Marshall Jefferson – Open Our Eyes (Marshall’s Elevated Dub)
Everyone in the underground scene has come across Marshall Jefferson’s ‘Move Your Body‘ before. The anthem, a definitive Trax Records release lead by Curtis McClain’s vocals, embodies the free spirit of 1980s Chicago House scene. At times, referred to as the Godfather of House Music, Jefferson unquestionably was pioneer heavily involved with the nurturing of its early progress. Being a friend and collaborator of Frankie Knuckles, and the producer behind DJ Pierre’s groundbreaking ‘Acid Tracks‘ EP project are just some of the extracts from his CV. His 1988 release on the New York label Big Beat Records ‘Open Your Eyes’ offers a more gossamer take on production.
The track is an exhibition of a polished Jefferson drum programming, with the producer noted to have been an enthusiast of the Roland TB-303 back in the 80s. The profuse bass line used sounds very similar to Mr Fingers’ (aka one of the father’s of Deep House Larry Heard) 1985 release ‘Mystery of Love‘ that has more recently been sampled by Kanye West in his track ‘Fade‘ featuring Post Malone. The innocuous, yet poignant lyrics repeat ‘Open Our Eyes, Give Us The Light‘. The Elevated Dub offers a crunch that is more club-ready for a a crowd that have gathered for a shared communion of dance. Continue reading →
Glenn Underground – House Music Will Never Die (Glenn’s Afro Dub)
As the producer’s name suggests, Glenn Underground breathes for the underground scene. A descendant from the local pioneers such as Larry Heard and Lil’ Louis, he has taken the mantle of preserving the soul of House. ‘House Music Will Never Die’ is a heartwarming tribute to the dancefloors of The Warehouse, an anthem for the streets once ruled by Frankie Knuckles.
From the intro, clanging hats and cowbells pave the red carpet for the hefty synthesis of a robust kick & an eminent subbass progression. The power of dubbed bass gives the sound an elevated tier of thump. The super low ends that you’d find in a dub mix contrasts with the higher range in the melody. Paying his dues to the genre’s history, Chicago-born Cei Bei sings:
‘Originating from Chi-Town, House Music will never die.’
The singer often produces songs with lyrics that carry the essence of the early House music community. In ‘Dance Tonight’ he shouts out major world cities from the hotspot of Chicago. All is done with a sense of a virtuous spirit of fellowship immune from material greed. It is all about the music. Bei has previously collaborated with key players in the Illinois scene including Ron Trent, DJ Pap & Abicah Soul. His ability to combine serene with the vibrant vocally is transparent in Glenn’s Afro Dub here which gold-plates the production. Continue reading →
The underground scene is often caricatured for its hedonistic culture. Often emblematised as the culture of unbounded liberties full of excess and substance abuse. You’d be forgiven to think this environment to be in direct contrast to the concept of church. Yet dig deeper and you’ll find an underlining heritage of spiritual hymns produced by the pioneers of house and techno. Just last year Robert Hood released an EP named ‘Let The Church’ under his Floorplan alias. Rocco’s ruminant track ‘Someday’ is another piece of the puzzle complementing the argument that underground music can offer a redemptive sermon in the form of dance.
The introduction carries phased out synths akin to Kerri Chandler’s signature sound. Robust kick is supported by a snare drum and a plucky bass that riffs, underpinning the groove. The gospel vocals simmer in and out in a wavelike manner. The leading female vocalist assures us that ‘Someday, We’ll all be Free’ while a unison choir sings in the background. The midsection breakdown filters out the drums allowing the choir to shine its celestial singing. 1990s inspired string pad provides guidance until the kick is brought back in. Fittingly, a tambourine is introduced in the final third to support the drums. An instrument that is often associated with the Southern Baptist congregation, its a great tribute to the track’s inspiration. Continue reading →
As first outlined on the liner notes of his seminal Minimal Techno album Minimal Nation, Robert Hood is a Godly man. If you’ve ever read the Bible, you will agree that the grand visions of Ezekiel detailing the Cherubim and its adventures is Hollywood worthy. Hood drops such herculean description within the design of his ‘Signs of Change’ remix to Landside’s (A project of Hunter/Game and Icelandic band Kúra) track.
Pounding and gargantuan big room bass that’s often been seen in his tracks recently help flex his vision heavenly vision. With glacial chimes looping over the top showcasing what made him stand out in the first place. The spectral vocal on top is certainly an added bonus.
The drawn out, but focused zippy synths given a renovation from the original, help make it feel majestic, painting a picture of the Cherubim zooming around sky, showing it’s power in full glory. This Robert Hood remix show’s the techno pioneer’s class in all it’s glory.