Various Artists - The Kings of House, Compiled and Mixed by Masters at Work
Fri 12th Aug, 2005 Music Reviewsin
BBE’s ‘Kings Of…’ series returns for a fourth round with a collection of hand-selected mixes from house music maestros ‘Masters at Work’ (‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez). As much a history lesson as it is a collection of must haves, this is where you will find many a blueprint for the sound we call house.
Having formed a partnership over 15 years ago, Masters at Work stand proudly behind countless club hits and remixes. Motivated by New York’s early underground disco, garage and house era they played a vital role in the creation of America’s club scene throughout the nineties. Needless to say their extensive contribution to house music has had an undeniable influence over the genre today.
Both Gonzalez and Vega take to this album with their signature level of finesse. What they present here are tracks that not only made Ron Hardy’s ‘Music Box’ the institution that it was, they also moulded the Chicago house and Detroit techno sound, impacting greatly on the careers of many a now household name. It was the rawest of styles to emerge and for those who couldn’t get enough, it always left behind the sweetest of tastes.
On CD 1 you will find numbers like the soothingly deep ‘Can You Feel It’ from Mr. Fingers (aka Larry Heard aka Fingers Inc), it became a landmark track, doing for deep house what ‘Rhythim Is Rhythim’s (Derrick May) seminal ‘Strings Of Life’ did for Detroit techno. Hercules (Marshall Jefferson and Lil Louis) bought dark, dirty house to the forefront of the underground scene via ‘7 Ways To Jack’ as did Reese & Santonio with ‘Rock To The Beat’, a classic Saunderson track that has become one of the most sampled tracks of our time.
On CD 2, proceedings continue with some classic vocal house, I speak of Chicago’s Joe Smooth and the quintessential ‘Promised Land’, as well as the definitive ‘Your Love’ and ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ from Frankie Knuckles featuring Jamie Principle. Green Velvets alter ego Cajmere is also represented with the highly memorable ‘Brighter Days’.
I could go on and point out each and every track on this album, for they have all landed a much-deserved place in dance music history. For music lovers this is a must for your collection and for new comers to the scene you will be staggered at just how well these tracks stand up against the productions of today. Essential, timeless, brilliant.