Friday, June 8, 2012

The Intersection: This Ain't Chicago

Various Artists
This Ain't Chicago (Strut Records; 2012)

I guess it's probably fitting to discuss a dance record on Friday. Usually club night for the younger generation. What's not common is to be reading about it on JazzWrap. Well that's because every once in awhile I like to kick one into the terraces.

So drifting back into my youth came the new compilation, This Ain't Chicago guided by the stealth hand of DJ Richard Sen. And it is killer education into the early roots of the UK House scene. This collection isn't out until July 10th, but I couldn't hold back talking about it.

While everyone may know my affinity for Detroit and Chicago dance music and its subsequent effect on the UK (in particular A Guy Called Gerald); you may not know or remember the majority of stellar releases from the UK during the early years. We are talking mostly 12'' and maybe a few EPs. Sen has deftly compiled these into a smooth and cohesive document that is as enlightening as it is danceable.

Ability II drop an extended trance beat with "Pressure Dub" which features a pulsating bass, crunching synth patterns wrapped inside some beautifully looped vocals and hand claps. "Bang Bang, You're Mine," from Bang The Party comes crashing down sensually with what feels like a sample of New Order's "Thieves Like Us" hiding underneath (I'm not sure about that but that's what I felt). One of those late night tracks that should play work well during a live DJ set.

One of my favourite groups/artist during this period was Babyford. Here during his early period with a typical statement piece "Crashing" which is hypnotic and reverberates long after it's over. "Iron Orbit" and "1966" (by Static and M.D. Emm respectively), start a period of haunting house beats. Very electrifying and fast paced with pounding hand claps and drum effects. Excellent.

Rio Rhythm Band adds a Latin flavour to this collection. Their track "Cubba Jakkin'" has percussion layered over a furious yet fun-natured keyboard pattern and high whistles. Funky and jacked up for the floor.

With This Ain't Chicago, what Richard Sen has assembled is a stellar collection of UK house tracks that seriously stand the test of time. With a nice mixture of heavy beat tracks, vocals and dub, Sen curates a musical journey that moves with the night. This Ain't Chicago is a perfect and probably only way to get some of these gems without paying through the arse. But for the most part its a great education on what was happening as Detroit and Chicago began to influence it's counterparts across the way. Highly Recommended.

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