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various / strut - This Ain't Chicago: The Underground Sound Of UK House & Acid 1987-1991
Cracking compilation weighing up the UK's early take on the 1st wave of Chicago House imports. The job of distilling this important period of dancefloor history is given to experienced, London-based DJ and clubber Richard Sen, who's perhaps best known for recording as Bronx Dogs or Padded Cell. DJing since 1989, he brings a choice selection spanning well known classics such as Ability II's 'Pressure Dub' and Baby Ford's 'Crashing', beside lesser known but no less killer tackle like Colm III's prototypical 'Take Me High' (which recently appeared on that cheeky Light Sounds Dark bootleg compilation) and Julie Stapleton's luscious 'Where's The Love Gone (Remix)'. Now, to an untrained ear, some of these cuts could well pass for the sound they were aspiring to. Take SLF's soulful acid jack 'Show Me What You Got (Acid Mix - Part 1)' for example - the 303s are rippling, the 707's kicking and the vocal sounds about right - but there's something lost, or mutated in translation, that lets you know on which side of the Atlantic its bread is buttered. Tougher to gauge, Julian Jonah's 'Jealousy & Lies' is almost a facsimile of the Mr Fingers template, but again, it's got a swerve and accent which is somehow, definitively from the UK. Then there's M.D. Emm's '1666 (Pyro-Maniac Mix)', whose stripped down, minimally evolving string progression and grubbier bass recall Kowton's contemporary reflections of Steve Poindexter or Tyree's rugged box bangs. And it's this double refraction of ideas - UK-based, machine-made Pop and groove inspiring downtown US party music and vice versa - that's osmotically engrained in the modern scene, from the current sound of Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 to Julio Bashmore and Gerry Read, or to the extent of Om Unit or Planet Mu's Junglified take on Chicago Footwork. Ultimately, however, this compilation features ten original, mongrel building blocks whose historical value is still matched by their dancefloor effect. Highly recommended!