House Hunting #23 - Ron Trent

Aiden resorts to House Hunting online... " I didn’t take the safe option of just coppin’ a 12” on my wantlist though as I was offered the interesting proposition of a ‘trade’ hmmmm…"

House Hunting #23 - Ron Trent

Aiden resorts to House Hunting online... " I didn’t take the safe option of just coppin’ a 12” on my wantlist though as I was offered the interesting proposition of a ‘trade’ hmmmm…"

So it’s the second week I’ve lost my discipline in diggin’ deep and resorted to house hunting online, this time succumbing to record database behemoth Discogs oh the shame – I gotta hit the racks this weekend as gettin’ wax withdrawal… I didn’t take the safe option of just coppin’ a 12” on my wantlist though as I was offered the interesting proposition of a ‘trade’ hmmmm…

Now I don’t buy off Discogs often because as well as the speculators I think it sucks the soul outta the art of diggin’ and it can be a cop out – I think if you hunt hard enough you’ll unearth the records in your infinite quest to complete your wantlist… If I surrender and pursue a Discogs purchase I always tread with trepidation – I always have to message the seller to ensure the description is 100% accurate in factors like the condition definitely matching the grading listed and double-checking the labels are clean. I actually got my fingers burnt recently – I ordered a few records from a seller as he accepted some very low offers I made (alarm bells should have raised then) on a couple of rarer Strictly Rhythm records by Andrew “Rags” Richardson under his ‘After Hours’ and ‘Sound Waves’ aliases. Firstly, he ‘couldn’t find’ the Sound Waves one (typical…) and when the records arrived the After Hours 12” which was graded ‘Mint’ actually had WOL and scratches – that old adage if it sounds too good to be true then it most probably is… To be fair he was apologetic and refunded me half the cost of the record so everyone a winner. It’ll be a while before I consider buying off Discogs again though Jesus how hard is it grading and selling a record?!

Anyway, back to the trade and the record in question the buyer wanted off me was the NY classic ‘Holdin’ On’ by Michael Watford complete with production from Roger Sanchez and Eddie Perez of Smack fame – a pure shelter melter that I lost myself in when Linkwood dropped it at Thunder last weekend… Anyway, though only £2.99 the buyer ‘Bamfordbadboy’ suggested I look at his records for sale as I may be interested. Usually when offered a trade it’s countless copies of dollar bin nonentities that you’ll find congesting the racks of the Music & Video Exchange and I’ll be totally honest with his seller name I was expecting some gabba and happy hardcore… However, sensing an opportunity and reassured as he has a 100% seller rating I checked out what he had – to my surprise had a hoard of house Holy Grails including loads of Larry Heard’s more collectable records on Alleviated and Gherkin plus killer records on revered house labels such as Trax, Nu Groove, KMS and Bigshot. 

Turns out he’s a fan of the column (some people actually read it!) so we got talking and I find out that Bamfordbadboy aka Paul has been a house fanatic since the age of 19 after his mate dragged him along to long lost London sanctuary Clink Street. This influenced him spending the next two decades diggin’ in dusty pound bins around the world yearning for the Chicago/Detroit/New York sounds that he grew up on and loved. Like me, his favourite house records are mainly the ones he’s dug out for bargain basement prices at a pound and under – not necessarily rare or valuable but ones that some effort has gone into finding, whether it be in a street market in NYC, up early doors 7am at the Utrecht record fair in a dirty old cardboard box or out of a garage in Stanwell on a wet Sunday afternoon. The accumulation of house, disco and obscure records from his diggin’ exploits has got a bit out of control hence turning to Discogs in selling and trading – why not have a peruse of his house platters here, I’m sure he’ll cut you a deal…

Anyway, what caught my eye was a classic Prescription joint that he had listed for £19 in near mint condition complete with cover in shrink (can’t get enough of a shrink-intact cover – help me now…). As the record he wanted off me £3 the difference was £16 so as always I was after a deal so I offered a cheeky tenner which he accepted… Turns out he was after the aforementioned After Hours 12” I wasn’t happy with due to the writing on the label (I’m undergoing therapy…) so with this counter-trade I even made a bit of money proper Dickinson’s Real Deal!

So what dose of Prescription had I popped? Well it’s the house Holy Grail ‘Dance Floor Boogie Delites’ by none-other than Prescription brother Ron Trent. Though it’s probably one of the more celebrated records on the label that is cheaper and easier to cop I just ain’t come across it in over a decade in diggin’ – one of those that I’ve refused to buy online as I always yearn for the fairytale ending in finding a wantlist weapon deep in the racks… Before we get on to this and the hallowed house of prescription let’s take it back to Ron’s beginnings…

At just 14 years old (when if like me you were chasing girls and having your first cans of Stella) Ron showed a maturity beyond his years by creating the future classic ‘Altered States’ with little more than a Roland 626, 909 and a keyboard. At the time Ron was friends with the late Armando who upon hearing it loved it and eventually released it on his Warehouse Records imprint in 1990. With its Roland rhythms and soaring strings, the track transcended the usual house or techno genre-labelling – a proper ubiquitous b-side bomb that exploded on the scene and still remains a timeless slice of wax to this day. On the flip ‘The Afterlife’ and ‘Making Love’ ain’t half bad either – let’s rewind and reminisce over this teenage tutelage…

The original pressing on Warehouse Records is hard to find and can go for serious £££’s though you can source it via Djax subsidiary Djax-Up-Beats complete with a Carl Craig remix and other (inferior) versions. Ron also released it via his ‘Prescription Classic Recordings’ offshoot too so if you don’t mind a reissue why not directly support the creator… Moving on and in the same year Ron initiated his house excursion releasing ‘Into The Night’ as the UBQ Project along with Terry Hunter and Aaron Smith – his ‘Club Mix’ giving an indication into the direction his production prowess would take…

He was then taken under the wing of Hula & K. Fingers (aka Lamar Hula Mahone & Craig Simpkins) of Da Posse fame who also at the time had a recording deal with Jive – even producing ‘Summertime’ by Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince! Under their encouragement and guidance in ’92 Ron evolved into a production mainstay of their house imprint ‘Clubhouse Records’ which later became a subsidiary of Emotive. Though I think his Clubhouse releases are underappreciated in comparison to his later Prescription discography this is one of my favourite eras of Ron releases that he produced with his kindred spirit Braxton Holmes – whether its his debut for the label ‘Love Affair’, his remixes of C-Low & Battle and Blak Beat Niks’ long lost house Holy Grail ‘A True Poet’, his collaboration with Braxton and Ed Matthews on ‘The Weekend’ as ERB (reissued last year by Rush Hour) or my personal favourite, his ‘Foreplay’ mix of Braxton Holmes’ ’12 Inches Of Pleasure’ pure house bliss lose yourself in these…

The following year in ’93 proved just as pivotal as this is when he hooked up with his Prescription brother Chez Damier aka Anthony Pearson. Now based in the motor city with Kevin Saunderson’s studio at their disposal, they collaborated on the KMS 051 EP (‘The Choice’) and KMS 54 EP (The ‘A1’ track aka ‘Don’t Try It’ proper face melter) which retained the deep majesty of Ron’s earlier productions but with Chez’ influence and vox he added another dimension with them being more club-orientated complete with their signature diaphragm-bustin’ bassbin breakin’ dubs. They also contributed some killer remixes to the label complete with their deep, inimitable style – check out some of that KMS flavour here…

However, it’s the hallowed house heritage of Prescription records that Ron is probably best well known for and is often referenced when talking about this hierarchical house disciple. The term ‘Deep House’ is bandied about a lot and I’ll be honest I hate it but if one label personifies the deeper realms of house then it’s definitely Prescription – if you’re a ‘house head’ or ‘deep house’ fan and you ain’t got a Prescription record then it’s time you take a HND in house… Though there are countless classics on the label including the ‘Hip To Be Disillusioned Vol.1’, ‘Foot Therapy’ and ‘Grand Lodge Of Luxor (Thebes)’ EP’s that are a feature in many a discernible DJ’s set or hardcore house enthusiasts collection, personally I think the afterhours ether of ‘Morning Factory’ perfectly captures the essence of the label. Inspired by their visits to the Junior Vasquez’s Sound Factory, as with a lot of their other Prescription records when in the studio they ‘synthesized’ their experiences of club soundsystems. It is true when you hear a Prescription record on a decent system they sound otherworldly with their deep, ethereal aesthetic… Though some may find it insignificant that the records have philosophical and spiritual meaning behind them trust me when you’re on that dancefloor and a Prescription joint is dropped it’s a feeling that takes you to a higher plane of the house sanctuary – case in point when at Thunder last week Linkwood signs off with Abacus’ ‘Relics’ proper end-of-nighter melter… Anyway, here’s Morning Factory and a few other of my Prescription faves: 

Other notable productions of the era worth checking are Ron’s contributions to Cajual (‘States’ EP) plus Chez’n’Trent remixes of Naomi Daniel, Round One (aka Basic Channel) and Inner City. After a few years of running Prescription and with the closure of the KMS studios their partnership had run its course – Chez went on to solely run their new incarnation of Prescription ‘Balance Recordings’ (check BL 2 for Ron’s killer ‘Dark Room’ EP which was also released via Subwoofer) and Ron relocated to New York forming his USG (‘Urban Sound Gallery’) project in tandem with running Prescription and setting up Clairaudience as an outlet for his protégé Anthony Nicholson. He also released in ’99 his ‘Primitive Arts’ LP on Peacefrog featuring many of his classics including ‘Sometimes I Feel Like’, ‘I Feel The Rhythm’ and ‘Morning Factory’ – though half of it is his Prescription discography still a worthy addition to your Ron Trent collection. Since the turn of the century I hate to say it and may be controversial to some but I just ain’t been feeling a lot of his later material on his Prescription offshoot Future Vision and his more recently conceived Electric Blue imprint. However the other day I heard his tribute to Frankie Knuckles which has restored my faith – to quote Ron himself:

"Out of pain and into the light. Puffy eyes and all I tried to articulate my feelings through sound. We had planned to do this interview some weeks before and then Frankie made his transition. I didn't know how I would present myself after not having proper rest for a few days. It was making a composition on my laptop to express myself that helped start me to come to peace in my mind.”

I could go on for days about Ron though I think 2000 words enough for now (GET A LIFE) don’t wanna leave you in a daze… I’ve missed out loads and big apologies if ain’t included your fave Ron Trent productions – maybe a House Hunting thread posting your fave RT joints? Anyway, I’ll leave you with this week’s Prescription pick-up and yes when Thunder matriarch and (occasional) Ransom Note scribe Miles dropped ‘Pop, Dip And Spin’ a couple of week’s back at the Boy’s Own x House Hunting event it still sent shivers and shockwaves down my spine… Don’t forget ‘Morning Fever’ on the flip for some b-side bliss – right gotta jet time for another deep dose of Prescription…

Aiden d’Araujo

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