Articles and thoughts by Peter Holslin

Let Your Mind Be Free

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Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. “Let your mind be free.” Doo na na na na na! Doo na na na na na! “Let your mind be free.” Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

About two hours ago I just bought Bad Boy Bill’s “Bangin’ The Box, Vol. 3,” a collection of bouncy, sparkling, infectious Chicago house hits from the late-1990s. I’ve been looking for a good compilation of this stuff lately. While perusing the scanty electronica collection at Off the Record, my eyes made out the bright neon text of the packaging and the grandeur of the man on the cover of this curious assortment, which rounds out at a hefty 45 tracks. I’m not sure where Bad Boy Bill and the rest fit into the history of house in Chicago, where DJs gave birth to that repetitive electronic genre in the 1980s. I’m not even sure if all the artists listed here are just Bad Boy Bill’s pseudonyms. But I am a sucker for compilations and this was printed on a Chicago label in 1998, so it must be at least kind of legit (no matter that I couldn’t tell you what “legit” house is). After a moment of deliberation with myself, I brought the comp to the counter.

I read a sage bit of wisdom in Simon Reynolds’ Generation Ecstasy the other day. The gist of the book’s introduction is that, to the average ecstasy-addled party boy hoofing it on the dance floor, history is not a concern. That dancer’s vision is a timeless affair in a world rocked by oscillating surges of rhapsody and interspersed with planes of unflappable ambiance. When I’m out hunting for new tracks, I may as well be like the beast. Forget “intelligent dance music.” Now it’s high time I give in to my guiltiest, most electrified of pleasures. For 74 minutes, at least…

Photo: Bad Boy Bill mans the turntables in 2000, by Jewels.

Pardon the faux pas, but I do mean to say “mix” when I refer to this compilation.


Written by Peter Holslin

December 29, 2007 at 12:19 am

Posted in Art/Music, Books

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