House Hunting #30 – Various Artists #3
OK I gotta give my wallet a breather as crate crusading on a weekly basis ain’t cheap – supposed to be jettin’ to New York with the Mrs in a few months! So instead of me doin’ a Churchill and killin’ you with the date and pressing of a b-side non-entity, it’s that time again when I get the prime purveyors and serious selectors to wax lyrical about their fave House Hunting find. Forget the Juno charts and Discogs wantlists, time to reminisce about raiding the racks for that house Holy Grail or basement bargain dollar bin special…
About 10 years ago when back in my home environ of Leicester for the summer I checked out local indie/rock record shop ‘Rockaboom’ to see if I could score any decent slices of house wax. In raiding the racks I couldn’t believe I scoped a comp that featured house forefathers Kerri Chandler, Ron Hardy and Ron Trent – naturally bought on sight though later sold to track down those originals… Entitled ‘City To City’, this killer collection of house classics was compiled by DJ Deep aka Cyril Etienne, who has further released two more editions of the series celebrating house Holy Grails of yesteryear.
He has proved to be a prominent figure in the Parisian house scene and beyond in hosting shows on Radio FG and Radio Nova, supporting Laurent Garnier with his ‘Wake Up’ parties and running his own ‘Legends’ nights at the Rex Club, founding his choice ‘Deeply Rooted House’ imprint and ‘House Music Records’ label reissuing forgotten hallowed house 12”s from his vaults and launching the portable ‘DJR400’ rotary mixer that has revolutionised the industry and is the object of many a DJs desire. DJ Deep has also proved adept in the studio, with two records coming up on Berlin institution Tresor (collaborating with Romain Poncet as ‘Adventice’) plus releasing an EP on Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S. imprint – have an exclusive listen here. Anyway to his House Hunting find and DJ Deep reminisces about a record that evokes that special feeling…
TODD TERRY – ‘LOGAN’S RUNNING’ – TNT RECORDS
In today’s world almost every “hard to find” record is accessible, whether it be through Discogs, Youtube etc… Which means, you can at least hear those hard to find or hidden gems. As a vinyl junkie I am going to the record store almost every day, and I have witnessed in recent years the rise and explosion of House and Techno represses, a lot of personal favourites have been re-issued, tribute compilations, label retrospectives, you name it. This is great to a certain extent…
As a music lover I could not be happier that good music is available, especially when it was hard to find before.
I am not nostalgic of an era or jealous of having what some DJs consider ‘their’ secret weapons available for everybody.
I can only observe that re-issuing a record does not re-issue the culture that goes around it. I sometimes have the feeling that the context is sometimes almost as important as the record itself. In today’s world, I feel that artists, and more precisely in “our” field, DJs and musicians are key people to deliver a knowledge that could be accompanied by a transmission of a culture (everything that goes around the knowledge). I realise, as a DJ I have limited knowledge, and my vision of this culture is very subjective, it’s only “what I perceived and how I perceived it”, but I still feel it has some sort of value as I always stood for my passion against adversity. And I hope this can, on a small level of course, and only for what it is, be a source of inspiration for younger music fans.
I have been inspired by others through all my music life – Laurent Garnier, Saint Germain, Alex from Tokyo, DJ Gregory, Romain BNO, Dj Gilb’r, Loik from Radio Nova, Dino and Terry, Kerri Chandler, Frankie Feliciano, Joe Claussell, Derrick May, Carl Craig, Stacey Pullen, Mad Mike Banks, Jeff Mills, etc… Being so inspired by their music, and also admiring each of their personal way of living their music.
So today I would like to pick this record:
It’s not the rarest Todd Terry record, it’s maybe not what most people consider one of the “best” Todd Terry records. But since I heard it first it stood out for me. Something about its unique deep and haunting vibe, made it a “special” track for me. I think we all have special feelings for certain tracks, feelings that go beyond the actual content of the music, just a vibe, a mood, that “fits” you so well, that through the years it feels the record is truly a part of your life.
Inspired and influenced by Detroit forefathers such as Jeff Mills, Mike Huckaby, Claude Young and the late Ken Collier, it was in the mid-nineties when Mike Servito landed his debut gig and he’s never looked back. The wizardry of this Midwest marvel has cast a spell over many a dancefloor whether it was his residencies at Blackbx or Ghostly’s ‘Untitled’ (with alumni including Matthew Dear and Ryan Elliot), being involved with Dorkwave and Sass which were an outlet for Detroit’s queer community or his renowned sets at interdimensional Transmissions’ No Way Back parties. His Boiler Room set perfectly showcases his mastery – anyone who drops Bizzy B in a Boiler Room mix is boss in my book! In recent years Mike has relocated to New York with his pedigree earning him a residency at Brooklyn institution The Bunker and has guested on influential shows such as Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space (this mix always on repeat) not to mention a jet-settin’ DJ schedule – in the meantime check here for an archive of killer mixes. So when crate crusading in his new environ Mike gets a tip-off from a friend that becomes a staple in sets…
DENISE MOTTO – ‘TELL JACK’ – PLAY HOUSE RECORDS
I’ve always had an affinity for Chicago. I think it’s from being exposed early on and hearing Trax and DJ International records when I was growing up in Detroit. I was drawn to those vocals, rolling piano riffs, bass lines and that acid sound! I never got over it. This was 1988 when it was all unfolding.
Forward to 2008. Living in New York, I was always a big fan of A-1 Records. It gave me all those old feelings of going to a record store, intimidated by all the other diggers and engaging in my own search for the perfect beat. I had been living in New York for maybe less than a year and my friend Jeffrey Sfire and myself met up on a nice spring day looking to buy some records. I was actually on a hunt to replace Chez Damier’s KMS 054. You know the one. “YOU AIN’T DANCIN’ GIRL!” my copy was beat and I didn’t really use Discogs as a source for buying at the time. I figured A-1 was as good a shot as any! We started digging and right out the gate, Sfire pulls out this record and is like “Do you have this?!” I said “No. What is it?!” “Here. Take it…or they will!” (referring to some of the other DJ’s in the room). We laughed. I kept digging and digging. I’m sure we went through a stack. I don’t really remember what else I bought that day, but the record that Jeffrey pulled for me was Denise Motto’s ‘Tell Jack’ on Play House Records. I think it was 6 or 8 dollars. Clear vinyl, in its black, red and yellow sleeve.
I freaked out the second I heard it. The track doesn’t waste any time. The bass line gets going from the start and doesn’t really give up. There is a corny element to this record. The seductive low octave vocals are kind of hilarious. “Tell Jack I’m coming back to bring him to his knees” she says. But it’s just one of those records that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s become a sort of anthem for me. I remember playing it my first time at Fabric in London a few years ago and the crowd went nuts. More recently I played it at Panorama Bar and it was a defining moment that evening! It’s definitely a record that jacks the house! It’s not hard to find. (I snagged an extra copy at A-1 a few months ago.) It doesn’t come with a 200 euro price tag, and it’s an essential in my bag!
JAIME READ (LHAS/ONE STOP RECORDS)
Better known as ‘LHAS’ (Larry Heard Appreciation Society), Jaime Read has been releasing records for over two decades releasing on a range of revered house labels such as Ugly Music, Fragmented Records, Wax Records, Elektrosoul Recordings, Vibrations, Tsuba Records, Boe Recordings offshoot For Those That Knoe plus his own ‘Push II Shove’ imprint – not to mention being ripped off by Chicago’s Joe Lewis of Target Records with that improbable parable of production plagiarism. He also regularly collaborates with his partner in crime Felix ‘Foolish’ Dickinson as ‘LHAS Inc.’ on choice label Cynic and is at the controls of Brighton’s bijou wax cave One Stop Records hidden above the Wolf & Gypsy Vintage store – well worth seekin’ out if you’re in town. For his choice house pick Jaime unearths a rare Trax promo straight from the Windy City…
MARCUS MIXX – ‘THE BEST OF RON HARDY VOLUME 1’ – TRAX RECORDS (TEST PRESSING)
Ron Hardy ‘Liquid Love/House Flashback’ Trax white label TX204. Purchased form Ugly Records Brighton ‘96/’97 for £5. Tony had just got back from the Windy City and this was something I found in a box behind counter. After a quick listen I thought it sounded amazing and the £5 price tag didn’t put me off. Only years later with the advent of the internet/Discogs did I realise what a bargain I had got. Irrelevant though as I would never consider selling it. Has been in my box ever since and has served me well at many a party!!! The fact it has “Ron Hardy for Alfredo” written on the label makes it even better. Is it Ron’s writing? Was it for Alfredo? Who knows I like to think so!!!
MYSTIC BILL TORRES
Mystic Bill Torres hails from Miami and in his youth armed with a fake ID his formative years were spent frequenting local clubs and galleries which ultimately were an influence in him collecting records – even playing at clubs like Club Nu and the A House. Though South Beach’s bohemia through his early years didn’t have house foundations thankfully a job at Flamingo Record Pool came calling where the primitive house and acid promos from Chicago were touching down. The burgeoning house scene in Chicago inspired Bill to jet up to the Windy City, where he was spinnin’ at clubs, lofts and warehouse parties around the city – gaining a residency at The Shelter’s Boiler Room with Johnny Fiasco plus playing with Chicago House hierarchy such as Ralphi Rosario, Derrick Carter and Mark Farina.
Production-wise he has released on many House Hunting favourites such as Trax and Relief in the early to mid-nineties, plus he’s undergoing a renaissance with Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon’s Classic imprint reissuing ‘Jungle Line’ last year and a forthcoming EP for Snuff Traxx. He was also recently featured in Clash Magazine in which he contributed a killer mix which you can check out here. So to his pick and Bill gets second time lucky with a record that’s been on the House Hunting hit list for a long time…
JAMES NICKSON – ‘TAKE ME HIGHER’ – ZAR RECORDS
Back in 1990 I had a chance to work at Imports Etc in Chicago. I listened to just about everything that came through there that was local. One record in particular was by an artist called James Nickson on a label called Zar Records, the track was called ‘Take Me Higher’. I slept on buying it and never saw it again. One day I was speaking to a friend of mine Jake Reif and he mentioned the track. I had forgotten what the record sounded like and when I heard it again I just had to have it. I looked for it on Discogs and it was going for $150 and I just wasn’t ready to pay that much, especially since Jake had burnt a copy for me so I can at least play it in digital format. Well one day just a few months ago, I was at a record store in Ft Lauderdale, Florida called ‘We Got The Beats’ and I see a copy for $3. Shhhhh I said to myself, just quietly walk to the counter and get out before anyone notices.
STEVE MIZEK (LWE/ARGOT)
Chicagoan Steve Mizek is the founder and editor of one of my favourite sources of all things house – Little White Earbuds. Whether it’s fascinating features and insightful interviews with long lost house heroes such as Marcus Mixx and ESP, honest and informative reviews of the latest records or killer podcasts from serious selectors such as Gerd Janson and Prosumer, LWE was an independent and honest voice that ignored the hype and stayed true to its house roots.
However, LWE is on the backburner for now as Steve’s ‘Argot’ label has come to the fore, featuring EPs by Amir Alexander, Pittsburgh Track Authority and The Black Madonna plus a platform for the next wave of house descendants with the next release entitled ‘Thanks, Karl’ by Olin & Savile – check that and the rest of the label’s discography along with its sister subsidiary Tasteful Nudes here. This Saturday 7th February Steve will also be hosting an Argot showcase at Public Works in San Francisco featuring The Black Madonna and Olin with Dan Bell and Robag Wruhme representing too further details here – if you’re in the Bay Area get on down! Back to the House Hunting and Steve unearths a Chicago House classic in his local joint…
LAURENT X – ‘MACHINES’ – HOUSE NATION RECORDS
I do a lot of my Chicago house shopping at Kstarke Records in Humboldt Park. Kevin Starke, the proprietor, regularly buys large collections from hundreds of older Chicago DJs. One find I’m particularly proud of is Laurent X, ‘Machines’ from 1988. Laurent X was a twice used moniker of Mark Imperial and Vinny Devine, both times on his own House Nation Records. Imperial, who also made music as one half of No Name, was mostly active between 1985 and 1989 but continued to make music until 2001. You may also remember his ghetto house “classic,” “She Ain’t Nuthin’ But A Hoe.” The ‘Machines’ EP contains my favourite of his productions, both on the B-side. “12 A.M.” wraps listeners in warm, harmonising layers of synths, almost hitting deep house notes except for the occasional train whistle. Even better is “Drowning In A Sea Of House.” It stalks familiar territory as some Chicago favourites but cuts a unique path, groovy and memorable, with gargled cries for “help!” adding drama. When I came across ‘Machines’, heavily marked to note the original owner (DJ Ry), I was not prepared to pay only $8.99 for an otherwise very good copy. I’ve been playing it regularly ever since.
ALEX BRADLEY (UTOPIA PROJECT/NTS)
Alex is an enigmatic London DJ, one of those respected “on a need to know basis” type guys who has been plying his trade for nearing on a decade in underground London clubs and beyond. Coming to prominence for his deep, eclectic and ethereal all night sets, hosting word of mouth dances in the photographic studio he once lived. Trying to create the most authentic party experience possible, turning a blank canvas into a club that brought to light a whole crop of young DJs who would then go onto become household names in dance music as well as legendary nights with the likes of Larry Heard, Nicky Siano and DJ Sprinkles. After founding LFR and LIPS which championed the likes of Bicep, Citizen, Simoncino, Adesse and Jonny Rock.
Alex split from Love Fever in 2014 to find a new path, a regular Monday afternoon show on NTS radio entitled “Utopia Project” and curating a new label with Soho record store Phonica under the same name, set to release a broad range of music from House and Techno new and old through to LPs of New Age, Ambient and Contempory Jazz, to official re-releases and extended versions of disco, boogie, and left-field gems with high spec vinyl and art. Already on the way is a house holy grail and mainstay in Alex’s sets, Soichi Terada and Manabu Nagayama’s, ‘Low Tension’ which features new mixes from Yukihiro Fukutomi and Alex himself – you can pre-order here. With new music from Dream 2 Science, the return of Modaji, a collaboration between Isabelle Antenna and Christian Bernard of Skudge and a new project from Alex himself, 2015 is set to be a busy year. Alex takes a trip down memory lane for “House Hunting” to digging pre internet in foreign lands for music almost impossible to find…
TIKKLE – ‘OUTER LIMITS’ – HOUSE JAM RECORDS
Digging for house music in Adelaide, Australia in the mid-90s was tough. Especially for a teenager with no cash and no reference points as the internet was early days. All you really had was a few small dance stores which stocked mostly commercial dance music, you knew there was better stuff but where to find it? Having grown up around music, with my father playing flute in jazz and rock bands and my uncle having some good success with his own bands in the 60s and 70s the music of Beefheart, Dylan, Neil Young, Dr John and the blues of Robert Johnson and Muddy Walters was in my old man’s collection but tucked in the back was the Jazz of Miles, Coltrane, Monk and Bill Evans which turned me on the most. With an older sister listening to Hip Hop (a claim to fame at that point was a sister spending the night in a Beastie Boys hotel room) my first record was Midnight Marauders by Tribe around ‘95 at age 11. Growing out of the lyrical content of hip hop I soon found myself digging as a teen for early breaks and beats, I used to make mixtape’s for kids at school of the classics, Herman Kelly, Bob James, Weather Report and Newcleus as a 14 year old in baggy jeans. I didn’t have the money for decks so I would dub from tape to tape from a borrowed cassette deck.
Then in my mid-teens everything changed when sneaking out of my bedroom window and into a private Wednesday night session of Bukem and Conrad. This was when my electronic music obsession kicked right in. Son of an anglophile I was always wanting to find the new music from the UK, and I’d found it. About a month after that with some money saved from a part time job I hit the second hand record shops. Record shops in my hometown were not pretty, basically a lot of Abba, and owners that look like they were once in the Hells Angels… But, after hours in this hall of a place I dug out three house records that to this day have shaped my tastes in dance music. They are classics by modern standards, I have found rarer in weirder places around the world since but I don’t think you ever quite recapture that innocence of a boy reading, obsessing and hunting for new sounds. These tracks at the time were mind blowing. Nicolette by Octave One, the double pack of Stay together by Barbara Tucker with the soulful MAW mix and my pick of the crop the Cosmic Mix of Tickle’s ‘Outer Limits’, which has never left my box.
I never found better in Aus to be honest and I left at 19 with 300 quid saved and moved to London in 2003. Soho still had remnants of its record store glory years of the late 90s, and when asked to do these words I got sentimental about one store and one record. Vinyl Junkies, for me had all that DIY bohemian character I was looking for in a record shop. The rotary mixer before it was cool, Loop Da Loop T-Shirts hanging from the walls, signed Larry Levan print leaning out of the way somewhere, records piled up high in no real apparent order, white labels that shouldn’t be there, the smell of incense and weed. Going there was how I found out about going to Co-Op, Inspiration Information and The Loft. I knew nobody and it connected me. It was the first place I heard the West London sound, Needs… Linkwood’s, ‘Miles Away’ (the first time around) and Moodymann records nobody else had. It was just before the US house scene went digital and I was lucky to get some time working there on weekends, Danny Krivit and Theo digging, a mad hat owner, it certainly felt “underground”. A Soho record store stalwart worked there by the name of Toru, a resident at Steve Bicknall’s “Lost” parties. He hurt me real bad one night with just the 2 of us working in the store. The Mr Fingers Mix of Gallifre & Jimmie Lee’s ‘Set Your Mind To It’ I’ve used early mornings when you have the floor and the people are nice ever since… It’s not the Gherkin record most draw for like ‘Make Me Want You’ by Mondee Oliver but its right up there with all my favourite Larry Heard mixes, a beautiful jazz house track. It’s great to see in London the resurgence in record stores, with brother Charlie Bones from NTS opening up little DIY place in Peckham and many others to add to the excellence you get from the likes of Phonica. Long may it continue! Dig on you diggers!
MARK SEVEN (JUSWAX/PARKWAY)
One mix that’s been on repeat this year at House Hunting HQ is superior selector Mark Seven’s guest mix for our very own Ransom Note. As well as holdin’ it down as a DJ for the more discernible dancefloors Mark also runs the proto-boogie styling of Parkway Records and its subsidiary Parkwest – joining the dots between the classic sounds synonymous with Chicago, New York and New Jersey with an ear open to the future. Mark is also the proprietor of Jus Wax showcasing his crate crusading credentials with a killer selection of records on sale whether some obscure disco and boogie joints or desirable house Holy Grails. Anyway, with his finds Mark adds another Gherkin to the jar and scores some hallowed house 12”s from the New Jersey House hierarchy…
GHERKIN JERKS – ‘STOMP THE BEAT’ – GHERKIN RECORDS
When you ask about memories from digging I gotta say it’s the people I remember the most. Like a lot of people who do this for a living I’ve been blessed to buy collections from some of my heroes and to a man they never let me down – just the greatest people to spend time with. So, don’t forget when you’re all fired up, tearing thru those boxes with a sweat on that these are just records! Talk to the folks and get those stories cos the people that lived their lives in the music have got much more for you than the tunes you leave with! That said, I know you want some wax so let’s pick a couple out… And as wack as it is to name drop, mind your toes!
I bought a lot of records from the Hump himself. There was a load of Relief, Cajual, Velvet City TP’s, loads of Gherkin distributed white labels and stuff with notes and press sheets that really makes them personal. A true legend and just the coolest fella to spend time with too. Happy days!
Got lots of amazing stuff from the wonderful Nelson ‘Paradise’ Roman too, TP’s of his Big Beat stuff and such. If you ask me on any given day you’ll get a different answer every time but think one of my most treasured pieces would be the Gherkin ‘Stomp the Beat’ and with him being such a gent, he signed it! More than anything though, it’s for the memory of meeting him but also cos yeah, ‘Acid Indigestion’ reminds me of playing acid to people who just wanted to hear James Brown and the reaction that brought forth!
Still, names aside sometimes you can just get lucky in the bins too. This last one was a buck find, super clean red vinyl… result!
ARI GOLDMAN (BEAUTIFUL SWIMMERS/PPU)
Ari Goldman is one half of production duo Beautiful Swimmers along with Future Times label boss Andrew Field-Pickering aka Maxmillion Dunbar. They’re analogue opuses and synth-soaked styling has seen them make waves and gain a legion of followers through various avenues whether it’s been Tim Sweeney championing them on his Beats In Space show, the Future Times bi-weekly show on NTS being a platform for their new/unreleased exclusives plus most importantly, in the neon haze of a club – putting Washington DC on the house map. As well as being part of the Future Times crew he also works for Andrew Morgan’s boogie-revivalist imprint PPU (Peoples Potential Unlimited) and also at his choice vinyl emporium Earcave which houses the perfect mix of new and old records. So for his House Hunting session Ari gets diggin’ deep in a Nu Groove legend’s crates…
VIRGO FOUR – ‘VIRGO’ – RADICAL RECORDS
Yo! Got loads of “digging” stories as I still spend my weekends (when I’m town) at the flea markets & thrifts looking for records. I must say the DC area is still one of the best places in the world for finding cuts… no doubt about it! One of my favourite adventures was early on in my hunting lifestyle. I was introduced to legendary local DJ, Mandrill, via Andrew Morgan (close friend & my boss at PPU/Earcave). Mandrill invited me to his storage space as he was downsizing his massive record collection. Outside of the DC area, Mandrill is best known for his 33 1/3 Queen 12” on Nu Groove! He produced all the tracks on the mind-blowing B Side! Anyways, as I was looking in a box I thought to ask Mandrill if he had a copy of the Virgo LP. He told me “Hell no that’s a hard one to find!” A few moments later I found it in that same box! He told me since it was an album it must go in the “pricey” $3 pile. Amazing! Lots of other gems were found that day… Like doubles of Joe Lewis “Midnight Dancin’”! We had some crazy finds last weekend in Baltimore… The madness never stops!
Hailing from Joburg, Berlin-based Lakuti aka Lerato Khathi has been an influential tastemaker for well over a decade now. Her Süd Electronic stable which she founded with kindred spirit Portable evolved into a creative outlet which encompassed a label releasing the discernible facets of house or techno (which has kick-started again in recent years) plus their club night which brought over choice selectors to the UK such as Move D and Prosumer before they were in-vogue house superstars. Not content with just running one imprint, under the Uzuri umbrella Lakuti runs an artist agency which has a serious roster plus also founded the eponymous label which has released records by a range of revered producers such as Lerosa, Move D, Cassy, Vakula, Chicago Skyway, Pittsburgh Track Authority and Jitterbug – not to mention an upcoming EP courtesy of Stump Valley which you can check out here. Also watch out as Lakuti will be jettin’ over from Berlin next week for the ‘Your Love’ Valentine’s Day special at the Dance Tunnel to spin some wax with her beau Tama Sumo – event details here. For her contribution Lakuti gives us some proto-house styling with her find at a fave House Hunting haunt…
ANNE CLARK – ‘OUR DARKNESS’ – 10 RECORDS
I have recently been coming back to this wonderful Anne Clark song. There is something life affirming and powerful about it. It’s like a call to arms and I think it still holds a lot of relevance in terms of the world we find ourselves in currently – proper arty/politico approach to music making. I picked the record up back in 1998 I believe at the Music & Video Exchange in Notting Hill for less than a fiver.
ALEX FROM TOKYO
I’ve been a fan of Alex From Tokyo for years and this Paris born, Tokyo raised and now New York based DJ/Producer’s global influences have given Alex an international flavour. You may know him under his ‘Tokyo Black Star’ alias (such a dope name!) along with his studio partner Isao Kumano who have appeared on choice house labels such as DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted House and Reincarnation. They have also been mainstays on Ame & Dixon’s ‘Innervisions’ imprint with anthems on the deeper end of the sonic spectrum such as ‘Blade Dancer, ‘Still Sequence’ and ‘Game Over’ plus their ‘Black Ships’ LP. As well as his production nous, Alex has a plethora of projects on the go whether it be releasing an armada of killer mixes with his latest one being for the ‘Originals’ series on Claremont 56, collaborating with cutting-edge couture powerhouses such as Y-3 and Louis Vuitton plus with fellow audiophile Isao Kumano has founded audio brand Phonon to develop and produce unique and innovative hi-end audio equipment to truly convey music’s imagination – their headphones worth checking out as championed by Laurent Garnier, Dixon and even Depeche Mode! So for his House Hunting Alex eulogises about his life long quest in unearthing a bass-heavy classic straight outta the shores of the UK…
ABILITY II – ‘PRESSURE DUB’ – BASSIC/OUTER RHYTHM
The first times I must have heard this very unique 10 minutes out of this world beautiful floating futuristic deep dubby dope cosmic house gem with delayed sexy female voice samples coming in and out with elegiac synths with this unforgettable heavy sub bass was probably during those crazy parties at the legendary small illegal underground house club Another World in Nishi-azabu in Tokyo around 1990 played by the early Japanese garage/house DJs Dj Hiro, Akai and Katsuya…It had all the elements I loved about everything in house music. It made such a strong impact on me! I was already buying records and DJing at school dance parties in 1990 and I was a big fan of the early Sheffield sound including all the new Warp releases and Unique 3 I was a very big fan of, and Ioved the sub-bass in those records! I could never know what the track was called then, I would trip every time this record would come on usually at a very deep intense hour during the night…It was so SEXY! Another World was the peak of the real Tokyo underground house scene in 1990!
One week night though I remember I was hanging out at this secret record store called Ohm records only open at night in this basement next to the Nishi-azabu crossing with an amazing sound system where Dj Hiro and Akai were working. That track came on a mixtape, I finally asked them what it was and they just told me it was “Pressure”, that they had sold out of the records, that it was from the UK, hard to get, and that it was their favourite record of the moment… It was a big late night Tokyo deep underground classic!
I was never able to track the record during that time and I moved to Paris in 1991 for my university studies. I would try to track all the house music records with “Pressure” in their title but unfortunately without any success…I didn’t even know the label.
In 1993 I went for the first time to David Mancuso’s LOFT in the East Village in NYC on East 3rd Street and David played it late. It was purely magic, I have no right words to describe it. It completely took me back to those days in Tokyo. I was already completely blown away by the LOFT, what a psychedelic experience, it changed my life! Listening to that track on that Klipschorn 7 ways system, the delays, the effects, and witnessing those crazy dancers lofting to it, I had never seen something like this before, I was in heaven lost in sound but I wanted to know so bad what was the name of track but you wouldn’t go to David Mancuso and ask him during the party what record it was…
I guessed the record was a cult classic among a handful of serious underground DJs between Tokyo, NYC and London, but it wasn’t a dance floor record, it was probably more of a secret weapon, it sounded like an unusual futuristic electronic dance music piece from out of space, and it was on a very small independent label from the UK, then picked up by Outer Rhythm which were putting out more UK bleepy techno stuff that I was also discovering and buying in Paris. At that time I was DJing in Paris with DJ Deep and DJ Gregory as A Deep Groove, we had a radio show every day from Monday to Saturday from 12 to 2pm on Radio FG 98.2. I was loving and collecting all those beautiful spacey trippy house records like the pretty similar extra-terrestrial cosmic oddity “Walk on Air” by Holy Ghost from the UK I was fetishising… I guess this one wasn’t an easy one also to track back then… There was no internet… I never got to find it in Paris. It became one of my favourite obsessed house tracks ever.
I was never able to find a copy of this record until one day after I got back to Tokyo in 1995. I was working at the Mr. Bongo Tokyo shop in Shibuya. Every week we would get those brand new fresh promos, new releases and second hand records directly from London. I started to go through and play those records in the shop and then BANG! THAT record came on and I screamed like I had an orgasm jumping all around the store!! It was a second hand copy of the Outer Rhythm pressing. I was the happiest person in Shibuya that day! Since then that record never left my record box, my computer, my hard drive etc. It got re-issued a couple of years ago. I bought multiple copies that I gave to friends as I love this record so much still to this day! The hunt continues as I would love to get a copy of the very original pressing on Bassic and know the story of this record and who produced this masterpiece. It has been an intense but beautiful love story so far, merci for the inspiration!