read french!
GU – Smok’en Indo (RR714 – 1994)
Here’s another early track from a producer that became very important. GU aka Glenn Underground is often credited for carrying Larry Heard‘s torch through the 90’s with his new brand of disco and soul sample laden deep house, which would be the blueprint for Chicago’s sound in the late 90’s on labels like Guidance and Large. But, back up for a second, because like “The Lights”, “Smok’en Indo” is a crazy techno monkey that makes you do wierd dances and illustrates how important Relief was in the early development of these young producers.
Green Velvet – Explorer (RR730 – 1995)
Alright so this is on the Portamento Tracks EP which also included the more known “Flash” and “I Want To Leave My Body” so it’s pretty much overlooked, which is a HUGE mistake. While the beat is similar to “Flash” Velvet laces explorer with much more aggressive synths that rip open your ears while he talks about the king of the jungle. Wierd, but true.
Oh yeah and if you didn’t know: after a brief hiatus from ’98-’00, Relief is still alive and kicking. You can check ’em on myspace and also purchase many releases on their website. So make sure to support the roots and the future of our dance music!
In what has turned into our biggest month ever (see magazine covers and Tel Aviv), our most exciting news yet is here! We can finally say that we did it. All our hard work in the studio has actually paid off and our first music is available now on (premier online dance music mp3 store) Beatport in the form of a remix of our homey Adam Collins‘ psychedelic tech banger Pool Night on q007 Records. As owner of Euphoria Records and member of the group Omni A.M. Mr. Collins has been a major tech house player for over 10 years now and it’s a major honor to have our first release be a remix of his work on fellow Omni A.M.er Marky Star’s Japan based label. For Pool Night he sent us the parts without playing us his original version until we finished our remix so we had no problem twisting it around into our usual deep techno/house bounce style. We hope you like the results and appreciate all feedback, because mark my words, there’s much more to come and sooner than you think…
Adam Collins – Pool Night (Soul Claps Apres Swim Mix) / q007
GET IT ON BEATPORT
This story goes all the way back to the middle of Boston’s unofficial Techno week (last Thursday), on September 20th. It was a very special day for a few reasons, namely because my girlfriend finally turned 18, so we could actually have sex legally and secondly and most importantly, it marked the day that I, Professor Chazshabaz Nizzle III saw Stevie Wonder LIVE in concert. The process by which I came upon these tickets is a combination of a heated last minute bidding war on Ebay and yours truely on his hands and knees begging Mom and Dad. I know, its low, but whatever I saw the man, and who knows, it could be the LAST TIME (gulp!!!).
The Boston show at Bank of America Pavillion (formally Harbor Lights) marked the end of Stevie “A Wonder Summer’s Night” tour. For a while there it seemed like Stevie was done with life on the road, but after his mom passed away last year, it seemed like a tour to commemorate her life and life in general was a good thing to do. Well, it WAS a good thing, in fact probably the BEST concert I have ever seen EVER, even better than SVEN AND RICHIE. Even a few hundred feet away, being in Stevies presence immediately brought tears to my eyes and once he starting to sing, man… FUCKING STEVIE WONDER!
I didnt know how to share the experience with all of you, so I figured the best thing to do would be to copy the set list since DJ’s tend to go gaga over lists of songs anyways… Oh, some of the tunes i didnt recognize, so I just wrote down some lyrics, if anyone wants to comment and fill in the blanks, please do so.
Here it goes:
1. Loves In Need of Love Today
2. Too High
3. Vision In My Mind
4. Living For The City
5. Jammin’ (Master Blaster)
6. cover of P-Funks Mothership Connection performed with a Talk Box
7. Higher Ground
8. Golden Lady
9. Ribbon In The Sky (Duet with his daughter)
11. All Is Fair In Love And War
12. Lately (ya, like the one Jodeci stole)
13. ??? (I think it was What The Fuss, but not sure)
14. ??? “true love forever mine”
15. ridiculously dope percussion break, so funk, so Africa, so Techno
16. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
17. Sign Sealed Delivered (the Stevie pretended to do it a country westen jam… such a comedian)
18. My Cherie Amour
19. For Once In My Life
20. ??? “time and time again”
21. All I Do
22. Boogie On Reggae Woman
23. Sir Duke
24. I Wish
25. Isn’t She Lovely
26. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
WHEW!!! What a show.. so, how does this translate to Soul Clap? Well, here’s some fresh remixes/adaptations that shaped us and one attempt we made to shape Stevie!
Roy Davis Jr – All I Do DOWNLOAD
Absolute classic release from 1996 on Force Inc Records US. This one took FOREVER for me to find. First heard it on Roy Davis Jr’s “Future Experience” mixtape that I bought at Gramaphone Records while passing thru Chicago on my way to College in Los Angeles. Finally found a copy in Dallas, TX at Bill’s Records, what a crazy place that was…
Stevie Wonder – Too High (Bootleg Remix) DOWNLOAD
DJ Heather played this record sometime a million years ago at a Tropical party back when I was living in L.A. Thought it was the jam then, and I’d still play it under the right circumstances now. Dope, funky and best of all totally Stevie! I can’t figure out who’s mix this is, but the record is a white label with “S W” in red stamp.
Stevie Wonder – Love Light In Flight (Gator Boots’ Fuel Injected Dub)
Lastly an edit we did a few months back. Love Light In Flight is such a dope jam. First heard this when Bomshot sampled it for his Bomb Johnson project. It was my home girl Booty Balls Bounce that pointed out that this jam was off the Woman in Red soundtrack which was written and produced entirely by Stevie himself. Still have yet to see this movie and I suppose so has Stevie (I know, I know, I love you Stevie more than life!)