David Mancuso

The Loft

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The Loft set a standard for club-going, beginning at the dawn of the '70s as a series of invite-only parties thrown by David Mancuso at his Soho apartment. Throughout the years, weathering legal issues and several relocations, the Loft gradually became known as one of the key influences behind club culture. Mancuso provided a world-class sound system and was beyond hospitable to his guests, creating an atmosphere that -- according to anyone who DJ'd or came to party at the Loft -- could never be matched. The Loft is an impressive multimedia document compiling two discs' worth of material that figured prominently in the club's rotation while including a booklet of anecdotal history, testimonials, and several pictures. For those who only care about the music within, there's a mixed bag of disco, R&B, and house that ranges from the early '70s to the mid-'90s. Some of it is spectacular, remaining favorites of DJs decades down the road, thanks in no small part to the support received from those who spun at Mancuso's gatherings. The loopy roller-boogie of T.W. Funkmasters' "Love Money," the deliciously warped disco-funk of Ednah Holt's "Serious, Sirius Space Party," the horn-spiked Afro-dazzle of Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" (its surprising success was the direct result of Mancuso's support), and the still-quaking Chicago house of Fingers Inc.'s "Mystery of Love" (in instrumental form here) highlight the package. Most significantly, the 12-minute version of Loose Joints' "Is It All Over My Face" makes its first appearance. A Loft-birthed classic, this version features lead vocals from producer Arthur Russell and differs significantly compared to its female-led counterpart. The remainder is a bit spotty, perhaps for the fact that some of the weaker material could come to life only on Mancuso's hi-end system.

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