That’s June sorted so!
Virgo Four make their Irish live debut tomorrow night at The Grand Social, with support from Lunar Disko’s Andy Doyle, Fatty stalwart Nico Keano and Pablo from Downtownsounds/Fatty Fatty.
Here’s a brief and concise history of these pioneers who almost got left behind…
With the recent resurgence of interest in Chicago house music in the past few years, Virgo Four are amongst the most significant winners. Their self titled debut was re-released by Dutch label Rush Hour in 2010, and has been feted as one of the finest LP’s ever to emerge from a genre far more focused on the 12 inch single.
The band comprised just two members, Eric Lewis and Mervyn Chambers, and they were lucky (or unlucky!) enough to record on the iconic Trax label, which released so many of the genre’s timeless classics. Trax was also notorious for questionable business practices – paying some artists small advances for records that would sell in their tens of thousands, not to mention printing tunes onto used vinyl, resulting in a frustratingly muddy sound quality on many of their releases.
Thanks and praise are due that V4′s first single ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’ did not suffer too harshly from this policy. Built around a circular, swooping synth motif, it stands today as one of the true jewels in house music’s crown – beautiful, melancholic yet hugely uplifting music that sounds like it could have been made yesterday.
The other moments on that first Trax EP aren’t half bad either – take your pick from the driving, acidic ‘In A Vision’, with it’s propulsive Karftwerkian hook at centre stage…
Or the hypnotic, funk fuelled minimalism of ‘Take Me Higher’ and the slowly building piano led surge of ‘Going Thru Life’…
Having recorded that EP as Virgo Four, they then followed it up with another under the moniker ‘M.E’, another 4 tracks of haunting melodies and big 4/4 kicks, like the eerie ‘School Hall’
and the sinister dancefloor call of ‘Ride’
These 8 tracks were issued as an LP by Radical Records in 1989 under the name ‘Virgo’, creating much confusion due to house pioneer Marshall Jefferson’s project of the same name. After that, the duo kept on making sweet music with each other, but found it difficult to get distribution deals for it, with just one EP emerging under the moniker ‘Ace and The Sandman’ in 1992. It lived up to the high standards they had set themselves with this glorious, acid laced deep house gem…
The band then faded into obscurity, and little or nothing was heard from them for nearly two decades. Since Rush Hour’s reissue of the original ‘Virgo’ album three years ago, however, they have been all over the world, playing gigs in the four corners of the globe.
They and their new label put some of those unreleased tracks to fabulous use on the appropriately titled ‘Resurrection’ album in 2011, a compendium of thirty tracks that they had worked on over the years. The lead track ‘It’s A Crime’ was remixed to some effect by Caribou, bringing the band’s glorious sound to even more eager ears.
While some feel ‘Resurrection’ didn’t quite hit the heights of the work on Trax, there was still plenty to recommend it – the blunted tones of ‘Sex’, for instance.
Or the strange, elegiac ‘Moskaw’
The band are apparently working on new material as well as continuing to excavate their stash of tapes for lost and hidden gems. Check them jamming it out for The BoilerRoom, a lovely little taster of what you might expect from them on Saturday at The Grand Social. See you down the front!
Really looking forward to Paddy’s Day this year as we have John Morales, a bona fide living legend of the New York disco scene joining us to rock the blazes out of the Sugar Club. This is also a special night for John as it is the eve of the release of volume three of his acclaimed M&M Mixes compilation for BBE.
“The original process of ‘re-mixing records’ was intended to provide an alternative listening experience which had been optimized for people who went out to dance at Discos. John was one of the early pioneers who loved music, understood his craft and HAD RESPECT FOR THE CREATIVE WORK from which his mixes were derived” – Patrick Adams
We are pretty jazzed with the line-up for our next party and we are nothing short of ecstatic to announce our next release on Fatty Fatty Phonographics will be by none other than our headliner for the night: Chicago’s DJ Rahaan. It seems like only yesterday when we started listening to mixes on deephousepage.com by a mysterious Chicagoan who seemed to capture everything that city stood for back in the days of Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, Larry Heard, Farley, Silk, WBMX, hot-mixing, jazz funk, disco, house, good times…
In support we have LaserTom who will be showcasing a load of new material as well as Lil Dave on the ones and twos to get the party started. For a taste of what is to come, check out this video of our last party with the big man:
And check out one his booty shaking tracks to be released on Fatty Fatty Phonographics here:
We have Justin VanDerVolgen lined up to rock you with his deep box of disco, new and old for this years Halloween party in the Sugar Club, as well as a live performance from the one and only Skuzzi Port. Get working on your costume ideas now; last years crowd raised the bar with some seriously spooky style.
Justin VanDerVolgen – Nice Costume
Skuzzi Port – Piece of Galaxy
Here is a DJ we have had in our sights for a long time and it seems fitting to have him play right after we had Fish Go Deep; Greg & Shane brought Boo over to play their night in Henry’s long before we even knew what the fuck house music was so it’s nice to see these house heavyweights passing like ships in the night.
This time last year we had Lil Louis over to play our party and it was a memorable night, with people piling in on top of each other to get a taste of the great man doing his thing. This time round we’re keeping it strictly Irish, with Fish Go Deep, Billy Scurry and our own Aaron Dempsey lined up to smash the jaysus out of the Sugar Club. This is going to be the destination of choice for the Forbidden Fruit festival afters, make sure you are there!