The men with those two hats. If you agree with me that house/electronic music is the best music in the world, then we would need to owe a pile-high mountain sized amount of respect and gratitude to the most genre defining production team in dance music history: Masters at Work.
This week, Defected Records launched another volume of their House Masters line of CD releases, but this one, sort of blows all the others straight outta dodge. To say, this town [NYC] is not big enough for the both of us, would be an understatement, so you would have to move over to the side, fellow “House Masters”, and engage in the listening experience and spectacle of nearly three decades of work, laid out amongst 4 CDs titled House Masters Masters At Work.
Who are Masters at Work?
Masters At Work is the spawning of Little Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez. Their story is quite interesting because Louie was essentially your regular metro area superstar DJ in a time way before the EDM idiocracy and the over the top international bookings, and Kenny was your around the way street DJ, carrying crates and patching in to power sources while watching his back for police cruisers and hoods. Louie had a broad understanding of layout and texture found in a cut, but like most success stories that just doesn’t cut it for the absurdity of brilliance in the pounding of beats on the dance floor, so enters Kenny, a master of chaotic beats and loops on the pricey cubed electronic mechanisms that created house music. After being introduced to eachother by legenday sampling madman Todd Terry and countless studio sessions and remix bookings, what you have is the the product of Masters At Work aka MAW, which made them a worldwide success, grasped by the appreciation from varying forms of clubsters from rave heads to hip-hoppers.
And even though House music came over from Chicago, it was MAW, that added the NYC touch of greatness. These two men are the true NYC legends of dance music.
To get a good footing, I found this amazing 2+ hour Red Bull Academy tribute to MAW. Enjoy it !
Lecture: Masters At Work (New York, 2013) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.
Here is the track listing for the release:
01. Bebe Winans ‘Thank You’ (MAW Mix)
02. The Braxtons ‘The Boss’ (MAW Remix)
03. MAW featuring James Ingram ‘Lean On Me’ (MAW Mix)
04. Masters At Work featuring India ‘Backfired’ (Album Version)
05. Voices ‘Voices In My Mind’ (MAW Mix)
06. Afro Celt Sound System ‘Release’ (Masters At Work Main Mix)
07. Incognito ‘Nights Over Egypt’ (Masters At Work Main Mix)
08. Nuyorican Soul featuring India ‘Runaway’ (Original Flava 12″)
09. Urbanized featuring Slivano ‘Helpless (I Don’t Know What To Do Without You)’ (The Kenlou Remix)
10. Gus Gus ‘VIP’ (Masters At Work Vocal Mix)
01. Masters At Work featuring India ‘I Can’t Get No Sleep’ (Ken Lou 12” Mix)
02. Masters At Work featuring India ‘When You Touch Me’ (M.A.W. Remix)
03. Funky People featuring Cassio Ware ‘Funky People’ (Masters At Work Main Mix)
04. Ruffneck featuring Yavahn ‘Everybody Be Somebody’ (MAW Style Mix)
05. Simply Red ‘Thrill Me’ (Masters At Work House Mix)
06. Black Masses ‘Wonderful Person’ (MAW Vocal Mix)
07. George Benson ‘Song for My Brother’ (Kenlou 12″ Mix)
08. Masters At Work ‘Work’ (MAW Mix)
09. River Ocean featuring India ‘Love & Happiness (Yemeya Y Ochun)’ (MAW Original Remix Extended)
10. Maw featuring Luis Salinas ‘Pienso En Ti (I Think Of You)’ (House Mix)
01. Saint Etienne ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ (Masters At Work Dub)
02. Lood featuring Donell Rush ‘Shout-N-Out’ (The DJ Dub)
03. Nuyorican Soul ‘The Nervous Track’ (Ballsy Mix)
04. Chris Cuevas ’Hip Hop’ (Masters At Work Dub)
05. Atmosfear ’Dancing In Outer Space’ (Lunar Mix Part 1)
06. D’Influence ‘Hypnotize’ (M.A.W. Piano Dub Mix)
07. The Neville Brothers ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ (Slippin Dub)
08. Debbie Gibson ‘Losin’ Myself’ (12” Masters At Work Version)
09. Uncanny Alliance ‘I Got My Education’ (Master At Work Dub)
10. Masters At Work ‘Our Mute Horn’ (Ken Lou Mix)
01. Masters At Work ‘The Ha Dance’ (Ken / Lou Mixx)
02. Los Amigos Invisibles ‘Ease Your Mind’ (Masters At Work Dub Edit)
03. House Of Gypsies ‘Sume Sigh Sey’ (MAW Remix)
04. Kathy Brown ‘Can’t Play Around’ (M.A.W Dub)
05. Ce Ce Peniston ‘Crazy Love’ (Krazy Dub)
06. Baaba Maal ‘Gorel’ (Piano Dub)
07. Jody Watley ‘Off The Hook’ (MAW Dub)
08. Ultra Naté ‘Show Me’ (Masters At Work Wild Dub)
09. The Brand New Heavies ‘Close To You’ (Masters At Work Remix)
10. B.O.P ‘Zabalaza’ (MAW Original Mix)
And if you wanna to download the release, here is the Beatport link