Of course, the album isn't exactly devoid of the soulful, near-flowery vocal house on which King Street made its name. The set kicks off with Jephte Guillaume's mix of Monday Michiru's '07 cut "The Right Time," a percussion-driven, Afro-Latin-tinged number that's positively dripping with swelling strings, electric piano flourishes, smooth sax solos and Michiru's luscious voice telling us why this is a "time to shine." Like many King Street tracks, it wears its heart on its sleeve, and the song's overt soulful house signifiers will likely prove a turn-off to those who came of dance floor age in the minimalist era—but if you can drop your preconceptions, it's actually a beautiful, potentially uplifting tune. Similarly, '98's "Destination" by Ananda Project (AKA King Street staple Chris Brann) layers what sounds like an army of synths until it reaches a kind of towering, quasi-mystical wall-of-sound nirvana—probably too much for some listeners, but damn if it isn't gorgeous. Another Ananda Project song, the David Morales version of 2000's "Glory Glory," takes a slightly less rococo approach, with Terrance Down's lyrics floating above a subdued classic house groove, the tune gently gliding towards a glistening, grooving coda.
But it's the compilation's sturdier tracks that will be of most interest to those allergic to manifest musical emotionalism. Another King Street standby, Kerri Chandler, borrows heavily from George Kranz's "Din Daa Daa" on the Kaoz 6:23 Dark Mix of "Coro," adding a bit of Afrofunk bump to the ascending bassline and tribal chants. The 4 Days Club Mix of "The Way I Feel" by Tears of Velva, produced by Chandler and Yahya McDougald, features a blistering, crunchy kick drum (a Chandler trademark) and spare bassline, anchoring minimalist-yet-dreamy keys and subdued vocals to ghostly effect. Best of all, perhaps, is DJ Pierre's Wild Pitch take on Danell Dixon's "Dance, Dance," a nasty, slow-build knob-twiddler that's sounds would surely tear up any right-thinking dance floor today as it did in upon its '94 release.
The album is graced with a mix from Dope Jam's in-house production duo Slow to Speak; it's excellent, as you would expect from DJs who have dedicated their professional lives to the more impassioned end of the house spectrum. But the collection features the full cuts as well, which deserve to be heard in their entirety—after all, it's not for nothing that the term "classics" features in the release's title.
Thu / 6 Sep 2012
01. Monday Michiru - The Right Time (Jephte's Vokal)
02. Ananda Project - Glory Glory
03. Kerri Chandler - Coro
04. T.P.O - Hiroshi's Dub (Joe Claussell Bonus)
05. Mood II Swing - Closer (King Street Moody Club)
06. Danell Dixon - Dance, Dance
07. Gerideau - Take a Stand (Smack Rain Vibe Mix)
08. Mood II Swing - Sunlight in My Eyes
09. Big Moses feat. Kenny Bobien - Brighter Days
10. Ananda Project - Destination
11. Tears Of Velva - The Way I Feel (4 Daye Mix)
12. Bassmental feat. Charles McDougald - It's the Music
13. DJ Romain - All Day, All Night
14. Johnny Dangerous - Emerald City (Dangerous Club Mix)
15. Kerri Chandler - Harder Gets Higher
16. Carolyn Harding - Pick it Up (Overload Dub)
17. Urban Soul - What Do I Gotta Do (Eric Kupper Club Mix)
18. Ananda Project - Straight Magic (Wamdue Kids Jazz Mix)
19. Ananda Project - Cascades Of Colour (Wamdue Black Mix)