Various Artists

New Chicago House Sound

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This landmark compilation compiled many of the more noteworthy tracks released by Cajmere's Cajual label between 1992-1994 -- a time when the label practically reinvented Chicago house. Cajmere and his alter ego, Green Velvet, contribute to all but two of the tracks on this album as either the songwriter or remixer. As a result, a signature sound runs through each song: a heavily syncopated, bass-heavy rhythm track underlying a soulful high-end composed of sampled diva vocals and some carefully placed high-hat percussion. The artist's first track ever, "Percolator," can be found here, as can his first big hit, "Brighter Days," in two different versions (one remixed by Masters at Work). Others worth hearing are Cajmere's "Underground Goodie" mix of Hard Corey & Wray's "Love Train," with its bottom-heavy sound and wonderful manipulation of the diva vocals, and the downright nastiness of Cajmere and Derrick Carter's "Wet Dream," with its blunt vocal refrain: "I ain't f*cked all week/I'm a horny motherf*cker." The stiff percussion and robotic vocals of this song as well as "Conniption" showcase the techno-influenced style of hard house that Cajmere would later explore as Green Velvet on classics such as "Land of the Lost" and "Flash." In the end, modern listeners may find this material a bit dated and simple, but one can no doubt sense the monolithic importance and precedent that these tracks inflicted over the then-stagnant Chicago house scene, signaling the dawn of a new era.