Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mr Fingers - "Can you feel it"

Larry Heard was always cutting tracks on the deeper side of the house spectrum, but I don't think he ever bettered "Can you feel it", a track which still sounds as relevant today as it did when it came out. Emanating from deep in the Chicago house scene, this tune erupted as a genre-defining anthem when house music exploded across Britain in the late 80s.

It's an unusual track even for Chicago, as it straddles the line between deep and more soulful 'musical' house (of the type that Heard would go on to make later, and would be seen in later years on windy city labels such as Guidance), and the more mechanistic "jack tracks" that would inform later, tougher Chicago offerings like the discordant jacking 90s output of Relief records and slightly more song-based (but still twisted) sister label Cajual.

As for "Can you feel it"? Chattering hi-hats, hissing ride cymbals, a bass drum with the depth and impact which can often only come from the evergreen 909, and a gorgeous bassline in fifths and octaves which provides the anchor around which the most amazing deep filtered synth chords circle, moodily and endlessly.

It's oceans deep, and captures one of my favourite artistic and musical moods in managing to wobble on the tightrope between melancholy and optimism. And while I'm not too crazy about anyone sermonising over dance music, there is the occasional track on which it works (although making this point, I can now think of at least 3 other tracks immediately on which the effect is also amazing).

Seminal, with awesome depth and soul, thick with atmosphere, and a message that captures the ability of music and (particularly) the ability of communal dancing to rhythm-heavy and repetitive music to break the barriers in your head, and join the barriers between people.

You may be black, you may be white, you may be Jew or gentile - it don't make a difference in our house.

And this is fresh...

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