DJ Deep presents: City To City Part 02
BBE Records

“House music is a state of mind but then again a state of mind is house music,” a distorted voice intones from the seeming center of a rainswept metropolis, jumpstarting tour guide DJ Deep's 78-minute sojourn through Detroit, Chicago, and New York underground House sounds. The set's comprised of raw but powerful soul-drenched rarities, with one exuberantly raving cut following another. No dates accompany the tracks though there's some indication they go back a ways, maybe even as much as twenty years. Still, aside from some dated drum sounds, silly over-the-top lyrics that sink Pleasure Control's “Fantasy,” and a moaning diva in Mr. Lee's “Pump That Body,” the disc's party vibe sounds reasonably fresh and more often than not rocks. Ron Allen's “Whispers” offers some decent deep house sparkle, Mike Dunn's proselytizes on the funkily minimal “So Let It Be House” (“So let it be written / So let it be house”), and certain parts of Mr. Fingers' “Distant Planet” suggests it could be an early antecedent of Closer Musik's “One Two Three (No Gravity).” Synth elements in William S's “I'll Never Let You Go” and Risque 3's “Essence Of A Dream” lay bare the genre's debt to Kraftwerk while acid-, jazz-, and soul-house appear elsewhere. Especially memorable (if too long) is Romanthony's “Bring U Up,” an impassioned sampling of gospel-house that spans decades. Bridging James Brown, The Jackson Five, and Sly and The Family Stone (the “Higher” refrain an obvious direct reference) in one fell swoop, the singer tears into the Prince-styled lead like a maniacally possessed preacher. Despite its weaknesses, the set's infectious party vibe is strong enough to keep you grooving until the end.

July 2006