Strictly Rhythm presents ‘The Definitive 30’, a celebration of some of the finest House & Garage tracks ever made
Its incredible to consider just how many dance music classics have come from Strictly Rhythm, Josh Winx, Hardrive, Reel 2 Reel, Wamdue Project and Aly Us are just a few of the staples that continue to rock global airwaves.
These are the tracks that still feature on dance compilations, still get used for TV ads and still inspire whole new waves of artists.
Strictly Rhythm celebrates 30 years of ground breaking, iconic House music with an anniversary album on vinyl that brings together the classics with previously unheard/unreleased material.
The album begins with a trip back to the summer of love. Sir James ‘Special’ captures the optimism of the early rave era with a vocal house tune that has become the staple of countless rave tracks and Bump’s famous ‘I’m Rushing’
Logic ‘The Warning’ features a young Roger Sanchez on the production team and is perhaps one of the earliest examples of Deep/Garage House
The 3am mix of Afterhours ‘Waterfalls’ is utterly sublime. a superb slice of totally timeless early hours Deep House that quite literally soothes the sense with blissful Jazzy keys and a weighted sub bassline
Track 5 is another Roger Sanchez production under the Underground Solution alias. ‘Luv Dancin’ bears the hallmarks of Garage House from the bouncing beats to the cut up vocals and chilled, hypnotic melodies
Next up is Kenny Dope aka The Untouchables with ‘Lil Louis Anthem’, a sparkling slice of instrumental soulful house
Photon Inc’s ‘Generate Power’ is quite possibly this writers fave from this fantastic selection, a prime cut of breakbeat house with Snap! and Nomad samples that really does generate raw power and energy, serving as a blueprint for much of today’s Tech House
Most 90s kids will have heard the infectious hoovers and mentasms of CLS ‘Can You Feel It’, a hardcore house classic that goes off every time its played to this very day, a Strictly Rhythm best of simply would not be complete without this evergreen groove of a tune
We enter the golden year of 1992 with a progressive acid house ‘Rise From Your Grave’ by the legendary Phuture, a precursor to the mid 90s techno boom that saw DJs like Carl Cox gain global notoriety. A rising, deep, techy groove dances with dashes of piano and some good old aciiiieed!
Staying in 92, no Strictly Rhythm retrospective could omit one of the greatest house tracks of all time, a tune that could bring grown men to tears, a tune with a message that rings as loud as strong now as it did then, I refer of course to Aly Us’ rally call to stop racism ‘Follow Me’ (could someone play this loudly outside the White House please! Or 10 Downing St for that matter)
Code718 aka Danny Tenaglia pays respect to Sueno Latino with the utterly gorgeous ‘Equinox’, a dreamy dive into piano perfection and hazy, head in the clouds keys set to a driving beat
Its legend after legend on this album with the one and only Kero Chandler aka K.C.Y.C laying down a blueprint Keri groove in ‘Stomping Grounds’, deep, ethereal and rooted in soul like only Mr Chandler does
You may know him as Roland Clark, the stunning voice behind South Street Player ‘Who Keeps Changing Your Mind’, the archetype for modern soulful house, never to be bettered and a song that transcends the barriers of genre specific taste so long as you appreciate great songs full stop
EVERYBODY and I mean EVERYBODY has heard the infamous vocal refrain of Hardrive ‘Deep Inside’, the blueprint for modern Garage House that Jeremy Sylvester included in his recent mammoth Pure Garage House album. The very track sampled on ‘Deep Inside’ appears on this very album proving what a heavyweight Strictly Rhythm really is when it comes to House music royalty. Yes, you all know the ‘deep, deep inside, deep down inside’ vocal, the bubbling keys and harmonious notes. And who was behind this all time gem? A man by the name of Louie Vega
Reel 2 Real Ft The Mad Stuntman ‘I Like To Move It’ soared up the UK charts and superseded the reggeaton sound by a couple of decades, its a crossover anthem made for rocking beach parties
Famous for ‘Gabrielle’, Roy Davis Jr appears as The Believers with ‘Who Dares To Believe In Me’, a track that clearly inspired Happy Clappers ‘I Believe’ but is so much better with filtered pianos, smooth sax and a touch of disco magic
Most of us know Lonnie Gordon’s ‘Gonna Catch You’ but we might not know the track sampled heavily on the song. You find it here in full, George Morel’s ‘Lets Groove’, yet another prototype of the garage sound. Brummies may recall a funky house/speed garage booty of this one doing the rounds in the early 00’s with the Lonnie Gordon vocals but it goes without saying, you can’t beat the original’s distinctive organ driven bassline
Barbara Tucker ‘Beautiful People’ is the song that provided the infamous vocal hook for Hardrive ‘Deep Inside’ and you could play them back to back, it would sound amazing! This is full on US vocal Garage with inspirational singing from Barbara and a lush backdrop of rich, soulful, funky sounds
River Ocean did Latin/Afro House before it was a thing with the chant filled grooves of ‘Love & Happiness’, a chuggy, super-uplifting slice of musical joy
The Boss aka David Morales weighs in with the absolutely epic, roof raising ‘Congo’, an anthem in every sense of the word, not commercial, an ANTHEM, the kind of tune that truly brings the house down with crashing drums, a huge organ riff and hands in the air diva vox. Just when you think its over, the piano kicks in and its all over!!!
Who can forget Armand Van Helden’s raw af ‘Witch Doktor’, the sirens, the whoops, the D.A.R.K bassline! This tune was and is a game changer. Only recently, Illyus & Barrientos turned out a banging official remix and it still doesn’t come close to the sheer mayhem of the original
Another essential inclusion is (Josh) Wink’s ‘Higher State Of Consciousness’ here in the super-popular ‘tweakin acid’ funk’ version, essentially a breakbeat tune with a mahoosive acid riff that still drives me nuts (in a good way) every time I hear it! It gets even more insane as it goes along and it belongs in the place reserved for all time dance music classics, thats just a fact
Lou² aka Lewis ‘Lil’ Louis’ Burns & Louie Vega ‘Freaky’ is ultra-sleazy NSFW funky house with all the brilliance of a Louie Vega production, combining jazz, funk and soul into a fantastic piece of music
Planet Soul ‘Set U Free’ is a track way ahead of it’s time, fusing acid house with electro and hip hop wth a cool slow motion drop
Lil’ Mo Ying Yang ‘Reach’ is another tune that really needs no introduction, it is the quintessential Tribal House track, stripped back, energy driven with an emphasis on the drums and the groove with a vocal that is instantly recognisable
Black Magic ‘Freedom’ has the distinctive production style of the late Frankie Knuckles all over it. You will recognise this track from the ‘stop playing with my mind, stop playing with my soul’ lyrics sung in true soul fashion by the incredible trio that is Black Magic
The album also features huge crossover anthems from Ultra Nate and Wamdue project plus the massive Funky House anthem ‘What You Need’ by Powerhouse and a superb Jimpster remix of Osunlade ‘Momma’s Groove’
Number 30 is a 2009 game changer from Dennis Ferrer ‘Sinfonia Della Notte’, a track with all the hallmarks of the current Afro House sound. Vinyl enthusiasts, dance music lovers, you need to own a copy of this album!
Strictly Rhythm will release ‘The Definitive 30’ on 13 December – 30 classic tracks that define the label musically, artistically and culturally. To accompany this, there will be a 3-part 2 x 12” vinyl series being released from January