Frankie Knuckles 1955-2014 | Frankie Knuckles Productions
April 2, 2014

To complement the previous post, here is the second playlist from those guys over at the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA). This time however its a collection of some of Frankies fantastic original productions and remixes. Its a fantastic collection of some of the best known productions including collaborations with Michael Jackson, Toni Braxton, Chaka Khan and much much more. Enjoy!

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Adonis – No Way Back [1986]
September 20, 2011

Unbelievable that this track is 25 years old and still hits as hard as the day it was released. Unlike the crazy 303 tweakers that came after it, Adonis produced a purely electronic masterpiece that will still destroy a dancefloor today. Its simplicity is astonishing with almost all the emphasis on the beats only with that unrelenting bassline that is frankly, a slice of genius. All those tracks you have heard with uplifting basslines can very likely trace their lineage back to this simple five tone pattern. Absolutely amazing.

From Discogs
At the very beginning, Adonis was into Citizen Band Radios, back when his nickname was Popcorn Kid (he used to love popcorns!). A CB friend named Love Child introduced him a guy named Gary B (which would be the man behind the robotic vocals on “No Way Back”). Love Child told Adonis that there was this DJ he should meet – Gary B would be the one that would introduce Adonis into the House Music World.

Mr. Acid Buddha (Adonis) was the only kid in Chicago with a CB Radio attached to his bike with a motorcycle battery and a generator to power up the CB radio. He was all into technology at the mid eighties.

Gary came over his house, and they talked about the music industry in Chicago, and Adonis played some music there (he was a musician with tons of records in his house, from Blues to Jazz and R&B – but not a DJ or a producer yet), and Gary brought on a record with him which was Jesse Saunders’ “On And On” that changed his life.

This early House record gave a very intense inspiration to several of these youngsters willing to take the lead on the dance music Universe. After that meeting, it gave Adonis more of a desire to create House style tracks that would be original and not copies of other records basslines.

“No Way Back” production started with the basslines first, then the drums with the use of the roland TR-808. One day, Adonis was going to studio and Gary B. was with him, so Adonis told him to do the vocals, because he wanted Gary to be a famous DJ like Ron Hardy and Farley (Jackmaster Funk).

The metalic, futuristic vocals – “Release my Soul, I’ve lost control! Release my Soul, I’ve lost control! Too far gone! Too far gone… Ain’t No Way Back!” suggested quite a lots of interpretations. According to the author, it was like getting lost in the sound of music to a point where you can’t find your way back to being normal again. Once you was introduced to the sound, you changed for life; your thinking would be expanded into other dimensions forever. That’s what Adonis music was all about.

As soon as Adonis finished recording “No Way Back”, Marshall Jefferson heard it; he wanted Adonis to give him the demo tape so that Marshall could have it on an Virgo EP; Marshall Jefferson knew that it would be a big record even before Adonis did, but the author said no, he didn’t want to.

Sometime after that, Adonis was at the largest party of the year, and he had the “No Way Back” track on tape. A DJ name Larry Thompson was DJing that night. That’s exactly when Adonis found out he was going to have an effect in the Chicago scene. Steve Silk Hurley had just introduced one of his newest track to the fans at the party, and no one had ever heard “No Way Back” before. After playing Hurley’s track, Larry Thompson asked Adonis if he could play “No Way Back”, so he played, and the whole place lost their minds. All the DJs asked what the f*ck was that, who made that track – then Larry Thompson told Adonis, that he’ was on the map now. After that, Larry Sherman from Trax Records pulled Adonis to the side and gave him his business card.

About that classic, his friend Marshall Jefferson said with deep respect that No Way Back had been out and was hitting really hard, and everyone thought it would be a good idea to have Adonis down for co-production.

Sterling Void & Paris Brightledge – It’s All Right ( House Mix ) [1987]
October 23, 2010

A track that needs almost no introduction, its the first track ever released from Sterling Void and what a track it is. Conscious lyrics, great string work and that bassline rolling around in the back, a great example of proper House Music. Produced by the legendary Marshall Jefferson, the track was actually covered by the Pet Shop Boys a couple of years after this was released. Did you know that? No, neither did I. Know why? The PSB version is shite! It completely misses the soul and optimisim in this track, sacrificing that message for some weak socio-political commentary.

For me the track says but one thing;

“Sure, its not perfect… but it’ll get better”

Sterling Void – Runaway Girl (Pimp Dub) [1988]
November 13, 2009

The very definition of a Piano Monster, produced by Marshall Jefferson. Just a rolling moog, four bar and a piano so huge it can turn whole crowds into gurning idiots.. Get those fucking hands up!

From Discogs
Sterling Void’s masterstroke of a monster ‘Runaway Girl’ is a classic house tune, and probably, like a lot of the best records of the time, owes it’s success to that unforgettable piano riff.

The Korg handclaps sound dated now of course, however, in 1988, they kept you dancing in clubs and discos all over the world!