House Hunting #56 – Level 3

Aiden’s quick stops in Shoreditch found him some super-cheap Sleeping Bag Records…

House Hunting #56 – Level 3

Aiden’s quick stops in Shoreditch found him some super-cheap Sleeping Bag Records…

So after the heavy house haul from my hot house call a few weeks back its back to standard House Hunting practice… I still had a voucher to rinse at Hoxton wax haunt Love Vinyl so took a jaunt east to use that. On the way it was time for a rack sidetrack at Eldica and Kristina Records but my rack raids proved futile there so jetted down the Kingsland Road hoping Love Vinyl would be armed with some lethal lacquer. Upon entering Zaf played the usual £50+ obscure allure deep from his vinyl vaults that had us all goin’ “What the f**k is that?” but there was a Sleeping Bag I’d had my eye on for a while which was ‘Go Bang! #5’ by Dinosaur L aka visionary virtuoso Arthur Russell. It was in mint condition complete in Sleeping Bag sleeve with shrink so had to be copped – at £40 steep but with my voucher and a house haggle £25 was more than fair for this slice of NYC history… I had a quick flick in the racks (clocked loads of Nu Groove necessities!) but just copped the Sleeping Bag as man I’ve spent enough already this month time to cut the credit card…

As I was jettin’ back home via Shoreditch I made a quick foray to Flashback Records and descended to the basement to see if they had any house hotplates in stock. Now last time I was here they were trying to offload a copy of the Summer Of Love anthem ‘I’m In Love’ by Sha-Lor aka Ben Cenac for a ridiculous £40 proper speculator form so weren’t holdin’ out much hope… However, I thought my eyes were deceiving me when at the back of the dance racks I pulled out another Sleeping Bag this time the ace ‘Sleeping Bag’s Greatest Mixers III’ comp (love the artwork on this series) that features Class Action, Joyce Sims and The Todd Terry Project with mixes by Larry Levan, Mantronik and Marley Marl. It had a cut in the cover which I ain’t a fan of but when I clocked this was a surprisingly super-cheap £3.99 it had to be copped especially as it was still sealed with hype sticker intact proper diggers delight! So not bad a couple of fresh Sleeping Bags – I composed a love letter to the legendary label last year so won’t wax further but won’t hurt gettin’ Dinosaur L on the decks again…



So no record to write about on that house hunt and I ain’t got time to check out another shop for days the pressure’s on… I turned to perusal plan B which was to have a browse online (you what?!). Yeah I know will never compare to a deep dose of diggin’ but I still needed my weekly fix of black crack and before you ask no I didn’t deviate to the Discogs Devil… It was about time I paid a visit to my main man Mark Seven’s record joint Jus Wax which houses a superior selection of disco, italo, boogie and house raided from his crate crusades stateside and beyond. I usually can’t face buying online as with me being an OCD freak (clean labels, shrink, hype sticker et al) I just can’t trust the virtual vinyl vendors as what they usually class as ‘NM’ clearly ain’t more like ‘VG’ at best… Yeah I know kill me now but this s**t I’m serious about!

Anyway, if you regularly tune in you know Mark Seven is a House Hunting fave. Havin’ been schooled on the dancefloors of London club sanctuaries such as Shoom, Future and Delerium, Mark witnessed first hand the house hedonism of the late 80s that culminated in the acid house explosion. It was the early house imports jettin’ on to our shores from outta NYC and the Chi that left a lasting impression so it was only natural that Mark would pursue the art of DJing. However, through 90s disillusionment in what the acid house and Balearic scenes had become Mark turned to production and went into techno terrain releasing several records in the 90s including the ‘Transitions EP’ under his Point Zero pseudonym on Dave Angel’s Rotation Records. More recently he has released records on labels such as Mule Musiq’s subsidiary Endless Flight, Rollerboys Recordings outta Mark’s adopted hometown Stockholm and on his very own Parkwest label which is the house offshoot of his Parkway Records stable - their flavour harkin’ back to the post-disco 80s era and joining the dots between the classic sounds synonymous with New York, New Jersey and Chicago. Check out the Parkway Records Soundcloud page for the full discography and have a listen to some of Mark’s productions here…




As well as producing Mark is a revered selector and has released some masterful mixes that include his superior Salute series and the second volume of Claremont 56’s choice comps ‘Originals’ which are already hard to find and fetch some serious £££’s. For me however, it’s all about his ‘Parkway Mastermix’ series with their post-disco, boogie styling complete with the emerging house forms that hark back to the NY airwaves of WBLS’ Saturday Night Dance Show and those Kiss mastermixes by Shep and The Hump. If you ain’t heard it already check out ‘Parkway Mastermix Vol. IV’ which is the latest instalment in the series that he recorded for House Hunting last year serious selection! Anyway, back to the house hunting and on scouring his site of course there were the usual suspects on Trax, Nu Groove, Larry, Farley et al but I deviated to the disco and leftfield crates to see if I could unearth some more obscure allure. In these sections is a hand-picked mix of rare and out-of-print soul, funk, disco/post-disco, italo and boogie trust me they’ll be a wantlist weapon in there… As I was scrolling through I saw a record by Level 3 aka House Hunting hero Boyd Jarvis that had ‘SEALED COPY’ in the description. This was the Zanz classic ‘Central Line’ on Fleetwood Records which is also home to ‘Nobody’s Business’ by Billie with Boyd at the controls. As I ain’t flush with cash at the minute I just ordered that – yeah I gotta pay the shipping too and I could probably cop off Discogs cheaper but being sealed was the deal breaker. When the record arrived Mark included a cheeky test pressing of his latest Parkway platter complete with typewritten promo sheet and WBLS post-it sticker – all about those lil’ details! Back to the record and it’s about time I composed a love letter to Boyd Jarvis as I feel this is an unsung hero of house who despite building the foundations is still under-appreciated.

So let’s hear his story and hark back to Boyd’s beginnings… Prior to producing he was an intern in theatre lighting and set design, supporting shows in venues such as the Lincoln Centre Perry Street Theatre and Riverside Church Theatre. However, back in ’77 in his late teens working in legendary Brooklyn institution Browns Guest House gave him the taste of NYC nightlife, with his formative years spent working and dancing in clubs like Pegasus, Melons and the Paradise Garage. Through his club years it was synth supremo’s such as Herbie Hancock and Chic Corea that he resonated with, ultimately influencing him in scoring his first synthesizer in ’81 which was the Yamaha CS-15. As this was all he could afford at the time, he mastered this machine to the degree that he’d jet over to Tony Humphries’ house armed with his synth in a US canvas postal bag to overdub mixes. At the time he was also sorting the interior design for the club Melons which was home to rezzie DJ Derrick Davidson so sensing an opportunity he took his synth down and his overdubs went down a storm. Hearing him that night was aspiring DJ and producer Timmy Regisford, who invited Boyd down to WBLS radio to do some live overdubs for Timmy’s audition for the station. For the show Boyd produced a couple of prototypes including ‘One Love’ (which was inspired by the Peech Boys’ ‘Don’t make Me Wait’ and was a precursor to the Janice Christie joint on Supertronics) and ‘Stomp’ which would later evolve into the prime Prelude platter ‘The Music Got Me’. The audition was a success and both Boyd and Timmy knew they were onto something when upon playing Boyd’s debut productions down Better Days they were a hit on the dancefloor. They approached Marvin Shlacter at Prelude who upon hearing the primitive productions and their exploits on WBLS proceeded to hand them a contract with their debut 12” being ‘The Music Got Me’ as Visual featuring Rae Serrano, Jasun Smith and The Hump on the mix.

Though Prelude’s roots were in disco come ‘82/’83 the post-disco Prelude platters were definite house precursors whether the bubblin’ electronics and synths from outta space ‘On A Journey (I Sing The Funk Electric)’ by Prelude production powerhouses Eric Matthew and Darryl Payne under their Electrik Funk alias or the future boogie of ‘The Key’ by Wuf Ticket aka James Mason complete with Francois K on the mix. However, for me it’s the Visual 12” that is the definitive house prototype and stamps Boyd’s credentials as a proto-house pioneer especially with the instrumental version - can you imagine hearing ‘The Music Got Me’ back in ’83 on the radio or club? Proper mind trip with that bassline and those synth flourishes that laid the blueprint for Boyd’s future productions. The same year they followed this formula with ‘Somehow Someway’ also on Prelude again featuring the late Jasun Smith on vox – get some of that Prelude pressure here…




With the Prelude platters naturally gaining more exposure complete with them now being WBLS wizards it wasn’t long before they were in demand and in the same year these mix marvels added their magic to records such as TZ’s boogie bomb ‘I Got The Hots For You’ on Street Sounds (yeah you’ve heard that vocal hook in a certain S’Express track), Free Russell’s funk-fuelled ‘I’ve Got A Song For You’ on Halfmoon Productions and on the same stable mixed Tony Cook And The Party People’s ‘On The Floor (Rock It)’. Away from the mix work Boyd and Timmy paired up for more productions including on Timmy’s ‘It’s Your Love’ under his Special T guise on Next Plateau Records Inc. plus on the same label released their ‘Battle Of The Beats’ LP that house more of their rawer rhythms and primitive productions with my choice cuts being ‘Bite The Bass’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. They also released a couple of EPs on Islands Records subsidiary 4th & Broadway under their Circuit guise with ‘Release The Tension’ and ‘A Little Help (From My Friends). All these early tracks were produced in Timmy’s bedroom as well as recording the mixes for the radio show with his Technics turntables, reel to reel and Bozak mixer – get into this WBLS mix recorded in the summer of ’83 for some of that Boyd and Timmy dream team magic. When on the airwaves heads like Larry Levan would hit ‘em up requesting the joints they were playing so they’d go down the Garage, dance all night, stay up till after dawn and record the show which would go on air on the Sunday afternoon or following weekend – the perfect synergy between the studio, radio and club. Check out more of their masterful mixes and production pressure below…






In ’85 they became mainstays of Brooklyn institution Supertronics releasing a succession of records on the seminal stable. These include mixing ‘It’s That East Street Beat’ by Sleeping Bag starlet Chocolette, overdubbin’ Diamond Touch’s ‘Love Line’, updating Boyd’s earlier incarnation of ‘One Love’ adding Janice Christie on vox complete with a couple of killer dubs and producing Tammy Lucas’ ‘Hey Boy’ – all about the ‘Rough Mix’ on that joint serious! Movin’ on to the late 80s and as well as more revered remixes for the likes of Stimulation’s eponymous EP on Twin Tower Records and Gary L’s ‘Time (Time To Party)’ on Newark’s Sensation Records, Boyd’s friend Abigail Adams was launching her new label Movin’ Records outta East Orange, New Jersey. She wanted Boyd to release a record after she was inspired by checkin’ out her idol Timmy Regisford spinnin’ at a club called Kamikaze behind The Roxy and seeing Boyd playing live with him droppin’ overdubs and live synths over the records being played. After introducing herself they became friends and with Boyd havin’ a prolific production output they agreed on releasing a track on Abi’s newly incepted imprint. The finished result was ‘I’ve Got The Music’ which with the warm bass, killer keys, synth flourishes and soulful vox is a typical Boyd Jarvis joint that sounds like an unofficial sequel to his earlier hit Prelude production ‘The Music Got Me’. Coming complete with mixes by Blaze and The Hump, little did they know this Jersey jam would kick-start a whole sound and scene synonymous with New Jersey…






Though most will credit Chicago as the birthplace of house with Jesse Saunders’ ‘On And On’ being the catalyst, some may argue that NYC was just as influential with the ‘Garage’ sound that had formed in the early 80s also helping build the foundations of house – synonymous with the heavy reverb re-rubs and superlative sets by Paradise Garage legend Larry Levan. Alongside post-disco prophets such as Darryl Payne, Eric Matthew, Greg Carmichael, Kenton Nix, Matt Noble and Patrick Adams, Boyd’s productions blurred the boundaries between soul, funk, disco and boogie, complete with the emergent electronics and dub versions laying down the roots of the yet to form house and garage sound. Case in point is the stripped-down garage styling of ‘You Got Me Running’ featuring Colonel Abrams (the earlier, superior version – the LP one don’t come close…) complete with an earlier incarnation of ‘Release The Tension’ (the later version being on the Circuit 12”) over on the flip with the Colonel on vox. This seldom seen slice has been on many hardcore housespotters wax wishlists for years including mine (give me a shout if you got a mint white label let’s do a deal!) and easily goes over for 100 notes. With its scarcity you knew it’d be only a matter of time before a reissue came calling but shout to Echovolt Records for respectfully remastering and reissuing for the masses to enjoy – check it out on their Soundcloud page.

More recent releases include his Nick Anthony Simoncino collaboration ‘1985’ which was released on a 10” a few years ago via Masa Sutela’s Finnish stable Traveller Record. Echovolt also raided Boyd’s archives and released the ‘Stomp EP’ which features the aforementioned hallowed house Holy Grail ‘Stomp’ – the precursor to Boyd’s Prelude hit ‘The Music Got Me’ proper house history… To sign off I’ll leave you with this week’s Fleetwood find by Boyd under his Level 3 guise. Though most heads will go for the superior dub of ‘Central Line’ with another boss Boyd bassline that is pure Zanz flavour I have a soft spot for original version with Jasun Smith’s yearning vocal hook “I’m caught up in your central line”. Definitely one to get on the headphones next time your caught up on the central line commuter chaos lose yourself to these and big ups to Boyd for the music a proper house hero…



House Hunting's reissue of The Music Got Me is available now via Ransom Note Records.

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