Larry Levan is an undisputable dance music God whose importance cannot be underestimated.
Synonymous with creatively-original and emotionally-charged DJ sets at revered NYC club the Paradise Garage, the curatorship of Larry Levan’ sets became known as a genre in itself. This provided the earliest definition of what is now known as garage – the characteristics of which can still be heard in the genre to this day.
Now, the quintessential Larry Levan compilation, “Genius of Time” captures this cultural figure as the prolific producer and remixer he was, while also being a joy to hear, bursting with full-blooded, timeless and life-affirming analogue euphony.
Today, in celebration of the compilation and Levan’s legacy, we have something very special for you: a full length mix of Levan and Paradise Garage classics mixed by someone who has become a scene legend in his own right: Justin Berkmann.
Justin Berkmann was a core face at Paradise Garage and a key player in New York dance music scene from the eighties onwards. In 1991 Justin bought Larry Levan, tempting him out of retirement, to London to play at a little club he had founded called Ministry of Sound. Legend has it, Levan overstayed his visit by some THREE MONTHS, spending time with Justin adjusting the sound system and teaching his invaluable knowledge on the texture of sound.
So, check out the tracks that Justin has put together for this mix and read what he has to say about each one below.
“Larry Levan – Genius of Time” is now available on 2xCD & Download
1. Gwen Guthrie – Seventh Heaven
Larry’s productions with Sly & Robbie were for me the pinnacle of his works, Gwen Guthrie’s exquisite vocals over the reggae infused groove
2. Grace Jones – Feel Up
relentless build ups of vocals with the Grace who was one of the enigmatic friends of Larry and the Garage, a regular on the dance floor.
3. Gwen Guthrie – Padlock
It was impossible to select just one from this era, so the other is Padlock as before with number 1
4. Lace – Can’t Play Around (instrumental)
This was the track Larry’s turned the system out for most, he played with the bassline drops and blew everyone round the dance floor
5. MFSB – Love is the Message
seemed to be the National Anthem of the Paradise Garage when Larry played this, there are a number of edits, I chose this one because its makes you wait for the punchline
6. Mantus – (Dance it) Freestyle Rhythm
Another great bassline driven disco journey
7. Laurin Rinder & W. Michael Lewis – Lust
Sawdust on the floor and lose yourself in this until the drop into the nightmare with the unhappy clown
8. The Clash – Magnificent 7
Classic anywhere but on the Richard Long System you could hear the mice under the mixing desk
9. Giorgio Moroder – Evolution
Italo Disco pioneers were ruling in the early eighties and this example is just brilliant, with each scene like a movie with the insane Flamenco part, genius
10. Gino Soccio
Another example of Italo Disco, a favourite of Larry’s
11. Billy Nichols – Give Your Body Up To The Music
Larry’s remix to end with the message for us to give ourselves to the music, worthy advice today.