Monday, 20 September 2010
Mix - Tony Humphries, KISS NYC, Jan 1992
This is the story behind my my favourite ever mix tape. In 1991 one of my best friends moved to New York. It was a bit of bummer as New York is quite far away. But it did have its upsides, like holidays to New York, shopping in New York, clubbing in New York… and mix tapes from New York.
One of those mix tapes made an indelible mark on my musical psyche . I’m not quite sure why, because it wasn’t one of those carefully planned set-piece mixes all your mates go on about, it was simply a recording of a reguar Saturday night show, the Mastermix Dance Party, show on New York’s KISS, but there was something about how this mix was put together. By a certain Tony Humphries.
I imagine that as Mr Humphries was doing these every week, with new records, they must have been off the cuff. And some of the mixing would suggest that is right, because it’s not always in key, sometimes the vocal overlap, some mixes are forced and stuff like that, but, and it’s a BIG but, it works because he makes it works it!
He kicks off with the sublime Mr Fingers ‘Closer’, before wheeling through a few English tracks like the Joey Negro mix of Brand New Heavies ‘Dream Come True’ and Slam ‘Eterna’, then it just builds and builds and by the time he’s working two copies of Adeva’s ‘Independent Woman’ mixed up with Musto and Bones, he’s just firing! But the best is yet to come, with the mix he drops of Gypseymen ‘Hear The Music’ and C-Bounce ‘Keep The Faith’. The mix is not perfect, in fact technically it’s a bit rough, but working both records in and out, pretty much sums up that Humphries x-factor. There is something about his style which injects pure energy into the music. It is organic, instinctive, raw even, rather than clinical precision of some DJs, especially in today’s world of laptops and CDJs. And that is why I love it.
Mix wise, I don’t think anything I have heard ever has had this impact. I was 22 when I first heard it and used to English DJs boring on with prog house and Italian screamers. I’m not sure exactly what the difference is but there is a difference.
I rinsed this tape to death. Walking to work with my Sony Walkman, after clubs, in the car, in fact, it’s amazing it’s survived at all. It did though and I’ve stuck it up on Soundcloud for your listening pleasure.
Tony Humphries - KISS FM NYC - Mastermix Dance Party - 12 Jan 1992 by Humphries Kiss NYC Tape
Mr Fingers – Closer
Brand New Heavies – Dream Come True (Joey Negro mix)
Endangered Species - Endangered Species
Red Light – Who needs Enemies?
Slam – Eterna
Sounds of Blackness – Testify (CJ Macintosh dub)
Anambi - Our Love Climbs Higher
Love Root II - Funky Emotions
Chic – Chic Mystique
Sax – House Is A Feeling
Adeva – Independent Woman (Tony Humphries mix)
Adeva – Independent Woman (Tony Humphries dub)
Musto & Bones – The Music Is Right (R&B Dub)
Gypseymen – Hear The Music
C-Bounce – Keep The Faith
Latour – Cold
Black Traxx - Pump It
Monica Deluxe – Love On My Mind
Desiya – Coming On Strong
What It Is - Do You Believe
4th Measure Men – Just A Dream
James Howard – Wake Up
Lifeforce – Feel Your Body
Syndicate 305 - I Promise
Hardrive - Sindae