Electrospective: Like Jamie Jones? Then you’ll love Frankie Knuckles’ “Beyond The Mix”
Elektro joins EMI in celebrating its Electrospective series, which pays homage to electronic music’s storied history and deep roots. We have combed through EMI’s massive 600-plus album catalog to pick out the best electronic music from years past; each week, we recommend classic albums that will open your eyes to the place of today’s stars in electronic music’s long timeline.
Just as Jamie Jones is one of today’s underground kingpins, Frankie Knuckles is considered among the godfathers of house music; in fact, the term itself may have been coined as a way of describing Knuckles’ sets at Chicago’s Warehouse in the 1980s. His move to New York in late 1987 and the 1991 release of his debut album Beyond The Mix only cemented his status as an electronic music legend. The sound of the album relies on a steady, sun-drenched groove, operating at a lower tempo than most typical dance tracks, but feeling all the more effortless for it. Beyond The Mix blends Chicago house’s snares and deep bass – the traditional “Knuckles” sound – with the soul of New York City. The album’s biggest single, “The Whistle Song,” remains an oft-sampled track, but vocal songs like “Sacrifice” and “Right Thing” inject some emotion into the LP.
It’s impossible to deny the connection between Knuckles’ classic sound and Jones’ productions, even though the latter is a Welsh DJ working almost 20 years later. Jones made major waves this summer with music released under the Hot Natured moniker, his collaboration with fellow artist Lee Foss: “Benediction” and “Forward Motion” boast addictive basslines and undeniably catchy vocal melodies that call to mind Beyond the Mix‘s best choruses. Similarly, Jones’ solo remix of Azari & III’s “Hungry for the Power” strikes a perfect, minimalist balance between infectious lyrics and a shuffling, disco-inspired beat. Jones’ growing catalog calls to mind a modern Knuckles, spinning in summertime Ibiza instead of playing at New York’s iconic Sound Factory.