Album of the Week: Various Artists – Dekmantel Selectors mixed by Motor City Drum Ensemble

Technically our album of the week for some time in May, we haven’t been able to get our hands on a copy due its popularity. Every time we’d get to Roland at Filter, the few copies he got in wouldn’t even make it to the shelf before it would snatched up by zealous music connoisseurs. But fortune favours the determined and when Øyvind Morken insists that you to get a copy,  you don’t question why and just make sure you get one.

It’s also a perfect way to round up our album of the week feature for 2016, as this record holds a light up to exactly those origins of Dance music we hold up in the most regard at Jæger. The Dekmantel Selectors series of events is about highlighting those DJs “who can present an interesting selection of music and play that music in a way that really communicates with the audience on the dancefloor”. These are DJs whose veins pulse with the legacy of Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan and continue to pursue the marginal music for the sake of DJing. Needless to say, Motor City Drum Ensemble represents exactly such a DJ today and quite apt for the position of inaugurating the Selectors series, which was immortalised for the first time on disk this year.

Where House is about the marginalised origins of the genre which extend back into Disco and Deep is about how far you’re willing to dig, MCDE resides. His knowledge behind the decks is revered by all with even the slightest inkling of musical taste and he’s able to tie a red thread through the entire history of dance music through a single set. Where Larry Levan planted the flag, MCDE waves it. For his Selectors edition he does this again going from the early nineties House of Risque III to the instrumental Disco of Bill Deal and the Rhondels, while tapping into rhythms of  Africa with Licky. Hearing these pieces as individual tracks on the compilation, allows them the ability to truly shine and MCDE takes a step back from the turntables in the way of a true selector, who wants to share these rare gems he’s acquired with a larger audience.

These aren’t obvious selections and MCDE gives us a peak into the esoteric record bag he is known to carry around, placing those unsung heroes of Dance music on the pedestal they deserve through this Selectors series and setting a fairly high standard for the future of this Dekmantel series.