We are most proud to welcome, to the 4th instalment of The Kings of…-Series, Masters at Work, serving up a lavish double mix cd package, complemented by lovingly mastered vinyl collections of some of the harder to find tracks from each of their respective mixes, in unadulterated 12” format.
Kenny Dope & ’Little’ Louie Vega (aka Masters at Work) have been working together for 15 years. They are Gods of the Global Dance Movement, overground as well as underground. Whether DJing, remixing, reconstructing, working on their own productions or running their numerous labels, unflinching commitment to innovation, experimentation and self expression makes them as prolific today as they were on day one.
No one can dispute their crowns, both started as DJ’s, Louie coming from a family steeped in musical tradition began in his early teens and moved on to Manhattan clubs like Devil’s Nest, Heartthrob and Studio 54 as soon as he was capable of getting in. Kenny was with a soundsystem called ‘Masters at Work’, the first incarnation of the mark, dropping Hip Hop beats at Neighbourhood jams.
Transcending fashion, not afraid to mix techno with latino, drop hip hop beats over a house groove or take out the 4/4 all together and leave the snares clattering loose and free, they remain true to a an eclectic musical A–Z.
The choices take us on a journey to Chicago re-visiting their House roots. The selection includes classic vocals (eg Joe Smooth, Stirling Void), early rave anthems typifying the ‘summer of love’ (eg. Reese & Santonio : ‘Rock To The Beat’), perhaps the first ever jazz house record (Mr. Fingers : ‘Can You Feel It’), as well as elements of House Poetry (The It –‘Donnie’ ), and awesome jackin' House (Master C & J : ‘Face It’) - a remarkable mix from todays Kings of House, bowing reverentially at the virtuoso performances of the inventers of the movement.
A little bit about the tracks
The mix is rich with offerings from Chicago based labels such as Trax- Records, one of the first to release the innovative, raw, stripped-down four-on-the-floor dance sound that would later become known as House Music. Many of the key originators recorded for Trax, including Marshall Jefferson who appears here, as Jungle Wonz (The Jungle) and Hercules (7 Ways to Jack), both were sizeable club hits at the time.
Larry Heard (aka Mr Fingers) is another pivotal figure who continues to record today, contained here is possibly the first ever jazz house record with lyrical content that attempted to define the sensibility of House...
‘…no one can own house because house music is a universal language, spoken and understood by all.
You see, house is a feeling that no one can understand really unless you're deep into the vibe of house. House is an uncontrollable desire to jack your body’ … ‘You may be black, you may be white; you may be Jew or Gentile. It don't make a difference in our House’.
Larry Heard - ‘Can You Feel It’ 1987.
Larry also features on ‘Donnie’, produced the stunning ‘Bring Down The Walls’ featuring Fingers Inc partner and all round maestro House vocalist Robert Owens. Larry’s trademarks run through the selections he touches here, addictive, percussive and heavenly uplifting.
Sterling Void’s ‘It's All Right’ is a monster vocal anthem which became globally known when it was covered by universal electronic pop masters The Pet Shop Boys. Another classic from the period, ‘Strings Of Life’ perhaps the encore of rave, produced by Derrick May who is perhaps better known as a techno king, this track was recently reworked with vocals from Kathy Brown and charted in the UK. Also from Rhythim Is Rhythim, ‘It Is What It Is’ is much more electronic than ‘Strings of…’ bridging the boundaries between house and techno, with co–production from Juan Atkins, a Detroit legend.
Jamie Principle’s breathy Smokey Robinson styled delivery, coupled with unarguably the Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles’ production skills add to the vocal intensity of the mix. Bring in Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’ featuring the haunting vocals of Anthony Thomas - a track which has long been a favourite of many, regularly appearing in DJ’s top 10 records of all time.
KC flight, has that primal feel that so many old skool house tracks have, The Masters have re-interpreted this track.
Kings of House is a compilation compiled by two men who wear the crown now, throughout if they pay homage to those who created a modern day disco music that continues to fill dance floors across the world. Enjoy.
For more check: www.rapsterrecords.com/kingsofhouse