So it's nice to see Ramp Recordings' new reissue arm, Anotherday, lead off with Boo Williams' second album, from 1996. Born Willie Griffin, Williams wasn't an ingenious conceptualist like Green Velvet/Cajmere—whose Cajual label initially released this album—or a down-and-dirty grinder like DJ Funk. Home Town Chicago is the kind of simple, swirling house that sounds great booming out of large warehouses at 5 in the morning, particularly the title track, which overlays a handful of organ parts (a seesaw-drone at the center, piping short notes for seasoning) atop an urgent pulse. "Make Some Noise" features a rough, bustling kick-hat pattern and a latticework of airy vocal samples, as well as some carefully applied filtering and teakettle organ. "Old School Flavor" gets crazy with the hi-hats as a suspended Rhodes chord evokes the rising sun—a wide landscape that Williams tricks up (off-beat claps here, crosscutting synth blips there) to keep things percolating.
Home Town Chicago's buoyancy fits its time frame. It came out in the period when the U.S. rave scene, particularly in the Midwest, began to reach back to its roots. Rave burnt out faster than a lot of scenes—drugs do that—but it also ignited a lot of true-believer fervor. And the future-forward quality that snared so many early-'90s American suburbanites (and make no mistake, rave was a heavily suburban phenomenon in the States) began to relax as the first glimmers of the technology that defines us now began to emerge in the mainstream. "Where does this stuff begin?" a lot of people started to wonder. Fifteen years later, as ever more people wonder the same, it's nice to have this around again to show them—not to mention that it still bumps like a mother.