ALBUM REVIEWThu, September 12, 2013
Compilation that steps into the future with firm roots in the past
Label head Steve Bug rounds up a fine selection of obscurities from the formative years of house.
Three tracks (only included on the digital version of Classic Jams) have been reissued previously on Poker Flat Recordings. Nick Holder's smash hit Erotic Illusions exemplifies a frill free tune with maximum impact. House of God by D.H.S. preaches the gospel acid style. And Reasons to Be Dismal by Foremost Poets is a trippy Chicago house track.
Also hailing the windy city is Make U Mine by Color of Music (which includes Carl Bias of Master C&J). The soulful tune with funky organ keys ranges up there with the best of Trax Records. Riding the beat for Detroit is Magique Noir by Transcendence which blends Red Planet galactic mystique with Transmat electronic funk. Also from Motor City is Peace Out by Vice (originally released 430 West), an acid head rush in the tradition of Washing Machine.
Some tracks have not aged well like the sample heavy hip house of Aquarius by Jam To It Again. Also slightly out of date (but great to hear again!) is a UK house inspired track by Springboard called Make Some Noise.
One of the better tunes is Never More Lonely by the ever reliable Fingers Inc. By joining the dots between soul and gospel to house, Larry Heard touches on the common grounds between religion and house. Muzik by Myoshi Morris (a funky slice of piano house) expresses devotion to house by its vocal snippet "Music keeps me movin', music keeps me groovin'".
The compilation fits very well in what seems to be the Poker Flat Recordings aesthetic: stepping into the future with firm roots in the past. Personally it takes me back to high school parties and pirate radio, sweet memories!