Retro: The Nervous Track - Nuyorican Soul / You Can Do It Baby - Nuyorican Soul feat. George Benson

By accident this week BlackPlastic suddenly thought about all the old Masters At Work material we used to love so much. Luther Vandross came up in conversation - something that is always 100% guaranteed to get BlackPlastic thinking about his utterly sublime eight-minute epic 'Are you Using Me?', produced by Masters At Work.

Having routed around the old collection we came across some old CDs that had never even found their way onto the computer hard-drive, let alone the iPod: Masters At Work's ten year anniversary compilations. The problem with Masters At Work is they are another one of those acts that never understood what made them great... As the production values ramped up over the years all the charm vanished - the roughness that made their music feel real. By the time Our Time Is Coming [affiliate link] came out much of the magic had disappeared.

So here are a couple of cuts to show off just how good Kenny Dope & Louise Vega could be.  First up, the first ever release under their highly celebrated Nuyorican Soul guise - 'The Nervous Track'. It's a thrilling track, with its warm synths in the background, catchy bassline and rolling drums. It really captures the excitement of early electronic dance music despite the fact it only dates back to 1993... And those stabs of brass are pure class.

Another Nuyorican Soul jam to demonstrate how different Masters At Work's material could be. This time their collaboration with George Benson. You need to give this a good few minutes before it even gets going, but trust if you've never heard this track, trust us when we say that you need to - it's without doubt one of the best pieces of house music ever made. Ever.

The Masters At Work Tenth Anniversary compilations are out of print now but fairly easily sought out - something it is well worth doing due to the size of them (four discs each, and there are two) and the fact that they have a lot of the full length mixes that are hard to find elsewhere, they are also pretty cheap. Sellers have both Part One and Part Two on Amazon and the Nuyorican Soul album is a must have too [affiliate links].

They may have gone of the boil since the turn of the century but if you like music, you need to hear this stuff.

BP x

Retro: Deep Kick - Red Hot Chili Peppers

BlackPlastic, as anyone that knows their real identity in real life will know, HATES the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Or rather, what they have become.

Because whilst offering a friend some advice recently - "It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't, do" - the lyrics to this little ditty sprung to mind ("And as the Butthole Surfers always said..." prefaces my advice).  Cue some rampant digging through BlackPlastic's record collection in order to find the Chili's 1995 album, One Hot Minute (produced, tellingly, by Rick Rubin).  There are only two RHCP albums worth listening to, let alone owning.  Everything else is shit, no debate: They. Sold. Out.

They are now doomed to remake the same album over & over & over so throw out everything bar the obvious Blood Sugar Sex Magik and this gem, One Hot Minute.  Everyone raves about Blood Sugar Sex Magik and yet One Hot Minute is the most criminally overlooked album in their entire back catalogue, benefitting from an eclecticism and a level of experimentation entirely missing from the rest of their output.  Even the pop song 'Aeroplane' is head and shoulders over anything they have created since 'Scar Tissue'.

'Deep Kick' is probably the best track on One Hot Minute, sounding like places, people, events and adventures: A lifetime of misbehaviour squashed into six-and-a-half-crazy-minutes.  The transition from the first, spoken phase (with the strung-out whispered vocals beneath the main vocal track) into the second phase is goose-bump inducing, and the final conclusion (featuring THAT line) is spellbinding.

If you don't know this song and you either (a) hate the chilis as much as me; or (b) like all that shit post-2000s stuff; then press play, sit back and learn.

BP x