Francois' Contribution to Dance Music, Particularly Disco and House, is Unrivaled. This Album is a Celebration of 25 Years of New York Dance Music.
This amazing album depicts the deck craft of one of dance music's founding fathers. Kevorkian, a French jazz drummer who migrated to America in 1975 was one of the first DJs to mix and edit disco records into 12" cuts, prolonging the grooves and creating dynamic workouts for adventurous dancers. Yet this is much more than disco, it's a journey from funk filled 1970s New York City when breakbeats and disco edits were emerging from the primordial sonic soup through to electro, early garage, house, hip-hop, techno and drum & bass. Familiar names such as D Train, Chaka Khan, Kraftwerk and James Brown sit alongside rarities from Akwaaba, Adonis, Willie Hutch and Level 42. This isn't a mix album in the conventional sense, there's not much blending or cutting, but it is a beautiful and thoughtful exploration of dance music's many moods by someone who understands and can integrate them better than most. --Jake Barnes
Be aware that the selection is based more on important or influential songs, not the crowd favorites or those that later improved on the dance formula. Within that context, many of the choices are still credible (and some incredible) with disc one displaying a more consistent rare groove and house vibe. "Love Money" by Funkmasters, "Squib cakes" by Tower of Power, and offerings by Chaka Khan and James Brown (and others) still retain the magic to move you.
Francois K aims for the broadest possible picture with only 33 tracks to pick, which makes the surprisingly duff choices even harder to take. Level 42's "Starchild," while holding some corny novelty, certainly doesn't belong; Earth, Wind and Fire drop a clunker with "In the Stone," and Wally Badarou's "Mambo" is simply too basic. Those are the obvious choices, the rest will depend on your tastes. Come disc two the frenetic flipping of styles reaches a frenzied pitch: from drum and bass to garage to echo-techno into Kraftwerk then De La Soul rap and gospel house- that's the first half of the album. A music critic's fantasy but neither a journey nor smooth listen. Eclectic scope by itself isn't a virtue; without consistency you end up with a cleverly packaged mix tape of some classic cuts. I don't mind the history lesson, but learning could have been more fun. Grade: B-