Various Artists

Kenny Carpenter Presents Studio 54: The Underground Classics

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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

During the early 1980s, Kenny Carpenter reigned as the featured DJ at New York City's now-mythic Studio 54. Although disco's commercial fortunes were on the wane, the club was still the cultural and musical nexus of NYC nightlife, thanks in large part to Carpenter's impeccable tastes -- following the lead of underground DJs like the Paradise Garage's Larry Levan, he rejected the mainstream in favor of a brilliant and daring fusion of disco, electro, garage, and soul. And while the moment has long since passed, Kenny Carpenter Presents Studio 54: The Underground Classics is the next best thing to being there in the flesh, recreating a prototypical DJ set capturing Carpenter at the peak of his tastemaking power. Don't expect your standard disco classics here -- this set goes much deeper, incorporating forgotten cult hits like Chas Jankel's "3,000,000 Synths," Evelyn King's "I'm in Love," and Sparque's "Let's Go Dancin'," alongside brilliantly left-field selections like the Clash's "Magnificent Seven."