In the wrong hands, this collection of contemporary reworks of classic Chicago house productions could have been a distasteful mess. Indeed, the last time a similar exercise was tried – for Justin Robertson’s Art Of Acid compilation back in 2008 – the results were largely disappointing (see the Plump DJs breaks version of “Acid Tracks”).
Trax Re-Edited, thankfully, is in the right hands. Overseen from concept to delivery by the men behind the DJHistory.com website, it has the feel of a labour of love rather than a needless cash-in. You get the impression that everyone involved – particularly the vast army of producers and re-editors who’ve contributed – was acutely aware of the need to balance respect for the source material with a desire to satisfy the needs of contemporary dancefloors.
Of course, some re-edits are more successful than others. Justin Harris and Bubba & T-Bone offer relatively cosmetic tweaks on their versions of stone-cold classics “You Used To Hold Me” and “Baby Wants To Ride” (both, though, offer improved sound on the badly mastered originals). On the other side of the divide, Kink completely remakes Jack Frost’s “Clap Me”, offering up a breathless acid wig-out aimed squarely at peaktime floors. When it drops, madness will ensue.
With the quality threshold high throughout, picking individual highlights is tough. Hotel Motel’s strung-out version of Frankie Knuckles’ “It’s A Cold Cold World” is a late night delight, while JD Twitch’s pumping, peaktime take on Mr Lee’s rather silly “Pump Up Chicago” is worthy of repeat spins. Look out, too, for impeccable acid rinse-outs from Andy Blake, Leftside Wobble (whose version of “Face It” by Master C&J is a tracky bomb), Disco Bloodbath, Neville Watson and Chris Duckenfield.
The tireless chaps at DJ History have called on the likes of JD Twitch, Andy Blake, Greg Wilson and Mark Broom to re-edit classic Trax material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the influential Chicago house imprint.
From the early days of hip hop DJ battles, when DJs such as Afrika Bambaata would mislabel their records to hide the source of their all important breaks, the DJ has always relied on their secret weapons. Be it an obscure track hidden deep on compilations, a long forgotten Detroit gem or fresh productions that haven’t caught on yet. In the current climate of banger obsessed youths masquerading as ADD Ableton DJs craving their next Boys Noize or Turbo fix, DJ History do their bit to keep the tradition alive via this compilation. Co-ordinated by site founders Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster, this album sees a heady line up of respected DJs and producers nominate a secret weapon each from their arsenal of records.
Among the contributors are Prins Thomas, Wild Goose Frank Tope, esteemed German scribe Gerd Janson, Popular People’s Front figurehead Chris Duckenfield and rising edit stars Psychemagik. There’s an interesting story behind each track which really conveys the passion that the selectors maintain for music. For example, Prins Thomas’s deep love for the “Dinosaur L dirt” of the Boxsaga track that has seen him purchase multiple copies due to overplay. A specially commissioned edit by Luke Solomon of Derrick Carter’s sprawling “Tripping Among The Stars” is given even more credence by Solomon’s memories of first visiting Chicago and meeting Carter. What really impresses is the sheer variety of obscure excellence throughout with rare Royskopp remixes sitting next to oddball Mancunian punk disco and raw broken beat thumps that could work next to a Ramadanman track followed by ex bay City Roller produced disco funk.
The professional chin strokers over at DJ History have called onthe likes of Prins Thomas, Luke Soloman and Running Back chief Gerd Janson (pictured) to select their secret weapons for a new compilation due for release in October.
Californian DJ Shadow made his name as the sample-auteur of the trendy Mo’ Wax in London with his debut album Endtroducing in 1996. Since then, he’s forged a reputation as both a collector and DJ who stays one step ahead of the pack in his constant quest for new and interesting records. Juno Plus is proud to present Bill Brewster’s in-depth interview with Shadow from 2005.
Victor Simonelli is New York house royalty. Born and musically-schooled in Brooklyn, Simonelli grew up in an era where disco was giving way to the new sound of house, and that dramatic intersection is where his heart and many of his great productions lie.
In the second part of our series of classic interviews, the DJhistory team have dug out an interview with Vince Aletti, the very first journalist to cover the emerging disco scene in 1970s New York. In this article he speaks about going to the Loft for the first time, hanging out in Larry Levan’s DJ booth and how disco went overground.
Interview by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton in New York City, 12.10.98.
Juno has teamed up with the disco dons over at DJhistory to bring you regular classic interviews from the archives. After ten years and a growing number of books, the DJ History ethos aim remains the same as always: to document the rich history of dance music and to collect and share knowledge about fantastic music. First up is British music icon Terry Farley, part of the original Boys Own crew.