The New York party Body & Soul, of course, has long run on preservationist impulses: Francois K's wide-open playlist and DJ style (closer to a house party than a big-room one) ensures that it's not just new-new-new all the time. But Body & Soul—15 Years sounds less like yet another tribute to the history and influence of the hallowed disco era Francois K came up in than a guide to the turn-of-the-'90s cusp. Sure, disco appears, particularly near the top of disc two—there are five tracks total from '78 to '81, with James Brown's atomic "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose," from 1970, near the end just to remind us of the music's even deeper roots. But that stuff is dwarfed by the kind of music Galkin's obsessed with lately: 14 tracks span 1988-93, and the entire set is keynoted by Whitney Houston's "Love Will Save the Day (The Underground Mix)," an echt-'88 Jellybean Benitez and David Morales syndrum fantasia.
Body & Soul's vision of the universal dance floor is a pretty soft-focused one, which is riveting to encounter in pared-down form. Both sides of a 1990 12-inch by the fabulously named Italian production team Soft House Company, "A Little Piano" and "What U Need," are Mr. Fingers nods per eccellenza, the latter track utilizing a stutter-sampled syllable without running it into the ground. (Other tracks, like the "House Shaker Version" of Jeanette Thomas's 1987 "Shake Your Body," do this less successfully.) Earth People's "Dance (Beats Mix)," also from 1990, is so minimal, so hypnotic, and so badass it ought to be taught in production school. There's also a healthy dollop of generic-bordering-on-drippy love-your-brother stuff—is anything more gauche in the world than the wailing title hook of Tribal House's "Motherland (Vocal Version)"? Gerideau's "Take a Stand" is merely tepid by comparison.
But when a vocal track works there's nothing like it. Sounds of Blackness's "The Pressure" (1991) makes its second appearance on a Ministry of Sound anniversary-led compilation in two months—it's also on MOS's 20-year box, as part of Larry Levan's exhumed set from 1992. It's a jewel both places—the Minneapolis choir-gone-R&B preaching to the night masses. But the track that penetrates deeper is Hugh Masakela's electro-lined Afro-groove "Don't Go Lose It Baby" (1984). The vocals are buried, but the mix is so bubbly and dense you'll never worry about finding them.