Like its predecessor, the packaging of the second volume of The Loft ably demonstrates that receiving an invitation to one of David Mancuso's loft parties was the equivalent of winning a golden ticket within the New York dance scene. The fellowship was like no other, the sound system was like no other, the range of music played was like no other, ad infinitum. Celebrating nearly 30 years of Mancuso's parties -- held at five different locations between 1970 and 1998 -- The Loft, Vol. 2 spreads 20 tracks across two discs that no doubt sounded great on those standard-setting sound systems provided by Mancuso (the echoes placed on Sandee's voice for "Notice Me," for instance, must have sounded absolutely maddening). As historical artifacts, the two volumes of The Loft are equally crucial. But when it comes down to it, most record buyers couldn't give a toss about such a thing -- they just care about the music. In that respect, The Loft, Vol. 2 still stands up. Much more than a dance music audiophile's wet dream, it's a great package of underground/rare/experimental/overlooked dance music that just so happens to have a story behind it. Each track is presented as it was at the parties -- in full, extended glory. Not only that, but they're sequenced like one of Mancuso's parties in miniature, beginning with Fred Wesley's welcoming "House Party" and concluding with the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" and Dorothy Morrison's "Rain." A handful of other highlights: D Train's uplifting old-school classic "Keep On" (funny how his amazing voice is followed by Jah Wobble's, which, to put it lightly, relies more on spirit than skill), Dinosaur L's downcast-but-propulsive "#5 (Go Bang)," Nuyorican Soul's gorgeous "The Nervous Track (Ballsy Mix)," and Eddie Kendricks' epic, multi-tiered "Girl You Need a Change of Mind." Highly recommended for historians and dance addicts alike.
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