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Beyond the Mix

While working as a DJ at Chicago’s underground club Warehouse in the late 1970s, Frankie Knuckles created the stark and dark sound that now dominates dance floors around the world. House music was his sensual, bare-bones rearrangement of ’70s soul — a stripped-down and driving drum beat, a beefy bass line, a hint of melody carried by stirring vocals. That style dominates Knuckles’ first album, but Beyond the Mix ranges far and wide beyond it. From the noisy, hip-house style of the late ’80s (”Party at My House”) to the crooning drama of classic disco (”Workout”), the album features tracks that will no doubt turn dance floors into twirls of exuberance. ”It’s Hard Sometimes” and the gospel standard ”Soon It Will Be Done” are propelled by the soulful vocals of Shelton Becton. But other cuts suffer from a rushed pace, poor rapping, or squeaky singing. Overall, Beyond the Mix lacks both the fantasy and snaky rhythms of great club music that Knuckles, as DJ, has long been famous for. B

Beyond the Mix
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