Masters At Work – House Masters Vol 2

September 21, 2015 in Albums

Masters At Work House Masters Vol 2 DefectedYou might have thought that, with the first Masters At Work House Masters set (released in 2014) weighing in at a hefty four CDs, that’d be it – the definitive MAW comp done and dusted, no more to see here, move along now. You’d have been wrong.

It’s partly shrewd marketing on Defected’s part, of course: if you leave out a few classics from Vol 1 and say “here’s a non-obvious collection that delves a little deeper,” you’re holding a To Be In Love-shaped ace up your sleeve. But it’s also testament to the sheer quality – not to mention sheer volume! – of Messrs Vega and Gonzales’s back catalogue that, two years on, here we have another four-disc set and there’s not yet even a hint of barrel-scraping.

With 39 tracks, most of which most TIWWD readers will know, I’m not going through them one-by-one. Suffice to say that Kenny and Louie’s own productions as MAW and Nu Yorican Soul take up seven of the tracks (yes, including To Be In Love), with the rest comprising their remixes of everyone from pop and R&B acts like Eternal, Kele Le Roc and even Debbie Gibson, to 4hero, Cajmere and Roni Size, not to mention more than a few disco and jazz-funk classics from Loose Joints, George Benson, Chic, Double Exposure et al given a little MAW magic.

Highlights for this reviewer include a take on Desiya’s 1991 classic Coming On Strong that’s somehow avoided my ears for nearly a quarter-century, and the Masters At Work Dubb (sic) of Deee-Lite’s Runaway, just cos Deee-Lite are criminally under-rated generally so it’s good to see ’em get a look in here. But you’ll have your own faves I’m sure, once you’ve grabbed yourself a copy of this. Which you need to, obviously.

Out: Ah, now, y’see… this actually came out about 10 days ago but, erm, an idiot of my acquaintance misfiled it. Sorry bout dat.

About: You know where to find Defected by now.

Masters At Work – House Masters

September 22, 2014 in Albums

Masters At Work House Masters DefectedI’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve reviewed a compilation featuring the work of this, that or the other premier league house producer and had to write something along the lines of “one day someone will put together the definitive Artist X collection… this isn’t it, but it’s pretty damn good for now”.

Well, I’m not going to write that today, because this pretty much IS the definitive Masters At Work collection you’d want it to be! Sure, we’ve all got our personal faves and if yours are from the more obscure reaches of Kenny and Louie’s vast catalogue then it may not be here*. But from The Nervous Track and Our Mute Horn through to Work and Backfired, most of MAW’s own big tracks are present and correct – as are their most-loved remixes, of everyone from Ruffneck, Ce Ce Peniston and Ultra Nate to The Braxtons, Simply Red and, er, Debbie Gibson, via St Etienne, House Of Gypsies, Atmosfear and D’Influence. Special bonus points, too, for including Helpless by Urbanized – one of my favourite US garage cuts of all time.

Long-term soulful house/garage buyers will of course own much of what’s here already, but it’s nice to have ’em all in one place all the same. But as an introduction to the work of NY’s finest for those just discovering classic house sounds for the first time (and there’s rather a lot of them right now, I’m told), this is pretty much perfect.

Out: Yesterday

About: This is brought to you by the all-conquering Defected.

* No Gonna Get Back To You by MAW & Co from 1993, for instance… hmm, wonder if anyone’ll post it on Facebook today?

Matt Tolfrey – Word Of Mouth Remixes

April 27, 2014 in Singles

Matt Tolfrey Word Of Mouth Remixes LeftroomIn which four tracks from the Leftroom boss’s 2012 long-player (or five if you buy the EP on Beatport) get the remix treatment from what it has to be said is a pretty darned heavy-hitting line-up.

First up, Distant Story from Tolfrey and Kevin Knapp gets a Mr Fingers Deep Mix from the mighty Larry Heard. Kenny Dope then does the dub honours on Ya Kid K collab Turn You Out, before Rob Mello serves up a No Ears mix of Never Assume (credited to Tolfrey and James Teej). Completing the standard package is Freaks’ take on Downtown, but those buying on Beatport also get a bonus in the form of a Misi Remix of Spooks (also credited to Tolfrey and Knapp).

It’s between the Misi rub of Spooks and Heard’s mix of Distant Story for top honours for yours truly, but beyond that I’m deliberately not going into much detail here because with a talent roster like that, you KNOW you need to check this one for yourself!

Out: This week

About: This comes, of course, on Leftroom, who you can find on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Various – Divas On King Street

June 10, 2013 in Albums

Divas On King Street King Street SoundsA history lesson for some here, a trip down memory lane for the rest of us, as the mighty King Street Sounds, who this year are celebrating 20 years in the game, release a 20-track compilation packed full of soulful, vocal gems spanning the label’s entire lifetime.

From classics like Mood II Swing feat Carole Sylvan’s Closer and Carolyn Harding’s Running From Reality (both 1994) to more recent gems like Barbara Tucker & Tuccillo’s One Desire, it’s an object lesson in soulful, vocal house done properly. Most of the tracks are presented in new, exclusive remixes, and with a vocal line-up that includes Ultra Nate, Linda Clifford, Ananda Project, Michelle Weeks, Dawn Tallman, Monique Bingham, Stephanie Cooke, Joi Cardwell and Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, and producers/remixers including Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Blaze, DJ Pierre, Ralphi Rosario, Danny Tenaglia, Richard Earnshaw, Audiowhores, Stefano Noferini and Sean McCabe, for soulful house heads it really is a no-brainer.

Out: This week

About: Here’s where to find King Street online, as if you didn’t know.

Dajae – Don’t You Want My Love [Remixes]

April 29, 2012 in Singles

A noteworthy pairing of old-school heroes now, as Kenny Dope serves up three remixes of Dajae’s Don’t You Want My Love from 2011.

The O’Gutta Remix is a fairly trad vocal affair but with some added techy/acid squelch, and comes accompanied by a mix called O’Gutta TV which is basically an instrumental of the same. S’cool, but top honours for me go to the Kenny Dope Bass Dubb (yeah, two b’s), a stripped-down pass with Dajea’s unmistakeable tonsils still in full effect but now screamin’ out atop a dark room groove made up of hefty, bubblin’ bass and those trademark razor-sharp Gonzalez beats.

Respect is due, as they say!

Out: This week

About: This comes atcha on Groove Odyssey, which is of course Bobby & Steve’s label… actually strictly speaking it’s run by Bobby & Steve with Michael Hughes but anyway, you can find ’em here.