Bunker Sessions #8 - 24.01.2013 (Paradise Garage Tribute - disco edition) mixed by Robder
Bunker Sessions has been in a reflective space of late with a heady mix of convalescent, bordering on psychotic, moods (nice to know I’m not alone!). So to counter the January blues, this session is an attempt to inject some fresh optimism into 2013 with a tribute to the many facets of disco; a genre which until its recent revival, was relegated to lowest common denominators such as wedding receptions and hen nights. Here you’ll find vintage Salsoul blended with some deeper shades, nu-disco cuts and a smattering of re-edits championed by the likes of Greg Wilson (previous Bunker Sessions contributor).
Post-Giuliani New York may be way past its prime, but scenes invariably splinter and regroup. Thankfully, the spirit of downtown Manhattan can still be felt on the floor at Krivit’s 718 Sessions, Shelter, Vazquez’s occasional House of Jupiter, Underground Network and Libation. Put it this way, if you’re the only white guy at a roadblock night and there’s house on the turntables, you know which side of the Atlantic you’re on! I regret to say that I’m yet to experience a Paradise Garage reunion but last year’s Body&SOUL outing really opened my eyes. In all my years of dank warehouse parties, I’ve never witnessed a big room event with so much heart…fucking HOUSE to be fair. :0
Acclaimed music biographies such as Tim Lawrence’s ‘Love Saves the Day’ and Mel Cheran’s ‘My life and the Paradise Garage’ give a great snapshot of the halcyon days of the Big Apple. A golden age of creativity, fuelled by the anarchic spirit of Stonewall and fused by the cold, harsh reality of the AIDS epidemic. Downtown dancers would SWEAT the night away at Tee Scott’s Better Days, carrying on till dawn at the Paradise Garage to the tune of the late, great Larry Levan (still voted the best DJ of all time by the geeks on the Faith Fanzine message board). No schlep to New York is complete without a pilgrimage to 84 King Street for a glimpse at the infamous ramp to Paradise (now sashay/shantay-ing its way into a telecommunications company following the closure of the Garage in ‘87 :-/).
Fierce rulin’ Gwen (Guthrie) opens the session with her show stopping Peanut Butter. A pitch perfect example of Levan’s remixing style; often credited as the first producer to introduce the dub aesthetic to the dance floor. The stripped down textures and heavy bass filter in the opening bars = unmistakably L.A.R.R.Y.
Whilst I never witnessed Larry Levan play, the numerous live mixes available for download are testament to his ability to surprise and build suspense on a floor. Overplaying tracks until they were properly understood, looping verses to avoid anthemic parts of a track (only to tease the crowd by slamming something else in at ‘that’ crucial moment) and layering lyrical themes to convey a mood. Dancers always knew when Larry had a beef with someone and you can feel his humorous “Miss Thing…” quips coming through in his flippant mixing style! The communion he had with his crowd was unparallelled before - and arguably since.
Levan, like many other Godfathers of the house sound including Frankie Knuckles, Francois Kevorkian, Tony Humphries, David Morales, Louie Vega and Kenny Dope, plied their trade at David Mancuso’s Loft party. The Loft was a regular gathering in David’s home that began on Valentine’s day 1970, the spiralling repercussions of which can still be felt the world over.
A good friend and Bunker Sessions regular, Alejandro Asencio (♥♥♥) noticed my passion for the story, and in 2009, introduced me to the Lucky Cloud Sound System (London’s answer to the Loft playing host to David). Being in a room full of so many musical luminaries, including the living legend himself, will always be one of the biggest honours of my life. It’s a really special party for people of all ages with more similarities to a shamanic space than a conventional nightclub. Kids and carers come for the first couple of hours and the playful child energy sets the pace for the evening, ridding the floor of any adult snobbery which is inherent in so many London clubs.
Lucky Cloud’s offshoot party, Beauty and the Beat, also deserves a mention for its slightly mystical, other-worldly atmosphere. Great memories of a packed house, writhing around to the tune of ORS’s Body to Body Boogie like a single living, breathing organism *sigh* (2:59:11). A magickal experience; possibly helped along by the infamous trippy apricot buffet. :-b
The education I’ve received from the Loft has provided a welcome reminder that fads come and go, but real music is subjective and timeless. Pigeon holing with static genres does nothing but pull creative flow into retrograde and like the watery current of emotions, its evolution must be fluid and without definition. The party takes place every solstice and equinox and for me, this is a place of ceremony.
Finally, no tribute to New York would be complete without a nod to the Paris is Burning documentary; an intimate portrait of patchwork glamour and self made status that emerged from the underbelly of drag houses across the city. Trans folk and outcast kids walked between worlds, turning ballrooms into battlefields as they threw shades of banji realness across the catwalk **vogue**. Superficial and crass on the surface but laden with anecdotes that demonstrate the power of community; turning deep struggle into an affirmation of love, acceptance and joy. “Tens across the board!” (I sampled a few Paris is Burning nuggets at 1:45:14).
Morrissey’s “criminally vulgar” ode to shyness; ‘How Soon is Now?’ also features here (1:10:42). This is a rare edit of the Smiths’ number that walks the tightrope of being both whiningly self indulgent and heart wrenchingly honest; balancing the two in a way that never fails to spark a deep recognition.
In the spirit of the Loft, the mix winds down to a Tibetan chant; Ozo - Anambra (3:09:20) “Om mani padmi hum”, a mantra containing all the teachings of the Buddha.
This session is laden with celebratory, painful, deliriously happy, sad and joyful memories of various people, nights out and precious moments; charting the musical journey my life has taken since 2009.
Listen and LEARN IT…
♫♫♪ L.S.D (l♥ve saves the day). ♫♫♪
* denotes ‘edited by Robder’
Sample – Cevin Fisher - The way we used to (Acapella) [Maxi Records] 1996
1. Gwen Guthrie - Peanut butter (Long vocal - special mix by Larry Levan) [Garage Records] 1983*
2. Angela - I gotta little love [EMI Electrola] 1984*
3. Brenda Fassie - Mingi mingi (Norman Jay remix) [EMI Music] 2003*
4. Asso - Don’t stop [Ace Records] 1983*
5. An der beat - Iknuf [Minifunk] 1997
6. Pointer Sisters - Automatic (Special remix) [Planet Records] 1983
7. Selection - Madly (Long Version) [Full Time Records] 1980
8. Johnny Dynell - Jam hot (40 Thieves dub) [Smash Hit Music US] 2010*
9. Crown Heights Affair - Say a prayer for two (US remix) [Mercury] 1978*
10. Discothèque - Disco special [Mercury] 1979*
11. ChéyAnne - I’ve waited too long (for your love) (Hypnotic instrumental) [Swingbeat] 1988*
12. Henrik Schwarz - Chicago [Moodmusic] 2003*
Sample – The Madam - The sensuous black woman [Kent]
13. Roy Ayers - Chicago [Uno Melodic Records] 1983
14. The Steve Miller Band - Macho city (Long version) [Capitol Records] 1981*
15. Psychemagik - Feelin’ love [Psychemagik] 2010*
16. Tina Turner - I can’t stand the rain (Extended remix) [Capitol Records] 1984
17. LCD Soundsystem - Freak out/starry eyes [DFA, EMI] 2007
18. Zwischenfall - Sandy eyes (Special fuzz version) [Fuzz Dance] 1984
19. The Smiths - How soon is now? (MCR NYC extended vocal re-edit) [Unreleased] 2012
20. Nelue - Inspector C (Nelue re-edit) [Mister Mistery] 2011*
Sample – The Ride Committee feat. Roxy - Accident [TRIBAL United Kingdom] 1995
21. First Choice - Love thang (Tee Scott remix) [Gold Mind Records] 1979
22. Frontline Orchestra - Don’t turn your back on me [ICE] 1981
23. Sleeque - One for the money (Dance remix) [Easy Street Records] 1986*
24. Harlequin Four’s - Set it off [Jus Born Records] 1985*
Sample – The Realness - Shade (Acapella) [Cabin Fever Records] 2010
25. Martin Circus - Disco Circus [Prelude Records] 1979*
26. Scott Grooves featuring Parliament/Funkadelic - Mothership connection [Soma Quality Recordings] 1998*
27. Steve Lawler - Andante (Taiko mix) [Bedrock Records] 2002
28. Alcatraz - Giv me luv [Yoshitoshi Recordings] 1995
Sample - Cevin Fisher - West End 25th anniversary intro [West End Records] 2001*
Sample - Tuning radio [Unreleased]
Sample - Whoosh sound [Unreleased]
29. Sister Sledge - Lost in music (Special 1984 Nile Rodgers remix) [Atlantic] 1984
30. Sylvester and the Hot Band - Southern man [Blue Thumb Records] 1973
31. The Jackson 5 - Dancing machine [Tamla Motown] 1973
32. Dexter Wansel - Life on Mars [Philidelphia International Records] 1976
33. Ray Barretto - Stargazer [Atlantic] 1978
34. Sun Palace - Rude movements [Passion Records] 1983
35. Johnny Mathis & Chic - I love my lady (Ashley Beedle’s Black Bahia rework) [Modern Artifacts] 2012
36. Earth Wind & Fire - Fantasy (Shelter DJ mix) [Columbia] 2002
37. Santana - Aqua marine [CBS] 1979
38. ORS - Body to body boogie [Salsoul Records] 1978
39. Kool & the gang - Summer madness [De-Lite Records] 1977
40. Ozo - Anambra [DJM Records] 1976