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MARSHALL JEFFERSON TALKS TRAX

MARSHALL JEFFERSON TALKS TRAX

Chicago originals over 16-CD box set

Retro house revivalism is at an all-time high. Everyone's at it.

A wave of old skool-influenced tunes have even got the UK pop charts in a lather.

Here to remind us just where all this music really comes from after their excellent Terry Farley compiled 'Acid Rain' collection last month is Harmless, with this ridonkulously exhaustive 16-CD box-set.

It's a celebration of one of Chicago's most celebrated and controversial labels, Trax, of course. And while Larry Sherman's label was vilified by some for its cheap-as-chips budget approach, pressing their records on recycled vinyl, housing them in crappy sleeves, this DIY ethic fit the punk-like creative fervour and repurposing of technology that drove the first burst of house from the Windy City.

This is the first 75 Trax releases collected in their entirety, remastered and sometimes reconstructed, giving these occasionally scrappily produced tunes a degree of sound quality unheard of before.

Of course not everything here is worthy of attention. Indeed there's some wading and digging to be done to unearth the real killers.

But this is the label that put out Mr Fingers' ecstatically beautiful aorta rush 'Can You Feel It?', Adonis' stripped bare acid funker 'No Way Back' and Robert Owens' (real) deep house song 'Bring Down the Walls', all of which are included here. Then there's tunes like Master C&J's sexy, druggy primitive bass groove 'When You Hold Me'. Or the disco revenge of 'Somewhere In West Hell' by Two of a Kind featuring James Earl.

Marshall Jefferson Presents Hercules's 'Lost in the Groove' is heavy with the fug of poppers and dry ice, a heady, collapsed clapping rhythm, while Mr Lee's spartan 'House this House' is a brutalist acid stomp of funkin' effectiveness.

Demonstrating just how diverse this vital early house is, and giving it the TLC it so richly deserves, 'Traxbox' affords this music the respect it's been crying out for, and will offer a primer to the kids who are just discovering the classic shit for the first time.

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